The Bane of Rendsberg Part IV
Olivier and Lyndor exhibited their own brand of chaos aboard the ship. Being of the house Kobold variety, they felt the need to clean and organize wherever there was a mess to the frustration of all on board. The crew, being what they were, were happy with their filth and grime. The housekeeping spree did nothing to help the matter when the said filth and grime turned out to be some of the crew themselves. Even Laquell was contented with the lack of luster around the vessel. He smiled at the sight of his mess, piled up cabin in its dim, dusty glow. It had been his choice to leave the way of his people, and he planned to keep it that way. Of course, unlike the rest of the crew, he was capable of living with a spotless kingdom.
Having sat back and laughed at the crew's distress, he finally yielded to their demands. He knew the perfect job and place for these two industrious Kobolds. They were rounded up by the elf and coaxed into the galley. Miles, the residential goblin cook, stood up straight from his crouching position from one of the chicken cages. One of the birds squawked as if throwing curses at the other.. When the goblin stood up, he was a tall lanky being, who stood a little bit taller than the elegant elven captain. This was not apparent when the Kobolds first boarded the ship, because the goblin tended to slouch and creep around the place. He seemed comfortable even running on all fours at times. It hid the fact that he was thinner than most goblins. He, likewise, was not often noticed. He narrowed his amber eyes at the captain and his two wide eyed captives. After the initial shock of the entrance, he smirked, and slunk off to do some other chore.
"You bring me new meat for the stew?" he queried, as he crouched down to his normal position over the boiling pot.
Olivier clenched his fists at his sides and stood up straight. Lyndor took her position behind him. She peeked around her blind companion and tried to regain her courage.
"Not quite," the elf replied flatly. "You've been complaining about needing help. You have it now. Kobolds are well noted for their kitchen skills. I am certain they can do your job better than you can."
The goblin spat at his superior. He produced a flow of colorful curses that made Olivier blush a deep red and cover his ward's ears. Laquell passively listened to the complaints and threats. A normal captain of a normal ship would have had his subordinate keelhauled by now, but the captain only gave a look of boredom. A tweak of a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, and his green eyes sparkled. He raised his hand in a farewell and left the two bundles of havoc in his care.
Miles complained for a short time after the other. He then huffed out an exasperated breath. He stumbled his way over to the cutting table. He picked up a cleaver from the pile of cutting instruments. He ran his finger along the blade lightly. A thin strip of blood formed on the path he used. He licked his own blood from his fingers and nodded in satisfaction. He turned to his unwelcome guests/help. A grin crossed his gaunt, grey face.
Olivier stood up straight. His fingers instinctively curled around the knives at his waistcoat. The goblin chuckled. Lyn gasped and hid behind her guardian, but the blind one did not flinch. His confidence relaxed his ward's fear, and she looked up at the menacing cook. She let go of the other and stood up straight. Her dark eyes filled with a frightening fierceness that caught their adversary off guard.
Miles recollected himself. He wasn't about to be cowered by a pair of house cleaners half his size. One was a child and the other was blind. How hard could this challenge be? Laquell was no threat. Crew members disappeared under suspicious circumstances all the time. Deciding the blind one was more trouble than the child, he made his move. The struggle was quick and bloody. Olivier had always been fast in a fight. A fight with someone bigger made him even more so. When the goblin lunged at the Kobold, Olivier only made a quick movement out of the way and slicing the opponent's cheek in the process. Miles tripped and fell on his face, because of his efforts to catch something so small. Oliver jumped on the back of the fallen and cut off one of the ears in the process. The thought of stabbing him deep in the back came across the Kobold's mind, but he really did not want to kill this one yet. Miles turned over throwing the little one off of him. He swiped the cleaver at the other from his crouching position. Olivier ducked back away from the blade as it swiped close to him. The Kobold bit his lip and dodged into the other. With a quick turn, he severed the fingers of the goblin's right hand. Miles opened wide as the finger and cleaver fell to the floor.
In a normal fight, the goblin would have had to chunk his pain and continue fighting. Olivier deemed his opponent finished and backed off. He put his arm around Lyn and led her away. They had kitchen duties to perform. Lyn looked at the fallen with a sense of dread, but it fell away from her like a shroud. She skirted around the goblin, who collected his severed parts and went to work with her companion.
