Here There Be Monsters
Reeza and Maw
Goblin Wolf Rider
Of Pups and Squibs
Of all the goblin grunds (clans), none are more feared than the nomadic wolf-riders of the Kneebiter Clan. Over 75 in strength, this horde can speak its history back beyond the humans, beyond the elves and dwarfs, and beyond still the shadow of the dragons. And yet, it was the dragons who first introduced clan Kneebiter to Wolf: all pressed together in the same dens, in the same warrens, and in the same chains. And through the ages, Wolf and Goblin grew: grew stronger, smarter, and sneakier. Mobility is the strength of Wolf; Pack is the strength of Wolf; Nose is the strength of Wolf; follow the wolf and you will find the food.
In the fall of 1372 (the Year of Wild Magic), a year in which too many pups were born and too many entozoons grubbed in the mud and screeched for food to be stuffed into their bloated, hungry stomachs, Warchief Lickspittle Kneebiter ordered all non-blooded squibs to mount their newly trained wolves and scout better hunting grounds.
“Return with a location, return with loot, or do not return at all,” said Lickspittle. What did he care? There would always be more squibs to send out.
Reeza, 14 and itching to prove herself, scampered up Maw’s side and left her teaming clan and began the search for a new winter camp. Out of the 19 that set out, Reeza convinced three of her friends to set off south east. She had heard that there was conflict in that direction and conflict always meant easy pickings.
On the third day, a hippogryph carried off Toothspitter.
In the 4th week, thin ice and a swift river swallowed Leachbite.
Two months after setting out, a cluster of humans tripped upon a hidden goblin camp; only Reeza and Maw emerged out of the bushes alive: Knifespike and Snarl lay dead beside the three monsters that had jumped them.
With very little gear, very little food, and no-one who would ever call her Earchewer again, Reeza found herself staring into the mouth of a snarling winter. Knowing enough about weather and survival, Reeza desperately rode Maw towards the foothills, hoping to find a cave or sheltered spot. Finally, caught in the teeth of a blizzard, a chance shift of the wind carried the faint hint of wood-smoke to her nose. Thanking Bargrivyek the Peacekeeper, god of cooperation and territory, Reeza pointed Maw towards the smell and prayed the smoke was attached to goblins and not a gang of humans itching for a skirmish. Sometime in the night, Reeza’s mind faded into the cold-numbing wind.
When Maw finally stumbled into a cave, the gods were not quite with them. The overpowering smell of orc almost masked the faint hint of goblin that tickled the back of Maw’s nose. Without Reeza’s directing hand, Maw shouldered her way over to the smell of Goblin. Small nail-bitten hands reached up and dragged Reeza from the saddle and rolled her closer to the fire. Maw lay down on her other side growling at those that ventured too close.
For the first time in a long time Reeza could feel the heat of a fire. With a murmur, someone was tilting her head up and encouraging her to drink. The water split her wind seared lips and sank into the dry tissues of her mouth. Opening weather-caked eyes, Reeza was confronted with a handful of goblins huddled around a meager but warming fire. Past them looked like orcs. Taking another drink, and feeling the reassuring presence of Maw at her back, Reeza slipped back into oblivion.
|Beezilix of the Firetosser Clan||Blanca||Reeza and Maw||Thumper of the Firetosser Clan||Zeljka of Bone Splinter clan|