The Goblin Shaman

in #steemmonsters6 years ago

This is my entry for the Steem Monsters weekly writing contest that can be found here:
https://steemit.com/steemmonsters/@steemmonsters/steem-monsters-common-card-fantasy-story-contest-week-6

If you like to write I highly recommend you give it a go! It's a super fun world to write for!

The Goblin Shaman

The fire pierced the darkness only to retreat back into itself again. It sent out one tendril of flame after the other. Each took its stab at freedom and then shrunk back into the log that had spawned it. The fire spirits were timid tonight. Gresh looked up at the sky and the large grey clouds that were rumbling above him. If the spirits were being cautious, then he would be as well. After he finished roasting the rodent that was currently sitting on the spit above the makeshift fire pit, he would retire to his shack to ride out the storm.

Gresh flexed the sore muscles in his hands. It was getting harder with each passing day to pretend that his condition wasn’t worsening. He wondered how he would commune with the spirits if a time came where he could no longer start a fire. Perhaps he would look for a young goblin to become his apprentice. He had meant for his daughter to be his successor, but that was no longer an option. He could not allow the craft that he had spent a lifetime perfecting to end with him. He thought back to all of the eager young goblins that had begged him to teach them and sighed. They had all been disappointing. He couldn’t teach his secrets to just any idiot that he stumbled upon. He wanted someone brave, passionate, dare he even wish for intelligent? Her face formed in his mind.

A loud crackling sound came from the fire pit. Gresh looked towards it. It was dancing back and forth erratically. The sound grew to an insistent roar, as though the flames were trying to hold his attention. Gresh frowned. Fire could be an unpredictable force at times, but the energy emanating from the pit felt unnervingly panicked. The flames grew unnaturally high. They shifted in color, barely pausing on their journey from red to white. Gresh had never felt a blaze that burned this hot.

The large white flame engulfed the rodent’s corpse completely, and then collapsed back into itself, leaving only softly glowing embers behind. A raindrop hit his nose. Gresh quickly combed through the debris with a nearby stick. The rain picked up. It didn’t take long for his experienced eyes to find what they were searching for. The spirits had left him a warning in the charred bones of his would be dinner.

“Flee, a great flood approaches.”

The warning came too late. Gresh didn’t even have time to turn around before the water was upon him. It hit him hard, forcing him down to the ground and then tossing him back up again. This repeated as he was swept up in one crashing wave after another. Finally one of the currents slammed him onto a high rock, before retreating back into the violent rampage of water bellow.

Gresh fought to regain his breath and maintain his consciousness. He coughed heavily, trying to rid himself of all the foul water that had forced its way into his lungs. He looked at the scene bellow him and a shudder ran down his spine. The water that had assaulted him was no ordinary flood water, it carried on its back millions of writhing water elementals.

A scream tore through the air and Gresh quickly scanned the waters for its source. Bobbing up and down in the torrent, he saw the green flailing arms of another goblin. He reached down and grabbed one of the arms as it passed beneath him. Gresh felt the force of the impact pull hard at his old shoulders, but he held on tight. The other goblin used his arm as leverage and clambered up the rock to safety.

The other goblin thanked Gresh between gasps, but Gresh tried to block him out. He had to reach the spirits. There were villages down the road from here that were in danger. Everything was too wet for there to have been any hope of starting a natural fire, he needed to start a magical one. Gresh tried to force his fingers to form the shape needed to create fire, but they didn’t move an inch. The trauma from being bashed against the ground by the great wave had proved to much for them. There wasn’t enough time to keep trying. He turned to the young goblin he had fished out of the water.

“I need your help.”

“Of course, you saved my life. I owe you. What do you need me to do?”

“I need you to knock me out.” Gresh saw the shocked expression on the other goblin’s face, so he quickly offered an explanation. “I’m a Goblin Shaman. I can communicate with fire spirits, but only if I can reach them. Normally I use fire, but that isn’t an option at the moment. The other option is to speak to them in their world, but to get there, I need to be unconscious.” Gresh rushed through his explanation hoping that, coupled with the strange circumstances, it would be enough to convince the other goblin to help him.

“Are you sure there isn’t any other way to-”

“No. There isn’t. Time is of the essence. Please, I need your help.” The young goblin looked Gresh in the eye before answering.

“Alright then. Sorry about this.” The young goblin picked up a nearby rock and brought it down hard on Gresh’s head.

Gresh blinked slowly and sat up. He was sitting at the base of a great volcano. Fire spirits were gathered all around, speaking to each other in hushed tones. Even for one such as him who had grown up around the flames, it was oppressively hot there. He struggled to rise to his feet and address the spirits.

“Please, you must help us! The great flood you warned me of, it is already here!” The flame closest to him addressed him.

“As you said, we warned you. Is that not enough? We have always regarded the goblin shamans as friends, but what you seek from us is too much. Why should we put ourselves in harm's way for the sake of the physical realms?”

“The presence of the water elements in the fire lands is an insult to you, to all of us. With or without your help, their insult will not go unanswered. But you have the power and ease of movement to reach them and put a stop to it before they cause any real harm. Now is not the time to cower here where you are safe while the physical fires suffer.”

“Watch your tongue Goblin! Fire never cowers.”

“Then prove it. Smite the water elementals and leave no room for any being to ever question your resolve again. Ensure that they know to respect your might and the boarders you protect.” Gresh fell to his knees. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer in the intense heat.

“Very well Goblin. If you can return to the physical realm and make us a gate, we will answer your call.” Gresh was relieved, but this was only half the battle. Now he had to find his way back. His breath grew labored under the weight of the heat. His shoulders began to sag and his head drooped forward. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder.

