Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Dark Light
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Gahji


It was looking to be a good day. The steady sun piercing the forests rooftop warming the earth below. The trees swaying gently in the cool breeze, dancing to the soft symphonic rhythm of nature and all the creatures within. A content lizard, swollen with the day’s abundance, basked on a low rock whilst still casually chewing on its earlier catch. Some form of insect legs still sticking out of its lazy mouth twitching sporadically.

Behind the concealment and shadows of the heavy leafy green foliage and mottled shrubbery nearby a thin white line appeared as if magically out of nowhere. The pressed row of brilliant sharp pointy teeth quickly grew into a wide sinter grin of excitement.

GrRppp..”

Suddenly betrayed by his stomach Gahji leapt out of the bushes in an anxious ruffling explosion as he pounced down heavily onto the slow reptile.

No sooner had he caught the creature unaware, he raised it up in his claw like hands and brought it to his still eagerly smiling drool filled mouth. His pointy teeth quickly sunk deep and viscously into its flesh as he bit down into its neck, with a sharp tug and a loud wet ’squelch’ it’s still twitching body was separated from the insect filled head.

Delicious

Gahji proceeded to sit in the sun upon the warm rock and pick the creature dry, save for a few bones he deemed possibly useful as tools or decoration. Those he slid into a small pouch crudely sown into his loincloth. Yes, this was looking to be a good day. With a full belly he picked up his new favourite pointy stick, procured early that morning, and went back to his hiding spot within the nearby dense shrubbery to rest and digest.




Sure the warriors and hunters had probably returned to the camp by now with the spoils from their hunt. Most likely the juicy meat from some large beast or unlucky traveller was getting placed onto the sacred fire right now. While Gahji loved the meat as much as any other, being smaller and scrawnier than most others of his years and his lack of ‘friends’ meant he often only got the pick of scraps, if he was lucky. Otherwise he was forced to fight the worgs for the left over bones.

No, he did not miss that part at all. He did however, as he fell into slumber, fantasise over the possible shrilling screams that would come should they have brought back a still living humanoid. A rare but delicious religious experience indeed.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aristocles
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Cyrus marched through the forest, his catch of the day slung over his left shoulder. It was a fair-sized rabbit, especially for a doe. The meat was rather lean, so much so that he'd starve if he only ate rabbit meat every day. Fortunately, he caught other animals as well. Standing not much over three feet tall, he wasn't exactly an imposing hunter by the standards of the humans and elves who lived elsewhere in the region, but he was reasonably well-built for a male goblin. As much as he had a decent physical prowess, he was somewhat lacking in accomplishments. Armed with a long stone knife, he was quite adept at bringing down animals up to the size of a goat by himself, and had even brought down deer as part of a group. For as good a hunter as Cyrus was, he was still largely untested in war, the ultimate test of one's malehood.

As he approached the village, Cyrus felt the many brambles and pine needles under his feet. While his soles were thick and he was used to the feeling, even he had his limits. Luckily, he knew a good masseuse, and he'd be happy to share the rabbit's pelt with her to cover her services. The treeline ended suddenly as he reached the outermost part of the clearing surrounding his village. The settlement had no name in the strictest sense, but humans took to calling it the somewhat uninspired name of "Greenfield" in recognition of the trees, grass, and skin color of its inhabitants.

The village was a circular settlement of about 1,000 goblins living in small conical huts made of straw. It was surrounded by a wooden wall made of sharpened stakes, each about twice as tall as a human. A series of plowed fields surrounded the village, save for the path leading to the one entrance, which was little more than a hold in the wall with a crude door which could be barred from the inside. There was a large expanse of open grass between the muddy fields and the village walls, useful for denying attackers the cover of the forest while also putting some distance between invaders and the farms. To the east of the village was the Ahoktan River, a good source of fish and the only easy means of trade the goblins had with the outside world, even though merchants and peddlers made their way to the village every few months.

Cyrus made his way down the dry dirt path which ran between the fields and towards the entrance to the village. He planned to keep the meat for himself and cook it at any one of the communal fireplaces set up within the walls, and trade the pelt for goods and services. Fur and leather were used to make what little clothing the goblins had, and most wore simple loincloths. Females supplemented their waist covering with a top piece, even though it wasn't unusual to see nursing mothers do without this when the situation called for it. Upon entering the village, Cyrus heard the chatter of the marketplace and the faint sound of a blacksmith's hammer ringing against a piece of iron. He had been saving up for an iron blade, and the fur might be just enough to get it when combined with the other items he had accumulated. On the other hand, a foot rub was something which would be very welcome after such a long trek in the woods. He sat down on a rock and thought about his options.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by RisqueBoots
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Of the many huts in the village, one that appeared much the same as the others served as the home of the tribe's gods. Idols and crude shrines dedicated towards nature spirits, revered ancestors, and spirits of war alike filled these simple walls. The most prominent of all, and not dedicated to any one god, was the ever burning Sacred Fireplace. As always, the softly crackling flames were under the watchful eye of the current Shaman.

