Down and out in Goblinville
When we first arrived this place was much different. There was no goblin merchant, and the entire village was abandoned. Just a collection of broken hovels at the bottom of a crater surrounded on all sides by a steep incline. The looted shacks were either falling apart or burnt to ash; it was a ruined ghost town. Around the perimeter of this village are eight passages dug into the steep incline at the bottom of the crater. The portal we came through was one of these. I know that a few of these lead back to various parts of the dungeons under Dundagel. Perhaps they all do.
|Artwork by Illeander|
That was when we stumbled upon the pack of goblin survivors. We knew nothing of their plight, of course. The first words we heard from them were not greetings but the magical mutterings of their shaman. We all sprang to action. I threw my spear at the shaman hoping to disrupt his spell. It not only pierced his right shoulder, but pinned him against the wall as well. Then I pulled my blade and ran to finish him. I'm not in the habit of leaving enemy spellcasters alive. After that I spun around and saw the fight was over. The scene was carnage, my comrades had cut down all the goblins save one. That last goblin wisely chose to drop his weapon and surrender to us. Thus Turg became our prisoner.
Luckily Fred the Dwarf knew the goblin-speak. We bound Turg's wrists and questioned him, but suspected his words were lies. It was decided that he should travel with us, so Fred began leading him through the dungeon by a length of rope.
We threatened to kill him if he tried to escape, but we need not have bothered. He was telling us the truth; the goblin people were utterly wrecked and broken. I hate to imagine how Turg must have felt that day. Even if we let him go, where else could he have possibly gone? At this point, every familiar friend he had ever known was either dead or enslaved. I think it would have been cruel of us to set him loose. Without home, hope, or haven; just a poor lost soul, forever floating, like a shadow in the darkness. He needed our protection, and he knew it. He was quite content to be our prisoner. He even told us that we treated him more kindly than the shaman ever had. For our part we were not quick to trust a goblin, but Turg proved his loyalty to us time and again. He became a useful ally, and eventually our trusted friend.
Since then we've found and freed many goblin slaves, perhaps 30 in all. They seem to have accepted Turg as their leader and have returned with him to Goblinville. They were an instrumental source of unskilled labor as we built our stronghold up on the edge of the crater, looking out over their ruined village. We invited all of them to live and work within the safety of our walls, but some (like the goblin merchant) have chosen to rebuild their old homes. I suppose they feel safe enough within the shadow of our keep, and after all the time they spent in captivity the taste of freedom must be sweet indeed.
Bishop Aethelred has begun calling the goblins to mass within his newly built Chapel of the White Queen. His teachings have made an impression on them. They're slowly learning to solve their problems using words rather than fists, the importance of telling the truth, and best of all... hygiene. They've really taken to the morals within Aethelred's teachings. Their memory of the bible stories are atrocious though, which we elves (Lankii, Sonoma, and I) find highly amusing. Our new pastime is to ask the goblins what they know about Adam and Eve or Moses just to hear some ridiculous thing come out their mouths. Sometimes Aethelred informs us that they are actually telling the story correctly, which only makes us laugh even harder. We mean no offense, honestly, it's all just so... delightful.
Anyhow, the town is growing and looking better all the time. It seems that the soil in the crater is poor for growing, far too rocky and hard, but no one has gone hungry yet. Thankfully there is a forest of sorts growing near the crater with fruit and some small creatures. The elves we led here are trying to learn all they can about the strange new flora and to expand the forest. Fred and the other dwarves insist we keep the trees the hell away from the walls of the stronghold, which is fine. There is some debate now raging about planting some trees within the stronghold itself, but I'll keep my nose out of all that. I'm beginning to worry though about the great family of feral house cats we rescued from below Dundagel and released into these woods. The cats seem to be doing well since they are quicker than most of the other predators. The trouble is that according to the goblins, the small lizards of the forest are becoming harder to catch. If the trend continues I suspect they'll begin to hunt for cat instead. I think they would be eating the cats already if not for their great respect for Aethelred. His affection for his cat, Billy White-Paw, is quite well known.
Perhaps we should lead some chickens and goats through the portal next. I'll ask the others to invest a few coins to help prevent a goblin famine. I'd buy the livestock myself, but I'm essentially bankrupt now after paying for part of the construction of the stronghold and my continuing magical research into creating the Gommagolem. If successful I'll have made a magical, slightly corpsey automaton infused with the spirit of my dead friend Gomma. For now I'm just glad that I was able to reanimate his skull; I can't imagine having to lose any of my closest friends. Eventually, I hope to have him walking about, sleeplessly protecting Goblinville and guarding the portals that we've sealed. Whenever I command him to answer, he tells me that he is very excited for the opportunity with his usual understated response "If I must". He's such a card.