When Riardon Met Grossa
I remember as if it was yesterday, the first time I came to see her.
I had been on a long journey as part of a quest given to me by a village that had come to its final straw. It wasn’t the most important mission I had ever been asked to achieve, nor the hardest, but that suited me. I was alone at the time, doing small quests in order to get by. Anyway, I was charged to find out why the village’s food source was mysteriously disappearing during the night. I suspected Goblins as I had heard that they were prevalent in the area. But not to race into something without fully understanding the situation, after all I wouldn’t feel right if I took praise and
money while I was wrong.
I had been tracking the trail I found for a day. I’m not a good tracker, that’s not my skill but I get by. Anyway, I had been tracking for a day, when I came to a section that showed signs of a kerfuffle and a bad one at that. From the site there were two tracks, I followed the smaller of the tracks, I couldn’t tell you much about them, but to me I saw distress, and I feared the worst.
With haste, I followed the trail and it lead to a small set of runes. As the night was rolling in I came to the entrance of the runes. Carefully I walked in, I had now lost the tracks but I was certain that I would find the source of it here.
I edged into the roofless room, making sure to try and see everything I can. On first glance I didn’t see anything, not at least until I heard the moan.
Immediately I turned to the noise, In the corner there was someone was bundled up, shivering in pain and fear. I was saddened and relieved at the same time, I had found them and though I am no healer I knew I could make a difference just by being there. With a new found confidence I began to move towards the person. But as I stepped closer they pulled themselves closer into their bundle in an act of fear.
“You don’t have to be afraid, I’m here to help.” I said as I reached my hand out to put the person to ease. I got close enough that I could almost touch the cloth so tightly wrapped around them.
With all the effort they could muster, a goblin burst forth from the bundle and swung at me. Taken aback I jumped out the way, I feared I had be trapped and prepared to fight the impending hoard. But, nothing. Not so much as a twig snapping in the woods. I turned back to the goblin that had attacked me, I saw it sprawled out on the floor staring at me. There wasn’t anger, disgust or even a longing for the fight in that goblins eyes. There was fear and pain.
I had heard of the trickery of Goblins, “Never trust them” that’s what my brother used to tell me. “They will stab you in the back and call it fair.” “They will rob you blind before you know it” “They are deadlier than they seem.” But as I looked at the goblin, and looked deep into eyes of the goblin, and I felt no risk and a lot of pity. It was injured, beyond the point that it could move by itself, though it did try.
Against my better judgement I put my weaponry down, rustled through my bag to find anything to use for first aid. I luckily had some needles and string, and an emergency blanket that I tore into bandages. All the while, the goblin just stared at me. Once I was ready I moved closer, slowly, fear took over it and it swung out at me again. This time I just took the hits. It became very clear to me that the goblin was in bad shape, as its hits were pathetic, the last ditch attempt to prolong its life. It was obvious that it didn’t know I was trying to help. It didn’t speak my language and I didn’t speak goblin, but I tried to let them know they were safe.
I still have the nook in my ear when the only hit that actually caused damage when it hit me. Anyway, soon the goblin ran out of energy and slumped into my arms. It made it easier to treat its wounds, once I was satisfied it was in better shape, I set it down in the corner where I had found her. It was obvious that she was comfortable there, I wrapped her up and tried to make sure she was even more comfortable.
As you might have noticed I am calling the goblin a she and her, well I found that out as I treated her. And I want to set something straight before I carry on. I did what I had to, to save her life and due to the state of her injuries, her clothes had been ripped to shreds, sad to say that she is covered with the scars to this day but at least she gets to live. Truth be told, as perverse as it sounds I implore you to know that I didn’t care about that, I cared about ensuring she would be alive and I would do it again. After I was happy she was in a better state, I went and gained materials to make a fire. I came back to the runes, not sure if she would still be there, but there she was. So I set up a fire nearby her unconscious body, and I meditated lightly next to her so we would both gain the benefit. That night was uneventful, but I felt happy about what I had done, I rested well.
Upon the break of morning, I turned to see that she was still there, bundled in the corner. At first I feared the worst, but as I reached across to test her pulse I could see that she was breathing. With a sign of relief, I got up and began to prepare for the day, my intention was to continue my tracking, but I couldn’t leave her until I knew that she would be safe.
Conflicted, I decided to rummage around the forest nearby, to find what I could in order to help. After half a day I found honey, mushrooms and fresh water. It wasn’t much but it would do the trick for now.
Upon arriving back at the runes, I saw that she was sweating heavily and squiggling back and forth. It didn’t look good, I rush over to her, upon feeling her head I knew that she had a temperature. Quickly I made a new rag drowned it with water and placed it upon her head. I made a quick soup with the ingredients and just watched her for the time as she struggled.
“Hold on, You will be fine.” I whispered, as soothing as I could.
