“I will kill them.” Garly Worm yelled. Throwing his head back and arms out the older goblin opened his mouth and a goblin battle cry erupted from his throat.
Eft threw his hands to his ears too late. The loud roar in the tiny room made his headache come back and forced him to blink several times to prevent tears. It was the third one this meeting with Garly and Eft almost didn’t recognize his old manager. The older goblin had seemed frail and weak when he retired from Mortis Operandi, now aside from the wrinkled skin and worn teeth, he seemed almost like a young goblin again. Tobe stood to the side, unphased by the yells, calmly taking notes.
“Please, no yelling, I understand, but it’s making my head hurt,” Eft said.
“Too much drink last night?” Garly said in a normal tone.
“No, I answered customer calls and did repair visits,” Eft said, slowly he rubbed his forehead with a hand. “It’s been a while since I had to constantly use magic for hours.”
“Aren’t you the chief? Why not send Elric or some other lackey.”
“That’s why we reached out to you. We couldn’t afford most of them, or they declined to renew.”
“How many are left?”
“I’m not a liberty to say, just know we need you and your friends.”
“You know my price, can you do it?”
“That's actually why I called you in. I wanted to get more details, anything people remember about the group.”
“That’s easy, they left a fucking business card behind. I’d slit their throats in their sleep but they are in the middle of Centralia.”
“Do you have the card, I think I know how to take care of them,” Eft said still rubbing his forehead.
“Yeah, I have their card. They are a well-equipped group. I’d expect them to be fighting dragons not killing helpless goblins.” Garly said. He pulled out a small piece of paper from a pocket and set it on the desk.
“Can I keep this or do you need it back?” Eft said. Slowly he reached a hand out towards the card.
“Keep it, we’ve all memorized the information,” Garly said through clenched teeth. His muscles tightened and arms tensed. In a sudden burst of motion, the goblin stood up and screamed out his battle cry again.
No sound came out, the goblin stood there in the motions of yelling. Eft’s eyes widened and he looked to see if they were being attacked. Once the goblin's eyes fell upon Tobe, he saw the demon maintaining a spell with on hand and tapping the desk with the other.
Muted and deflated, Garly closed his mouth and sat back down in the chair.
“I apologize but it is hard to think when you do that,” Tobe said in a calm voice.
Tears formed in Garly’s eyes and the goblin put his face in his hands. As great as the goblins pain was, Eft wished Tobe would silence this part as well. Eft took the business card and placed it in his own pocket, then stood up and walked around the desk. Gently he patted his old friend's shoulder.
“They will get what is coming to them and more. Give me a couple of weeks and I’ll update you. Until then, go, mourn, and rest.” Eft said.
Slowly Garly stood up and wiped his eyes. He glared at Tobe but nodded in Eft’s direction. Eft walked Garly to the door and closed it behind him. With a deep sigh, he looked at Tobe.
“Let me know when Gretta is back so I can meet with her,” Eft said. Another thought occurred to him as he walked back to his desk. “That silence thing can you make me an item that will do that in the future?”
“I’ll research a crafting method and let you know,” Tobe said before bowing and exiting the room as well. Leaving Eft alone with a headache, ringing in his ears, and his thoughts.
Eft’s headache had long since faded when someone lightly knocked on the office door. He called out enter as he continued writing down some plans on a trap. A tall human man stepped in, six feet tall and muscular. Wearing worn leather armor but no sword in the scabbard.
“HR is down the hallway unless you are here with sales,” Eft said after glancing up at the figure.
“I’m here for you.” The figure said in a deep voice, they were quite fluent in the goblin tongue. This caused Eft to tense up a little, and reach a hand towards an alarm under his desk.
The man stood there staring at Eft for a moment then shook his head. Almost like a cascade, the whole figure shook and shrank. A second later a goblin woman stood there. Gretta smiled at Eft.
“If you’re looking for an update, gods, it hasn’t even been two full days,” Gretta said. She sat on the chair across from Eft.
“When you are here, could you please not use the ring?” Eft said. Slowly the older goblin moved away from the alarm, acting as if he was getting comfortable in his chair.
“I thought you didn’t want anyone to know I was back,” Gretta said, then peered around the room slowly. “Someone broke into my room the other night. They didn’t take anything though.”
“Do you know who?” Eft said, leaning towards the desk.
“No, but they were good though.”
“How do you know they broke in?”
“A lady must keep some secrets.”
Eft chuckled a little and smiled. “I did not tell anyone about your mission, everyone still thinks you’re fired.”
