Chapter 70 Goblin’s World

Book Two: Bone Cathedra

Arc 7: Dance, Skullheads

“Bastard heffers!” Garriot spurted out upon hauling himself over the cliff face. Looking down, he saw the hundreds of stampeding monsters that nearly trampled him to death.

“Why didn’t you tell me there’d be a herd of Borguspines!” Garriot stormed at Goblin. He was red from exertion and struggling to catch his breath, his raw anger and adrenaline still needing an outlet.

Goblin sniffed. “Goblin not know. Wind blow south and Borguspine come from south. No scent.” Garriot cursed and looked down the cliffside. The herd of creatures continued to stampede as if in a panic, clearly running in fear. They were the size of bulls but more round and blubbery with tusks jutting from their snouts and a foul odor accompanying their snorts and steam. 

“Something scared them.” Garriot pointed out, finally accepting the situation and calming down.

Goblin was fiddling with his staff, tying an ear fetish to the tip where other such oddities already hung around. “Not something. Someone. Borg herder tribe nearby.”

“Great!” Garriot said spitefully. He sat down and started preparing a fire.

“Good thingg.” Goblin croaked. “Might be Tregglan. Chieftain of Toadlam tribe.”

Garriot looked up, surprised. “Toadlam? They have the Orgblade!”

“Slow learner.” Goblin chuckled in his guttural voice. “Thatt why we go south. Find Toadlam and get Orgblade.”

“I’ll have to fight this Tregglan?” Garriot asked.

“No. Fight champion and claim Orgblade.”

“Sounds simple enough.” 

“Simple yes, easy no.”

“Don’t tell me…”

“Tregglan champion is orgoblin.”

Garriot swore. The last orgoblin Garriot fought nearly pulled him apart limb from limb. They were thrice the size of the average goblin, leaving them larger than a human and disproportionately stronger. Garriot had only survived thanks to Goblin’s assistance. Goblin’s shaman staff spurted a lightning bolt just at the right moment, stunning the monstrous orgoblin long enough for Garriot to plunge a spear straight through its throat.

This next fight would be different. Garriot knew he’d have to challenge Tregglan’s champion to a duel. It was the only way to avoid fighting the entire tribe of goblins. Killing the tribe was not the goal for Goblin had a dream of uniting all the goblin tribes one day.

The little green bastard always made things more difficult than they had to be.

“What weapon should I use to fight the orgloblin?” Garriot asked as his fire finally started to catch.

“You take match-axe. Kill Orgoblin fastt.” A match-axe was any axe that fit the size of the opponent, hence the match part. For this, Garriot would use a halver capable of chopping a borguspine in two, from the thickest section, the belly. A crude, wrought iron, thirty kilogram axe.

“Why an axe?” Garriot, while prodigious and fit, would struggle to wield such a monolith of a weapon for an entire fight.

“Only strongg enough to withstand Orgblade. Be short fight. You or him die.” Goblin explained.

“Damnit.” Garriot understood Goblin’s direct way of speaking. At first it had grated against his nerves to no end but he grew to appreciate and rely on it. Goblin’s advice and wisdom were invaluable. The Orgblade was a legendary sword made to slay orgoblins, meaning it was both massive and deadly. Garriot needed an equally deadly weapon, one capable of crushing the thick bones of an orgoblin. Axes and swords made for brutal sparring partners. Defense in such a pairing didn’t exist. Kill or die, that’s what Goblin meant. A short duel, a severed limb and a decapitated head.

“Where are we going to get a halver?” Garriot questioned. 

“Follow borguspine. Steal one from butcher.”

“Then go south to meet Tregglan?”

“Meet Tregglan, fight orgoblin, get Orgblade.” Agreed Goblin, tweaking the notches of his short bow and tightening the straps on his pouch.

Garriot skinned the the moosgunk he hunted earlier in the day, before the herd of swine had charged him. They were small rodents with thick hind legs, it’d be filling enough and Goblin would cook the organs and insides in a soup and use the skin and fur to patch his sack and the bones for arrows. Garriot tied the animal to a spit and roasted it over the fire. He cooked mechanically as he thought hopefully of the future. The Orgblade was the last item Goblin wanted to quest for before going back to the world. To home. Garriot didn’t even know what his world was going to be like once he returned. Everyone obviously assumed he was dead, after disappearing for two years, who wouldn’t?

