The Mage

The battle of Goblin Forest is part legend and part history, which depends who is asked. The story is of a troll giant and his bow with a legend of mud goblins in tow.

It should be known the men of Riverdon did bravely stand their ground protecting a city on the brink of destruction. Mothers with children needed salvation,  home and hearth were on the verge of destruction. It was a losing effort and nothing could be done.

Nothing, save her.

The hundred man guard fought in rusting armor with once gleaming swords They fell quickly as the ragged horde advanced. Crow feather fletched arrows tipped with jagged bone of long ago devoured victims flew like torrid rain.

The projectiles sliced through armor as if made of nothing but cheap linen.

These men were worthless against this army set on an evil quest. They were brewers and blacksmiths, shop owners and tavern keepers, tailors, farmers and laborers. Not many would ever have claimed to be a warrior before this day. And those that could retired so long ago that they hadn’t thought of their sword hilt as something other than a nutcracker in years.

The goblin numbers were impressive. Sanctity of life was not something they thought worth preserving. Stinking pits of shit and slime await them at their backs just over the North Mountain where they came.  

If it was known what they came for the Riverdon mayor would have given any sacrifice. Anything would have been worth peace.

Riverdon had known nothing but amity for centuries. It is a place of small homes set on the banks of a softly swirling tributary of the Great River called the West Fork. No treasure waits here. No great personage of wealth or rank to be held for ransom either. Few roads even led through the area.

Yet now they were besieged.

The general of garrison forces, a title Preston Nickles gave himself when he was elected mayor last year, attempted to parlay. He approached with white flag fluttering in the death scented breeze. The tall red brush on the top of his helm bobbed as he stepped over the fallen bodies of his citizenry. His fat legs were shoved into armor a decade too small and pudged out grotesquely.

One after another the goblins point back to their leader, the twenty foot tall giant. Lean with quivering muscle and great protruding sharpened teeth streaked with brown rot. A crazy glint in his eye and a hungry sheen of saliva on his lips.

“What do you want?” the mayor asked in words coated with fear and the promise anything would be given.

The giant troll opens his mouth to answer but is cut short.

“Me.”

The voice was mighty. It came from behind the mayor. In the face of an evil monster it held power enough to sway the mayor to turn his back from danger and look.

Some of the men preoccupied with dying also lifted their heads. Those that saw say she blinked into existence ten feet behind the short pudgy politician.

She was described as having shoulder length blonde hair glimmering with an preternatural sheen. Blue eyes with an hard forged glint of leadership, wizened with age and just a touch of humor. Over her shoulders she wore a deep green wool cloak under which she had just simple traveling clothes and feet shod in heavy black boots. The hood on the cloak rested just back on her forehead showing off slightly pointed ears suggesting at one point an elf may have been kin, but long enough ago for her to pass as human if she chose and probably not enough to be welcomed in any of the Elven kingdoms.

Her ruby red lips were pulled back into something like a smirk.

In her hand was a long ash wood staff.

The tip glowed blue.

“You followed me this whole way? Quite dedicated to your master aren’t we?”

Without answering the giant pulled an arrow out of his quiver and cocked it in his bow.

This took no more time than a blink of an eye, but before the spear length piece of wood and bone could be let to fly the woman said a simple word, “Kihi,” and the giant flared white.

When the glow settled he was frozen in place solid as granite.

Some of the goblins ran screaming back the way they came. Others turned to face the mage and one after another they were turned to stone like their leader.

The mayor looked up from the ground where he had thrown himself and the woman met his eyes, “Sorry about that.’ she said. ‘Would have been here sooner, but travel makes one weary.”

With a shrug she turned and walked East toward the Great River never to set foot in Riverdon again.

 

 


tony-weinstock-treecover-artstation

Art:

There Is No Escape

by Tony Weinstock


 

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Author: Bryan Aiello

I call NYC home and wish the subway went everywhere and Times Square didn't suck. I saw John Turturro once. Maybe it was him. He was wearing a yellow shirt and smiled at me like he knew I knew. I am an Army vet who writes. I like characters who want more then they deserve. I like genre fiction. I love space. I love paladins. One day I might write a paladin in space story. Just you wait. The university of South Florida spit me out with a degree in creative writing and I find myself questioning the sanity of going to a school that advertises a fake beach on its brochure ever since. I intuit grammar. I Got married in 2012 We had twins in 2015. I do a lot of cooking and dog walking and ranting about the unfairness of sentience. You can follow me on Twitter: @bryaiello Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/BryanAiello My Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Voyage_of_Roadkill/ My Reddit profile: https://www.reddit.com/user/Voyage_of_Roadkill/ Like my work? Become a patron at: https://www.patreon.com/BryanAiello

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