Goblins not goblins.

Goblins? Orcs? No, not goblins. The crudeness of the arrows could indicate either, and while their size might indicate goblin manufacture, their true maker was definitively not goblin. Only an expert would notice the subtle evidence of finer tools. Regardless of their origin, their current state—embedded in the corpse of a bloated pig—was the real problem. As was the giant hunk of meat roughly hewn from its hindquarters, leaving most of the poor beast to rot in the field.




“You’re certain?”

As blank, condescending stares go, those worn by wood elves and directed at ignorant farmers are rated very high on the “withering” scale. The ranger is exceptionally proficient.

“You’re certain.”

“I will deal with the threat to your farm, the farms nearby, and the village. You will compensate me with one tenth of your grain harvest in…” He looks about, as if gauging the time of year by the wind and color of the foliage. “…three moons’ time.”

The farmer begins to answer, but gets cut off.

“This is not a negotiation. You will agree to the price, or I will bid you farewell and good luck.”

An awkward pause, but ultimately resigned capitulation to terms.

“Fine, then. One-tenth of m’harvest. Deal.”

The extended hand is rejected, but the withering stare is relaxed.

“Your hand is filthy, but we are agreed.”

Without further word, the wood elf turns on his heel and disappears without a sound into the nearby forest.

It wasn’t goblins, but someone certainly went to a great deal of trouble to make it appear to have been. This was troubling to the elf. He needs to find out more, lest the threat be larger than even he could handle without aid.

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