This strange world, filled with vicious monsters and lush jungles, deep caverns and bloodthirsty goblins, nomadic and warring, a foreign place and by necessity, a second home.

Garriot learned anew a world of simple politics, endemic plant and animal life, mythic creatures and insane sorcerers, though for that one it was just Goblin, but still, if Garriot hadn’t spent two years stepping through swamplands and badlands populated by those very things he would never believe it. 

Garriot could measure the experience as real just by judging his dreams at night. They were as twisted and conniving as the trunk of a goblin-eating trap tree. Not something a normal existence in the ‘real’ world could produce.

Garriot added a pinch of salt to the cooking meat and removed it from the spit. He let it cool before slicing chunks off. He watched as Goblin drew odd patterns in the dirt with his staff. It was that very staff that Goblin had decided to leave the Tournament all that time ago for and thus began a series of strung out, convoluted quests to obtain whatever random gizmo Goblin decided they needed. First the staff, then the zhoulba larvae, which had recently hatched, then the Crown of Teeth, a circlet with various fangs, molars and incisors that hung beside Goblin’s pouch, something the green creature had yet to ever wear. In between all that was an almost daily struggle for survival, making and losing friends, joining and starting wars, however inadvertent, learning the peculiar habits and rituals of the different goblin tribes, the proper customs between whatever goblin chieftain or tribe expected in this diverse land.

During this adventure, Garriot filled out further. Broader shoulders and thicker everything. Already one of the biggest among his old classmates, Garriot smirked when he imagined the expressions of his friends when they saw how much he’d changed. More mass, scars, goblin rune tattoos, borguspine skin clothes, and two years of nonstop fighting. He learned more here in Goblin’s World than he would have two years with Master Klyle at some pampered camp. 

“I’m an arrogant bastard.” Garriot laughed as he thought how meagre they had existed in that Camp of Awakening and how much harder this place was compared to that. Garriot felt nostalgic as thoughts of returning home flooded his mind. The last quest, get the Orgblade and leave Goblin’s World.

Shibbers hungry!” Goblin demanded in croaks and squeals. Shibbers was Goblin’s zhoulba. 

They were tiny gluttonous slug creatures, hard to acquire but a favorite among goblins. They started small anyways, but could grow endlessly so long as they continued to eat.

Garriot was about to hand over the next piece when Goblin interrupted. 

“Head. Good for zhoulba. Grow bigg.” 

“Fine. Didn’t want that part anyways.”

Garriot cut the head of the moosgunk into quarters and dropped the pieces into Goblin’s outstretched hand. Goblin sprinkled something that glinted on the pieces and set the thumb-sized zhoulba on the ground to devour whole its food.

The largest zhoulba Garriot had seen was ten meters long and four meters high. The thing weighed a ton and apparently the zhoulba have perfect digestive efficiency. Every molecule of food is converted into growth, adding to the mass as thick, slimy gelatinous tissue. They leave no waste. Goblin had explained the entire process in great detail months ago. Raising a zhoulba was an art to goblins, one of few that didn’t directly relate to warfare, aside from zhoulba’s being used mainly for war but that was after they were grown. Hair splitting aside, zhoulba’s process anything consumed and moves the digested food to the most immediate spot required. Under normal, unaffected circumstances the growth distribution is the golden ratio of two to one, length to height respectively. It’s this quality of zhoulba biology that goblins take advantage of. By making very delicate and precise cuts, the zhoulba can be shaped and colored in any way. 

Thinly slice the zhoulba along the side and feed it green leaves and because no part is wasted, and the wound is prioritized in healing, the zhoulba will grow a green stripe in the cut as the chlorophyll is concentrated enough to actually be visible. This can be done with any food for any color. Goblins use this to add their banner emblem, symbols, shapes, motifs, lines, dots, splotches, anything desirable to the zhoulba over the course of its life. 

Tie something around their bodies and they will grow to shape. Garriot has seen a few snakelike zhoulba, though this specific shape is considered ineffective in battle and is more ornamental for the wealthier goblin chieftains.

Perfect digestive efficiency, however, does not mean it can digest everything. Feed it a plate of metal and the zhoulba will likely die by being split from the inside out as there is no way for the zhoulba to expel it as waste. Introducing subtle particles of hard material is much safer for the gluttonous creatures. Garriot realized the head probably offered an equal balance of fatty brain tissue and tough calcium. All of it matters over the course of the zhoulba’s life as layer upon layer builds them to maturity, when they are about the size of a borguspine. Their diet is imperative in raising them to be strong, fast, tough, durable creatures.