Had anyone else currently been present, they might question why the Shaman was staring so intently into the fire. They might wonder, did the shaman see some vision or omen? Or perhaps the Shaman was communing with the gods at this very moment? Perhaps if such a viewer was one of the more perceptive, they might pick up on the truth: The Shaman was simply nervous and wrapped up in self-doubt.

Short and scrawny even by goblin standards, the young female goblin was staring so intently at the fire trying to determine if it looked even the teeniest, tiniest bit smaller. Was it, or was it the same as it always was? If she had been training for longer, would she be able to tell for sure? Maybe she wasn't ready, maybe she should find someone else to- Minty green hands came up to smack lightly into minty green cheeks, interrupting that thought. Smacking herself a few more times before shaking her head and pulling her hands away, the female goblin steeled her expression and turned away from the fire to sweep her gaze across the different idols instead.

It was the revered ancestors her gaze settled on in particular. She was certain they, too, felt ill prepared and anxious in their youth. They must have, and they also must have gotten over themselves and not let it stop them from doing what needed to be done. If all of them had managed that, then she would just have to do that too. Not to mention, the former Shaman had held confidence and faith in her - and if the far wiser old goblin had thought she was the best pick, then wasn't it disrespectful to doubt herself so much?

Giving a nod of thanks towards the idols, even if she hadn't really communed with them at all, the Shaman turned to leave her hut. There was breakfast to be had, and a goblin village to help and do her best to guide. She was Jig, and she wasn't going to let anyone down.
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Clelk smiled deviously as he gazed into his iron pot. It was probably the possession that he held onto with the most pride - he wasn't on a very friendly basis with others in the village, so he wasn't completely sure, but he believed he was the only goblin in Greenfield to have such a device! And oh, how it served him well = the stews he cooked were quite delectable, at least by a goblins standard... This filled Clelk with a slight sense of melancholy, however. Despite being far more cultured than his fellows, the chance to experience the pinnacle of human cuisine was a far off dream that would take a heavy investment. Clerk rose from the floor of his hut and turned his attention to one of the corners of his hut, where he stored most of his food. Well, the food he traded for or took from the granary - no matter what he tried, it seems like the fish he collected didn't last much longer than an hour or two. Maybe if he asked a human? They know so much more than the fishers in this village.

Nevertheless, spearfishing rifled through the various grains and vegetables stored here, moving moldy and infested pieces to the side for disposal. Some of his goblin peers eat this filth, but given his relative free access to the village granary, there was no need for Clelk to resort to such measures. He'd use them as fishing bait, or simply toss them far from his hut. After picking out an assortment of carrots, potatoes, and even a fruit or two, Clelk happily gnawed on them while admiring his possessions. Normally he'd make a stew to better savor his first meal of the day, but he had just cleaned his pot at the river a few hours prior - he'd save the stew for dinner tonight instead.

As he scarfed down the last raw potato, Clelk rubbed his stomach and turned to his Fishing pole. Many fishers in his tribe used spears or even their hands, but there were quite a few who realized the effectiveness of rods. Clelk himself got the idea from seeing a human do it - that had to mean it was one of the best ways. Some of his only acquaintances were the older goblins in the village who prefered the slow and calm method of rod fishing to the barbaric spear fishing. Even if he called them that, he knew that they found his gluttony as disgusting as the rest of his tribemates - they just seemed better at ignoring it when talking to him. While the idea of fishing for some meat to complement his recent meal seemed quite appealing, Clelk pulled himself away from that thought. He was still suffering from his purchase of the iron pot a few weeks ago, and he needed to replenish his supply of weaponry - a few spears wouldn't last long! He wiped his hands and donned his poorly made apron, before leaving his hut and checking up on his bloomery. He had left it heating the night prior, and it was about time to finally start adding some charcoal.

The furnace lit up quickly enough, and Clelk looked over his supply of metals. He knew damn well that his old master was getting more supply since he went through the granary less than Clelk did, but the young Goblin didn't take much offense at this. After all, his master was one of the few Goblins in Greenfield that still respected Clelk somewhat, and he always made time to talk with him or share a meal. Still, a little more iron is always appreciated. Clelk took some of the crushed ore and got to work on the process of making a few blooms, which he would inevitably work into bars once he got that far. Clelk was thankful that the recent purchase of ore that the tribe made was pre-crushed - crushing it himself was always the part that caused him the most stress. Pouring in the charcoal and crushed iron was much easier, and the process of actually making the bloom was much more relaxed and time-intensive than anything else. It took about three hours until the iron had heated and condensed itself into a discernable bloom, and Clelk quickly removed it with a pair of tongs. He quickly moved it to his anvil in order to separate the slag from the iron, and after a few minutes of hammering, he had a solid ten pounds of wrought iron. It took quite a bit of work to keep the flames working and the Bloomery full, but it was well worth the wait - with this much, he could make quite a few Spears!