Once the soup was ready, I pulled her onto my lap and carefully fed her as she lay there. At first she struggled against it, but she then began to eat the soup. She couldn’t take too much of it. but I rested assured that she would be better now she had eaten something. Once again she seemed to relax again, and this time she cuddled herself into me. Rather than disturb her, I let her stay there and began to meditate, after I had eaten some of the soup myself… not my greatest recipe but it was good in the pinch. As she lay there, I looked to her clothes left to the side while she is
wrapped up in my blankets. Though I hadn’t left her nude, she was still in an indignant state and her clothes so tattered from the previous fight that I knew they wouldn’t suffice. I felt ashamed that I hadn’t thought about it before.
Rather than get up and disturb her further, I grabbed a nearby stick and brought her clothes to my side, luckily my needle and thread were still by my side. The rest of the day, I repaired her clothes the best I could, trying to add a little decorative flair to each repaired rip. I tried to make a nice surprise for her to awake to. I wish I could say that I did a wonderful job, but at least I had done a functional job. I was happy enough with the result, and thought to myself that tomorrow, I would take it to the stream to wash them. How nice that would be for her. That night, I fell asleep. I had not slept for the longest time, but that night I slept for I felt peace and tranquillity and it overwhelmed me.
The next day I awoke to the birds singing and to a sight of morning dew cresting the landscape. A common sight, but one I had neglected for so long. I checked on my goblin friend who was still fast asleep, with the back of my hand upon her head I tested her temperature. It had gone down, meaning that she was on the mend. With renewed confidence, I grabbed her clothes and my washing gear and headed to the stream.
In the graceful morning light, in an area of pure beauty, I stripped down and made my way into the waters. Taking each item of clothing, hers and mine, I cleaned each peace with care and consideration, especially hers, as it didn’t seem like they had been washed in quite some time. It was as I was washing her items I truly saw how close to death she could have been and that the markings of the rips showed the pattern of a beast, not that of a person attacking.
Once I had finished washing the clothes I let them rinse through with the flow of the stream. I connected them all to a fallen log and then turned to washing myself. Not that I am the most hygienic of people, after all I am a hermit and usually you tend to stay alone, but it’s important to know that factor.
I hadn’t been long but I felt I was sufficiently clean. Let’s face it, I was looking after someone, so its better to be clean than filthy, and I am certain she would appreciate the better smell. So I pulled myself from the stream, drying myself off with the only spare fabric that I had left. I pulled on my underwear wraps, and began to reclaim the clothes, that had be nicely rinsed. But as I began to pull in the rope, holding our clothes I heard a scream. Though I don’t know the Goblin tongue, I knew it wasn’t something I could simply ignore. Dropping everything by the shore, I ran in nothing
but my under wraps, back to the ruins. Focusing I pulled forth the lessons Master Ko had taught me and heard that fast paced song she would always play into my head. I knew something was wrong but I had to concentrate otherwise I would mess up. Each foot placement considered, every breath to the beat.
I came up to the ruins, in the very nick of time. Slowly prowling into the front door of the ruins, was a Dire Wolf. Obviously feral, just looking for it’s next meal… or perhaps the meal that had gotten away. Inside I hear cries of terror in words I don’t understand. Well in this case, I knew the words were not important. I raced forward, each foot step considered, I had forgotten my staff. Stupid, well my fists will have to do. Its not looking at me, I don’t think it even knows I am there, good I can use that. My heart is racing, as I know that it is about five seconds from its attack, good
because I am three seconds from mine. Another foot placed and with a crouch I spring myself into the air towards the foul beast. I let out a primal yell, letting all rage, flow out of me and gain the attention of the creature.
It worked, the wolf turned its head towards me with just enough time for me land a blow just below its right eye. I had aimed for the eye, but I didn’t have the time to reflect on it just then. Jumping over the back of the creature, I landed two more blows to its back and left side. Then using, my talent I ran back away from the ruins, taunting it, teasing it doing whatever I could to get it to follow me. Of course it worked, beasts are creatures of passion and will follow anything that triggers them, I can use that. With that very thought the wolf, reared back and launched itself into a
sprint towards me.
“One,” I whispered to my self as it charged head strong.
“Two,” I steadied my stance and stared it straight in the eye.
“Three,” The wolf in high motion pounced towards me.
“Now!” I exclaimed as I ran forth dodging the attack by sliding underneath the wolf and placing three more hits along its chest and belly. The wolf landed harshly, it was obvious that I was having an effect. Slumped on the ground and weary, it just looked at me. Quite defeated in my mind. A thought then sprung to mind, the goblin girl, was she alright?
I turned to look at the ruins, and there in the remnants of a window, I saw that she was there watching. But more importantly, she was safe. That was until, a strike of fear came across her face. Of course, How could I be so stupid? I had turned my back on a Dire Wolf and one that felt that it was close to death at that. I turned back, but a moment too late.
The wolf was upon me and though I had been as quick as I could, I was not fast enough to stop it biting down upon my shoulder. I was quick enough to stop it biting down too far, no bones got broken by all counts of grace, but I was in a lot of pain and knew that I had to act quickly or even worse would happen.
With a deep breath, I let go of the wolf’s jaw allowing it to bite down, in turn I drew my hand back and threw a flurry of blows directly to its neck. My first hit, made the beast release me, my next hits took out its air supply, and broke its wind pipe. It was down again, but still alive. I didn’t have my gear with me so I looked around to improvise, and by luck there on the ground was a stone. It had been broken revealing a beautiful crystal design on the inside but more importantly to me, It had a sharp edge.
