A/N: Yes, I am finally going back and doing some edit on these chapters. Man, they need it. As for my original A/N, for you info, this is the first original story I sat down and wrote. I was orinally 11 when I came up with this story, and I was about 14 when I first wrote this. It has been through much change since then, but somethings never changed. I still remember John getting one hell of a kick out of Grenville's description. Don't ask! Anyway, as for you kind folks who have read and reviewed, my vast thank yous, and this is mostly technically corrections. So, there is no need to reread this.
This world has been around for many millions of years, but unlike many other worlds I have heard of, we have maintained the magic and the creatures of "myth" here as an everyday thing. I am Christopher, the father of the goblins, or so my people call me. Most of them are not my fault, and I wouldn't even claim a quarter of them even if I could. I got this illustrious title because I am the first goblin of this World. Since the title demands the respect from all races that keeps me from being killed, I'll keep it. Although I may be greatly respected, especially by my own people, I was not so gently informed that it is my esteemed duty to tell the brief history of these stories (. . . yippe . . .).
I could be quite brief as I have done before, but the dirty looks I get from my present audience from this suggestion, tell me that I need to expand on our violent history. Unfortunately, the goblins of this world are no different from any other world, or so Midnight tells me. Midnight has spoken about many different worlds that coexist with our own. He says that the barriers of our world are much weaker than most worlds. This is why there are such things as dimensional hopping, the wide use of magic, and eternal life here. We also have much bleed over from other worlds. That is why we can acquire strange names, stranger legends, and even stranger way out religions, and we are all none the wiser. Magic and dimensional rubbish is not my forte. I leave such matters in the capable hands of Midnight.
I stray the subject. We were talking about the goblin race, and it is sad to say that this is my forte. The goblin race is a vile disgusting bunch of lowlifes on the whole. I would like to disown the whole lot of them, but all I have to do is look in the mirror to stop the denial. I am much too old for denial. Goblins were created a long (and I do mean a long) time ago to be the expendable fighters for the forces of darkness. So, I am a 75,973,208-year-old goblin, who can fight fairly well and can see in the dark. Most of the inherent violence has worked its way out of me in my great age. So, I am not as inhospitable guest to other races as you might guess. Goblins will kill (and I might well add, eat) anything that is not our own race. We tend not to like other goblins from different tribes or kingdoms, and the stray goblin may well end up on the menu. We are our own worst enemy. We tend not to trust other goblin nations, and we will happily make war upon them. It is said that the only way the entire goblin race could unite is for me to be murdered. They would unite and totally obliterate the race of my murderer and anyone else in the way. You didn't think that the other races paid me homage for nothing. I try not to impose my presence upon other races often, but I do like a good meal every once and awhile. Some humans have some excellent dishes, mind you. It is touching though. The goblins would starve to make sure that I am well fed. So, I try to impose my presence on the well-fed goblin nations, and where there is something to keep me interested. I am old and bored!! I do perform some duties to earn my keep. I have tutored many a king, and I have often been an adviser. Most of my advice has been ignored, and I often wonder why did they ask me in the first place! I have been recently king. I will never do that again! It isn't worth it.
We have fourteen Dark Lords in this world. Each of them is striving toward world domination. Yes, our world is in deep shit trouble. I take that back, only thirteen of them are after world domination. Number fourteen has a much smaller goal. He wants to stomp Merlock into the ground. I don't know what he is going to do if he ever achieves his goal. This Dark Lord is fondly known (to keep up his low self-esteem) Sagamore. He is one of the main characters in these stories. He wishes revenge upon Merlock (a once powerful goblin kingdom, and now is a very small one to the far east of here), because of the unjust exile placed upon him some two thousand years ago. Now, in two thousand years, things tend to change a bit. I figured this out early in my life. Two thousand years ago, Merlock was the most powerful and badly reputed goblin nation. The other goblin nations strove to become just like them! The population was pushing the one thousand mark, but due to the Great Plagues of fifteen hundred years ago, they are now a nation dwindled down to the three hundred mark. They never quite built up their numbers again, but they still have their ill reputation. None of the goblins that had exiled Sagamore in the first place still live. Two thousand years is a difficult age to reach when you lead a violent life. Most goblins get knocked off before the one hundred mark. Now, you must understand that Dark Lords come in every race. All races are corrupt in one way or another, and goblins are just a bit more so than others. A Darklordship is based upon how much power and the ability to convince minions that one is endowed with more power than he really has. Not all powerful wizards are Dark Lords nor do they have a desire for such a position, but all Dark Lords are powerful wizards in one form or another. Does this clear up anything? I get it because I have lived here all my life, and after 75 million years, such things tend to sink in.
