MBALA THE GOBLIN
It took some digging to unearth the mead he had stowed under the roots of the tree. Not that Mbala minded because it was Mtonga who was working the earth.
When the mead appeared, Mbala put the bottles into a corner and told the boys to fight each other with wooden swords. To make it harder, the wooden swords were weighted with stones where the hilt would have been.
Mbala lay beside Fryer, cuddled up closely while they enjoyed the drink, the food and the unending beatings their sons were giving each other.
Fryer said, “When I am Queen, I will take the human farms from them, enslave the farmers and work them hard. We deserve their food. All goblins deserve their food.”
Mbala countered, “When I am King, I will turn outposts into fortresses. Make the gnolls and hobgoblins fear to even come close to our empire.”
Fryer smiled, then she had another thought, “When I am Queen, I will get the smartest goblins and make them learn magic. Then they can make skeletons and zombies to protect our borders.”
They both laughed at the idea of the undead protecting the borderlands.
Mbala gloated, “I will be an awesome King.”
Fryer said, “I will be a Queen to envy and fear.”
They each took another swig of mead, spent some time taking in their sons fighting practice, and ate some more pheasant. Mbala was taking mental notes on their mistakes, flaws and ways to amend the problems. They are handy with a sword, but nothing to fear.
He was impressed with the bow work though. He had never been good with the bow. He had found no need to, given he was always at the front of the fight hacking and slashing away with his sword.
It seemed impossible that only a short time earlier he was scrounging for food and being harassed by the King’s Guard.
Now, he felt like a king, joy in his heart, and his small tribe willing to follow his lead. He pondered that idea for a while before saying to Fryer, “When we return there, it will be dangerous, we will probably die if the truth were to be told. The reward is gold, influence, power, magical trinkets and everybody will fear and respect us. But, I wonder, as I look at our boys, drinking our mead, eating our good food, that maybe we would be better off staying here instead.”
Fryer lifted her head off his chest, raised her hand and slapped him across the face. She said, “You must be drunk or gone stupid from being hit in the head too much. This is nice, but it is impossible to be like this all the time. There are only four of us against the forest, no cave to hide in, no guards, no large numbers to scare the powerful creatures away. Stop dreaming, we have to take the King out or die.”
Mbala was annoyed, but when she finished her speech, he looked away from her to avoid continuing the conversation and watched the boys looking extremely tired and unable to continue.
He knew she was right. Four goblins against the world, that is not how it works for small, weak humanoids.
He said, “We are weak, we struggle to keep tribes together, and almost never have large cities that become strong civilizations without overlords using us. It is the way of the goblin.”
Fryer said, “Until the King arrived, with his trinket of power.”
“Yes,” Mbala said, “That trinket of power. Whatever it is. Is it a ring, earring, bracelet, shoes? I have no idea what it is.”
Fryer said, “I don’t understand who would make a trinket that empowers goblins. Giving us powerful leadership, that slows aging, that gives influence over others. Who would do that?”
Mbala shook his head as he said, “I have no idea. Maybe it is a human trinket? I don’t care, we just need to figure out what the trinket is, then take it and rule the tribe.”
With that, Fryer stood up, stretched, walked over to the new men, gave them each a hug and slap, then told them to rest, eat and drink. Mbala also rose and stretched. As the new men arrived, he patted them on the shoulder, the goblin form of congratulations and showing of pride, handed them a mug of mead and told them to sit down.
He then left them alone to join Fryer outside to enjoy the cool night air.
When he reached her, looking out towards the still burning goblin city, he said, “We leave at midday. Day travel until we are close. You enter first, return to work, the boys and I will see where the humans are. With the fire and revolution happening, they will not be expecting for resistance.”
Fryer said, “I will give the King the medication, make him sick, make him talk, then kill him.”
Mbala said, “I will find the human patrol, and make them regret they even came to look.”
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