A Short Fantasy Fiction

by Jon

The clamor of goblins ringing and echoing off the sewer walls was something Gorfrund was rather unaccustomed to.  It wasn't like the excited shouts and rattling of Boar dice at Ket's place. This was more of a high-pitched, squealing din.  The scene hurt his eyes and ears, and offended his dwarven sensibilities. He wanted little to do with it, but his stubby, bat-eared contact wouldn't meet anywhere else.

Gorf recognized this place as an incinerator room for burning the city's waste.  With minimal effort, the goblins had converted it into a gambling hall.  It was too far down, and too close to the edge of the city for most authorities to want to send a patrol to handle any such infestation.  As long as the goblins continued to collect and burn waste, there was no need.

The excitement in the chamber was over a race.  "Volunteer" peons were draped in rags of different colors, and put into a chute where they scrambled to avoid crossing over the finish line and into the incinerator.  Other goblins along the railing above would squeal, jeer, and throw rocks to drive the peons downward.  Gorfrund greatly preferred Boar.

"If ye've seen 'im, jus' tell me so I can get on me way."  He shoved the sketch of his target back in front of the gob's nose one more time.  "Name's Douric.  'E owes someone a lot o' money an' I'm sent to collect."

Kribble attempted to rip the parchment from the dwarf's thick hand, but found his adversary much quicker than expected. In an effort not to seem thwarted, he poked a gnarled claw through the dwarf's beard, into his chest. "I tol' ya! When da race is done!"

Gorf feigned patience while brushing away the goblin's hand.  "An' when's that?"

"Soon as one o' dem gets in da pit!"  Kribble turned back to the race, leaning on the rail and barking like a hog at the action down below.  He threw a stone, striking one of the peons in the shoulder, barely even making it flinch.

"Which one you wanna go in?"  Gorf inquired.

Kribble's quizzical look faded into a joyful sneer as he realized what was and was not being said.  He held out a rock towards the dwarf, "Red."

The dwarf took the rock from his contact's claw.  The peon in red rags was dangerously close to the end of the chute, trembling as it felt the heat rising into its eyes.  The dwarf drew his hand back, took aim, then let the bullet fly.  The scrawny goblin turned just in time to meet the stone with the bridge of its ample nose.  Grasping its own bloodied face, it screeched and tumbled over the edge into the incinerator.  The crowd roared in excitement, and the walls shook from the cacophany.

Gorfrund looked down at Kribble, who grinned toothfully back at the dwarf's stoic and leveled expression.  "'Kay den! Let's get me winnings, an' we talk bi'ness."  The goblin beckoned for the dwarf to follow.

Gorf mumbled an old dwarvish curse to himself. He hated dealing with these smelly, half-formed buggers, but business was business.