The Knight and the Peddler
This won’t turn out well, not one little fucking bit, thought the gruesomely scarred goblin, as he tightened the straps on his Kevlar backed gloves. He stared at the stenciling on his armor, inverted in the mercurial pool bubbling at his feet. The letters, ‘SWAT’ brought him no comfort, this time: body armor wasn’t going to stop the Dragon’s Blood from cutting his tenure as Knight of the Thorns decidedly short should he go for a swim. It’s a rare thing, these days, the Hobs aren’t selling it, and its uses are too few for anyone to want to buy it.
Turning his eyes upward from the spreading pool of liquid silver, he surveyed the carnage ahead, where the Hedge spoiled and burned, as the toxic substance oozed through the underbrush. The dismembered hobgoblins spread as far as Bosh could see, in the rapidly defoliating maze. Briar Wolves and vileshrikes, boghobs and cockatrice, all equally mingled in a senseless jumble of rank meat and rainbow hued fluids.
He recognized a red and green scarf poking from the mess ahead, its snow flaked pattern familiar, its significance unforgettable: He’d made a promise, once, and one that has clearly reached an untimely conclusion. He eyed the Six-legged Walrusant warily, where it lay atop the subject of his fears, concerned that the penchant of its kind for unwholesome resilience had spared it the end of its lesser kin. Sadly, no, its form lay still under the prodding from his ice touched blade, its blubbery form jiggling repulsively. With a two handed grip, Bosh levered it’s flabby bulk, and with a reminder to Stone of his right of place, flipped the ten ton monstrosity with an ease to give an ogre pause.
There, sandwiched between a raccoon in a worn tabard and what is best described as a chicken with aspirations of Demon-hood, was Boba, glassy-eyed and cold, every ounce of glamour gone from his cruelly turned smile.
For twenty long, long years, Boba had brought him the materials necessary to keep his wards, blood his armor, and bribe the locals too deadly to threaten. For twenty years, Bosh had come when called, kept Boba’s village from the eyes of the Freehold, and provided security during sensitive negotiations. No longer, it seemed.
Bosh tenderly pulled the little hob from the pile, and carried him from the scene of the tragedy. A shiver of awareness passed through Bosh’s attuned mind, and a sudden pressure on his face nearly caused him to drop his burden.
Boba’s gnarled hand held his cheek, his eyes focused somewhere past his friend’s head. Black, rotten blood poured from his eyes and mouth, nose and ears: A clear testament to the conclusion of a vindictively priced Contract. Boba did always have the best tricks.
“You’re alive,” he stated, matter of factly.
“It’s back,” the blood filled mouth gurgled in reply.
That time, Bosh did drop him.
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