Although the goblins would likely not explain the zhoulba growth in so many words, they more or less knew the process by heart. Garriot likened the zhoulba to the equivalent of graffiti street art and miniature tree cultivating in his own world, just with a voracious slug. 

Garriot began snoring shortly after, thoughts of the zhoulba tiring him greatly.

Goblin awoke him as the green sun broke the horizon.

“We go now.” Goblin whispered. 

Garriot looked around to see the fire was put out and traces that a camp existed here hidden, aside from his own space. He stretched quietly and gathered his equipment and sleeping blanket. He rolled and tied the lightweight blanket to his pack along with cooking and camp supplies. He knew by Goblin’s caution that a hostile goblin tribe was nearby, likely just below the cliffside where Garriot climbed from the previous day.

“We gget match-axe.” Goblin told Garriot.

“Aye.” The plan was to follow the tracks of the goblin butchers and ambush them, taking one of their halvers. The last step before challenging the orgoblin later in the evening and returning home. Garriot was anxious, mainly about returning home but he knew the orgoblin would take the lead on that soon enough.

He cursed to relieve the tension.

“Shh!” Goblin said shrilly, his croaky voice sounding sibilant.

Garriot shook his head, wanting to say more. He held his tongue and cursed inside his head, something he found entirely unsatisfying.

Goblin donned his conical iron helmet and the pair made their way silently down the cliffside, taking a roundabout path. The goblin camp still had smoke billowing from it further south but signs of goblin scouts and butchers faced north, toward the borguspine herd. 

Garriot and Goblin headed north. Garriot’s longer stride forced Goblin to make half-skips to keep up, using the staff as a third leg. 

Before long the first squeal of borguspine slaughter could be heard. “They start now.” Goblin confirmed. The role of the butchers was to pick off any borguspine stragglers for the evening feast of the tribe. Garriot knew the Toadlam tribe, as borg herders, led the borguspines into enemy tribes to cause chaos and disruption before charging in and devastating the enemy camp. 

Garriot entered dense jungle vegetation, choosing the same route as the goblins. The hunting band appeared to consist of a dozen goblins. They would have to kill them all to ensure no escaping goblins could warn the chieftain of their attack. 

Garriot unsheathed his short sword quietly as they crept upon the butchers. It took three goblins to handle the massive halver axe but they managed to lift it into the air, struggle to maintain balance, and send it crashing down to the tied borguspine that squealed to its last breath before its decapitation. Another goblin removed the head and placed it in a basket while the other butchers worked on cutting strips of the borguspine to carry back.

Garriot unslung his pack and let it to the ground, quiet and slow.

Garriot was about to emerge from the jungle to charge when Goblin tapped his shoulder with the end of the staff. Goblin pointed to the side. Garriot followed the bony finger along its path but could not see through the thicket. He shifted to the side and saw what Goblin warned about. On a high rock was a goblin scout, standing watch, throwing spear at the ready.

Garriot signaled for Goblin’s shortbow. He grabbed a bone arrow from the quiver and knocked it into the bow. Moving for a better position, Garriot pulled back the string which was surprisingly taut. He always forgot how strong the little creatures were.

He aimed, released his breath, and let loose the munition. The bone arrow whistled briefly before lodging itself in the throat of the scout from the side. The scout gurgled blood and tried clutching at the arrow, realization, shock and pain etching themselves permanently on its face. No warning sound loud enough could reach its comrades as the voice box was destroyed. The goblin, as it choked, leaned forward to fall down from the rock. The thud caught the attention of the other eleven other goblins who immediately dropped what they were doing to snatch weapons, war-cries sounding out.

“Shit. That tenacious motherf-”

Goblin cut him off with a series of words in its own runic language. Garriot discarded the bow for his sword and leapt out of the brush. A goblin tried fleeing the scene, a dedicated scout designed for escaping ambushes.

“Get the runner!” Garriot shouted. Goblin stopped his spell casting and started to chase the scout.

Garriot stood in the clearing with ten other goblins, growling and scowling their fury. 

“Come on your green dogs!” Garriot charged the goblins. He was at least two heads taller than the creatures and used the superior height, weight and reach to his advantage. The first goblin had its spear batted to the side and received a powerful kick to the chest. Garriot retracted his leg before a scythe-sword sliced it. In response, Garriot sent his sword crashing down but the goblin managed to block the overhead swing.

