The Blackguard strode through the dock area, black cloak billowing, flanked by an acolyte.
“So you say this tracker is one of exceptional skill?”
The acolyte swallowed his fear down before replying, “Y - yes my lord. According to the records we managed to salvage from the ruins of our temple, he has a reputation for being an excellent tracker.”
“I hope so, … for your sake” replied the unholy warrior menacingly, his voice echoing within his dark helmet. “The Black Hand is not as forgiving as I am. “
The pair arrived at a docked ship that was unloading cargo and slaves. The acolyte approached one of the sweaty sailors. “We … err … WISH to see your CAPTAIN … at ONCE!”
“Oi I be thar Capt’n.”
“Right,” stuttered the acolyte “.. well … permission to come aboard?”
Without waiting the Blackguard strode up the boarding ramp and onto the deck. “Pull up your anchor.”
The flustering Captain, who had flowed the blackguard onboard, replied cautiously, “Well we still be tied up to the dock me … dark … lord… we – “
“You will regret making me ask again. PULL UP YOUR ANCHOR!”
The Captain whistled at some crew members who began hastily hoisting up the anchor. Eventually it broke the surface and was dangling beside the hull of the ship.
“Bring it up onto the deck … please” the acolyte asked, in a submissive yet serious tone. The Captain glanced at the blackguard, who at this point had the captain totally unnerved. He whistled again and nodded to his crew. With a huge effort they managed to bring the weed covered anchor up onto the deck. “Bring it upright please.” At this point the crew began obeying the words of the acolyte and his master rather than waiting for a whistle from their captain. The “anchor” turned out to be a stone statue of a goblin, with a curved metal bar slung over its shoulders. Its arms were draped over the bar scare crow fashion. The ankles were together with feet apart providing a base onto which to tie the rope. The acolyte pulled a lump of fleshy stone from his satchel and began rubbing it over the statue. The stone began to darken, and then change colour until it was the hue of yellowish green goblin skin.
Grobble sank a little under the weight of the metal bar slung over his shoulders, “ -heavy … how long you want me to … hey … where is-“.
“You are Grobble?” asked the blackguard in a deep, menacing voice.
“.. yes … but if yoo do the ask because yoo look for the one who did the crimes … it WASN’T ME! I swear. Besides, I am the good frend of yoo, and I never do cri-“
“SILENCE!” Barked the blackguard. “You will track down the one responsible for the destruction of our temple.”
“Oh … well … I not the slave. So … I’m not going to do it.”
The acolyte, along with the crew of the ship, were both stunned and slightly amused. They were sure the goblin would be brutally slain.
“ … for free. I mean … slaves do the doing of things for free because they are the slave. But yoo have to give me coins. And not just the copper ones. I need a gold coin for THIS job. Maybe even TWO!” The iron bar over Grobble’s shoulders tumbled onto the deck as the goblin wriggled loose.
“Very well … creature. You may have coins. Ten of them. If you bring back to me inform- “ The ship lurched as panels along the keel suddenly warped, letting water gush into the hull. The ship quickly tilted on its side, sending the blackguard and most of the crew into the inky black water. Grobble scrambled up onto the side of the boat that wasn’t submerged and managed to leap onto the dock as the vessel vanished beneath the waves. Some of the sailors had managed to escape the sinking ship and swam over to the dock, but the acolyte and the blackguard were nowhere to be seen, their armour dragging them straight into the depths where, legend has it, untold horrors lurked.
“Hmm ..” Grobble grumbled. “how does he give to me my coins now?” Some of the slavers spotted the goblin, and began moving toward him, hoping to gain product for their trade. Grobble took out his bloody rag, “Boy! So glad I have THIS! I think it did give to me luck! Yes you know that if you eat the heart of a HIN that you gain the LUCK of it?!” The slavers went back to what they were doing “ … not that I have eaten the heart of a Hin of course … because that would be the crime. And ANYONE who says that I DID eat the HEART is A LIARr!”. At this stage nobody was really listening.