To Forgotten Places 9


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To Forgotten Places 8


Geralhd gave Obdehi a friendly smile. “Yes, you all seem like such nice people. There is no reason we need our weapons among friends like you!”

This was a rather weird thing for him to say, since he had just met the man, and had absolutely no reason to trust him. Not only were the priest and the mayor super creepy, but they were surrounded by armed thugs that looked almost feral.

“Just have your servants throw them on the ground between us,” the mayor told Gerahld, as both he and the priest looked smug.

Still grinning, Geralhd nodded and turned to Ilisiti. “Let’s do as he says.”

A groan escaped from within Blacknail. He understood that Geralhd’s normally naive mind was under the effect of magic, but this was still incredibly pathetic and obviously suicidal.

After a moment of silence, Ilisti coughed to clear his throat and then spoke calmly and clearly. “No, I don’t think that is a good idea. Let’s take their weapons instead.”

Before anyone had time to respond, Ilisti threw off his cape to reveal his burning red eyes and chainmail armor. Then, with startling speed, he drew his long sword and lunged toward the mayor. The vympir lord moved so quickly that he seemed to fly across the ground, but that didn’t stop Garen and Blacknail from being right behind him. They were both incredibly fast as well.

Caught off guard, the first few thugs went down hard in a spray of blood as Ilisti cut them apart. Meanwhile, Garen veered off to the side and rushed toward the priest. He cut open one man’s belly and stabbed another through the stomach before Blacknail caught up. Ripping his cloak off, the hobgoblin threw it at a cultist and breathed deep. As the air filled his lungs, he reached down inside himself. There, the power of the Elixir he had drank earlier simmered in his blood. Exhaling, Blacknail laughed madly as he burned the energy within his body and sent it out as an invisible wave of mental power. The sound of his laughter had already drawn a lot of attention, and his hobgoblin visage provided a spark of fear. That was all the magic needed. It doused the spark to ignite an magical inferno of terror within the minds of all the nearby humans. 

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To Forgotten Places 7


“We need a plan,” Geralhd observed. “If these reclusive folk are as hostile as you suggest they are then we can’t just walk in unannounced and expect them to greet us with open arms.”

Blacknail, Ilisti, Garen, and him were still staring down at the town of Herstcrest from a hill out in the forest. They had come a long way to find the town, and now they had. Of course, some of them were here for different reasons. Geralhd thought the was tagging along on a scouting mission, while Ilisti was here to conquer the place.

“We could sneak in after nightfall and kill all their leaders in their sleep,” Blacknail suggested.

“Um, what would that accomplish, exactly?” Geralhd replied uncertainly. Garen and Ilisti didn’t look convinced either.

Blacknail smiled sheepishly. “It’s just sort of what I do?”

“Well, we will keep that option in mind,” Ilisti responded dryly. “However, I believe a less drastic first move would better serve our ends.”

Garen looked thoughtful. “We could just take the town. Even without the hobgoblins and their skill as infiltrators, our troops could undoubtedly march down there and seize that gate with minimal losses. The people are highly unlikely to be organized or effective soldiers.”

“We don’t actually know that these people are hostile yet. We just got here,” Geralhd pointed out firmly. “Striking first would be unconscionable. A lot of innocent people could easily be hurt by such a reckless course of action.”

Ilisti nodded. “I agree. I would rather not create any unnecessary grudges or resentments among the populace. When we move on the town’s rulers, it must be with secure motives and moral justification, so that we can maintain a good relationship with the common folk.”

“I think you mean if we move against the town’s rulers.” Geralhd replied warily.

Ilisti gave him vague nod before looking back at the town. “As you say.”

Geralhd frowned. “It’s obvious that we need to talk to them. A delegation is the obvious answer.” 

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To Forgotten Places 6


The female hobgoblin didn’t appear to be afraid of Blacknail and his minions. That was a little surprising since they had just finished slaughtering a large part of her community. She regarded each hobgoblin calmly before orienting on Blacknail and walking over to him. With sword still in hand, Blacknail watched her warily. It was interesting, if unsurprising, that she had instantly figured out that he was the leader. She must have been affected by his inspiring aura of command.