Clelk was just finishing off hammering the slag when one of the hunters had come back, a rabbit slung over his shoulder. While this normally wouldn't attract Clelk's attention, he had just finished hours of work and was looking for any excuse to take a break before processing the iron into workable bars. Even if the hunter didn't come over, watching him would at least provide a moment's rest. Clelk rushed into his hut and grabbed a few carrots to gnaw on after taking a drink of water, the former earning him a few glares from passing goblins as he exited the hut. He pretended not to notice, focusing on any passerby who hadn't noticed him and the hunter, who had just taken a seat on a nearby rock.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aristocles
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Cyrus had finally decided that he should check in with the shaman first. No goblin ever accomplished anything without the gods allowing it, and without the gods, no goblin could amount to much of anything. At least, that was what the previous shaman had taught. He had lived a long and venerable life, but his time had come to an end at last. It was hoped that the 'new girl' would be able to live up to her mentor's example.

Approaching the tribe's sacred fire, the hunter bowed before the flame and offered a little prayer. He saw the shaman near her hut, leaving the little building.

"Hello there, wise shaman!" He felt a little silly saying that. As much as he respected her, he had to admit that the slight female came off as more cute and innocent than wise. "The gods have blessed me with a bountiful hunt today, and I'd like to know how I ought to divide the spoils."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by RisqueBoots
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Even though she had stepped out of her hut with resolve, she couldn't help but be momentarily surprised by how quickly someone approached her. Her eyes went wide for a moment, but she quickly forced a calm, neutral expression back on to her face. "Hello... Cyrus." She returned the greeting, delaying just slightly as she took a moment to recall his name. Giving a nod at his request, she flicked her gaze to the spoils in question - a fairly large rabbit, by the looks of it.

Her thoughts turned to encounters such as this she had witnessed in the past, between the former Shaman and the hunters who asked things like this of him. Looking back to Cyrus after a moment, she gave her advice in a slow, thoughtful manner. "Skin the pelt and do with it as you wish, and take a leg for yourself as well. Offer the body of the meat to be given to the pregnant, and offer one of the remaining legs to the Chief. The other two..." Here, she trailed off uncertainly, and a small nagging in her own belly brought a mild conflict - would it be appropriate to claim a leg as her own for breakfast, or would it be better served going to another?

Realizing she had fallen silent for a little too long, she cleared her throat and concluded. "Offer the other two legs to the hungry, and present the bones as crafting materials. Except the skull, which you should offer to the gods as thanks." She nodded once again, this time more to herself than to Cyrus, and waited with some apprehension to see if he thought her judgements were fair and appropriate.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Duoya
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As the warrior moved on and made his way towards the Shaman's hut, Clelk adjusted his gaze to focus on some of the other goblins that were making their way around the village. Many were extremely thin, and even those that were packing a little extra muscle and fat couldn't approach Clelk in terms of width. That earned him quite a few nasty glares, especially from the farmers who Clelk basically stole from. While the attention was mild at best, it still didn't sit right with the fat goblin - being the center of attention was only a real benefit when humans were around to see.

Clelk slowly lumbered back into his hut, deciding to turn his snack and drink break into a full-fledged meal. He needed to finish off his stores sometime soon so he could replace it without fear of letting any rot, so this was for the best anyways. It wasn't like a well-deserved rest after nearly 5 hours of work was going to severely dampen his forging process - he was at a perfect stopping point. Clelk grinned as he stuffed a handful of grains into his open maw of a mouth, eating extremely quickly as he did so. It wasn't a good stew, but a nice meal of grains and vegetables was always welcome.

After around 10 minutes of gorging himself rapidly, Clelk relaxed next to his iron pot, using the reflective surface to help him as he picked his teeth for morsels. Eventually, he sighed and rolled back to a sitting position with some effort, and rose to his feet. He sighed and slowly lumbered back to the forge - while it would be completely wrong to say that he didn't enjoy smithing, it was by far the most stressful part of his day. A single mistake could ruin hours of work and require reforging, especially if he tried making a thin blade like a knife. Clelk liked to think that it was understandable to want to procrastinate somewhat - standing in the heat of a furnace was absolutely stifling, especially for someone as large as himself. Still, heat and stress aside, he had to do his job - even Clelk acknowledged that he abused his privileges to an absurd degree, and not proving himself to be adept at his role in the tribe would easily cause his peers to turn against him.

And Clelk did not trust in his ability to defend himself should the other goblins turn against him. Clelk made his way over to the bloom of iron and started to fire up his furnace, preparing to hammer the bloom down into a bar.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aristocles
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Cyrus heeded her words. It sounded just like what the previous shaman would have said. "Certainly. I shall do just that. Thanks for the guidance." He paused for a moment. She looked like she fit the description of "the hungry." In spite of the fact that the shaman could basically take as much food as she pleased from the tribe's stores, this fact was either unknown to her or she didn't exploit it. Cyrus sat down near the sacred flame and began to cut the rabbit up into pieces, following her advice.

