Creeping down to a non-particular farmer's residence one night, the Goblin King was leading a team of about 16 well-armored guards and 20 other brawny Goblins in what was nothing more then a common nightly excursion. The Goblin pack was out tonight to find something they could steal from the local Sun People, such as a cow or a couple of goats, and bring back to their underground empire; the Goblins have had not any good pickings of food or drink for about a month now (Fall was approaching, so the weather was getting colder and food was becoming scarcer.); when some of his citizens started to complain about the shortage of food, the Goblin King (he was born as "Boggrat") tried to hold back anyone leaving their underground world for the surface, for he feared there would be loss of life should the weather turn deadly freezing (as it has suddenly done so in the past); he also didn't want to risk the overall energy to try foraging for food that was not around, or risk being hunted down by an angry mob of torch-wielding Miners and Farmers, whom the Goblins have no-doubt stolen from in the past.
But it was only at the request… er rather, the demand… of the King's dear wife, the Goblin Queen (so named "Hipposowlea"), that he lead a troop out to look for food, not just for the sake of the common Goblins or even herself, but her decision was based more-so on the wants of their spoiled son, Prince "Froglip". If the Prince wanted goat, he got goat. If the Prince wanted cow, he got cow. If the Prince even wanted to dine instead on some very unfortunate Sun-Man or Sun-Boy, he always got just what he wanted.
But never mind his rotten son; if it was one thing even the Goblin King would never even try to contest to, it was his wife. The Goblin Queen never took "no" for an answer from anyone (including Froglip), so when she was the one to make the complaint to the High Goblin Court, that was it. The King and his men were going out.
And so there he was, the Goblin King was crouching in a deep, muddy ditch that was meant to carry cow manure and other unwanted materials out down the mountain and into the ocean, trying his best to keep hidden his great crown, which was a 2-ton rounded cut of stone that sat upon his very head; his slightly scrawny yet immensely powerful body stood the test of the cold weather thanks to the thick blue cloak of badger fur he wore over himself, and the long-legged pants he wore tied at the waist and made from stitched deer hide. Like all the other Goblins (save his wife), the King wore no shoes; instead his large, single-toed feet were kept from completely sinking in the mud thanks to their thick soles and wide, sharp claws keeping grips with the more solid ground. In his left hand, the Goblin King held his royal scepter, which merely consisted of a long pole of pinewood topped with a jaggedly cut slab of stone tied down to the pole's top with a rope of woven ox hair.
The King kept his pale yellow eyes peeled for any Sun-Man who might be working in the barn just a few yards away from where he was hiding; the King pricked his large, pink, bat-like ears up to gather any noise of footsteps. He would not be hearing any from his Goblin men, for they had already received their orders to stay back in the bushes near the open valley until the coast was clear. The King took a moment in his observations to lift his free hand up to his long, hound-like face and wipe away watery mucus hat had riveted down from his puffy pink nose.
After a few more minutes of scouting, and seeing that there were no Sun-People around the farmyard, the King began to emit a sharp grunting noise: it was so low that no Sun-Creature's ear could ever pick it up, only the acute hearing of a Goblin's ear. This was just one of a multitude of different sounds that Goblins developed have over the past hundred years in their strive to allude the Sun-Creatures' detection, as well as aiding them in other ways.
Hearing the calls of their ruler, all the King's men came sprouted out of the bushes and scurried into the deep ditch alongside him, all 36 of them. The ditch was now crowded with the thick skinned bodies of the Goblins, not one of them making a sound, but squirming around each other trying to get a good view of their target location. Next to the King, one of his top Guardsmen came to his side, took a moment to count out the heads of everyone there, and then looked to the King and made a soft snort.
Everyone was accounted for. They were ready to make the raid.
The Goblin King nodded and turned his gaze back to the farmer's straw-roof house, making a long grunt followed by a short one, meaning to his Subordinates: I will go first, then the rest of you follow me.
And so the King stashed his scepter on his back into a tight sash that was tied across his torso, and he gripped the firm ground at the lip of the ditch, lifting himself out and proceeding to crawl through the long grass upon his hands and knees, his pointed ears pinned to the sides to make himself sleeker and less noticeable, though this was a difficult to do with a 2-ton boulder wheel sitting upon his head. But amazingly, the King managed it all like a pro, making it all the way to the side of the barn, passed the straw-roof house where the farmer and his wife slept. Since they were so close to the Sun-Family's house, the Goblin King didn't make any indicative grunts or snorts to let his followers know to come; instead, he held up his large hand and with a flick of his bony, clawed fingers, they came to him, one small group at a time.