“Of which you would think someone would stop an ex-employee from wandering around inside the company,” Gretta said.
“No one stopped you?” Eft said, he briefly bit his lower lip.
“Not even in human form, which I wear almost all the time.”
“Fuck, I didn’t realize our security was that lax,” Eft said and shook his head. “Another time. I wanted to suggest an idea to you regarding your mission.”
“So far the best plan I have is to just bring a lot of termites in.”
“There is an adventuring group, who we would like to see either embarrassed or killed. I was hoping you could trick them into clearing out the town. Maybe suggest there is a hidden crypt full of treasure under it. You know how adventurers seem to meddle and cause problems.” Eft slid the business card across the table.
“What did the group do?”
“Wiped out Garly’s village down to the cradles because someone offered a bounty on goblin ears.”
Gretta turned a little more green and looked like she threw up a little in her mouth. Closing her eyes and swallowing hard, her skin started turning darker. When she opened her eyes flames were almost visible in them.
“If you’re lying I’ll gut you myself. Don’t play with my feelings like that.” Gretta said after a long moment of silence.
“I’m not lying if you want I can set up a truth circle. Garly may still be here if you want to ask him alone. Do not let him help, he’ll just try to kill them outright and fail.”
“Won’t these adventurers make my job more difficult?”
“Not if you plan it right. Get with Utul and find out if there are any abandoned caves, you can set up a trap with some of the ogre’s if you need the muscle.”
“Just to clarify, if these adventures prevent the main objective, it is ok if I get rid of them?”
“Yes, but try to use them if possible,” Eft said giving what he hoped was a stern look to Gretta. “If you're going to use this form, what do I call you?”
“Mr. Big.” Gretta the human man said sitting up straight and looming over Eft.
“You do realize for humans your height is average,” Eft said, he resisted hitting his head against his desk.
“Treagt, though people have been calling me Tre,” Tre said shoulders slumping.
“Tre, stop in Nauften Wondrous Objects and get some supplies. While this money is not tracked, I expect a detailed accounting of it later.” Eft said. He reached down into a drawer on the right side and pulled out a bag that looked like it held a pumpkin in it. He set it down and it jingled a little.
“Do I have to use the bag?” Tre said with wide eyes. “I mean, I have a bag of holding.” As soon as Eft shook his head, Tre grabbed the bag and emptied into a tiny pouch, using a hand to funnel the coins into it.
Eft also reached to the other side of his desk and reached into a small drawer on the left side. He tapped twice on the wood and traced a finger around a rune. The runes glowed faintly with power, and an opening appeared through the drawer. Reaching down further Eft pulled out a bag with a wine bottle inside of it. Setting it carefully on his desk, his left hand went back and deactivated the hole in the drawer.
“This bottle emanates out a tiny bit of smoke. This smoke clings to anything it touches and lasts for about two days. If anyone looks at the smoke or whatever it is clinging to, they show up as evil. I acquired this recently and figure it will help your task. I need the bottle back no matter what, and if it gets lost or destroyed, don’t bother returning.”
“Woa, that’s, um…” Tre said and unconsciously backed away from the bottle.
“The bottle doesn’t show up as evil, only the smoke. Make sure you are downwind of it or have clothing you can get rid of.”
Tre opened his mouth to speak but closed it. His head dipped a little then he started nodding.
“Fuck, honestly I didn’t think I could do it, but now I got a plan,” Tre said a smile appearing on his face.
“Good, update me in a week and good luck,” Eft said standing when he was done talking. The older goblin extended a hand towards Tre.
After Tre was gone, Eft sat back down and rummaged through some papers. A few more service calls were needed, but they could wait until tomorrow. Working quickly the goblin finished authorizing some purchase orders, one of them for 60 preserved human and elf ears. He stopped and called out for Tobe.
“Tobe,” Eft said. The demon materialized in the room. “Do we really need 60 preserved ears?”
“No,” Tobe said and Eft quickly sighed in relief. “We need 600.” Tobe finished and Eft choked on his tongue and start coughing.
“Why, no, nevermind,” Eft said. The older goblin signed the purchase order and dismissed Tobe. It took him much longer to finish the paperwork as his mind kept wandering as to what they needed the ears for.
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Life long gamer and geek, after decades of RPG's, decided to start telling his own tales. Ones where the players can't derail.
I love fantasy and sci-fi. Have for decades, from the first time I read Dragons of Autumn Twilight to Stormlight archive, the worlds created have entrapped me. Now after years of attempting to complete a story, I've finished a few and am working on a new ones.