"Shaman... Jig, please, take this leg. You need it more than I do. As for the skull-" he tossed it into the sacred flames, which immediately burned the skull to ashes. Heads had a sacred meaning to goblins, as they were believed to be the conduits for the soul, even past one's death. Tribes at war would sometimes cut the heads off of the dead of their enemies and stick them onto spikes, and would return the heads of dead warriors at the end of a conflict to signify the return of peace. Of course, skulls could be used for darker purposes, such as necromancy, but that wasn't something this tribe was known to engage in. Tossing a skull into a tribe's sacred fire was seen as offering the most powerful part of the creature, and it also gave up the most useful part of a creature for magical purposes. As such, it was seen as a true sacrifice, as the animal's skull could be used as a focus for magic in a way which no other body part could.

Cyrus bowed and took his leave, heading to his hut with the remainder of the rabbit. He set the meat down on the floor, to give it to the appropriate parties later, after eating his fill of it, which he did so. After a brief yet bloody skinning, he gathered up several pelts from his previous hunts and made his way out of the hut. Gathering all of these was about to pay off. Although the goblin system of barter wasn't precise, he knew the approximate value of what he wanted, and these pelts were likely more than enough for it.

@Duoya

Cyrus heard and smelled the blacksmith's hut long before he saw it. Much like the sacred flame, this was also a place of fire, and held a less significant but still important role in goblin culture. Smiths were seen as sacred in their own way, taming the seemingly supernatural power of fire to bend the otherwise inflexible metal to their will. At least, most smiths were seen as sacred. This one, on the other hand...

"Clelk! I have the pelts! I can give you half now if you start on the sword!" They had discussed making him an iron sword a long while ago, something which was certainly a rare and coveted weapon among goblinkind. Knowing Clelk, this wouldn't be as simple as dropping off some animal hides or furs and walking away with a sword, even if Clelk had one ready, which was doubtful. Plus, he knew that Clelk, for all his valuable skills, never made anything easy.
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Clelk managed to get a few swings into his work when the same warrior from before ran up to him, calling out to Clelk. Clelk immediately stopped, not wanting to risk a distraction and breaking the bar, which would result in another hour or so of work reforging. It took a solid 5 seconds before Clelk managed to recognize this warrior - they had talked at length about making an Iron sword and Clelk spitballed some costs in order to get the goblin to leave him alone. He didn't expect Cyrus to actually collect all of the pelts since that took a level of self-discipline that most goblins lacked.

"Clelk! I have the pelts! I can give you half now if you start on the sword!"

Clelk set down his hammer and quickly jogged towards the approaching warrior, gently rubbing his meaty hands on the soft fur of the pelts. Even with half of them, Clelk would make up most of what his pot cost him, and the other half would put him well on his way to purchasing some other human knick-knack.

"My, if it isn't Cyrus! Glad to see that you are eager to begin our little agreement... By the way, did you know a sword is one of the most metal-intensive things I can forge?"

Even if the pelts were enough to cover his expenses for a while, Clelk knew that his services were valuable. Why settle for less when he could maximize his profits on what is, admittedly, a bigger project?

"I'm not sure if I'll be able to replenish my stores easily, especially considering how far the human village is, and how heavy Iron can be... I mean, I'm no powerful warrior after all!"

Clelk didn't expect Cyrus to trade for metal with the humans, and the thought that Cyrus could find the ore himself was laughable. Clelk had no idea where to find Iron since the village had no real supply or mine to draw from. No, instead this was an attempt at something that would only benefit Clelk, rather than the tribe as a whole.

"It might ease my consciousness using so much Iron if you could do something for me - would probably motivate me to work a lot faster too... If you ever find anything that looks human-made or some shiny rocks, I'd really appreciate you showing me before anyone else. And bringing some dry wood to me every now and then would be nice."

Clelk honestly thought he could have gone for more, but considering too high of a price might cause the warrior to ask his old master for the sword, Clelk chose to settle for less. The goblin was getting much older, and while he still worked the forge, his new apprentices were the ones doing the heavy lifting of the metals. Adding onto the old man's workload, even if unintentionally, would really be something that Clelk would regret.

Besides, even if he only managed to convince the warrior to gather wood for him, that was a major chore taken care of - leaving plenty of time to laze about, or even work on something if he felt like it.
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"Yes, I suppose it is. But that's what you do, isn't it? Isn't that all you do? Work with metal?" Cyrus sighed internally, hoping that this wasn't going to be an attempt to squeeze even more out of him. The time it took for him to hunt all of these animals was far greater than the time it would take to forge the sword, and for goblins, the time spent making something was the main way its value was determined. This should have been obvious, given their lack of currency and their shorter lifespans relative to humans.

"I can get you some dry wood and if I find anything shiny or human-made in the woods, I'll give it to you, but there's no guarantees for those last two. We had a deal and I expect you to stick to it. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy getting all of those pelts. I had to track, kill, and skin those animals, not to mention drag their corpses around. I'll check in again to see how the sword is doing, but I expect you will work on it for the agreed-on price. Speaking of which-" Cyrus dropped half of the pelts at Clelk's feet.

"-that's half of it now. You'll get the other half when I have my sword. I'll be back later tonight with some dry wood from the forest, and if I can get any of that other stuff, I'll give it to you. Now, as there anything else?"
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Clelk did his best to restrain his smirk. He was fairly confident that Cyrus would be willing to bend to his requests since they were fairly minor all things considered. For all either of them knew, Cyrus may never encounter a single ore or human artifact on his own - really the pelts were more than enough alone to make the deal worthwhile.

