Chapter 15:

Chapter 15 A Friendly Goblin

Hermit's Diary

I managed to prop myself up on my elbows, my body still aching and disoriented. Around us, the other goblins from our pit had gathered, their expressions a mixture of concern and fear.

"Are you good, gobbie friend?" one of them asked, his voice trembling with fear.

"I thought you were gone forever," another goblin added, sniffing back tears.

My voice was a feeble whisper as I replied, "I don't... I don't know. I don't remember much. What happened to me... I was... I took a stone to the head and that's it."

The hatchlings around me were a sorry sight themself but even then they exchanged worried glances, their concern deepening as they realized the extent of my confusion.

"We will help gobbie friend. We are family now, we stick together," the goblin who had shaken me earlier yelped.

Touched by the compassion of my fellow goblin hatchlings, I managed a weak but grateful smile through the pain. Their support was a small ray of light in the darkness of our situation.

The brutal fights in the arena had finally come to an end, leaving only a handful of us goblin hatchlings from the two buckets. The sky above our heads was now a darker color and the bright shining in the sky was hiding behind the tree lines barely peeking at us with its bright glare. The day was coming to an end and a chilling evening was upon us.

Huddled together inside the wooden box, we sought solace and warmth in one another's company. Our meaty ears served as makeshift blankets, covering our tiny, brused bodies, as we formed a tight, protective cocoon of naked goblins. We were not bigger than a newborn mouse in size, our naked and wrinkled sensitive skin was freezing with cold. 

During the darkness and despair, we whispered words of comfort and encouragement. We shared warm hugs, cuddling with one another to chase away the chill that lingered in the air. 

"Shh, it's okay, gobbie friend, we're here for you... here, let me give you a kissie, smooch!" one goblin whispered in a soothing voice as he hugged a nearby hatchling.

"Yeah, we stick together, just like... like family. Let's hug tighter, tighter is warmer," another chimed in with a soft, reassuring tone.

A third goblin chimed in with a gentle coo, "Warm hugs make everything better, and a lot of kisses!"

"Right! Hugs and kissys make happy goblins." A fourth goblin agreed, nuzzling closer to his companions.

Compassion and affection flowed freely among us as we showered our fellow hatchlings with tiny kisses of comfort and love, signs of our friendship and unity.

"Stay close, gobbies. We'll keep us warm, use these ears to get warm," another goblin murmured, his plump, meaty ears providing a tiny bit of warmness.

As we huddled together, our plump goblin ears serving as both shields from the cold and symbols of our unity, we clung to the hope that together, we could weather any storm and find a way out of this nightmarish ordeal. Our whispers of comfort and friendship filled the box, a fragile shelter during the chaos.

But then, without warning, the box we were huddled in moved. It shifted and tilted, and we goblins tumbled against one another in a disorienting frenzy. Panic swept through our cramped quarters as we realized that we were no longer in control of our fate.

The box was being carried, its movements jarring and erratic. We goblins clung to one another, our tiny bodies thrown about like ragdolls. The whispers of comfort turned to cries of fear as we struggled to make sense of this sudden turn of events.

"Where are they taking us?" one goblin wailed, his voice trembling with dread.

"I heard whispers about this," another hatchling chimed in, his voice barely audible over the chaos, "They say we're going to the depths, to the mines, to work until we can't work, no more."

"Work? Mines? What's that?" a curious goblin asked his innocence a stark contrast to our grim reality.

"Work is pain and torture," the goblin who had mentioned the mines replied somberly.

 "It's what they do to us when we're too small to fight. What is 'Mines' I don't know. Maybe it means it belongs to you?"

"But we're strong together, Yes?" a hatchling said, fear in his tiny voice.

 "We'll stick together and find a way out. Yes?"

"Maybe they're going to feed us to more beasts," a frightened voice suggested terror in his tone.

"No, no! We can't let that happen," the goblin insisted, trying to muster courage for the group. 

"We've survived this long, and we'll keep surviving, together."

"But what if it's worse out there?" someone whispered, their fear manifesting as doubt.

"We can't know for sure, but we've faced the worst already," another goblin chimed in. 

The box, lifted by the callous hands of the adult goblin, became a vessel of torment for us hatchlings. Its cramped confines offered no respite, and our fragile bodies were subjected to a violent and jarring ride. The box was flung about erratically, its wooden frame creaking and groaning with each brutal movement.

With no regard for our comfort or safety, we were tossed and jostled about like ragdolls. Inside the box, we tumbled and rolled, like a whirlwind of tiny, frantic bodies, barely formed and still bearing the fragility of youth. Hatchlings smacked into each other, their tiny heads colliding with a sickening thud, tears, snot, and spit splashing about. Plump, meaty ears flapped and clapped against their faces, adding to the ruckus of collisions. Limbs flailed and smacked against their bodies, and the air was filled with the sound of tiny goblin bodies bouncing up into the air and falling back down, rebounding against the unforgiving walls of the box like rubber balls.

Our plump, meaty ears, once a symbol of our unity and a source of comfort, now served as poor shields against the chaos within. They flopped and flapped helplessly, unable to shield us from the relentless assault of the box's movements. The world outside was a chaotic blur, and the once-promising prospect of a better life now seemed like a distant dream.