I never quite understood all this Dark Lordship. I mean it is beyond the lack of knowledge of magic that I have. It is the whole mentality! Why would you want to rule this lousy world? I mean, you have to deal with everyone else's problems, and if you don't do it right, then they want to skewer you. Then you have competition for the throne by more powerful beings. No, kings are marked men. I will remain a wanderer. I come and go as I please, and I get treated well wherever I go.
Although this world is fraught with my terrible things, there are also many beautiful things even among the goblins. Through all the lowlifes, there arises a somewhat intelligent goblin, who see the senselessness of it all. Most of these goblins are subtly persuasive. If they are not, then they end up as the main course. Some of these goblins are like Francois and his descendants. They go their own way regardless what others think. Francois' descendants have the sword skills to back up their ways, and they don't force their ideas outside the family. Flora is a completely different story, but the timing of her birth was right.
Flora was born the dominate of a pair of twins. Twins are a rare occurrence for goblins in this world. Rarer than the production of twins is the survival of all those involved. So, Flora and her brother Council were the gifts of the gods. (If the goblins of the Finis knew what kind of trouble Flora would cause, they would have thought otherwise.) It is quite a paradox in our race. Goblins are proud of their dealing out of death (and we do it so well), but we celebrate the double birth. This celebration didn't last long. When a five-year-old Flora went missing for three years, the logical solution was to kill off the rest of the family. Council was clever enough to escape the onslaught ordered by King Krieshnal. He managed to hide and survive by his skills, and the friendship of a strange goblin girl in his civilization didn't hurt any either. He was hidden by the family, and eventually his sister returned.
Now, you might ask where did Flora spend her three years. King Krieshnal never asked. Of course, he wasn't all there in the head (even less so than some of the earlier kings). A good thing for this story, because Flora was not the subtle type. Flora was captured by the elves. Being a curious child, she did explore outside of the cavern city often. She was exceptionally intelligent and quickly learned her way in and out and back home. So, one day she ventured out a bit too far, and was caught by the elves. Now, elves tend to do the same thing to goblin trespassers as we do. Well, they just kill trespassing goblins. I can't see elves in their prissiness doing the other bit. Anyway, they aren't as diligent about killing all trespassers. They are not as heartless of a bunch as we are, and they tend to be vegetarians. So, when they caught a five-year-old Flora on their property, they couldn't bring themselves to skewer her. They do have a code against killing children. The elven queen was taken by the curious goblin child that showed no fear of them nor violence towards them. So, she decided to teach this child. Her hopes were to start the seeds of peace between the two races. So, Queen Mirelle taught Flora reading and writing in the common tongue, since Mirelle knew nothing about the goblin language. (This was too beneath their prissiness.) She taught Flora the ways of peace and kindness. (I think I need the brown bag now!) So, when Flora returned to her own people, she did her job quite well.
Flora returned home after three years to find that her parents had been killed and her brother hiding behind a rock. She gave up what was left her childhood to face down the king. To this day, she cannot figure out what she had said to get the king to give up his infant son to her care. Of course, as before mentioned, Krieshnal wasn't exactly playing with all his marbles. So, it is hard to say whether he gave up the prince in one of his saner moments or not. One of the rumors of the time was that Phillip's mother had survived the trauma of childbirth, but she met her end at the king's hand. Why he should have killed her, no one can say, because the prince was quite healthy and a child to be proud of. It was well known that the king was prone to murderous rage without cause. Whatever the reason, the queen was dead, and it was obvious that the king was in no position to raise the child. The rumor was that in the moment of Flora's appearance, he was sorely aware of this problem and his own insanity. The king did want an heir. A goblin kingdom is chaos when the heir is not proper and of the bloodline. Trust me, I know.
So, by accident Phillip was destined to do unusual things. Flora took to the child well. She was able to avenge herself quite well without hurting the boy any. She taught him the things that were taught to her by the elves, and this infuriated the king. Still, he would not punish her or take the boy away from her, because to do so may imply that he was wrong in his choice. Gods forbid he be wrong! She taught him about the outside that she had grown so fond of, and she taught him to try and see things in more than one perspective. The prince became fascinated by the outside world and learned his lessons well. The king was not thrilled by this either. The king liked it even less that she taught her brother and two peasant children along with the prince. She taught the girl of the family that took Council in during her absence. She was called Necromancy because of her strange visions that she had and they usually always turned out to be bad. Magic is tolerated by goblins, and some goblin nations tolerate more so than others. She would not be killed or exiled for her abilities, but it was frowned upon, and she was never properly taught to use them. The other child was a goblin boy, who was born on the same day as Phillip. Averil was a dwarfed goblin, and the king had ordered his execution several times because his existence was an insult to the prince. Flora denied the order each time, and the king yielded. The kingdom could not figure out why he put up with her, but those who wished to continue breathing, said naught about it. Perhaps, he liked the challenge she presented. I believe it was that there was not really anyone there that was fit to teach the prince what he needed to know. I was elsewhere at this time with problems of my own.
