Kluk had escaped the dragon’s lair after the rain had stopped and the flooding had subsided. He’d found his commando squad frantically searching for him and led them to the cave to help carry back the dragon’s corpse for dinner. Chief Pulgok had been amazed by Kluk’s story and the proof of his victory over the dragon, but it was the sealed door with the carvings of dwarves and goblins that truly interested him. That night, Chief Pulgok put out an official call to find the greatest warriors of the tribe to prove themselves in preparation for a journey through those very doors. Kluk had apparently earned his spot by slaying the dragon guarding the doors. The rest of the night was a haze of booze, fire and small explosions.
Morning found Kluk working on a new polearm, his deft little hands scraping away at the wood, shaping it into the proper form. The short sword that Kluk had recovered from the dragon’s hoard hadn’t stopped talking since the moment Kluk began working.
Look, I know how much you like polearms and stuff, but I’m telling you, I’m way better than any pointy stick. I mean, I get why you like them. They’re so long, and they’ve got the kind of penetration that any weapon could be proud of. I know I haven’t got the reach of one of those polearms, but I’m at least as good as a longsword for someone your size. I could teach you how to lunge. That’d give you the reach you need right?
Kluk ignored the sword’s telepathic whining. He grabbed an oiled rag and began cleaning the blade, working the oil up and down the edges and along the hilt.
Oh, that feels nice. I haven’t been cleaned like this in ages. Yes, oh right there… yeah.
Kluk worked at the pins holding the hilt in place, and started prying them loose.
What are you doing? You can’t pull those out, I need them. Ouch, hey! That hurt. Not so rough.
He removed the pommel and the hilt, exposing the sword’s tang. With a single swift motion, he took the exposed blade and slotted it into the newly carved length of wood. He slotted the pins back into the tang, and hammered them into place.
Wow that’s snug. It feels good though, really good. Oh yeah, this is nice…
Kluk inspected the length and straightness of his new polearm. Everything seemed in order, and he had patrols to do. New polearm in hand, Kluk walked out of the hole in the wall of his home and woke up his sleeping “guards.” The four goblins scrambled to their feet and fell in the closest possible approximation of a formation they could manage.
Patrol was in town today, which was slightly less terrifying for Kluk although it came with the downside of him being constantly watched by other goblins, who would stop in the middle of the street to gawk, occasionally dropping heavy loads of trash or timber on their oversized feet and yelping in pain. Sneaky as goblins could be, they weren’t known for their subtlety.
It wasn’t the goblins that were really the issue though, it was the hobgoblins. Whenever Kluk passed by one, he could feel the hatred radiate off them in waves. They didn’t like the idea of a measly goblin standing on the same level as them, and they made that pretty clear.
Kluk, you should really stand up for yourself more. Put those hobgoblins in their place.
Kluk ignored the spear and continued on his patrol. He and his goblin troopers rounded a corner along the northeastern corner of No-We-Don’t-Have-A-Name-Yet, and were met with a volley of arrows from the rooftop of a nearby house. Kluk dove for cover immediately, but his troops were less lucky. Three of them were hit with arrows and screamed as the barbed tips pierced their sides. Out from the alleyway came a trio of hobgoblins, who ran forward and stabbed each of Kluk’s soldiers, leaving them to bleed out on the ground. Kluk was paralyzed by fear, but he could see everything, and it burned in the pit of his stomach.
Hey, I know that feeling! Go do something heroic Kluk!
Kluk stayed where he was.
“You know we can see you right? Come on out you upstart goblin piece of shit. Time you got yours.” One of the hobgoblins said. He drew a pair of axes from his belt, their wickedly sharp heads were serrated and dripped magical blood. The other hobgoblins each drew their own melee weapons, one carried a sword as tall as he was and the third wielded a hammer adorned with the fangs of mighty beasts.
The axe wielding hobgoblin walked up to the stack of boxes that Kluk was hiding behind and smashed them apart. “Nowhere to run, little shit!” he shouted, raising his axe to strike.
Kluk dove between the hobgoblin’s bandy legs and leveled his new polearm as he charged towards the sword wielding hobgoblin. At the last second he made a sharp turn towards the hobgoblin with the hammer and caught him by surprise with a powerful thrust that pierced the hobgoblin through the side. Kluk pulled his spear from the hobgoblin with all the force he could muster, it came loose so suddenly though that it sent him spinning, knocking aside an axe that came whirling towards his head.