Amidst the chaos, our tiny goblin voices were raised in a chorus of whimpers and startled yells. 

"Ouch! Stop it! Too bumpy! Hold on tight! Ouchie, that hurt! Stop it! Stop it! I don't like this! I don't like this at all! Ouchie! Who smacked me? I can't see! I can't see! Where are we going? Watch out! I'm rolling this way! Oops, sorry, I didn't mean to crash into you! Why is the box moving like this? I'm dizzy! I think I landed on someone's foot! My bad! Are we there yet? I don't like this game!" we cried out in our simple goblin language, unable to comprehend the reasons behind our rough treatment. Each bump and jolt was met with another chorus of complaints and bewildered chatter as we desperately clung to one another in our struggle to endure the journey.

But suddenly, as abruptly as the movement had begun, it stopped. The box, along with all of us inside, plummeted to the ground with a bone-rattling crash. We slammed around the inside of the box like a bunch of ragdolls, our tiny bodies colliding with the walls and each other with painful, wet thuds.

"Ouch! That hurt," one goblin whimpered, clutching a bruised limb.

"Are we... are we still in the arena?" another asked, his voice filled with dread.

"I don't know, but we need to be ready for anything," a third goblin warned.

As we tried to recover from the disorienting ordeal, we looked up and saw two looming heads of adult goblins above us. One was the sinister figure we had encountered earlier, a bad goblin with a cruel glint in his eyes. The other was the same slave goblin who had subjected us to a humiliating bathing.

The slave goblin's gaze was downcast, and his demeanor radiated passivity and submission. He appeared resigned to his cruel fate. He was twitching in fear as if he was expecting to be hit at any moment by the cruel guard. 

The bad goblin bellowed with scorn, his words like a lash of cruelty, "These pathetic worms are yours to look after! If even one of these shits causes trouble, punishment will be swift! Tied to a tree and whipped until the skin on your back is no more! On with it, you shit!"

With a final act of humiliation, the bad goblin spat on the slave goblin's face and delivered a cruel smack to the back of his head before walking away. The slave goblin's shoulders slumped in resignation, and he cast a brief, apologetic glance.

"Yes, Master! Thank you, Master! I will do a good job! No punishment." 

When the bad goblin was finally out of sight, the slave goblin leaned close to the box, his voice now soft and filled with surprising tenderness. 

"Do not fear me, little ones," he murmured gently, "I will shower you with love and care. I will show you how to survive and teach you things. My name is..." He paused for a moment as if struggling to find the right words, before continuing, "My name is... Kaka."

Kaka's words were like a soothing balm to our battered souls, a glimmer of hope in the darkness of our world. We goblins huddled closer to the edge of the box, eager to hear more from this unexpected source of kindness.

"Can we... ummm... trust you, Kaka? Are you our Mumma?! Dada?!" one goblin ventured cautiously, his voice a mix of hope and skepticism.

Kaka gently nodded and said, "Uh-huh, little ones. Yes, yes, me Muma, and Dada. Me a slave, but me is kind. I keep you safe, as best I can. You listen to Kaka, no trouble, or we'll get a lashin' whippy-whipped."

The hatchlings, their plump cheeks glistening with tears and hope in their eyes, nodded fervently in agreement. They chorused in their unique goblin tongue, "Aye, Kaka! We listen well. No make trouble, no trouble at all. You Muma, Dada, we are good gobbie hatchlings."

Kaka, with a surprising tenderness that contradicted the grim surroundings, lifted us one by one and cradled us in his meaty ears. We found an unexpected sanctuary wrapped securely in their warm and soft embrace. 

"Settle in, little buggers, and hold on," Kaka urged, "crawl up inside my ears' embrace. They'll keep you warm and cozy, they will."

He began to scuttle with care, moving toward a ramshackle tent that appeared to be a haphazard collection of junk. The makeshift structure was constructed from an assortment of branches, oversized leaves, crude sticks, and poorly processed hides stitched together chaotically.

From our elevated perch, nestled high within the folds of Kaka's goblin ears, we had a view of the entire goblin habitat. It was a sprawling camp, a ramshackle collection of crude shelters, made from scavenged junk: branches, big leaves, sticks, wood logs, crudely made walls out of stone and clay. 

The camp was a chaotic mix of goblin life, filled with the bustling activity of our kind. A desolate realm where adult goblins loitered about, some perched atop rickety wooden walls while others indulged in the cruel beatings of helpless goblin slaves. Our vantage point allowed us to witness the grim view that unfolded below.

Kaka was a wretched figure, timidly making his way through the camp. His posture was hunched, shoulders slouched, arms tightly wrapped around his chest, and fingers trembling near his quivering mouth. His wide, anxious eyes darted in all directions as if anticipating attacks from every angle.

Suddenly, a clump of dirt struck the back of his head, exploding into a cloud of dust. Kaka, bearing the brunt of the assault, nearly stumbled but pressed on. More clumps of dirt rained down upon him, hammering his already battered body.