"Don't worry Cyrus, I'm not expecting you to find either of those things - I'm just taking precautions just in case you do. All I really expect is a little wood and the pelts."

Clelk wasn't going to push his luck when it came to the rest of the pelts - there was no way that Cyrus would betray him since Clelk was one of only two blacksmiths in the whole village. Besides, the reward would actually give Clelk the motivation to finish the sword in a timely matter, rather than procrastinate on it and focus on something else. Clelk paused as Cyrus was about to leave, asking the fatter goblin if anything else was necessary for the deal.

"Oh, only a little agreement I was thinking of - you can reject it if you want, it won't impact the deal we have on the sword in any way."

Clelk grabbed his hammer and placed the cool iron bar onto his anvil, preparing to start heating it for hammering.

"I may be willing to sharpen your blades on-demand - free of charge, of course. In exchange, I only ask that you come to me for anything related to blacksmithing. Leave my old master to himself, unless I give you permission."

Clelk readjusted his apron and was already beginning to heat the iron bar in the furnace. In the end, this second deal was really not a big deal - it was mostly offered so Clelk could pay back the goblin who allowed Clelk to live his current lifestyle. He wouldn't go so far as yo risk his deal with Cyrus solely to give his old master a smaller workload.

"Your choice, of course - be sure that the wood you bring back is as dry as possible, I plan to use it for kindling."
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"I can handle sharpening myself, don't worry" Cyrus assured him. "Plus, I already said I'd get you some dried wood soon. That's already more than we originally bargained for. If there's nothing else, I'll take my leave." He knew that Clelk would have to follow through one way or another. Stiffing a customer wasn't just bad business, it could and would disgrace him. As there was a second blacksmith in the village, he could very well end up having his tools taken from him on the chief's orders and risk losing his job, or even be banished. Deals among the goblins weren't enforced by contracts or anything written, but one's word was binding.

"Oh, and don't worry. I'll be sure to visit our village's other smith if I need anything else. I wouldn't want to give you too much work to do, Clelk. You're far too busy as it is. In fact, I feel guilty giving you this nearly-impossible task. I couldn't possibly ask anything of you again." Cyrus chuckled, his voice dripping with sarcasm at that last part. "Anyway, I'll be heading out to get that wood. You'll get the other half of the pelts when I get the sword and make sure it's in good condition. Thanks again for making it."
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Clelk shrugged at the refusal for the sharpening deal, and the following insults. He really didn't expect Cyrus to agree, considering most warriors were capable of sharpening their own blades, and he really didn't lose anything from it. He only offered it in the first place out of respect to his master, so he should have been celebrating the fact that he didn't have to do extra work. As for the insults, he was used to far worse and had learned a long time ago that retaliation was not worth the effort in the slightest. Words meant little for goblins anyways - actions held far more importance, and no one had dared try attacking Clelk.

"Whatever you say - I'll work on it for the rest of today, but I probably won't finish by the end of today if I run out of wood halfway through, so you're helping out a lot with this."

Clelk had no intention of stiffing Cyrus - that was probably one of his few good qualities. He occasionally procrastinated, but never once had he simply bartered with someone and not upheld his side of the agreement. He grabbed the bar he had just finished, deciding that it would more than suffice for a goblin longsword. He grabbed his tongs and started heating the iron bar in the flames of the already lit furnace while tossing in a large piece of lumber to keep the fire roaring.
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"I'll take my leave, then. I'll see you later, when I get the dried wood" Cyrus replied, heading back to the village. He'd keep his word. There were some fallen timbers not even five minutes into the forest, dry as bone. Easy to get. He could have gone out and back in fifteen, twenty minutes tops. Instead, he headed back into the village, first to distribute the meat from his catch as he promised the shaman he would, but also to see another female.

He made it back to his hut and he picked up the meat. He had given half of the animal pelts to Clelk, so he hadn't been carrying those one the return trip. Of course, he still had the other half which he had promised the blacksmith lying around on the floor, and he knew that they weren't to be traded for anything else. The meat, on the other hand... he had promised it to a few goblins, and he knew of one who might fit the bill as well as serve as payment for a female he wanted to see, quite badly.

Cyrus left the hut, still carrying the carcass. He'd have to give it away soon, as there was no way the meat would remain good for more than a day at most.
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It was a warm morning. Typically, Talik would be found lazing around in the sun- or shade- enjoying the warmth and breeze and generally shirking any duties he might have. Today, however, the sun was a bit too bright for that, the breeze a bit to sparse, and the air a bit too humid to really enjoy sun or shade. Thus, the young goblin had meandered down to the river, where the air wafting off the water was a little cooler, and he could wade up to his thighs to enjoy the current washing over his legs. Even better yet, there were no other fellow goblins around to see him, and thus tell him to do something useful!