The axe wielding hobgoblin held his pose a moment and the axe reappeared on his belt immediately. The hobgoblin bared his teeth in a wicked grin. Off to the side, one of Kluk’s goblin troops groaned.
“Captain Kluk, watch out…” the goblin croaked.
Kluk turned and just barely managed to block a blow from the sword wielding hobgoblin’s mighty swing. The attack sent Kluk flying and he landed on the ground in a heap, his new spear knocked out of his grasp.
“Stupid little goblin, ruined our fun.” The sword wielding goblin said. Kluk watched, unable to move, as the hobgoblin raised his foot up high and stomped on the goblin’s head. The crunch of bone and flesh seemed to echo everywhere to Kluk, and one of the dead goblin’s eyes bounced and rolled to a stop, looking up at Kluk.
Kluk’s fear began to mix with rage, building in intensity with every passing second. He grabbed his spear and stood up gripping the weapon tight.
Oh this is going to be good.
Screaming at the top of his lungs, Kluk charged the sword wielding hobgoblin. He passed right by the axe hobgoblin, who lunged at Kluk, but failed to land a solid blow. Kluk leapt forward for the last bit of his charge, barreling into the hobgoblin and burying the blade of his polearm in the hobgoblin’s throat. The force knocked the hobgoblin backwards, and Kluk rode the falling body all the way to the ground, leaving the hobgoblin gurgling in a pool of his own blood.
Kluk turned and narrowly avoided another axe, which reappeared on the last hobgoblin’s belt the instant it landed.
“Worthless.” The hobgoblin sneered. “It doesn’t matter, you won’t be able to beat me. Goblins ought to know their place and die like the fodder they are.”
The hobgoblin hurled his axes again. Three, four, five, six times the deadly blades whirled towards Kluk never striking a final blow, but wearing him down with nicks and cuts that bled profusely. Every time Kluk tried to close the distance, the whirling blades drove him back. Even parrying them couldn’t provide an opening. With no other options, Kluk fell back to his most successful plan. He turned tail and ran.
Kluk cut a sharp corner between two houses, following the street before turning another left. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, but the whirling axes were always close behind.
“Run little goblin! Let ‘em see you for what you really are!” The hobgoblin’s voice echoed behind Kluk.
Kluk made another left, and came to a dead end stacked high with boxes. Using his spear, Kluk jumped up the boxes and onto the roof. Or tried to, his grip slipped and he dropped his spear, which landed point up in the stack. Kluk scrambled up over the side and onto the roof. He watched the hobgoblin turn down the alley, it didn’t seem like he’d spotted Kluk up on the roof yet.
“You’re real bad at hiding, Kluk. I can still see your spear sticking out.” The hobgoblin hurled his axes at the stack of boxes and as soon as they left his hands, Kluk made his move.
He jumped down from the roof with a mighty warcry, his sharp teeth bared and ready to bite the hobgoblin to death. But Kluk miscalculated his leap and fell short, smacking into the ground face first. The hobgoblin laughed and readied his axes for a final blow. Kluk knew his end was coming the instant he heard a wet smack, but strangely it wasn’t followed by blinding pain. Carefully, he opened his eyes and looked up to see that the hobgoblin’s head had been replaced by a large, spiked metal ball. The dead hobgoblin toppled over, and kluk saw Chief Pulgok standing behind the corpse, dressed in full plate and carrying a flail with a head as big as Kluk’s own.
“Worthless. I was watching the whole thing.” Chief Pulgok said as he spun the flail, releasing a spray of gore. “You composed yourself well Kluk, although you could stand some more training I believe. That spear of yours is new, isn’t it? Fetch it for me.”
Kluk stood up and rushed over to his new spear.
Kluk that was really pretty impressive. Lucky that… guy, was there. I think, he seems off. I wouldn’t trust him.
“Show it to me.” Kluk held the spear out for Chief Pulgok. Kluk felt the spear pull in his hands, as if it was trying to move on its own. The blade started to swing around suddenly, pointing for the chief. Kluk let go and the spear fell harmlessly to the ground.
Chief Pulgok bent over and looked closely at the weapon as it lay there. “Perhaps you should have the balance looked at. Nevermind it now, we leave tomorrow to reclaim the lost caverns you so graciously discovered. Get yourself some rest. I’ll send one of my guards to keep watch for you. I wouldn’t want my new champion to come to any harm.”