It seemed like their numbers were endless. Day after day, week after week, the goblins came down the main road into town, armed to the teeth. The hours were starting to wear on everyone. They were lucky that only a handful of guards had fallen, and none of the townsfolk had been hurt yet. By the time a month had past, they were down to a scouting party of one to try and keep enough people in town and awake in case of another attack.That was why Thomas found himself alone at a campfire, miles from civilisation as he knew it.
The loneliness didn’t bother him so much as the quiet did. Usually there was someone else around to chatter and cover up the noises of the wilderness. Instead, he was left to hear every single snapped twig and howl of wind and wonder if something more sinister lay behind them. He was trying to distract himself from it by whistling a tune, but he inevitably finished his tune just as some strange screech pierced the silence. He barely had time to stand and draw his sword before they were on him.
Three of them emerged from the underbrush, shortswords raised, ready to strike. Quickly surrounded, with his fire to his back, he had nowhere to go. They chattered in a tongue that was incomprehensible to him before lunging toward him. For every blow he blocked, another found purchase, digging into his flesh. By the time he had finally found an opening to take out one of his attackers, he was already extremely worn. He had to find some way to finish the fight quickly if he was going to make it back to town alive. With a little bit of the pressure off, he was able to turn away from the fire and get a little breathing room.
With one of their comrades fallen, the remaining goblins began to look hesitant. They began to back away, giving Thomas some time to look at them. The clothes they wore were ragged, and their skin seemed to hang off of them. They were desperate. He dashed towards them, and it was enough to make them turn tail and run.
He was alone again, but it wasn’t silent. Left in the underbrush was a frantic, worried noise that he couldn’t understand. Thomas stumbled over, pulling back the vegetation to reveal another goblin. This one was smaller than the others, but just as skinny. Upon seeing Thomas, it’s frantic cries increased in volume, but it continued to stand paralysed in front of him.
End its life
They had killed his friends, and threatened the safety of his village. He couldn’t let a single one threaten the ones he loved any longer. He brought his blade down quickly, before turning away with a sigh.
The others that had gotten away would be gathering up any creatures they could for another attack. He had to get back to town and warn them. He grabbed what little he had been carrying with him and set off into the night.
The battles continued to rage, until the goblins began to trickle in slower and slower. Eventually the fighting ceased, yet Thomas still remembered that night from time to time. He wondered if he would ever forget, or if he even wanted to.
Spare its life
As the thing in front of him yelled for help, he dropped his sword. He could see why the creatures had been so desperate as to attack him out here. He could only imagine what they had been through up until encountering him. He felt sick to his stomach.
He turned away from the goblin, walking over to his pack. He searched through it and grabbed out his rations. He walked back to the underbrush and sat down next to the goblin. Thomas offered the rations to them in silence. The worried shout subsided as they tentatively began eating, before finally giving in and gorging themself.
Eventually the sounds of someone approaching could be heard over the munching. The two goblins from earlier tentatively approached. The smaller goblin went from eating to running over to the two bigger ones, and began to chatter indecipherably. After a moment, the three of them departed, leaving Thomas alone. He didn’t know if he could go back to the guard after this.