“There’s a lot of them.”
“How many do you think there are?”
“I don’t know. Just going by the number of goblin huts alone, there could easily be two hundred of them. Assuming that half of them are fighters, then that would probably make one hundred dangerous little goblins.”
“Hey Hardoen, are you sure about this? I’m pretty sure we’re gonna die if we attempt this.”
“Just stick to the plan. If it goes sideways, then we run away. We should be far enough away for that to be feasible. Right Sarah?”
“Ah, yes. I also think we can pull this off.”
“That settles it then, lets get in place, before they notice we’re here.”
With that we leave Sarah crouched behind the rockface about five hundred meters from the edge of the goblin camp. The three of us start making our way back. Once we have a distance of about a hundred meters away from Sarah, Hardoen signals to her to go ahead.
This is a new goblin camp that just cropped up. According to the guild, it was only just reported last night. Further South of the Eastern mountain pass that we visited previously, just in front of the mountain range, on the open plains. A goblin camp some two hundred strong.
Normally this would be suicide for a low level group like ours, but Hardoen proposed a plan that makes good use of our groups ‘unique’ composition. Namely Sarah.
“Will she be alright?” Jessica asks nervously.
“She should be fine.” I attempt to calm her anxiety, “She herself assured us that her spells do not backfire on her, herself, as the owner of the mana used to create them, but rather only on those around her.” Of course I did not reiterate the part where she used the word ‘mostly’ when explaining this to us.
“It’s time!” Hardoen points out. Sarah has just finished chanting her spell and lifts her staff straight into the air, releasing a bright flare straight up into the sky. After just a moment, she swings her staff downwards with great force, coming to a rest pointing directly at the goblin camp.
The flare immediately bursts and numerous giant fireballs arc out from its position, towards the goblin camp. They glow brightly while they zip through the sky, leaving a trail of fire as they travel. They look a lot like a meteorite breaking up in the atmosphere and raining down upon the earth.
And rain down they do! As they begin to strike the goblin camp in various places in rapid succession, each exploding in a great ball of fire, sending debri, fire and body parts flying in all directions, like a massive high speed carpet bombing. It literally looks like hell on earth.
“Here they come!” Jessica calls out.
Three of the fireballs did not head towards the goblin camp. They disobeyed Sarah’s will and instead started arcing towards us, but it looks like only one of them has arced enough to reach us.
Just before the fireball obliterates us, “Respite!” The fireball strikes Respite’s indestructible barrier and explodes with a deafening roar. The noise dies down now that all the fireballs have landed. All is going according to the plan so far.
Sarah had chosen this particular spell, because we needed something that could do large scale AOE destruction to wipe out most of the goblin camp, but it also needed to be over very quickly. Respite could only protect us for about a second and could only practically be cast once.
I look over to the goblin camp to try and assess the damage. It looks like the destruction was extensive, it must of wiped out most of them. There are several goblins running in our direction already. Those little fuckers are tenacious, to have recovered this quickly and go on the offensive.
“I think there’s still too many of them, we should retreat for now.” I suggest.
“No, can’t,” Hardoen replies to me over his shoulder, as he starts running in the direction of the goblin camp.
“Wait, what? Why?” I shout after him.
“Sarah’s down!” He shouts back.
I glance over to Sarah’s position and she’s lying on the ground. Fuck! “Come on let’s go!” I shout to Jess as I start after him. I thought her own spells wouldn’t backfire on her! Oh, right, ‘mostly’.
We manage to reach Sarah before the goblins do. Hardoen has already started healing her, she is badly burned and charred from head to toe, even missing part of her arm.
I am about to ask Hardoen if she’s going to be okay, but cuts me off, “She’ll live, but this is gonna take some time. Hold the line!”
“Right!” I jump up over the small rock face, with Jess following me and take up position about fifty meters ahead. Jessica takes up position a little bit behind me and starts releasing bolts at the oncoming goblins.
She manages to take down two of them before they reach us. I brace myself and ram my shield into the first goblin that comes flying at me, it knocks him away and unconscious.
Another goblin charges me. He slips past my shield and tries to stab me with his curved sword. I manage to shift out of the path of his blade and instead give him a good kick. The kick knocks him right over. Goblins are the size of children after all. I take the opportunity to bury my sword into his chest while he’s on his back.
I can see one more goblin quickly approaching me. I glance over to Jessica, she has bolted one more goblin, but four more are about to attack her. It doesn’t look good for her, even if she switches to melee. There’s only one choice.
“Taunt!” I activate one of my ‘tanky’ skills as a paladin. Taunt emits a brief aura that attracts the attention of all nearby mobs. The higher the intelligence of the monster or human, the less effective it is. But against a bunch of goblins, it’s perfect. Actually it’s too perfect! All five goblins are now heading straight for me.
I swing my sword downwards at the first goblin to arrive, but it jumps to the side and avoids the blow. Meanwhile another goblin launches itself at me and takes a stab at me. I manage to deflect his blade with my own, mid-air. But he lands on me and grips the side of my shirt, clinging to my shoulder. He raises his sword for another strike.
I have no chance of bringing my sword that’s still pointed towards the ground, back around to stop him, and even if I did the angle is bad, I probably couldn’t strike him. Before he brings his sword down into my neck, I jerk my arm back up and to the side, and strike him with the steel pommel of my sword, in the side of his head.
It works and he falls off me, groaning in pain. The awkward motion however throws me off balance and before I can get my footing, I notice another goblin at my feet, already swinging his sword towards one of my legs.