Talik had been relaxing for a while, slightly dozing, when he heard a heavy rustling in the woods across the river. Looking up, he saw a large, furry brown head, small eyes, and wide-set, round ears- a bear! The beast seemed to take no interest in him, if it even noticed him, and instead walked to the river, wading in up to its belly. Tal remained quite still, watching it with a mixture of fascination and fear- though more fascination- reluctant to try to leave and scare it away, or else draw it's attention. As he watched, the bear plunged its muzzle into the water, withdrawing with a large river fish struggling between its jaws. With a mighty shake of the bear's head, the fish stopped squirming, no doubt its spine broken, and the bear tossed it onto the shore.

Quietly, curiously, Talik watched as the bear caught another fish a moment later, repeating the same motions before tossing its prey haphazardly onto the bank. Slowly, a mischievous grin spread over the young goblin's pointed teeth as a plan formed in his mind, and when the bear had turned away from him enough, he quietly, quickly scrambled out of the water and into the trees. He made his way slightly down river, where a large tree had fallen and provided easy passage over the choppy water of the river, and made his way across. By the time he had sneaked back to where the bear was, the creature had gathered nearly half a dozen assorted fish- barely a full meal for the massive beast, but nearly a dozen for the members of his tribe!

On his walk back upriver, Talik had picked up a long, strong stick from the forest, which has a small, jutting branch that formed a sort of rough hook. Now, he scrambled into a tree a good distance from the bank and made his way from branch to branch until he perched on an overhanging branch near the water, barely out of reach of the bear but close enough for his scheme. While the bear was distracted, he carefully lowered his "fishing rod" and- with some struggle- hooked one of the river fish by the gills. Quietly, he hoisted it into the tree, unhooked it, and hung it from a higher branch to store while he continued. Carefully, he repeated the process a few more times, managing to pull up five fish before it seemed the bear had caught its fill.

The massive beast splashed its way back out of the water, shaking out its thick, rough pelt. As it settled down to eat its catch, it sniffed at its pile with what appeared- to Talik at least- as a somewhat confused expression. The small goblin tensed as the bear looked around, sniffing at the air- and then raised its head to look directly at the young goblin in the tree, along with the fish he had pilfered. With a snarl, the bear lunged back to its paws and reared up, letting out a frustrated roar as it snapped at the branch, just barely out of reach of its huge jaws and fearsome teeth. The small goblin let out a squeak, digging his claws into the bark of the tree branch to keep his balance.

Perhaps this plan wasn't as well thought-out as I had hoped, he admitted to himself reluctantly, looking around for a method of escape. Unfortunately, any branch he could scamper to was lower down and thus within reach of the angry beast below him. He gritted his teeth, resigning himself to wait out the bear's fury, though his spine prickled with the thought that he may not make it that long, or that the bear may not lose interest so easily.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Aristocles
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It didn't take long for Cyrus to put the carcass down and retrieve his spear. He'd have to divide the meat before it would rot, so he got to work straight away. Using his stone knife, he kept a leg for himself, cut the body into several pieces for several pregnant females, and one leg for the chief. As he had already given a leg to the shaman, the fourth leg was kept for later use, either for himself or someone else. He normally didn't give away most of the meat from a hunt, but he already had more than enough for himself in this instance. While he still wanted to see that certain female, there were other duties to attend to first.

He made his way to the chief's hut and found that it was closed for now. The chief was either out dealing with some important matter or was busy with something in his hut. Unlike most goblin dwellings, the chief's hut had an actual door, albeit one which slid instead of one with hinges. Fortunately, there was a small wooden platform where offerings to the chief could be placed. Cyrus set the leg down in between a basket of grain and a rather fragrant fish. Giving to the chief wasn't mandatory, but it was considered a proper thing to do when one had the resources. Doing so not only would free the chief up to spend more time dealing with the tribe's issues, but would also reduce the amount of food he'd have to take from the tribe's granary and would make it less likely that he'd have to go hunting or fishing himself. Not only could something go wrong in a hunt, but the more time the chief spent outside of the village's walls, the more likely hostile forces would be to attack him. On top of that, the chief was considered a religious figure, or at least, one who had been anointed by the shaman. His words carried sacred significance, and an offering to him was a religious offering, in a sense.

Of course, the chief wasn't the only one who needed the food. Goblin females often needed extra nutrition, given how often they tended to get pregnant. These frequent, multiple-child pregnancies were necessary to maintain the tribe's numbers and to expand, given how high mortality rates were during times of war, plague, famine, or other disasters. Mercifully, few of these disasters had struck recently, and this village had grown so much that it was compelled to send out the surplus population to form new villages two times in the past ten years, and would have to do so again in another year or two if no other disaster occurred soon. The food supply of the village was still ample for now: the grain fields had several good harvests, hunting was going well, and overfishing wasn't a concern as of yet.