“Come father, it isn’t your time yet. Besides, it wouldn’t do to die here.” Gresh lifted his face to look at his spirit guide. It had simply been a gryphon the last time he’d met it, but Gresh could guess well enough when that had changed. He let the perfect replica of his precious memories lift him to his feet and guide him up the side of the volcano. The higher they climbed, the hotter the ground grew. Soon each step burned the soles of his feet. Gresh could see the shimmering vale that would take him home, but it was still farther up the ridge.

“I can’t do it.”

“Yes you can.”

“I can’t. It’s too far.”

“Just a few more steps.” Gresh forced one foot in front of the other, leaning on his daughter for support. Eventually his feet would no longer head his commands. His legs gave out from under him and he fell forward through the vale. The heat dissipated, and he felt someone shaking him. He began to slowly force his eyes open.

“Grendyln...?”

“What? No. My name is Drej. You saved me earlier. Are you all right? I hit you pretty hard.” Gresh squinted and shook the sleep from his head until the young goblin’s face came into focus. His time in the realm of spirits flooded back all at once.
“We need to hurry. I have to make a flame for them to use as a bridge into our realm.”

“I thought I had to knock you out because you couldn’t make a flame?” Gresh growled under his breath. The young goblin was right, but Gresh had to come up with something. Gresh lifted his hands and tried to get his fingers to form the symbol for fire again, but it was no use. Grunting in frustration he dropped his hands back into his lap. He looked at Drej’s hands. Learning to make a magic flame was complicated. It took some goblin shamans years to master. Gresh almost felt like it was hopeless to even try, but he didn’t have any other choice.

“Hold your hands up.”

“My… hands?”

“Yes, your hands. Quickly.” Gresh instructed Drej on where to position each of his fingers. Luckily, the young goblin caught onto that part easily enough.

“Good. Now you have to imagine a fire forming in the center of your palm. Will it into being.” Gresh watched the center of the young goblin’s hand intently. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened. “You have to concentrate.”

“I’m trying...”

“Not hard enough! Goblins and anything else that finds itself in that wave’s path will die if you can’t do this.” Drej furrowed his brow and stared intensely at his palm.

“I’m sorry but it isn’t working. I can’t do it, we’ll have to find another way.”

“There is no other way Grendyln! Now concentrate!” Drej looked up at Gresh when he heard that name again, but decided against correcting him. Whatever had happened to the old goblin when he was unconscious had taken its toll on him. Drej had watched, unable to intervene, as Gresh’s forehead began to sweat and burns began to appear on his feet. Drej imagined the intensity of the flames that had caused those burns.

“That’s it! You’ve done it!” A small pin prick of fire had formed in the center of Drej’s palm. It was nothing impressive, but it was all the spirits needed.

A funnel of flame erupted from that small point of entry, engulfing the water bellow. The water elementals howled in pain as they made contact with the fire spirits. They were vastly outnumbered, and it wasn’t long before the fire spirits had reduced every last water elemental to a billowing wall of steam that dissolved out of view.

The flames danced in triumph, shooting up into the sky in a grandiose display of light and color. Drej and Gresh watched the spectacle with wide eyes until every last fire spirit had faded back to their own realm.

Drej carried Gresh back to his shack. Once there, with painstaking instruction from Gresh, he was able to help the old goblin bandage his wounded feet. Gresh considered the young goblin carefully before speaking.

“What you did back there was impressive you know. I’ve never met a goblin shaman that learned to make a magic flame that quickly.”

“I didn’t really have a choice. It was probably just the circumstances.”

“Perhaps.” The two fell into an awkward silence for a moment while Gresh thought. “Regardless, I’m looking for an apprentice, and I think you would do well enough.” Drej considered the offer. It was a great honor amongst goblins to be a goblin shaman, but it wasn’t something Drej had ever considered as an actual possibility for his future. Was he really ready to devote himself to being the student of a grumpy old goblin he hardly knew anything about? A question formed in Drej’s mind.

“Who is Grendyln?” Gresh was taken aback by the question, but he answered it truthfully.

“She was my daughter. She was also my first apprentice.”

“Was she a good Shaman?”

“She was exceptional.” They both fell silent again.

“Do you think I can be as good as she was?” Gresh chuckled at the question. He remembered beginning his own training and constantly comparing his abilities against those of his peers. He gave Drej the most honest answer he could.

“That remains to be seen, and is largely dependent on you. Although I do believe the potential is there, yes. In fact, I think there is a real possibility of your talents exceeding those of Grendyln or myself.” A grin split Drej’s face from one pointed ear to the other.

“Alright then. I accept.”

Front of the card:

Goblin Shamans commune with the spirits of fire itself. They pass their craft down generation to generation, and are highly respected members of the goblin community.

Thank you to @calumam for making dividers, including the ones used above, for the Steem Monsters community!

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story! Clear winner in my mind. I love how you brought the fire spirits to battle the water elementals.

My favorite lines:

“We need to hurry. I have to make a flame for them to use as a bridge into our realm.”
“I thought I had to knock you out because you couldn’t make a flame?” Gresh growled under his breath. The young goblin was right, but Gresh had to come up with something.

Hope you win!

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! <3

I posted it for the Pimp Your Post Thursday. @writersblock has a lot of help for writers.

Join the discord here-https://discord.gg/5rV4vBh

Good story. I think I dated Grendyln in 2006.

Oh right, I think I remember her mentioning you once 🤔

Awesome content!
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