Tre opened the armor shop early the next morning. Frederic was already there, eyes tearing up and waiting for Tre to enter the shop.

“Ma already told me. Are we really moving to Centralia?” Frederic said.

“Yes, you are. I’m staying to run the shop.” Tre said smiling at the youngster. “I’ve already given a letter of recommendation as much as that will help.”

The teen ran up and hugged Tre. The shape changed Goblin awkwardly patted the kids head. Frederic attempted to say something but his words were lost in Tre’s jacket and tears. After a long minute, Tre pealed the teen from him and placed both hands on the kid's shoulders.

“Go home, help your mom pack. Say goodbye to your friends. Remember what little I taught you.”

“Always check if the gold is real?” Frederic said between snorts and wiping his face on a sleeve.

“Even if the money is from your own mother,” Tre said smiling. Tre reached behind the counter and pulled out the chainmail Frederic had been working on. Slowly he handed it and supplies to finish it. Frederic accepted the items and slowly walked out of the store. Tre turned away and didn’t look back, not because of emotion, but due to he still had some plans to make.

A few seconds after the door shut, Tre started reviewing the inventory:
2 Longswords
5 Medium Leather armors
3 Medium Chainmail
1 Dwarf sized set of Full Plate
1 Tower shield
3 Steel Shields
22 Kobold made short swords.

Nothing of magical and there was no information as to when the short swords were bought. Tre started pulling out the mirror when he heard something trigger the alarm covering the second story of the shop. Setting the inventory list on the top of the mirror, he grabbed a longsword and went to the stairs. Slowly and as quietly as possible Tre went up.

Ring! The bell on the front door sounded before Tre had gotten up five steps. Ignoring the front he hurried up the steps hoping the sounds of people entering the shop would mask the creaking. On the second floor, he slowly scanned for anything stolen or out of place. The bed, dresser, chest, and lamp were all in the same location. The window was slightly open, however.

“Be down in a minute,” Tre called down to the customers as he walked over and closed the window. Tracing a rune to reset the alarm spell, he also pulled out a magical lock and clamped it on the window. Quickly he headed back down the stairs and saw the adventuring group, minus Rovi waiting for him.

“Ah, seeking advice before you go ogre hunting?” Tre said, “I have some fine swords and armors that’ll…”

“We already killed them,” Co’Naan said as he slowly offered a necklace to Tre. “Here is the necklace.”

“Oh thank you for bringing justice to those dreadful creatures,” Tre said reaching out to grab the necklace but he stopped himself. “You should give it to the widow yourself. She would be grateful to thank the true heroes.”

A sudden alarm from upstairs blared. Tre frowned and quickly ran up the stairs. Before he got to the top the sound of breaking glass, a thump, and a faint curse from outside the window. Tre raced to the window once he got to the top and caught a shadow of a halfling running down the street.

Frowning and stomping down the stairs he glared at Co’Naan and his friends. The longsword still in his hand, Tre pointed the tip at the group.

“I am thankful you helped the widow and her son, but I must politely ask you guys to leave and never return,” Tre said giving a snarl at the end, he wasn’t sure exactly what humans did reflect outrage completely. As the group slowly started turning around to exit he called out to them. “Your friend owes me a window!”

As the group exited the shop Tre waited for the door to close before smiling. Armour-Us was the only weapon and armor shop in Woodale. He almost cackled to himself as he pondered what hoops he would have them jump through when they come back.

Slowly he walked back up the stairs. Looking around he found an old wooden shield. Placing it to the window it covered up the hole. Setting it aside he wandered off to find a nail. Once the tools were found he secured the shield to the window frame. The repair done, he went downstairs to plan and wait for customers.

Pulling out a map and laying it on the counter, Tre counted the distance to travel from Woodale to Centralia. Three days there by horse, four by wagon, and a plan started forming in his head.

Primore stepped into the shop first. Behind him Rovi who had his hands tied up. When Tre glared at them both, they bowed in response. Primore kept his head down.

“Make it quick!” Tre barked.

“I am deeply sorry I broke your window. My curiosity gets the best of me and I swear I’ll never do it again.” Rovi said taking half a step forward.

