Kluk stood before the ramshackle palace of the goblin chieftain Pulgok. He’d been summoned to serve on the war council for the goblin tribe’s latest assault on the nearby human city. Pulgok’s castle was built mostly of broken pieces of trash, half finished walls and a roof of hides. But it had a whole three rooms, which was more than triple the number of rooms most goblins had. Outside the door to the palace stood two large hobgoblin guards.
Kluk walked up to the guards, knees shaking and trying his best not to soil himself at the thought of what horrors awaited inside. When he got closer the guards stepped aside and motioned for him to enter. When Kluk hesitated, one of the guards reached out and grabbed him and threw him inside. Kluk landed face first on the dirt floor and laid there for a moment, not wanting anything to do with what was happening here.
“Get up, Kluk.” A deep voice spoke in goblin. “It’s time we got started.”
Chief Pulgok was big for a goblin. Rumors said his father was a bugbear and his mother was a hobgoblin. How that made him a regular goblin no one was sure, but it didn’t matter because Pulgok had established himself as the biggest, meanest and most ferocious goblin in the region.
Kluk looked up at the big goblin chief, his eyes full of fear. Pulgok was sitting on a large overstuffed chair, leaning down and looking at Kluk with hunger in his eyes. Kluk picked himself up slowly and dusted off his ragged tunic.
“I heard about what you did during that ambush.” Chief Pulgok said, his voice was oddly soothing but still predatory. “I didn’t become chief of this clan by surrounding myself with stupidity and cowardice. I like to reward courage and skill. That’s why I’m going to offer you a chance to make something of yourself Kluk. You’re going to lead our assault on the main gate of Glenholme. If you take that gate, I’ll let you name any prize you wish.”
All this flashed through Kluk’s mind as he stood among his goblin squad in front of the gates of Glenholme, the human city that bordered the goblin tribe’s land. Kluk and his goblins were safely out of arrow range, although they’d lost four or five trying to figure out just how far away that was. Chief Pulgok had given Kluk a new horsechopper and a dogslicer, both made from the sword of the first bigsy Kluk had killed. He’d also put Kluk in charge of a raiding party of forty goblins, so minus the goblins lost trying to figure out how far the bigsies could shoot Kluk had… a bunch.
All his goblins were milling about, waiting for Kluk to signal them. But Kluk was stalling as much as he could, hoping that maybe things would wrap themselves up and he could just go home. The sun was getting high in the sky now and the bright light and summer heat was making it hard for Kluk to see. He raised his new horsechopper up high to block the sun. The little bit of shade it provided was a welcome relief.
The goblins surrounding Kluk started running forward, screaming at the top of their lungs. Kluk didn’t know why, but he wasn’t going to be left out in the open where he could pick picked off by arrows or horses or dogs or whatever other horrors the bigsies would unleash on the goblins. He leveled his horsechopper and charged forward. Arrows put down goblins to left and right of him. The walls of Glenholme loomed before Kluk, three times the height of the average goblin.
Two goblins carrying a ladder cobbled together from discarded ten foot poles reached the wall and placed the ladder. They started arguing over who would be the first to climb it, shoving each other and yelling. One goblin tackled the other and slit his throat with a dogslicer. The survivor was shot full of arrows shortly after.
Kluk started to slow down, not sure of where he could possibly hide from the bigsies. He spotted a sewer drain on the far side of the wall. It looked big enough that he could squeeze inside and no one would be able to get to him. Kluk ran full tilt towards the drain, knocking other goblins aside as he ran frantically towards the sewer drain. His goal in sight, Kluk dove forward and into the drain, which led to a long tunnel full of stink and slime. Kluk tucked himself in against the wall and turned to see four or five other goblins all milling about behind him.
“We’re here to follow you Lieutenant Kluk!” One of the goblin shouted excitedly. The others raised their dogslicers and cheered. Kluk sighed and looked at the slime oozing up between his toes. He waved the other goblins forward and walked down the sewer tunnel.
The tunnel was tight, even for the small goblins, and they were forced to walk single file. Kluk made sure that he was in the middle of the group so that he had plenty of bodies between himself and anything with big fangs and sharp claws. The sextet of goblins eventually came to the end of the tunnel, where a set of rusted rungs had been set into a stone wall. Up above, rays of light showed through an iron grate. One of the other goblins stepped forward.