When all 36 were at the side of the small barn house, the King looked to his top Guardsman and motioned for him to enter the barn first. With a nod, the younger male Goblin turned the corner and crouched at the base of the large barn doors; digging at the center with his long sharp claws, the Guardsman was luckily able to pry the two doors apart with relatively little noise, thanks to the doors being old and made of cheap wood from some market somewhere. The doors were left ajar enough for one good-sized Goblin at a time to fit through without causing too much ruckus; the Guardsman entered the dark barn first, then stuck his head out the cracked doors to let the King and the others know it was safe. The Goblin King first had to take off his enormous, heavy stone wheel crown and roll that inside before he himself could enter; then one by one the rest of the King's men slipped through the two cracked barn doors, and they were all met with a grand sight: good pickings could be found within this farmer's property that they had chosen tonight. One big fat cow, a coop full of hens, and a sow that was tied to a supporting pole of the barn's interior, and all the animals were fast asleep. There was also a table in the corner near the haystacks that supported what looked like a large sack of possibly corn.
Now that they were all in, the Goblin King turned to his minions, who were all wearing looks of cheery accomplishment on their chiseled rocky faces, while eyeing all those tasty animals around them. Placing his great stone wheel crown back upon his hairless head, the Goblin King (with his top Guardsman to his right) took a direct stance of authority right in front of the rest and raised his staff to gain their attention. When all the Goblins looked respectfully to their leader, their demon-like eyes glowing in the dark like stars, the Goblin King pointed a bony index finger to the first and second row of fifteen Goblins, then pointed right to the sleeping cow, indicating for them to take the cow. Next, the King pointed to just the third row of seven Goblins and then pointed over to the sow that was tied to the pole; they were to take care of that. Then, the King pointed to the last row of Goblins, then at the chicken coup, then he held up three fingers, indicating for them to take only four chickens. When the King was done and saw that all his minions knew what each of their tasks were, he dispersed them with the outward flick of both his hands.
The King stood upon an overturned barrel top, observing as immediately, the different groups of Goblins silently set off to do their jobs: the first two groups taking care of the cow surrounded the great beast, placing a cloth around its eyes and then tying a cloth around its muzzle to keep it from mooing; one of the more vigilant Goblins, noticing that the cow had on a bell, took the thick neck strap into his mouth and bit down with his thick, tusk-like teeth, and breaking off the bell; together, these Goblins finally took the cow by the face-cloth and led it outside. Over to the opposite side of the barn, the next group of Goblins were taking great care of stealing the pig: pigs were notorious for squealing loudly when something did not seem right to them, so the Goblins took care of also tying a strip of cloth around its snout to prevent it from making any noise; then one of the Goblins took the thick rope the pig was tied with into his mouth and biting it in two, and all together leading the still sleeping sow out the barn doors to join the Goblins who had the cow. And lastly, the Goblins taking the chickens took them one at a time, with one Goblin prying open the coup doors with her long claws, and the other each taking a chicken and bringing them outside alongside the Goblins with the sow and those with the cow.
Seeing that everyone had done their tasks and did them very well, the Goblin King smiled with satisfaction and jumped down from his little makeshift soapbox to join them outside when he caught the whiff of something. Although his nose was puffy and stuffy as it usually was in his old age, the Goblin King still had a surprisingly good sense of smell, and turned to the shadowy corner of the barn near the hay where the old wooden table was. The King scurried over to the table (out of the corner of his eye motioning for his Guardsman to go outside with the others and hold them there), climbed up the side and on top of it; he cocked his head like a puppy dog in inquiry at the large sack of whatever that sat there; it gave off a scent that the King had never smelt before, certainly not like that of something common, like corn; the Goblin King lowered his head, ears back, and pressed his nose to the sack, giving it a few good sniffs.
Sniff, sniff, sniff… sniff, sniff, sniff… sniff?
The King glanced over to the barn doors, then back to the sack: somehow, the smell of the mysterious contents had cleared up his sinuses!
Now, the Goblin King was neither the oldest of Goblins, nor the youngest, and his little bouts with his own nose were, although frequent, generally sporadic and came and went with the seasons as a general rule. But for his stuffiness to clear up just now after he just sniffed the sack of whatever was in there was just too sudden to be a coincidence. Now the Goblin King was really interested in this sack, but seeing as the sack was tied good and tight with a thin rope, and he had a large group of minions waiting patiently outside the barn with all those animals, the King decided to do his investigate on his own time; he took up the big sack, slung it over his shoulder and casually jumped down the table, exiting out the cracked doors of the dark barn.
Outside, the King got the attention of his followers with his staff raised, and ordered them to move out with a strong flick of it. Quickly but carefully, the Goblins all worked together to carry the animals down and out the deep ditch and then led them through the wide, open valley, which was flooded with a thick, spooky fog as it always did during the dark night. With his nose no longer bothering him [for now], the Goblin King's gait was much quicker as he traveled through the long grass and thick fog, guiding his followers through the difficult trail with his long grunts.