Fortunately for Miles, Laquell had the healing powers of the elves. As long as the body parts were still available and fresh, the elf could reattach them. After various jokes made about losing to ones so much smaller than him and several acts of humiliation done to him in front of some of the crew, Miles made his way back to the galley. His grumbles were cut short when he saw the state of his kitchen. He spat another curse that made both Kobolds look up and blush.
The goblin had been gone for a mere hour, but the kitchen was already taking form of something resembling order. The older Kobold stirred the stew pot, as the girl plucked feathers from a strangled chicken. The dirt and filth on the floor was gone. Many of the pots and pans shined with the cleanness. The goblin had to hold down his stomach.
The sacks of clothing were neatly placed in one corner of the room. Only the privileged few had beds of their own and private quarters. In this crew, the first mate was often happy to find a resting place in a bucket, or a barrel, or under a bed. The Kobolds had no issue with sleeping in a corner. Lyndor had had a pampered house Kobold life, where she always had a soft bed, but she accepted her lot. She could rest as long as Olivier was with her, and her guardian accepted this situation.
Miles grumbled some more, but the two were quickly learning to ignore him. Over the first week, Miles learned quickly to leave hie roommates alone. Blind the elder Kobold may be, but his aim with the knives was far too accurate for the goblin's comfort. The fact that Laquell spent a good portion of his time laughing at him infuriated him all the more. The threat that some of the severed limbs may remain that way the next time made the goblin give into his situation.
Schöne and Lucifer brought their kills into the kitchen to add to the daily meat. One day Olivier looked up from his chores, as they handed the meat over to the eager goblin. Lucifer smiled brightly at his friend. The house Kobold put down his knives and bounded over to the two vampires with no fear or hesitation, unlike his younger companion. He stood up straight with an equal smile on his lips.
"You seem to be getting on well here, Lucifer," he said happily.
"As I can see you have as well," the black haired one replied as he glanced to the staring Lyn.
Olivier jerked a moment towards Schöne. His smile widened even further. With no fear, he approached her. "I have never got to know you. Are you as pleasant as you smell?" he questioned as his fingers touched and outlined her face then moved downward.
Shock covered the vampiress' face at first. Then a growl rumbled in her chest. Her claws extended from her fingers. Miles' eyes opened wide, and he pulled back. The scars at his neck burned from his own Schöne experience. Lucifer gasped and grabbed his female counterpart's arms behind her. Lyn came up behind Olivier and tried to pull him away.
"Schöne," lucifer soothed, "he's a friend, remember? He's blind. This is how he sees. He means nothing by it."
She grumbled something unpleasant, but Lucifer would not let her arms go free.. "Alteng will be upset if you kill his uncle."
The claws stayed extended for a few more moments, then she calmed and they retracted. Her expression remained frightful for those that could see. Oblivious to her temper, Olivier bowed to her. He stood up straight again and blinked his eyes.
"You are indeed a 'shöne,'" he remarked. He turned towards the other vampire. "Lucifer, Lyn's a girl, yes? Why isn't she shaped like the other girls? Her chest is flat like ours."
Lucifer's cheeks burned a deep red, but Schöne took over for her clueless partner. She wiggled out of the vampire's grip and smacked the house Kobold in the head. Olivier pulled back more offended than hurt.
"She's a baby!" she exclaimed. "Don't you know anything about girls?"
"Uh?" the blind one replied.
"When she grows up, her body will change that way, Livie," Lucifer explained as he rubbed the back of his neck.
"Oh," the other replied with his fingers in his mouth.
Despite the seemingly weaker opponent and the dislike of the cleanliness the two caused, Miles found some means of respect for Olivier. The little fellow had the tendency to mumble darkly to himself. And fight unseen adversaries, yet he had no mercy in slaying the evening's meal. The squeals of the pigs made both the goblin and the child cringe. Olivier shrugged it off and casually licked the blood from his knives and fingers. He was equally effective at wringing a chicken's neck or any other bird's neck for that matter. When in doubt, he would bite the flesh and muscle from the victim.