“I should turn you into the constable,” Tre said trying to sound as harsh as possible.

“He is a good kid and invaluable in recovering lost and stolen items,” Primore said not lifting his head up from the earlier bow.

“You did recover the previous owners necklace,” Tre said pausing as if mulling it over in his mind.

“Rovi was invaluable in helping us disarm and scout out the evil ogres who took it,” Primore said.

“If you pay for the window and do a favor for me, I’ll consider it forgiven,” Tre said rubbing his chin, then stopping and widening his eyes as if he got an idea.

“Anything, just don’t tell the constable. Please.” Rovi said.

“Fred, the previous owner was a great guy, he deserved better. His family deserves better. I’ve convinced them to go to Centralia to start a new life there. Maybe get young Frederic an apprenticeship.” Tre paused and looked towards the window and squinted as if trying to pierce some fog. “The roads are treacherous, more so for a widow and her young son.”

“We’ll make sure they arrive safely, I swear it.” Primore quickly said. Rovi stared hard at Tre but the sudden outburst of Primore caused the halfling to look at him instead.

“It is a long and dangerous road. Maybe four days there and four days back.” Tre said.

“Primore, aren’t…” Rovi said looking at his friend.

“We don’t need trouble with the law, and I feel the ogre chain isn’t finished,” Primore said. Rovi nodded his head.

“Agreed, we will escort the widow and her son to Centralia. When we return perhaps you can help us make sure the ogre threat is gone.”

“Agreed,” Tre said. With a smile, he stepped forward and thrust out a hand. Primore, then Rovi shook it and they left the store.

That night after closing up the shop, Tre scryed on the group again, they were already on the road with the widow and her son. Tre pondered what the lady’s name was but shrugged. He had been more the generous with the offer to buy the shop and the escort to Centralia would ensure they would get there safely.

Putting a sign on the shop stating he would be gone for a few days, Tre headed home and snagged the invisibility cloak. Sneaking out of his place he headed to the warehouse and then down to check the progress of the ogres. Once underground, he was amazed by the tunnels they had built. Somewhere along the line they must have run out of wood poles and obtained some more.

Utul was sitting in a chair in the middle of a large room. Resting on his lips was a pipe that looked diminutive on his massive form. Removing his invisibility cloak, Gretta stood there in front of the ogre.

“Excellent job, I’m sorry to report that Toogu is dead,” Gretta said.

“Who are you?” Utul said looking at Gretta.

“Gretta,” Gretta said.

“Pick one form, you human, woman goblin, or male goblin.”

“I’m a…” Gretta said but stopped herself and patted herself. Instead of changing into her normal form she had commanded the ring to change her into goblin form. The ring had changed her into a male goblin. A little thrill-filled her as she didn’t know that the ring could do that.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it. Toogu is dead, the group is distracted for a few days.” Gretta or Tre said. She wondered which form she preferred but decided on more pressing matters.

“I already knew about Toogu, had someone recover the bodies,” Utul said as he nodded towards large bag set to the side of the room. Gretta hadn’t noticed them before and shivered in revulsion.

“I need to get some henchmen and monsters to fill these tunnels,” Gretta said.

“I know a guy, or can take you back to Eft. He knows many guys.” Utul said.

“Let's see your guy first, can we go tonight?”

Utul took a long pull from his tiny pipe. The cloud of smoke he blew out was larger than Gretta.

“Yes, but get in human form, this guy likes Goblins.”

“Why shouldn’t I be a goblin then?”

“If you don’t want to be a plaything, you need to be human. If you want to be a plaything, then be goblin.” Utul said a big smile on his face.

Gretta nodded and turned back into human Tre. Slowly he stepped forward to Utul and held out a hand. A moment later the Ogre teleported them to a clearing. Blackened stone littered the ground and a faint smell of sulfur hung in the air.

“Is that Brimstone mountain?” Tre said as he looked around. A mountain of red and black stone was to his right. The top glowed red, reflecting on the clouds and making the peak look like it was bathed in red light.

“Yep,” Utul said and hefted the large bag he had carried.

“Are those,” Tre said looking at the large bag.

“Yep,” Utul said. “This guy pays well for dead Ogres.”


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About the author


Bio: 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.

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