Several other goblins circled around to flank Garriot, but the burly man advanced further this time, successfully chopping into the shoulder of a clubber goblin. It reeled back and dropped its weapon. Garriot swung around to grab a spear thrust toward his back. He rested it from the goblin holding it and with a heave, shoved the butt into the goblin’s flared nostrils, using enough force to kill the goblin instantly. Blood, snot and brain matter globbed on the spear end. With a flurry of his hand and a sidestep, dodging a leap from a dagger goblin, Garriot repositioned the short spear and threw it point-blank at another charging goblin that realized its mistake a split second too late. 

The spear lifted the goblin from the ground, sending it backwards and the tip penetrated out the spine. 

The goblin with the sword-scythe took another swing at Garriot which he deflected with his sword. Not wanting to risk a riposte, Garriot turned to face another goblin, lunging at it and catching it off guard. He felt the sword slide into the heart and out.

The key to fighting a group, Garriot had learned, was to always be moving. To lead the group on, picking off any enemy that got too close. 

Garriot grabbed the loose hair of a goblin and sliced its head off with a clean strike. He swiveled and threw the head at another goblin, stunning it long enough for Garriot to send multiple hacks into a nearby sword goblin. 

A throwing shard of bone managed to tag Garriot’s shoulder. He cursed and threw his sword in a rage back at the shard thrower. It took the bewildered goblin in the stomach and it died slowly. Garriot wasted no time charging unarmed and tackling the sword-scythe goblin. He beat it to death within a few crushing punches. 

Garriot stood up, breathing hard as the remaining four goblins circled him warily. He knew they were planning a joint strike, now that he had been wounded and fatigued and disarmed.

A firebolt exploded on one goblin, immolating it in flames. A cauldron of bats sank their fangs into another goblin. The bats persistently devoured the fleeing goblin until it dropped dead. Garriot scooped the sword-scythe and dispatched a goblin just as a bolt of lightning finished the last one off.

Garriot recovered his short sword and wiped the blood off. He sheathed it as Goblin approached.

“Sloppy kill. You injuredd for bigg fight.” Goblin snickered and shook his head.

Garriot retrieved his pack at the edge of the jungle. He took out the shard and rinsed the wound out with a canteen of water and then dressed the wound. He rotated his shoulder and felt the stiffness already. He muttered an unintelligible phrase, one of the many instances where Goblin’s archaic guttural language was more discernible than Garriot’s. 

Garriot found the halver embedded into the ribcage of the dead borguspine. The entire length of the axe was as tall as he was and the iron blade was one sided, like that of a halberd and extended halfway down the shaft. Two metal loops supported the blade’s position on the shaft, one at the top and one at the bottom, they were thick enough to not snap. Garriot gripped the bulky weapon and pushed upward, freeing the bottom portion of the blade from the ribs and then pushed down to free the top portion. 

Garriot dragged the axe free and tried to lift it but the top-heaviness made it nearly impossible to just hold. Garriot realized the two loops were designed to allow for a grip space towards the top half of the shaft, where the blade curved in itself, away from the shaft with about a hand’s length of space.

Garriot grabbed the ‘handle pocket’ with one hand and the bottom of the shaft with the other. His shoulder flared up but he grit his teeth and lifted it over his head and onto his back shoulders like a carrying pole. 

He’d have to walk like that until they reached the camp. Goblin walked in front to watch for any roots or rocks as they slipped by the jungle along the rockier cliff wall. 

“I wish I had one of those for this fight.” Garriot said, referring to Goblin’s magic staff. Goblin chuckled.

“Or a fireball scroll at least.” Garriot said. He had a sudden epiphany that he was wishing for weapons in this world rather than a machine gun from his world. He cursed aloud. 

A couple hours of walking and the Toadlam tribe came into view. Surrounding their camp was a rough wooden palisade with an open gateway. Torches and spikes filled in any gaps. Large boulders were rolled to act as ramparts where archer goblins stood watch. Tents and small shacks littered the camp ground but several spear goblins barred Garriot and Goblin’s entrance.

Goblin spoke their shared language and something he said produced some laughter but entry was granted. Garriot felt a hundred, maybe more, eyes on him. Goblin children, women and men, all pausing their chores to form a crowd. Garriot and Goblin were led to the chieftain, Tregglan, who sat on a stump under a canopy tent. Garriot noticed the chieftain’s more blue skin and the toad hat on his head. His pet zhoulba was to his side, also under the shade. It was larger than a borguspine and was a translucent brown with large blue dots.

