MBALA THE GOBLIN
Mbala and Fryer eat most of the pheasant, stuffing themselves beyond bursting until they fell back onto the soft ground behind them to laugh about how lucky they were at that point in time.
The boys held back until their parents were giggling on the ground, taking little real notice of either of them. They crept up slowly, grabbed the remainder of the bird and walked backward from their parents.
When they felt it was a safe enough distance, the broke the bird into two and picked the rest of the meat off, savoring every bite.
Mbala felt happy.
He was sore, it was tired, he was afraid being away from the warren and protection.
But he had a full belly, a warm woman who gave half a shit about him, two kids who suddenly thought he was relatively interesting, and he didn’t need to worry about being kidnapped and dragged into the forest to be bashed, tortured and hung.
He also had a small hope of turning the dream of being King into something real.
The night had come during the meal, his eyes could finally be fully opened and not be hindered by the glare. The night air was fresh, cool, comforting.
Nobody wanted to sleep, so they gathered branches, leaves, twigs, moss and vines instead. For the next few hours they constructed a reasonable shelter with enough room for their own sleeping area. Mbala made spears using the hard wood. He heated the least warped branches and straightened them out into perfect straight weapons.
He gave the boys the task of shaping the ends while Fryer and Mbala walked the woods for sharp, spear tip stones.
As the dawn approached, the night had produced a solid home to keep the light out as well and hide them from danger. Spears for throwing. A basic door trap to slow anyone who felt like intruding into their home. Found more food in a snake, bird eggs and various roots and vegetables.
As they cooked the second meal for the day, Mbala and Fryer couldn’t figure out why they stayed in the warren at all. There was plenty of food, water, the shelter was basic but good enough until they found a decent cave. Good company that they could trust, for the most part.
When the sun peaked his brightness over the horizon, they were all in their new home, feeling full, safe, and relaxed.
The Eldest son was looking nervously at his parents. He knew better than to talk before being given permission, so he fidgeted, coughed, sneezed and cleared his throat several times.
Mbala made him wait. It was important to instill the idea that he was the boss, and they did what they were told. Especially due to his aging body.
Mbala, after a few hours, asked his eldest son to speak.
He said, “We have traveled away from the warren, fought and killed goblin soldiers, trained and spilt blood with you. Our training was almost done, we were meant to graduate and get our names.”
The Eldest paused. He ad made his case, now to make the request. But his heart was pumping, his hands were sweating, his knees were mildly wobbly. He felt less nervous before a fight.
Mbala said, “What are you wanting, my eldest?”
He hesitated, then said, “We want our names.”
“What about your brother?”
The Youngest stood up then said, “I want one too.”
Mbala looked at Fryer, she had a serious look on her face but one that said she was ready to give them names. She rose from the bed, picked up the Eldest’s sword and requested that they both come forward.
She told them to get onto the knees.
They followed the instructions.
She places the tip of the sword to the Eldest’s neck and pressed into in until blood came out.
Mbala came over, collected the other sword and repeated the action with the youngest one.
She asked, “Are you both loyal?”
In unison they replied, “Yes.”
“Are you trusting?”
“Are you willing to die for us?”
“If you break your word to us, do you agree to slit your own throat until you are dead?”
She looked at Mbala, giving him her approval. He gave her a small smile.
She said to the Eldest, “From this day forward, you will be Dquan.”
She removed the sword from his throat, turned the hilt around and handed it to him.
She took the sword from Mbala, keeping it against the Youngest’s neck, then said, “And you, from this day forward, you will be Mtonga.”
She offered the hilt of the sword to him, he took it.
They two men beamed with pride, as much as their parents.
Mbala said, “We are not just a family, we are a new tribe, a new leadership, and rising power.”
Suddenly, Mbala lost the pride on his face and replaced it with concern. He walked out of the house into the midday sun. The other three followed closely behind.
Mbala could smell smoke, the strong kind that spoke of large fires and death. Through the glare he looked upwind, toward the goblin town and saw the black smoke rising.
Fryer said, “The revolution has started, now we wait for the smoke to settle.”
Mbala said, “Yes, now we wait. Just be aware though, smoke like that will get the attention of humans. And while the goblins fight, the humans can destroy the entire city.”
Mbala returned to the darkness of their home.
He lay down to rest, although he knew he wouldn’t.
Now that the city burns, while the revolution causes chaos and death, while the humans will appear to rid the forest of goblins, he knew the King would not only survive, he will regather the lords quickly and be ready to fight.
Three, maybe four days.
They would need to return, find the King, find the trinket, then take it and kill the King.
While chaos made planning impossible, it also gave opportunity. Mbala was ready to take it, he had been ready for years.
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