Indeed, the King was feeling good, especially considering all the nice fat animals he'll be bringing home underground to his wife and son. Surely the incredible success and rewards of this mission will please the Queen! It was the Goblin King's highest hopes that he can now finally get back into good spirits with his mate, and that after a long month or so of cold denial, the Queen would allow him to copulate with her.
Oh, how this old Goblin King wishes for the eternal pleasure that is your love, my dear… the Goblin King thought wistfully to himself. I know for the sake of all Goblins our Son must come first, but after him, it is always you, my sweet rose thorn. You're the only toad for my pond, and just as a toad thirsts for a pond, I thirst for you! Be still, this King's stone heart, and may Erlking open yours when I return to you!
With his body now tickled with desire to fornicate, the Goblin King had to exercise some control over himself in order to not go rushing off into the night for the nearest entrance cave and leave his minions behind. He instead continued to lead his troop of faithful Goblins with his Sun-Person-inaudible grunting calls.
After getting about thirty or so yards away from the Sun-Man's now-empty-farm, some of the Goblins felt it fine to relax a little. There arose a small conversation between two familiar Goblins, who were leading on the stolen cow:
"'Ay, Glump." Spoke the goblin to the left of the cow's head, who was short and scrawny with light-brown skin, greasy black hair and a greasy black goatee.
"Mghmm?" Indicated the other Goblin to the right, who was much bigger and brawnier with orange skin and light brown hair.
"Are you tired?" The first Goblin's scratchy little voice asked.
"Mm-no. I don't think so, Muk. 'M actually havin' some bit of fun here, heh!" Glump's fuller, friendlier-sounding voice answered with a cackle.
"'Aving a bit of fun, are ya'? Aww, too bad. 'Cause if you were tired, I'd 'ave tah' leave ya' behind, and let the damned Sun-Creatures 'ave at ya', wouldn't I?"
"Ohhh…" Glump muttered nervously as he held a finger to his mouth, the expression upon his thick, dog-like face a mix of slight fear and stupidity.
Just then, the Goblin named "Muk" with the dark 5 o'clock shadow and the long face of a grumpy goat, took no pity in hustling along the stolen cow, who was beginning to tire:
"Lazy Sun-Beast! Get on with ya'! Get on!"
When the cow (still blinded by the cloth tied around its face) ignored him, Muk gave it a nice slap on the hindquarters with his big, wide hand. With a silent jolt, the cow improved its pace, and when their fellow Goblins took up the sides and rear of the cow again, Muk continued his nasty chastising of his friend, Glump:
"…And it would be a shame if you had to get left behind and hold us back, 'cause you know how grumpy the Prince Froglip gets when his dinner is late!"
Glump nodded vigorously so that the stone beads that had tufts of his hair strewn through them drummed on his broad chest.
"And you know what the Prince Froglip does to people who make him hungry and grumpy, eh?"
Glump took a moment to think of all the terrible things he and Muk have witnessed the young Prince Of The Goblins do unto those many who were so unfortunate enough to be caught in his wrath.
"…Eh, ahmgh… he-he stamps on your feet? A-and… bites your ears? And claws ya'?" Glump answered nervously, his big ears drooping to his sides.
Muk chuckled at his friend's fright and said, "Ya', ya', and ya'. And if it's really not your day, the Prince Froglip would just eat you!"
Glump uttered a little noise that sounded like the whine of a hound dog, but after bringing himself back together, he said, "Well gee, I don't think Prince Froglip would want to eat me! 'Cause, um… ma' skins' too thick. See?" Glump took out a pinch of his great stomach blubber to show Muk that it was indeed quite thick, like the hide of a hippo.
Muk took short observation of this with raised thin ears, but waved his friend off, saying, "Ah well, 'e probably would not want ta' eat me either. I mean, look at me! I'm too skinny for his liking, surly."
"But we don't have ta' worry 'bout such a thing, Muk: we got him a cow, a nice fat one too! This and all those other nice Sun-Critters are bound to keep the Prince Froglip's belly full for at least a month!"
Muk nodded with a wide smile.
Glump then turned to the cow right beside him and began to pet the large animal on its head in a rather nice gesture that was uncommon for a Goblin.
