Grisk, Briar, and the other fellow members rushed forth on their mounts, trying to outrun the closing gates. The rushed breath of worg and horse filled the air, matching the urgency of the situation. Looming eyes stared at the travelers, goblins eager to sharpen their irons on the flesh of their enemies.
“Hold the gates for the humans!” a deep sounding breath commanded. All motion of the tremendous wooden door stopped, followed by the random, unintelligible chittering of confused humanoids.
This day was one full of confused familiarities for Grisk. Members of all his past kept reappearing, problems solved and friendships refreshed. The starts must be aligning for a major change today.
Their party rode through the goblin city encampment, a puzzled look on their faces. Why were the gates held? Why were they not attacked? These questions were about to be answered in mere seconds as they entered the square.
Standing in full plate armor and a multitude of magical trinkets, the familiar green commander proudly smiled at the party. His cheerfully grim eyes gazed at Grisk, his drawn battle axe matching the threat shown.
Fiendish, saw-filed teeth expressed the words this goblin spoke. “What brings you here, to my domain, with these humans, hrm Grisk?” Peculiar emphasis was placed on the key words “you,” “my,” and “here,” a scratchy, louder inflection.
Grisk quite quickly knew this goblin. The power and presence commanded could only be one goblin in particular: Hixeu, leader of all goblin tribes. The bane of all that Grisk had stood and worked for. The goblin who helped Throgus get away with the murder on his hands, let alone kept Throgus in his position of power.
After stepping off the saddle, Grisk walked forward to confront this villainous goblin. “I am here with these individuals to see that you remove your armies and end your attacks on innocents. If you do not do these things, I will see to your death.”
Hixeu bared his fangs as he furled his upper lip back. “These humans are weak, just as you are weak Grisk.” He laughed, pausing to let his words linger. “They could not help themselves to my attack, and so what they had now belongs to me.”
Grisk’s mind went quiet for a second. Somehow, he knew there was an end to this situation, one he could win, but he could not think of a defense to his standing. Only memories came to him, scenes he felt betrayed to the circumstance he was in.
One played in his mind that held a strong significance, of Zeldook teaching him. “Do not fear in midst of confusion,” the wrinkled wizard lectured. “Use what comes to you then and there, for that is the magic that fits inside your mind.”
Within the recesses of his mind, Grisk scoffed. Such an idea seemed folly, but he decided to go with his memories as his reply. “These humans were the ones who helped free me from your rule. They have allowed me to find the strength to become something greater, something with the power to guide our people to a station much higher- one much better than the rule you shadow over us.”
Such a statement had a profound impact upon Hixeu, with his grin widening to a near-supernatural state. “So you gained power, and you believe you can rule over me? Then it will be settled here, to prove your mettle.” He swept his hands over the ground before him, gesturing with a flourish.
“Of course, we will be doing this with an insurance things will end here.” As Hixeu looked around, he casually noticed his lieutenant walk up behind him. “Ah, there we are. We will have our seconds in command battle as well. This way, our problems will not repeat- well, rather I won’t be troubled by your meddling much more.”
This complication was not part of Grisk’s plan- he didn’t want to endanger anyone else in his party. There wasn’t an option here, and someone had to step forward…
“I’ll go,” said Nakanil, another familiar member of the party, who had freed him from the command Grisk was previously under.
“Good, it is settled. This will be an easy victory!” Hixeu wandered away from the crowd, to an open sector of the square- but he hadn’t expected an instant attack. Grisk quickly threw an arc of lightning from out his fingers, sending Hixeu back a small step. It spread far across the hovels behind him, cascading in fingerlike tendrils until the energy had dispersed.
The effects of the bolt didn’t linger long on Hixeu, with the goblin surging forward and bringing down his axe. As it sliced down, it painfully cut into Grisk’s shoulder, causing him to yelp out loudly in pain.
Grisk took a few steps back, clutching onto the wound newly formed. Pain distracted his thoughts, confusing his next course of action. He knew little of what to do, for he never had faced a rival with the caliber of strength this one had- and then, the idea hit him as to how his plan would go about.
Hid hand slid down to draw a weapon, and with the other he reached down into his cloak’s pocket. In his palms, he held a pinch of ground mica, which he eagerly threw into the air.
Crystalline flakes fluttered about, sparkling with an arcane sheen. The cloud grew as they fell downwards, coating everything in a fine golden dust, including Hixeu.
Took by surprise, Hixeu defended his eyes poorly from the shimmering spray. A growl escaped his lips while he fumbled about blindly, particles of dust embedded under his eyelids.
“Urgh!” Hixeu covered in his face in part embarrassment, part confusion. In a desperate attempt to stay in the battle, he charged in the last direction he thought the goblin wizard was; his attempt went in vain when his feet led him into a doorway.
Seeing an ample opportunity before him, Grisk sheathed his blade and drew an arrow. Pressured time caused his arrow to mish flesh, with the arrowhead deflecting off his target’s plate armor.
Grisk cursed the situation silently, knowing that weapons were useless right now. The opponent he faced still held an advantage, despite being blind. Inspiration hit him though, based on circumstance: the heavy armor would work against Hixeu if he were exhausted.
Draining thoughts flowered amongst battle tactics; Grisk gathered together parts of a memory to chain together a spell. Upon inception, his finger fired a beam of crackling purple energy, weakening his foe.
Hixeu slugged forward, showing evidence of being debilitated. With the strength remaining, he ran forward blindly toward Grisk. Pitifully, he loosened his axe to strike, but his foe simply sidestepped the attack.
As Grisk’s feet slid mid-dodge, he had a diabolical idea, the fountain behind him playing into his plan perfectly. Once again, he fired another beam of draining energy, and then charged forward at his blind opponent. Using leverage to his advantage, he pushed Hixeu over the lip of the fountain and into the water, with the weakened goblin unable to resist.
Quickly, Grisk jumped onto Hixeu’s submerged body, adding more weight to compensate against. With poor flailing, the drowning goblin tried to escape his captor, but had no luck. Water slowly seeped into his lungs, coughing unable to relieve any water.
Spells at the ready, Grisk stared down at his opponent. Seconds had passed with no movement, but Grisk knew to take no chances in a battle to the death. He was going to ensure this was the end of Hixeu’s reign, even if it meant his near death…
There was a tense silence that hung in the air. Few were able to believe that Hixeu, their infallible warlord, could be bested. Grisk took a risk and bent down to check Hixeu’s pulse- and it was nonexistent.
Hixeu laid there in the fountain, dead. Grisk couldn’t believe this was happening. Everything had suddenly changed in his mind, his priorities, his plans, even his worries.