Miles stood back and blinked as he watched the show. A cold rushed over the bigger being's back, and he swallowed hard. Lyn gasped in fear for her guardian. Scratches from struggling claws tore at his flesh, but the pain did not seem to register in his mind. The girl ran to him when the job was done and fussed over him. Red filled the blind one's pale cheeks, as he allowed the child to wrap his wounds. A tear or two flowed down his face, but the expression was one of joy and not pain as he touched the tending hands. The goblin swallowed hard at the sight. Some of the wounds would have been enough to make a normal goblin succumb. Never was there a word about visiting Laquell and his healing powers. Of course, such wounds did not seem to hinder the Kobold from his work or defense, despite the fact that red would often bloom through the bandaging.
"Why do you cringe at the cries of animals?" Lyn asked, breaking the goblin out his concentration of the other.
Miles frowned as he tasted the stew. He had to admit that the Kobold cooked better than himself, he hated his companions all the more for it. He narrowed his green eyes at the child. She stood her ground without a hint of backing down. Oliver continued his sweeping without seeming to notice the conversation.
"What would you know of it? You are not real happy with their cries either," he growled back.
"You're a goblin. Goblins kill people, who plead for their lives all the time," she complained.
The cook tightened his grip on the ladle. His teeth ground together. He'd like to show her how much of a goblin he was. Some part of his common sense told him to tread carefully. "What do you know about goblins? You are too young and alive to have met one of my kind before," he spat.
"Gunny told me stories," she explained proudly. "Livie knows some, too. He said his nephew has killed several of your kind before."
Olivier's cheeks turned red at her words, and he threw himself deeper into his cleaning. Mile4s smirked. "I doubt that. You are too placid of a race for that kind of stuff."
Lyn blinked her eyes a couple of times and cocked her head to the side. "I don't understand what 'placid' is, but I know Livie could get you if he wanted to, and Alteng is really a mean one."
"Yeah, yeah. He's a nasty little one. Now, go back to your work and leave me to mine," he remarked as he waved her off.
She climbed on a chair at the chopping table. She pushed her body up straight like a mermaid on the rocks. Her dark eyes twinkled. "I think you're like me," she continued on oblivious to his complaints. "You have powers, too. I've never seen anyone argue with a pig that way before. Livie doesn't do it as well as you do, and he argues with many people who aren't there."
Miles turned pale. He took a threatening step forward. His fingers curled around a cleaver. He raised it, but he froze. He found fingers clasped tight into his shoulder and a knife at his throat. The heels of the house Kobold dug into the ribs of his back. The goblin was unsure when the other had left his duty to attack.
"I give," he yielded as he dropped the weapon to the floor.
Olivier dropped to the floor and went to the girl. Lyn cuddled his neck, but she soon pushed herself away. "I'm alright, Livie," she told him. "I'm alright, Livie," she told him. "I'm not afraid of him. My power is stronger."
Olivier allowed his arms to fall to his sides. He cocked his head with an uncanny accuracy of looking eyes with his adversary. "Laquell knows, doesn't he?"
Miles frowned. "Yes," he replied. He drew in a deep breath and let go of it. "Laquell finds me useful in a practical way. I can talk to animals whether I want to or not, for what it's worth. I can find out the direction of land and what danger is there from the birds. It's a hard job. They babble a lot. I hate talking to them, but Laquell says I have to be nice to them so that I can get more information out of them."
"Why are you the cook then?" Olivier asked as his eyebrows knitted together with confusion. "I would think you would be up top doing something."
"This was my idea," he replied with a sigh. "I'm not needed up there all the time. Besides, if I am down here, I don't have to face the others. I don't care for the slaughter of those that can talk back to me. "
"But, you'd kill us if you could," the elder pointed out.
The goblin shrugged. "You aren't dead yet, and you aren't caged or frantic. You can fight back effectively."
"Alteng says that goblins will kill the helpless or bound victims. What's the difference?" Olivier asked casually as if he were inquiring about tomorrow's meal.
"I'm a defective goblin!" Miles shouted as he threw out his arms. "Happy?" He stomped out of the gallery without looking back.
Olivier raised his eyebrows higher. With a shrug, he went back to the sweeping. Lyn took over the cooking to make sure it didn't boil over.