Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day Seven-Sixty-Nine: ... waaaaait for it...

Gok prided himself on his observation skills. He, like so many goblins, had worked a long time to hone his senses to a razor’s edge. Nothing got past him. So it was perhaps a small irony that the fall of his kingdom came, not because Gok and his goblins were overpowered, but because they missed so many small signs that hinted at their inevitable doom.

The first mistake came when one of Gok’s captains, a stalwart goblin named Gormack, failed to notice an extra slave in his first relocation of the day. The man, shaggy but cheerful, blended so neatly into the rabble that Gormack never realized he’d never seen the dude before. All humans looked alike anyway, and so the fifty-human-squad-plus-one was sent to work on the foundations of Gok’s tower.

The second mistake the goblins made, as a whole, was ignoring the sudden, inexplicable influx of rats. Only the few cats to accompany the goblins seemed perturbed, and the rats silenced the felines with disturbing rapidity. Moving independently the vermin fanned out in the streets, seeking every former free inhabitant of Pubton they could find. Every member of the rebels quickly discovered that they’d been joined by a rat, regardless of their hiding place, and they felt greatly empowered by their companion - a sensation that left each person with a vague sense of instability, and unease.

The third mistake, one made by Gok, was allowing himself to be distracted by Evangelina. Had he been of a normal mind, the goblin king might have asked enough questions to pull the whole scheme apart.

Evangelina seemed to be everywhere, tantalizing him. Whenever Gok needed to send a message to one of his slaves, she was there to do the job. Whenever Gok called for a meal, she brought it to him on a silver plate, a happy smile on her beautiful face. Whenever Gok needed someone to take a memo, sign his name on paperwork, or provide details on current events, she was there. The only thing Gok wondered was whether Evangelina’s witch powers allowed her to split into multiple, identical copies, a prospect he found delicious.

Despite her poise and composure Gok knew Evangelina must be exhausted, and so he ordered that she sit down with him for dinner. She often did, ever attentive to his demands - though this time Gok fed her personally, and not the other way around. She smiled her way through the meal, making appreciative noises whenever offered a bite and flirting with the king constantly.

“Mmm, try this, lass,” Gok insisted, a pair of braised beans on the end of his fork. “Foglish in the kitchens made ‘em special fer me tonight. One o’ my favourites. Even ye humans should appreciate ‘em.”

Licking her lips, Evangelina accepted the beans. She chewed, raised her eyes to the ceiling, and swallowed. “Mmmm. They’re delicious. I’ll have to get the recipe.”

Gok chortled. He was seated on her lap, snuggled against her chest, and he offered Evangelina another forkful. “Wouldna want ye to lose yer job, love. Ye’re too important for kitchen work.”

“It never hurts to learn a bit of everything,” Evangelina pointed out. She winked. “I never said I’d be a chef. That would remove me from the action.”

Gok shivered at the word ‘action’. It came out so innocently seductive. “Ye’re a gem. So, tell me: what other… skills… have ye got locked away in that brilliant brain ‘o yours…?”

Smiling wickedly, Evangelina stroked one of Gok’s ears. Then, raising it slightly, she dipped in close and whispered to the king. His delighted laugh boomed throughout his glass apartment, frightening several servants on a lower floor.

“Ohhhh, ye’re a fiend!” Gok touched Evangelina’s face. “I’ve half a mind te make ye my queen, lass! Ye’d look grand on a throne ‘side mine!”

Evangelina laughed. “Oh, you wouldn’t want that, m’lord. Give me a taste of power and I’ll turn into a shrew. Never share majesty with the lower folk.”

“Sage advice,” Gok agreed. “My subjects’d never allow it anyway. Marrying a human… heh. I’d have an insurrection on me hands. Still… doesna mean we canna have some fun, in these dark times, eh…?”

Evangelina responded with a kiss to Gok’s head. Then, taking the plate out of his hands and setting it on the table, she massaged the goblin’s shoulders. He purred contentment, leaning into her fingers as they soothed his tired bones.

“Ahhh, another of those vaunted skills.” Gok sighed. “I dun know where we’d be without ye, lass. Ye brought us so far. Probably… hells, we’d probably be dead in a ditch, somewheres. Blackie claw marks in our guts. The world… it’s so dark, these days… aye, I half wish I’d been taken, too, before all this happened…”

“Don’t say that,” Evangelina chided. “You have so much left to do. You need to retake Goblinoster, and show me just how wonderful it is in your homeland. And then…”

“And then…?”

Evangelina leaned in close again, licking the edge of his ear. “Crush the Non. That’s what.”

The thought gave Gok pause, even though he smiled outwardly. He’d seen enough of the Non to know that his goblins couldn’t face them in open combat. They were too strong, too quick, too resilient, and too numerous. Rumours that they could change their shapes also hinted at more ways they could bring the goblins to heel, without the need for a siege. The idea that some of the slaves might be Non in disguise… even worse, some of Gok’s goblins

A sudden rapping on the door leading up to Gok’s apartment interrupted Gok’s thoughts. Startled, he growled deeply. “Bloody fuckin’ hells, I told those twits not te - “

Evangelina stalled him with a quick peck to the cheek. “Apologies, m’lord. This is my fault. I… put in a special order for the two of us. Allow me a moment and I’ll fetch it.”

Grin slowly returning, Gok touched Evangelina’s chin. “’n if I don’t let ye go?”

Evangelina leaned in close, twirling Gok’s hair in her fingers. Her whisper lit a fire in Gok’s chest. “As m’lord wishes… though he will be missing out on a most delicious experience.”

The goblin trembled. “Ye… ye promise?”

Cradling the king, Evangelina set Gok down gently on his throne, lips full and sincere. “Truer words have ne’er been spoken. One moment, m’lord, and even you will be surprised.”

Winking again, Evangelina strode away from Gok. He admired the strength of her body and mind, utterly beguiled by her poise, charm, and willingness to backstab anyone and everyone to get her way. This last point somehow attracted Gok the most, and he knew, all too well, that this could be an elaborate setup to bring him down. He would much rather be killed by a creature so attractive as Evangelina than by a shadow creature, lurking in the cold corners of the world.

Gok was so caught up in the anticipation of the moment, so eager to see this surprise in action, so ready to bed this dangerous woman, that he didn’t notice the thin, brown vine creeping around his throne, gently pinning his midsection. It had grown inexorably up the side of his tower the previous day, hidden by the rain, and poked through the superstructure.

When Evangelina returned, she looked the same as before. She was not wearing some fantastic new piece of lingerie, as Gok had anticipated. Nor was she naked, another possibility, though one that may have disappointed Gok for at least two seconds. She was not carrying a new toy, covered in whipped cream, dripping drizzled chocolate sauce, or wearing a braised chicken bra. In fact, she was covered by her cape, only the skin of her face showing.

The surprise was standing beside her. His face was covered by a fine dusting of blonde stubble, his hair was a bit longer than last time, and his finer clothing had been replaced by sodden green rags. Nevertheless, Gok recognized Pubton’s former mayor at once.

“Ach, shit,” Gok said.

“That’s an understatement, asshole,” Dragomir replied.

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