Shit I’m going down, there’s no way to avoid this one. A bolt lodges itself in the side of the goblins head with enough force to make it tumble away, before it can complete its attack. I quickly find my footing as Jessica begins to load up another crossbow bolt.
I kick the goblin that fell off of me, to keep him from getting up and bring my sword down once again on the goblin that initially avoided it. This time it connects and rips him in two. Just in time too, the last two goblins are trying to flank me from either side.
Instead of letting that happen, I quickly stab the goblin that’s down and run away to the side a bit, forcing the other two to come at me from more or less the same direction, and buying Jessica some time to load up another bolt. It works well, I drive my sword through the closest goblin and Jessica bolt’s the second one at the same time.
The immediate threat over, I quickly survey my surroundings. There’s another wave of goblins coming, at least twenty of them this time. I also notice Sarah is back on her feet, Hardoen must be done with her.
“Let’s get out of here!” I signal to Jessica and she nods. We meet up quickly with Sarah and Hardoen.
“Let’s retreat for now, there’s still too many of them.”
With that we all start booking it towards the forest, as fast as we can. Running our asses off with the goblins crying as they chase behind us, I suddenly see an arrow come flying past me. Shit! They have archers as well.
“Ignore it!” Hardoen notices my indecision, “Archers can’t run after you and fire arrows at the same time.”
The forest tree line is close now, but I can hear the goblins are gaining on us. The little buggers are light on their feet it would seem. As we enter the forest I can hear the rustling of grass and bushes as the goblins are giving chase.
“It’s no good we can’t outrun them!” I shout.
“Alright we stand our ground!” Sarah responds.
We all stop running and turn to face the directions of the goblins, but we can only see one or two of them. Did they stop chasing us? No. I can see and hear bushes rustling all around us and in between the trees. They are surrounding us.
“Eeeaark!” A goblin squeals as it jumps out of the bushes and comes at us from straight ahead. I move to intercept it, shield at the ready. But I hear rustling and a patter of feet, somewhere behind me.
I fight off the one in front of me, not able to spare a thought for any of the fighting I hear behind me. Shit, this is bad. They are clearly trying to flank us and launch sneak attacks.
I hear a shriek of pain and chance a glance back, away from another goblin in front of me. Jessica took a wound to her leg. Hardoen is trying to quickly heal it. I notice that Jess has already switched to her dagger and given up on ranged attacks, despite the crossbow already having been loaded with a fresh bolt. Sarah is also lobing small fireballs at any goblins she can see that aren’t too close to us.
This is bad. If they storm us right now, we’re done for. I don’t even have time for these thoughts as I struggle to fight off two goblins at the same time, that are right in front of me.
“Arrgh!” A male voice! I turn to see that Hardoen is on the ground with a nasty looking stomach wound. Jess is all healed up, but I see a goblin running off with his short staff! I don’t think he can cast healing spells without that! Fuck!
I need to heal him, but I can’t afford to stop fighting, none of us can, we’re just too outnumbered. Jessica grabs her crossbow and fires the shot that was already loaded into it, at the staff thief. He crumples to the ground, dropping the staff, but it is too far away to be able to risk retrieving it.
Hardoen is still on the ground busy bleeding out and it feels like we’ll be joining him soon.
“Aluarc, Misty, cover me!” We follow Sarah’s instruction and stick a little closer to her. Sarah starts launching one fireball after another at our surroundings much more carelessly than she did before. She does not appear to be aiming at any goblins, however their attacks seem to be lessening.
She has turned the forest into a blazing inferno in a matter of a minute. “Now you can heal him!”
“Right!” I take the lapse in fighting as a chance to start healing Hardoen, before he dies. Sarah lobs fireballs at any goblins that break through our fiery surroundings and Jessica picks off the survivors.
It’s beautiful watching her weave from side to side to intercept the incoming goblins that Sarah couldn’t get to. Thin streaks of blood flying outward with each one of her elegant slashes, like some kind of artist painting the world red. Her blonde hair flutters about with each turn she makes and goblins are dropping one after the other. How the fuck did she get so good at this, so fast. And is she actually smiling?!
I’m finished healing Hardoen and the goblin attacks have died down considerably. But the heat from the now raging forest fire is nuts!
“We need to get out of here, before we get roasted!’
“Only place the fire isn’t too intense is that way.”
“That’s back towards the goblin camp!”
“No choice, come on, let’s go!”
We all make a run for it and Hardoen manages to pick up his staff the goblin dropped, along the way. The goblin must of been trying to retreat back to the camp with it. We emerge from the forest covered in soot and coughing our lungs out from all the smoke.
I look around to get my bearings. There are no goblins coming from the direction of the camp and there appear to be only a few escaping from the forest. Looks like we managed to kill or roast almost all of them. Despite being really exhausted, it does not take as very long to kill the rest of them.
“Hey, I saw a lot of goblins running for the hills when we first came out of the forest. Do you think they’ll be a problem?” Jessica asks.
“No, doubt it. They’re probably non-combatants running for their lives. Even if they visit one of their neighbors to call for help, it will take them quite some time to do so.” Hardoen answers. “But that doesn’t mean we can afford to dilly dally here. Let’s get to work collecting goblin ears before any help arrives.”
And with that we spent the next hour running around the goblin camp, or should I say moon crater, cutting off charred goblin ears and also collection scattered pieces of them. I couldn’t however bring myself to cut the ears of the charred corpses of the child goblins.
Oh man I feel sick again.