The conversation between Goblin and Tregglan lasted a while and Garriot set the halver down, letting the blood flow back into his arms. He cracked his neck one way and then the other. 

“Tregglan says human weak.” Goblin explained to Garriot.

“Tell Tregglan that orgoblin is weak to human. Tell him I already killed one this year.” It was a custom to exchange insults, part of the build up to any duel or skirmish among the goblin race. 

Tregglan replied, the crowd laughed and Goblin translated. “Human smell like the end of borguspine.”

“You should know, you chase the back ends of the bastards all day.” The crowd went silent after Goblin spoke Garriot’s retort. A ruckus broke out and the goblin’s stomped their feet and clanged metal together. 

“You go too far,” berated Goblin. “Borguspine sacred to Toadlam tribe.” 

“Oh the hell?” Garriot decided it wasn’t worth explaining how they had just used the borguspine for an insult. “Let’s just get this over with. Tell them I’ll be waiting for Tregglan’s champion whenever it’s done listening for a to borg break wind.”

Goblin said a single phrase to Tregglan and Garriot concluded that Goblin omitted his last insult. 

Goblin led Garriot towards a clearing where other goblins were setting stakes in a large circle.

“Battle ringg. You fight orgoblin here.”

“Right now?” Garriot asked.

“Now.” Nodded Goblin.

Garriot tested his shoulder again and decided to set the halver on the ground at least until the fighting began. The Toadlam goblins started chanting at the top of their lungs at the arrival of the orgoblin. 

Garriot smirked in an ‘of course’ kind of way. Because of course this orgoblin would dwarf the last one he nearly lost to. 

“An uglier bastard I have never seen.” Garriot spoke solemnly, hand on heart, as if somewhere in the annals of his head was a catalogue of all the worst bastards he’d encountered in his life and this particular individual orgoblin ranked at the top, permitting the use of a special-occasion string of subsequently more degrading curse words he affluently uttered with his whole willpower. In short, Garriot really let his imagination run free. Any goblin listening that didn’t speak his language would have heard something about a borguspine.

Goblin snorted. “You winn. You greatezt warrior!”

It was the first time Garriot could remember Goblin ever complimenting him. It made him pause for a moment. 

The orgoblin entered the battle ring and roared, hyping the crowd further into a frenzy. 

Garriot watched his opponent. The lumbering orgoblin wore only a loincloth, showing off bunches of muscle in dark green skin. He had on white and red war paint and strapped to his back was the sword of swords.

The Orgblade! Forged a thousand years ago from moonmetal, its cool ashy silver color reflecting no light. Crafted by an orgoblin to defeat all other orgoblins. The name Buzuk-Ban forever etched into the blade as the warlord who first let it sing.

Garriot raced in his mind for strategies. The orgoblin will come out on the offensive immediately. He’ll have wide swings and his momentum will throw his guard open with every attack. Dodging was the best option, waiting for the right moment to strike with the halver. Seeing Orgblade made Garriot realize the iron blade and wooden shaft of his axe would not last more than a couple of blows against that hulking greatsword.

Evade and counter was the way to go. Garriot cursed.

Tregglan let the hype build, letting the fear and raw energy of the crowd’s bloodlust work its way into paralyzing Garriot.

Tregglan gestured his hand and another goblin blew into a horn made from borguspine tusk. The warhorn marked for the duel to start.

The orgoblin let out another roar and burst straight into a bullrush. 

Garriot was not ready for an all out charge and was forced to use his axe to block the swing. The Orgblade knocked the axe to the side, leaving a large crack in the iron and sending it to the dirt. Garriot had his weight thrown with the deflection and the orgoblin used its superior mass to shoulder check Garriot. He lost his grip on the halver and hit the ground hard.

Rolling to his feet, Garriot jumped back to avoid a follow-up swing. The orgoblin kept its body low and sprung into another attack. Garriot charged head on, meeting the inside of the orgoblin’s strike. Garriot sent a hook and a jab into the orgoblin’s stomach and headbutted its teeth.

Garriot took advantage of the momentary daze and kicked the tip of the Orgblade, forcing the top-heavy weapon against the orgoblin’s wrist. It lost hold of the blade but recovered enough to land a fist straight into Garriot’s face. Garriot saw the fist, nearly the size of his own head, coming and rolled with the hit. Garriot turned the instance the fist landed and used the momentum to trace his steps back to where his halver lay.