Phillip did learn many things from his father. The young prince attended court and the private councils of his father. In all these events, Flora was silenced. So, when Phillip reached his fourteenth year, his father met his end by way of a gwamin arrow. The gwamin are another one of those nasty little races like our own. They were bred specifically to kill off the goblin race, because we got a little too uppity. Gwamin tend to live in the cave systems better than we do, but we are more adaptable to whatever environment we end up in . One can catch them outside, but it is rather rare. Anyway, this gwamin tribe were defeated in their attack, and the populace went in hot pursuit of them. Phillip did not halt them. He had learned that much from his father. He had to allow his people to go their own way every once and awhile, and what he had in mind for his rule may well cause a revolt.
After the funeral ceremonies for the old king, Phillip was crowned king. He ordered Vestil to remain the Captain of the Guard, instead of being executed for his failure to the previous king. Phillip had admired the dedication and the skills of Vestil, and he wasn't going to waste such skills to death. Phillip also denied the last order of his father to have Averil executed. He named Averil the royal executioner. The first job of the new executioner was to carry out the last orders of the previous king. Since he could not properly execute himself, there would be no public executions. This didn't stop punishments for crimes. Vestil was more than happy to arrange a nasty accident for those who displeased the king. This kind of judgment the populace approved of, maybe a bit more than the old way.
If all these actions were not enough to cause a revolt, Phillip decided to move the kingdom into the Great Forest (so named because it is our largest forest). The population rose in rebellion, but Phillip explained that there was too much competition for their land. The gwamin, the dwarves, and other goblin tribes raided their kingdom far too often, and it wasn't really worth the effort. There was more space and food in the Great Forest. Besides, the caves that they inhabited were not their own anyway. This was one of the interesting histories that was passed on through the generations. So, Phillip intended to stake claim on land that was once goblin land, anyway, and for whatever reason, no one wanted. Phillip felt secure that his kingdom would be able to survive where the tribes of goblins had failed. His population was greater than all four of the goblin tribes put together as a whole at their height, and they were not four competing groups. He also hoped to pull in stragglers from these tribes. Someone had to teach them how to survive.
Well, all the noise that this caused got my attention. I offered my esteemed services to Phillip in exchange for citizenship for my ward. Phillip grumbled about my terms, because Grenville was of royal blood. Royalty! What rubbish! They are all too paranoid for their own good! After I stopped laughing about the prospect of Grenville starting a rebellion, I convinced Phillip that the only competition he would get out of Grenville was a place under the bed. Trust me, this is a very long story, that I have no desire to relate.
Phillip started off the migration with treaties with the human villages on the outskirts of the Great Forest. Phillip dressed himself as a peasant (and he still does this kind of thing without cause!) and took messages to the human lords. I only shook my head. It would have been much less dangerous to send me, but Phillip guessed right. The humans would not like his presence, but they would not kill an unarmed messenger. In an opposite perspective, Vestil would have killed an unarmed messenger. Humans are not goblins, and they do not employ Vestil as the Captain of the Guard. Phillip was able to pull off the treaty quite well. The goblins of the kingdom were not thrilled, and they would have much rather dealt with this in the old fashion: Kill, Rape, and Pillage.
The deal was basically this: the humans would teach us a couple of things of the forest survival, and we would give them a tribute. Both sides, of course, argued their side of this bargain. We would not raid their villages. This really raised the grumbling among Phillip's people. Vestil, although thinking his king as crazy as the previous one, silenced them. About twenty of the original members met with either Vestil's blade or Phillip's blade. The delivery of their corpses satisfied the human lords. Phillip pulled in the stray goblins from the dispersed tribes with the promise of security in numbers and acceptance of their ways. This act also pleased the human villages, because that cut down on more of the raids. Phillip settled in a part of the forest that was taboo to the humans. These taboos kept us busy, too. There are many strange creatures that even I have not seen before, and they dwell here. They made for good eating though.
Phillip's eventual goal was to build an alliance with the other goblin nations. He didn't like my comment about the prophecy of the goblin union. He was hoping for an alliance with King Tesus of the Silver Mountains, whose kingdom numbered about 700 strong.
Yet, all great plans (and not so great plans) have a start. Most of the problems at hand were to keep down the unruly unrest at home. What can I say. We are a violent people by nature, and we don't really like change. So, when Sagamore's minions started to pick on us, we more than happily picked back with all the fury of our penned up violence. Phillip had more than his fair share of protection (to his dismay).
This is the first story of many deals with our defense against Sagamore and his motley minion.