John W Partington
Suspend disbelief - have an adventure

An Elven Tale: Death of a Demon God (Vol. 2)

The bodies were strewn about the cavern like piles of dirty laundry. There were clumps of infantry, archers, dwarves, and Tunnel Wolves with their wards. Scattered about everything were the twisted corpses of goblins. In the centre of it all Leaf, John Maryland, and Churlish Flute-Player were laid out at rest. The three had their heads resting on the same rock, bodies spread out like the spokes of a wheel. Their bodies were still awash with sweat. A light cut over John's eyebrow was still bleeding.

"That was certainly an experience,” John said as he took a drag off one of his cigarillos. He passed the cigar to Leaf, who looked at it sceptically, and then passed it to Churlish. Churlish used the tip to light the tobacco in his horn pipe.

"I thought we were dead there for a few minutes,” Churlish puffed.

"Still bothered about taking the goblins?” Leaf asked.

"No,” Churlish and John answered at the same time. When moving out of the goblin village a large controversy had arisen. The Worsh-Rachel, loyal followers of Christrasters, had every intention of following Silk to the ends of the world. She would lead them to enlightenment.

Silk tried ordering them to stay behind and guard the rear, but they flatly refused. If the rest of her servants were going to attend, so would the goblins. After all, they were all one big happy tribe. It took John a few hours, combined with pantomime, to explain the command structure to the goblins. Due to his marriage to the god, Dathon was chief of the tribe. Nork was the sub-chief who was left in charge of the tribe, and took orders from Dathon, who in turn took orders from Christrasters. At least that was the nature of things as far as the goblins knew.

The entire army took a crash course in goblish. As the language had only a handful of words most did fairly well. Almost all the Wolves already spoke goblish. Many of the dwarfs and Woods from the northern forest also knew parts of the language, or at least enough to be conversational. The Lubbers were proficient, and the Greys the most resistant. When it came time to incorporate the goblins into the army the only ones that didn't have a problem were the Paladins.

The goblins ended up performing two main functions: the trail party made up of the non-warriors and children too young to fight, the task was to sweep behind the army for any sign of the column’s passing. All the soldiers were disciplined, but a stray wrapper from hard tack or pemmican occasionally found its way to the ground. The goblin’s second task was as advanced scouts. The Tunnel Wolves and Torch knew the basics of subterranean scouting and architecture. The Woods quickly picked up the skill of following lava tubes and water runoff, but the goblins knew the tunnels from living in them for thousands for years. The army had travelled for almost two weeks without incident while the Worsh-Rachel led them around enemies they wouldn't even have noticed until too late. The problems started when they reached the edge of the goblins’ usual ranging habits.

Then they entered the cavern. It was a wide long passage capable of housing the entire army. Stalactites and stalagmites covered the ground and ceiling. Rock ledges and crevices lined the walls and passages branched off from all sides. At the end of the cavern they came across the bodies of their goblin forerunners. Fighting could be heard in the distance.