With the stone in hand, I straddled the wolf and lined up with its neck, I could tell by the erratic pulses it was trying to breath and failing, it was in pain.
“I know you were only doing what was in your nature, but its within my nature to protect that which I deem worthy. Peace be with you.” I said as I swung my arms down thrusting deep into its throat and ripping the hole wide open with my hands. The beast’s blood rained down upon me. As I turned back again, I could see that the goblin girl was dancing with joy and celebrating. I was glad to see that she was feeling better. With another breath, I relaxed and slumped to the floor unconscious.
Now I know that sounds bad, but it happens a to me every now and again, I put in the extra effort and it is just too much, and I drop. But never in a fight, in a fight I could drop dead and I would be back up on my feet and fighting like the best of them. Like Master Ko said.
“If You fall, you get back up again.”
I’m not entirely sure how long it had been, but when I awoke again, I found myself inside the ruins, I didn’t immediately cotton on about what happened, until I got up into a seated position and there lying next to me was the goblin. She had dragged me back to the ruins, she had covered me with the blanket, and was now lying next to me in next to nothing after she had tried to take care of me. I looked around and realised that she had tried to start a fire, but obviously couldn’t. She had put together a soup like I had for her, but couldn’t cook it. I looked down at my wounds and she had cleaned them and she had done her best to sew up my cuts. She had tried to heal me and help me as I had helped her. The beauty of the situation overwhelmed me, I looked outside and realised night was drawing in. Then it struck me, our clothes were still outside by the stream.
With a little pain, I got up and walked to the stream and picked up everything that I had left there. I was lucky nothing had gone missing. With a bundle of our stuff, I went back to the ruins.
There in the door way was the goblin, looking out into the twilight with fear and sadness in her eyes. But when our eyes met, she smiled and joy came over her. She charged forth towards me, and lunged swinging both arms around me and hugged me tightly. I guess she thought that I had just up an left her. But when she did so, she caught one of my wounds, I obviously still needed rest as I couldn’t help but give out a small grunt of pain. With that she reacted dramatically, as if she had hurt me badly. “It’s okay, I just need some food and some rest. As do you, come on.” I signalled that we should go back to the ruins, as I did so she grabbed hold of my hand, and guided me there.
When we got inside, she sat down and just watched me, as I began tidying the area. Then as I began making the fire, I saw interest upon her face and so invited her to come and sit by me. Which she did without hesitation, I gave her the two sticks and moved behind her, guiding her arms we began to make the fire together. She was confused at first but, then seeing the smoke begin to rise she gained the understanding and she worked harder at it. I release her harms form my grip and let her do the work. then a spark and a small flame came into existence. I took it and put it into the fire we had built and the fire began to grow. we had done it. Her happiness took over her and she jumped onto me and embraced me in a hug.
“OK,OK.” I picked her up and put her to the side, I wrapped the blanket around her and set to work hanging our clothes to dry and cooking the food she had prepared earlier. Happy with the outcome I sat my self down and waited for the food to cook. I looked to my side to see her, she had come over to me.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
To which she wrapped the blanket around both of us and beneath it she snuggled up close to me. I took it as a goblin behaviour, something from their culture, after all no one really knows that much about the goblin kind. We only know the bad stuff. I had only just thought about it, we judge an entire race and we only consider the evil they had done, that only a selection of their kind had done. Well I knew that I wanted to put a stop to that.
I looked at her, properly looked at her for the first time. This poor little goblin that was clung to my side, the first thing that hit me, was that her skin was a light shade of green, but not disgusting as so many stories tell. It was beautiful like the deep sea, with white freckles that stretched her being like stars in the sky. Beautiful. Her hair only sprouts out of the left side of her head, but it was long and beautiful, strands of pure black, tied together by four bands she had found over time.
She realised that I was looking at her, and she looked back to me. I saw her eyes, properly saw her eyes. It took me by surprise, but I saw galaxies in her eyes, not stars but galaxies. I knew that I had to get to know her better, my desire for information demanded it.
Well I had to start somewhere, I placed my hand upon my chest and said, “Riardon.” She looked at me in a little confusion.
“Riardon.” I repeated once again placing my hand on my chest.
She looked at me then to my hand, she reached out her hand and placed it on my chest and looked at me, “Ri-arr-don?”
“That’s right, I am Riardon.” I said smiling. I placed my hand on my chest again,
“Riardon.” I then motioned my hand towards her.
She looked at my hand, then with a spark of inspiration she grabbed my hand and brought it to her chest, “Grosa.”
“Grosa.” I repeated.
She smiled and grabbed hold of me hugging me once more.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, I took her home, where I learned the difference between how people react to goblins and how goblins will react if treated properly. In the end we are all creature that breathe, think and feel. Why must we discriminate against a species, when we can at least give them a chance to show their true colours first.
Sadly our story did come to an end, but not before we had been on numerous adventures. I had taught her the common language and how to defend herself.