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A Tenderfoot Patrol's Brush with Grukmar's Legends
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A Tenderfoot Patrol's Brush with Grukmar's Legends
Valarian
Valarian
April 05, 2024
2 min

Gathering at the Inn

The Rusty Axe sat at the edge of the village, its old wooden walls weathered. Varian ducked under the low doorway, Elric right behind him. Five other guards already sat around a table near the hearth, drinking from mugs.

“Well lads, no goblins yet.” Varian took off his cloak, shaking off the mist. “Maybe we’ll get a quiet night.”

Elric snorted. “Quiet. Right. And I’m the emperor of Grukmar.”

Varian glanced at him. Though he’d said it jokingly, he couldn’t shake a cold feeling of worry. He turned to the barkeep. “Ale. Two.”

They squeezed onto the bench, knees and elbows bumping. The tavern air was thick and stale, smelling of sweat and old beer. At the far end of the room, an old minstrel played a sad tune on a beat-up lute. The music mixed with the low sound of talking and the crackle of the fire.

Varian took a drink of ale, making a face at the bitter taste. Across the table, Tormund leaned forward, voice low.

“You lads hear about them goblins in the east? Near Stonehold?”

Varian frowned. “What about them?”

“Word is they made some kind of deal. With the orcs.”

Sharing of Tales

“Orcs?” Elric looked up, wiping foam from his lip. “What would goblins do with such creatures?”

“Dark magic, some say.” Tormund’s eyes shone in the firelight. “Some kind of evil ritual. Tied ‘em together, made ‘em stronger.”

“Come on.” Brynn, a big redhead, snorted into his mug. “Goblins can barely find their own butts with both hands. You expect me to believe they’re suddenly making deals and doing magic?”

“I’m just telling you what I heard.” Tormund spread his hands. “People been disappearing from villages up there. Goblins attacking more than ever. Something’s riled them up, mark my words.”

Varian shifted uneasily. He’d heard rumors too.

“There’s more.” This from Elara, her voice soft but carrying. The others turned to look at her. The only woman in their group, she’d proven herself twice over, with blade and bow. But she had a strange skill for finding gossip and rumors. When Elara spoke, men listened.

“They say the goblins have shamans now. Witches who can call up storms and ruin crops with a word.” She glanced around the table, firelight dancing in her dark eyes. “They say they kill captives for their evil gods. Paint their altars with blood and hang skulls on their totems.”

Silence followed her words. Varian could almost feel the weight of the others’ worry.

Debate Over Truth and Myth

Brynn broke the quiet with a forced laugh. “Come on, you don’t believe that nonsense, do you? It’s just stories.”

“Stories got to come from somewhere,” Tormund muttered.

“Aye, from drunk fools and crazy women.” Brynn took a long drink of ale. “You can’t believe every wild tale that comes down the road.”

“But what about the captain’s orders?” Elric spoke up. “Double watches, no one past the village edges… He’s not doing that over fake stories.”

“The captain’s just being careful,” Brynn said, but there was a note of doubt in his voice.

Varian said nothing. He stared into the depths of his mug, watching the play of firelight on the dark surface. The stories chased themselves around his mind. Old superstitions, he told himself firmly. No sensible man believed such tales.


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#goblins#grukmar#skirmish shadows

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Previous Article
The Quest for Goblin Tracks Beyond Grukmar's Border
Valarian

Valarian

The Unrelenting Protector

Table Of Contents

1
Gathering at the Inn
2
Sharing of Tales
3
Debate Over Truth and Myth

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