"Don't worry, Mrs. Cow: your going to make our Prince very happy indeed…"
But suddenly, just as Glump lowered his large hand to his side and returned his attention back to their King leading the way further up front, the cloth that was tied over the cow's eye slipped off…
As soon as the poor cow's eyes came to rest upon the twisted, ugly forms of the awful, bat-eared demons who held her prisoner, the cow flew right into a panic! With an upward thrust of her head and a kick of her back hooves, she sent Muk and three other Goblins flying through the air; turning herself into a tailspin, still mooing like crazy at the scary sight of about 15 monsters with glowing eyes and clawed hands rushing right at her to try and contain her, the cow bucked Glump out of the way and made a break through the mesh of smelly bodies. In the sudden mayhem, the sow woke up and was also thrown into a great scare by the faces of the terrifying Goblins that held her prisoner; she was lucky enough to wiggle free of her captors and, squealing madly, dashed around in a big circle until finally disappearing into the fog. And in both the pig's escape and in a desperate attempt to recapture the mad cow, the rest of the Goblins and the Goblin King himself all dropped whatever they were holding, whether it be a royal staff, a chicken, or a sack of Whatever, to do so, all erupting in loud panicky grunts, growls, and howls.
But it was all in vein. The cow got away, the sow got away, and all but one measly hen got away. All that work and careful planning and exceptional teamwork, and it all slipped right out of their claws with the slip of a scarf.
The Goblin King just stood there, absolutely dumbfounded. He watched with utter disarray as every one of his minions were all scrambling around in the foggy valley, grunting loudly to each other as they fruitlessly searched for the runaway animals. At last, the King decided a loss was a loss, and he emitted a series of long stern grunts to let his Subordinates know that they were to return to him right this moment. But things were about to get worse for them:
"Look! Goblins! I see them!"
Just as everyone within his small group retuned obediently to him, the Goblin King's normally droopy, hairless ears suddenly shot right up (as far as the great slab of stone on his head would allow, anyways) and his pale-yellow eyes grew wide with terror at what he had just heard:
"Ohh… eh-eh, it-its Sun-People!" His deep, stuttering voice spoke into the night.
There suddenly appeared the shadowy forms of what must have been at least ten Sun-Men trumping through the grassy valley, some held glowing torches in their hands, others had pitchforks, daggers, and mallets. The air was suddenly filled with the fretting voices and shifty movements of the Sun-Creatures, holding their lights out in front of themselves in a desperate attempt to try and see through the thick fog; the more meaning Sun-Men waved around their chosen weapons in front of themselves instead, hoping to at least stun anything that had the slightest potential of bringing them harm. Cowardly Sun-People.
The Goblins all huddled together, forming a protective circle around their King, who was now beginning to shiver: not from the bitter night air, but from fear; his top Guardsman was at his side and, looking over to his Royal highness with a look on his face that was just as worrisome as his Ruler's, he asked plainly,
"What now, my Lord?"
The Goblin King took a breath to calm himself so that he could think clearly; looking over his shoulder, he noticed a very large collection of trees, shrub and rocks about a mile long and 30 yards away; within that vegetation, the King remembered, was a series of large, deep sand holes that had been previously dig there when his wife, The Goblin Queen, some other Goblin females, and their little Pets took to foraging for bugs and small mammals in the safety of the concealing trees and rock cliffs. The area was a rather treacherous hike trail for any Sun-Person to take, but it was a walk in the park for any Goblin to get through!
The King gathered the attention of his minions with a raise of his royal staff, pointed a long, curved red claw to the thickets of plants, and issued a command:
"Everyone follow me."
As soon as he made it through the mesh of thick, muscular bodies circling him, the Goblin King booked it. He took off down the valley as fast as his squat skinny legs could carry him, which was shockingly fast, despite carrying a heavy sack over his shoulder and a great stone slab of a crown upon his head (proving the sheer strength and agility of a Goblin, even a old one). The King need not check behind him to know that everyone was doing as they were told, their single-toed feet patting the ground and their bodies cutting through the grasses until they eventually made it to the thickets, dodging around trees and jumping over bushes.
Just as the King had guessed, there were the holes, about six of them, all leading back to the great mountain and deep down to their underground civilization. Sliding to a stop at the widest hole (which he could only guess had been made by his large wife), the King of the Goblins hurried his minions down the holes, one by one, but they could all hear the sounds of the Sun-People coming their way.
At last, when the Goblin King saw that everyone had made it into the safety of the holes, he looked over his shoulder towards the direction of the Sun-Men, and around at the rest of his surroundings, and then back at the hole he stood in front of. The King prepared to leap right inside… but then he hesitated with a nervous little groan. He had good reason to.
"Dear Erlking as my witness… she's going to kill me…" Boggrat spoke to himself in a hushed tone. "My dear wife and Queen if going to kill me for this…"
After a great moment of panic on what to do, the Goblin King finally consented to the idea that being mauled to death by the love of his life would be better and perhaps more honorable then being slain by those cowardly Sun-People.
And so, with a heavy conscious and the heavy Sack of Mystery still upon his back, the King of the Goblins dove back into his life of darkness.