Although contributions to the village granary were optional, it was considered socially unacceptable for a goblin engaged in farming not to donate at least a quarter of his harvest to the granary, given that the fields around the village belonged to the tribe itself. A goblin could claim a certain amount of land to farm until a harvest, and no other goblin was allowed to touch this land or its produce as long as the chief gave his approval for that goblin to farm it, and only for a set amount of time. Hunters and fishers were not looked down on if they kept their entire catch, as it took more effort and risk on their part and the tribe didn't own the woods and river in the same manner as they owned the fields; while the woods around the village were claimed by the goblins, they all knew that no one truly owned the forest, and made no effort to enforce their laws once the trees began.

As he had promised the shaman, Cyrus made his way over to the east side of the village, a place popular with pregnant females. Housing in the tribe was simple and could be chosen by any goblin who was an adult from any of the available huts. Hut construction was overseen by the chief, who chose when and where to build huts, as well as their design, number, and materials. He was also responsible for recruiting builders and ensuring that they were trained in the simple methods of construction needed to build them. Once a hut was built, it became available for any goblin or family who wanted it, but only if it was still empty. Huts were allocated on a first-come basis, and scrambles to get the huts were common in the year or two before a village's population grew large enough to require the surplus population to split off. Some huts were built for adult males to live in alone and were generally small. The same could be said for those built for young females, but they weren't expected to stay in those huts for very long, as a grown female goblin was expected to start a family as soon as she could. At that point, she was all but forced to move into a larger family hut, where she'd give birth and raise a litter of younglings. If she was ever alone in a large hut, she could be forced to leave it if a pregnant female needed the room.

It was in this context that Cyrus entered the east side, distributing the meat to three pregnant females. There was Sira, a female he had mated with before. While she was not pregnant, Cyrus knew that she needed the food at least as badly as any of the pregnant females, so he could stretch the shaman's words a bit. Sira recently had given birth to a mostly healthy litter, but two of her six children had issues with their lungs, which required her to care for them most of their waking hours. As such, she had less time to farm and forage for food in the woods. While goblins didn't marry and thus didn't know who their father was, Cyrus suspected that at least one of her children was his, although probably not the sickly ones. Female goblins could have children by multiple fathers in the same litter, given the obvious differences between the appearance of the younglings; out of a litter of six, a female might have one father for each child, or possibly one for three of them one for two of them, and a single one by another male, or any other number of combinations.

Sira was busy nursing her sickest child, who also happened to be her youngest daughter. As such, as was surprised when Cyrus knocked on the wall of her hut.

"I'm a bit busy now! Can it wait?"

"It's me! I've got some food for you!"

"Cy! Oh, uh..." She set her daughter down for just a moment, over the whimpering child's feeble protests. Sira got up and pulled her top piece back on, then met him at the front of the hut. He could see that she was tired, stressed, and not interested in seeing an adult male right now. Moreover, it looked as if she had hardly eaten in days.

"I appreciate the meat, but this is a very bad time for a get-together. Besides, I'm hardly in the mood for-."

"- I was just passing through. Enjoy the rabbit. And please, visit the granary. You look like you need it pretty badly."

"Been there three times in three days. They say I'm taking too much out, so they only let me get a bit of grain. It's hardly worth the time it takes to wait for my ration, so I've been trying to forage and farm. Haven't had the time for that, what with the kids." She paused for a moment, then put her arms behind her back as she pawed her right foot with her left, a sign of feeling awkward among the goblins. "Sorry if I spoke too harshly. If you wanted to come back in a couple of days, I-I wouldn't be against it."

"As much as I might like to, you're not really up to it, I'm afraid. I don't mean to judge, but you really gotta get some meat on your bones before having another litter. If I have another good hunt, I'll be back. Take care, Sira."

The other two visits were briefer, given that the other females he visited were his sisters, or at least, his half-sisters from an earlier litter his mother had. At least, they were very likely his half-sisters. It was possible that one or both of them shared the same father, but Cyrus put that thought out of his mind. In any event, both With the meat delivered, he had to gather the dried wood for Clelk. As such, he went home to retrieve his spear for self-defense and set off into the forest. He wasn't far into the forest when he heard a bear's roar.

Cyrus whirled around to see where the danger was. To his relief, the roar originated farther away than its loudness had suggested. But this meant that someone else might be in trouble. He dashed off in the direction of the roar, quickly finding Talik up in a tree with a brown bear at its base. He knew who the young goblin was, but he didn't know him very well. Even so, the youngling was one of his tribe, and well worth the risk to help.

"Hey! Bear! Get away!" Cyrus poked at the beast with his spear, annoying it just enough to cause it to halt its attempts to attack Talik and diverting its attention. More irritated than before, the bear turned to face Cyrus. The beast kept its distance for now, but if it charged, Cyrus would have little option but to fight. He couldn't beat a bear all by himself, but there was no way the commotion would have remained unnoticed. It was only a matter of holding out long enough for some other hunters to arrive to help.