After pulling his eyes away from the female’s chest, Blacknail studied the rest of her. She was of average height for a hobgoblin, but her body was noticeably curvier, especially around the hips. Her long black hair had been tied back in a ponytail, and Blacknail noticed some subtle lines around her eyes. Huh, he’d assumed that she was young, but that didn’t appear to be the case. In fact, she was probably the oldest hobgoblin he’d ever met. Although, that wasn’t hard. Feral hobgoblins rarely lived more than a few years as far as Blacknail could tell, and this female was still more than young enough to be attractive looking. It was simply a mature beauty, not unlike a certain woman that Blacknail wasn’t going to think about.

As Blacknail was purging his mind of awkward thoughts, the female hobgoblin stopped in front of him and made a series of undecipherable squeaks. It was rather cute sounding, but meant nothing to Blacknail at all.

“Right, there is no way you speak human,” Blacknail observed before sighing in frustration.

He turned to his minions. “Did any of you understand that?”

A young hobgoblin that Blacknail had never bothered to learn the name of raised his hand. “I got a little of it. It’s not so different from the old tribe speak.”

“What did she say?”

The hobgoblin glanced between Blacknail and the feral female. “She is surrendering to you, and she thinks you are handsome.”

“Well, she isn’t blind,” Blacknail huffed in reply. “Ask her who was in charge of this place.”

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To Forgotten Places 5


Blacknail left Aris behind and walked up the line. Once he was up at the front of the column of soldiers, Blacknail led his scouts on ahead. That was the easiest way to avoid Khita and the others. Some of them might have questions he didn’t want to answer, plus they were annoying.

At his command, Hobgoblins fanned out into the woods on either side and jogged on ahead. Blacknail didn’t want to run into any surprises, and he wanted scouts out looking for signs of the unknown hobgoblins. Even with trackers out, it would take some luck to discover the location of the enemy hobgoblins. Most of the beasts in the Green would consider hobgoblins too dangerous to mess with, but there were some noticeable exceptions, so the feral goblins had undoubtedly hidden their lair somewhere out of sight.

The completely overgrown road continued on unabated until the sky overhead began to darken. At the advice of one of his scouts, Blacknail led his party over to the base of a rocky hill. They set up camp there, where it was dry and the face of hill protected one of their flanks. Their encampment took up quite a bit of space. Dozens of tents and sleeping rolls littered the ground where it was clear of rocks and tree trunks. The hobgoblins set up near the bottom of the hill – with the humans up above – and Blacknail joined them. He had the biggest tent out of all the hobgoblins, although Ilisti’s was bigger, for now. Anyway, Blacknail’s was big enough for three people and grey colored. He’d gotten it as a gift after asking its old owner for it very politely.

As Blacknail used one eye to watch a pair of hobgoblins set up his tent for him, and his other eye warily watched the hobgoblins he had assigned to guard Ferrar and keep him away from the campfire, Herah walked over.

“What do you want?” Blacknail asked the female hobgoblin.

“Can I sleep with you? Your tent looks comfy,” Herah replied as she gave him an eager smile.

Blacknail rolled his eyes. “No.”

“Alright, I’ll go sleep in another hobgoblin’s tent tonight,” Herah replied neutrally before walking away.

What? The ease with which Herah had accepted his command confused Blacknail. She usually begged and pleaded with him for a while after he shut her down, and what was this about sleeping with someone else? Who was she talking about? As Blacknail watched, Herah joined up with a grinning Khita. They both glanced at Blacknail briefly before moving on and disappearing out of sight behind a tent. Blacknail didn’t like this. Khita seemed to be a terrible influence on Herah. As Blacknail was considering this development, he saw Geralhd wandering over his way. Immediately, the hobgoblin got up and headed in the opposite direction. Blacknail had his own food now, and Geralhd was already doing what Blacknail wanted, so there was no point in talking to him. 

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