Garriot let out a grunt as he lifted the axe. He saw that the orgoblin had its own blade once more.

They advanced on each other, slowly. Garriot held with both hands on the lower half of the shaft, acting as if the weapon were too heavy to hold steady. Although it required an immense amount of strength, Garriot forced his muscles to bear it, adrenaline fueling his straining tendons.

The first swing came and Garriot stepped back. The backhand swing came next and Garriot ducked under and planted his axe head first into the ground, blade lined up with his opponent. The downward slash followed, accompanied by a frustrated growl. Garriot swiveled and watched the Orgblade scar the grass. The orgoblin pulled the weapon back, but at such proximity did not have enough room to swing again. The orgoblin knew its chance was now, with the only move available, a disemboweling, gut-wrenching stab. 

Garriot’s positioning was perfect, having led the orgoblin to try a stab. 

The blade came, the edges perpendicular to the ground and sky. Garriot rotated the halver and lifted. The Orgblade slid right into the ‘handle pocket’ on the halver axe. Garriot shouted as he rotated the halver once more, putting his back into it and driving with his legs. 

The orgoblin felt its blade get leveraged out of its hand and scrambled to reclaim it but Garriot twisted the blade until the handle was on his side. 

He scooped the sword as it started to fall out of the halver’s handle pocket, turning with the velocity and doing a half-spin, raising the sword all the while. 

Orgblade, in a setting sun arc, sunk into the shoulder of the orgoblin, deep and satisfying. The orgoblin struggled, trying to reach Garriot.

Garriot drove the blade further, letting out his exertion and feeling his veins and muscles bulge with the effort. A cringing snap indicated the spine breaking and the blade sliced through the opposite hip until it landed in dirt. 

The orgoblin, severed diagonally, fell into two parts, lifeless and forever snarling.

Garriot breathed heavily, sighing his relief. The crowd was speechless, stunned to silence.

Tregglan approached, speaking first and breaking the quiet. Garriot didn’t understand the words but a few moments later the crowd of goblins burst into an even heartier frenzy, running and dancing about. 

Garriot took a seat where he was and Goblin came to his side, squatting with his staff.

“What happened?” Garrioted asked.

“Tregglan believes you ancient goblin legendd. Buzuk-Ban reborn. Goblinz have feast now”

“Greatezt warrior?” Garriot said grinning, mimicking Goblin’s broken vocals.

“Broken nose. Ugly human.” Goblin retorted back.

Garriot wiped blood from his crooked nostril. “That’s because I look more like a goblin!”

Goblin snorted.

“We go back to my world now?” Garriot asked, seriously, exhausted.

“Tomorrow. Tonight feast. Honor Tregglan. First step to unite goblinz.”

Garriot nodded and cursed in relief.

Garriot was hungover the next day as they departed the Toadlam tribe’s camp. Garriot was pinching his re-straightened nose. “I’m never drinking goblin ale again.” he groaned.

“Weak human. We drink orgoblin wine nextt time.” Goblin chuckled at Garriot’s obvious response.  “See stars for dayz after.”

“Let’s just leave, this sword is too heavy to carry right now. We’re here anyways.” 

“This not same place.” Croaked Goblin.

“Yes it is, close enough. I recognize that tree over there.” Garriot pointed.

“Not here.”

“I’ve spent two years waiting to go back, I’ve memorized and dreamt of this place!” Garriot snapped.

Goblin relented. “We go back now.”

“Thank you.”

Goblin grabbed a pinch of some powder from his bag and grabbed Garriot’s leg. 

Garriot started chuckling, relief and giddiness cathartically exiting his body in the form of obscenities.

Goblin spoke his strange word of power, disappearing the both of them.

Garriot managed to hold the contents of his stomach inside amidst the initial vertigo of the return. What he saw was a ruined place, though his immediate location was some sort of flat platform.

“This isn’t…” Looking around, he saw a raised platform with an enormous rustic red chair, atop of which sat a man with bright purple eyes.

“Too far south.” Goblin squeaked.

The man on the throne lifted an eyebrow.

Garriot, realizing he’ll never catch a break and for the rest of his life confined to the senseless directionless guidance of some blind, halfwit fate did what he knew best, swore.

“Bastard heffers.”