Some time ago I said something about posting an excerpt. Well I was just reading through my manuscript and I found a piece that isn't too long or short, not too revealing or too disturbing... I don't think. Ok, maybe a little.
In a letter to his father, Recher chronicles the first time he takes a life.
(Title undetermined - Chapter 4, Swords and Nasties)
It looks like you were wrong, Father. I can now say in all honesty that I’ve raised my sword against a live foe and come out the victor.
The goblin hole told of by the man at the bar was exactly where he said it would be; leave the crumbling bridge on Fade Road and head north to the cleft in the west face of the Aciazi Mountains.
The first sign goblins were near was the stench. And not just the rotting aroma of their foul eating habits. The coal burned in their subterranean forges makes the most noxious fumes. Just inside the cave’s landing were two bony little Vedorant goblins, lounging and picking their teeth. Horrible little creatures, Vedorants. Skin like a lizard’s, baggy and grey and stretched over pug bellies and sharp elbows and knees. They stink like an open carcass and would sooner cut your throat than smile at you. It could be worse. They could have been Redcaps. They rose as we approached and stared suspiciously as if we were the oddities.
“Humans. You must be lost.” The machetes in their hands were of notched, black steel, handles wrapped in dirty rags. I must give you credit, Father. In learning to discourage your fist, I’ve developed quite the liar’s wit.
“Actually no,” I said. “Your forges are rumored of in nearby villages and said to be the finest. I am looking to get an heirloom treated and polished. I have gold.”
The goblins made no move to relax but neither did they attack outright. I held their attention. I took the handle of my sword carefully.
Still they made no move. I drew my sword and approached the one on the right, holding my sword on my open palms. Talwyr stood behind to my left. He was so tense I felt it in my lungs. The goblin must have felt it too. He coiled slightly as I drew near. I stopped, as if surprised.
“Please, if your colony doesn’t need my coin, stop me now! I’d rather not waste our time. I had heard goblins love the clink of gold. Have you heard it?”
To fish several coins from my bag I had to move my left hand from the blade and tighten my other around the pommel. But when I did, the coins slipped from my fingers. They fell and bounced off the stones of the goblins’ doorstep, ringing out seductively. The goblins’ eyes lit up, as I knew they would. For a split second the dancing coins held their gaze. I needed no longer than that. My sword flashed as it only had in practice until that point. I admit I may have been a little too eager, Father. I opened his belly from one side to the other. Iron plates hanging on ratty leather thongs do little good against an angry sword, it would seem. This was Talwyr’s cue to engage but he stood still. He may have even blurted my name. It seems he lacks the stones to kill, Father. The greatest intrigue to me was that the second goblin - even as his companion’s insides leapt out upon the stones - hesitated between avenging him and lusting at the coins! I ran my sword through his gut all the way to the hilt. Can I admit, Father, that I pictured your head on his shoulders? Writing that brings a smile to my face.
The goblins choked and spat for a while on the ground and Talwyr grabbed my arm.
“What have you done?” he demanded, face pale.
“What? You heard yourself, they hijacked a caravan. Are we to simply weather such behavior? This close to Andyr? I think not!”
“That is according to a drunken stranger!" Talwyr said. "If he had said I robbed caravans would you have stuck me through so quickly?” He was distraught. I guess seeing death up close does that to some. Not me, Father. I’d dreamed of this moment. And Talwyr's squawking grated on me.
“Talwyr, you speak nonsense. They were only Vedorant goblins. Clearly you don’t plunder. And if you did, I’d find it easier to forgive you. Honestly, how did you expect to get the amulet, just ask for it?”
“I’d hoped the man was as tangled in the head as he seemed and we’d be home by now, empty-handed, having found no goblin hole or goblin!”
At this I took offense. I wasn't there for some jolly trot in the bushes. I was there because of you, Father, and I’d go home dead before empty-handed.
“Perhaps it would be best if you leave,” I said.
“Recher, you don’t need this amulet,” he said, longing in his eyes. “Let’s just go, there’s no telling how many more goblins are in that cave. Stay at my parent’s manor! You don’t ever have to go back to your father’s house!”
That’s right. Run away from my father. Give up now… This close. Never . He must have read my eyes. His chest deflated under my gaze.
“Talwyr, I go on. Do you?” I said, wiping my blade on the dry skin of the goblin.
He shook his head and glared and kicked at the sand at his feet. I cleaned the rest of the blood off my sword and sheathed it. Still he stalled. Just before my patience ran dry he looked up at me. “Just promise we’ll try to keep quiet,” he said. “And you’ll try not to kill any more of them!”
At this I laughed. “You’ll have to choose one or the other, Tal! I promise I won’t kill them unless they wrong me.”
“Those two hadn’t wronged you,” he muttered.
I looked in his eyes. “Any who stand between me and the amulet wrong me.”