“Let me get that Lieutenant Kluk!” he said. The goblin started climbing the iron rungs, and when he reached the top began pushing on the grate. It didn’t budge an inch. “Damned thing’s stuck!”
The goblin pushed on the grate even harder until he lost his balance and tumbled down to the bottom of the well, landing with a wet smack. The goblin groaned, which led Kluk to believe he was still alive.
“My turn!” said another goblin. This one carried an oversized backpack. He scampered up the ladder, and pulled out four pieces of clay and stuck them each in the corners of the grate. Next he stuck wicks in each ball of clay and lit them. The goblin started laughing, and looked down at the rest of the goblins below. He started to speak, but his words were cut off by a large explosion.
Kluk shrieked and covered his head as rocks and bits of metal fell down the well. There was another wet smack, and Kluk opened his eyes to see the goblin alchemist’s head impact the ground, sans body. He was probably dead.
Kluk looked around and found the now dead alchemist’s pack. Kluk knew he didn’t want to be anywhere near it, so he handed it to one of the remaining goblins and started climbing the ladder.
“I guess you’re an alchemist now!” he heard one of the goblins snicker.
The town of Glenholme was on fire. Literally. Several of the houses had been hit by the goblin alchemists’ bombardment and the humans and elves were running around with buckets of water, too busy to notice the small pack of goblins in their midst. Worst of all, there was nowhere for Kluk to hide, the other goblins were all crowding around him, waiting for Kluk to lead them to some kind of glorious victory. Knees shaking, Kluk started running through the town, trying to gain distance on his followers.
He ran down an alleyway and turned a corner, nearly running into one of the town guards. Kluk yelped and swung his horsechopper in an overhead swing. The guardsman knocked it to the side and lunged at Kluk. The guard’s sword clanged off of Kluk’s helmet. Kluk stumbled backwards and swung his horsechopper again. He managed to hit the guard, but not enough to bring him down. The guard raised his sword and shouted, Kluk let out a squeak and braced his horsechopper against the charge.
The sound of screaming goblins erupted behind Kluk. He opened his eyes and saw his five goblin followers all jump on the guard and stab at him with their dogslicers. Kluk took the opportunity to run away.
Kluk ran from building to building, looking for one that wasn’t on fire that he could hide in. He wasn’t having much luck, but the closer he got to the main gate the better it was. There was one building the fire hadn’t touched yet, and Kluk made a beeline for it.
“They’re making a break for the gatehouse!” Kluk heard one of the bigsies shout.
Two guards jumped out of the unburned building, brandishing maces and shields. Kluk charged forward and levelled his horsechopper at one of the guards. He hit the guard in the hip, just below the breastplate but the impact made him lose his grip on his horsechopper and sent poor Kluk tumbling forwards, narrowly avoiding the second guard’s mace. The poor goblin tumbled past the guardsman and into the gatehouse.
Unfortunately for Kluk there was no time to try and hide, as the guard immediately followed him into the small gatehouse.
“I’ll get you for what you did to Pol you little shit.” The guard growled as he swung his mace. Kluk barely managed to duck under the swing, which carried through and hit the gate’s winch. The guard swung furiously and Kluk did his best to keep the gate’s winch between himself and the guardsman. Each blow shook the winch a little, but Kluk couldn’t avoid them all. Another swing of the mace came and knocked Kluk back into the gate’s winch. There was a groan, and a pop and the winch finally released. A thunderclap could be heard outside as the gate to Glenholme finally fell.
The last thing Kluk heard before passing out was the guard shouting as he ran outside.
Kluk woke up a few hours later to the sight of Chief Pulgok looming over him, an impossibly wide grin tearing a gash across the chief’s face.
“You’re awake Kluk. I’m glad.” Chief Pulgok said. “You should go outside. They’re waiting for you.”
Kluk stumbled out of the gate house to see almost fifty goblins gathered in a crowd around him. As soon as he entered the circle they began chanting his name. “Kluk, Kluk, Kluk! Kluk, Kluk, Kluk! Kluk, Kluk, Kluk!”
Kluk almost fainted when someone placed their hand on his shoulder.
“Kluk, you and I are going to do great things.” Chief Pulgok said. Kluk’s inner thigh got very warm and very wet all of a sudden.