"Talik! Get clear! Go!"
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Talik had tried poking at the bear's eyes with his hooked stick, but the beast had easily broken it in half and swatted most of it away. Thus, it was all the young goblin could do to jab at the bear as it reared up and wait for someone else to come help. He sighed with relief as he saw one of the older members of the tribe approach, distracting the bear. He didn't recognize the voice, and didn't pay enough attention to identify him by appearance; as soon as the bear was distracted, the young goblin grabbed the fish out of the branches, gathering them loosely- and wetly- in his arms, and dropped lightly out of the tree. One of the fish slipped out of his arms and he scrambled to pick it back up again- pausing for just a heartbeat to grab another one from the bear's stash, for good measure- and scampered away into the forest, back towards the fallen tree where he had first crossed the river. Once he was across, he paused for just long enough to catch his breath and listen to if the bear had tried to follow, but he could hear nothing over the sound of the gurgling river. Good, that meant that his tribemate must have kept it distracted.

Talik stashed the fish in the hollow of a tree for now, blocking the entrance with stones and twigs so that animals wouldn't get at them while he went for help. No doubt the goblin who had come to help him was an able warrior, but if the bear decided to attack, no lone goblin would stand a chance. He quickly made his way back to the village, looking earnestly for any adult males who may be able to help.
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Cyrus saw Talik dash off to safety out of the corner of his eyes. As much as he also wanted to flee, he knew that bears were deceptively fast and were likely to attack a fleeing target. He couldn't risk attacking nor could he run. As such, he stood his ground, keeping the spear pointed at the bear in an uneasy standoff.

Back at the village, several of the tribe's warriors and hunters heard Talik trying to get their attention. Something about a bear. Many of the goblins were skeptical, given that Talik had something of a reputation for telling tall tails. Even so, five other spear-armed goblins and one armed with a short bow went out to investigate, with the leader of the group promising to tan Talik's hide if he was making something up again.
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Gahji


Today really was a good day for Gahji, and it only continued to grow more bountiful. The gods surely favoured him with opportunity today. Who would he be to reject their divine offer.

Feeling well rested he rose once again to meet the wonderful fine day. A nice pointy stick in his hand and a fresh meal hanging in his belly, Gahji steadily strolled through the underbrush with an upbeat joyful skip in his naturally cautious and quiet footwork.

He was enjoying the song played by the forest and creatures within when he noticed a disturbance in its rhythm. Reading it like a book, he carefully followed it towards the river. Stopping a fair distance away from where he heard some commotion, not knowing what dangers lay ahead, Gahji sought the safety of the trees. From his hidden vantage spot, through some parted leaves the little goblin noticed another of his kind covering a hollow log with stones and twigs before running off.

Curious he clambered down and cautiously circled the log before approaching. With no signs of traps he quickly pulled out the twigs and rocks revealing the prize inside.
Now Gahji wasn’t a completely selfish creature, and he only had two hands. Taking as many of the fish as he could comfortably carry he quickly made off leaving two behind. One slipped from his hand but he left it on the ground, in front of the hidden hide away left wide open and exposed.

This was truly a great haul. Fearful of losing it he hurried off as far as he could get. A wide toothy grin glued to his face.
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The work of heating and working the metal was slow and boring, repeatedly holding the bar into the fire before hammering it into a more suitable shape. The 'sword' was honestly nowhere near as impressive as the name implies, and was more of a large iron dagger - at least, from a human perspective. For a goblin, with their small size and weaker strength, Clelk was making a veritable longsword.

After around 2 hours or so of hammering, Clelk was satisfied with the shape of the bar - long, skinny, and flat. Almost completely blunt, but the blade wasn't supposed to be developed at this point of forging. He reheated the blade again, before hammering into a straight piece of metal, removing any bends or dents in the blade. Next came one of the worst parts of this entire process.

Clelk moved into his hut and grabbed a large saw - he had a pair of old shears as well, but the metal for the sword was thick enough that using them would more likely break the shears than it would help cut the blade. He then proceeded to spend another 20 minutes of intense sawing in order to cut off the unworked section of the iron bar, for later use. After another 20 minutes, Clelk managed to cut part of the excess metal off, and he proceeded to heat it up in the flames. This significantly smaller piece was to serve as the crossguard, which only really served a purpose during war times, as wild animals didn't really use weapons that could be blocked with a guard. Still, better than nothing.

After he was satisfied with the shape, Clellk began what was the longest part of the forging process - the detailing. He got a whetstone and started his work, cutting the edges down to a nice curve and actually sharpening the blade itself. If Clelk had more advanced tools, the process would be far, far quicker, but he didn't really have the option available to him as a goblin. He also used the whetstone on the flat portion of the blade itself - not to sharpen it or anything, but to remove leftover fragments of iron from the shaping process. The Clelk had to drill a hole into the pommel by hand, drill another hole in the pommel so that they would connect and make the larger hole wide enough to find on the lower end of the blade, and heating the crossguard enough that it would remain fused to the blade with a little hammering.

Clelk then had to vigorously rub sand and the whetstone along the flat ends of the blade in order to make it look nice, and after that, he actually went about attaching the handle. He used leather, since a regular pelt (while easier and a lot less hard to make) was very easy to get dirty, and would rapidly decompose compared to hardened leather.

Clelk never ended up needing the extra dry wood, but it would be nice to have extra as backup. It had been hours, and by the time Clelk had finally finished forging the blade, the sun was beginning to set.
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