A red conqueror sat in the middle of a ruined town under a tattered tent eating from a basket of rotten fruits. He wore a white long sleeve sweater and tattered leather pants. He had a broken sword stuck in the ground in front of his tent's opening with a cone helmet mounted on its hilt. He watched the chainmail attached to the helmet clash against the muddy sword due to the strong winds. It was a beautiful and peaceful spring day, with the sun out melting the last remnants of winter.
The goblin spent the whole year within this village's ruins, scavenging the abandoned burned homes for the supplies he needed. And he would leave in the morning to hunt for small game. At night, he would lock himself inside the basement beneath a small barn in the middle of the field. He chained the trap door, and he sat in the corner, waiting for the dark night to end so he could venture out of his humid hole.
Winter was the worse for this lonesome goblin. No one to rely upon when he fell in despair and hunger. It was only thanks to the dreaded night did he sustained himself, but he could only do so because it was his only option.
But it was a blessing when he arrived in this broken village. There were no other goblins in sight, only he was the inhabitant within the ruins. But why did a goblin with no clan or tribe to speak came to such a desolate place? Well, it was because it was his home once, back when it was full of life; despite the hardships the forest had in store for them, they survived together.
This land once belonged to his tribe, the tribe of Lev. But when he failed to protect those he cared for, he left for self-imposed exile, leaving the new Chief to rule and hopefully be better than the Chief he once followed.
Olhos, a loyal retainer of the previous Chief, left as a failure, then returned as a conqueror to an empty village. But it was not like Olhos wanted to be praised as a conqueror, nor did he plan to challenge the new Chief. He just wanted to return home after he lost everything. But it was also a blessing in disguise. No one is here to suffer by his hands.
Olhos stuffed his mouth with the fruity flesh. The fermented fruits would have made most goblins drunk, but Olhos had the highest tolerance among Cala's retainers. A trait he is not particularly proud to boast about. And as he eats his food, the quiet atmosphere around him was suddenly disturbed by a loud explosion from the edge of the town.
Olhos dropped his basket and climbed the tallest building he could find, and spotted a lone figure walking towards the town. The stranger wore a long cloak and had a long black ponytail that reaches its hip, and it carried a bronze warclub with a handle that looks like a hand. But the most striking trait was its white feathers growing from the side of its head. Olhos has only seen two other beings with such traits, and they were commanders of the Everflow federation, a collection of goblin tribes that control the largely abandoned city to the west of the Lev tribe.
Cala learned that these feathered figures were goblins of some kind. But there was a clear difference between them and the city leaders. They were stronger, faster, and ruthless. Cala feared them, and only Olhos and Sum knew of this fear because they were the only ones in the tribe besides the Chief that met them. Olhos took his bow and arrow and aimed it at the figure.
Every spring, they demand tributes, and if they were not given, the tribe would be burned and consumed by the city, and a tribe from the city will take its place. When Olhos moved back into the empty village, he feared that his tribe was consumed, but the city never sent their goblins to settle on the ruins. For an entire year, not a single goblin came to visit the skeletal remains of his tribe, so why did they come now?
Olhos stretched his bow, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Then suddenly, the feathered goblin turned and looked at him with its green eyes. Olhos panicked and released the arrow. The stranger caught the arrow midair and threw it to the ground, and ran towards Olhos.
"Oh shit!" Olhos jumped off the building and ran for his life. Suddenly a building next to him collapsed as a giant beast broke through its walls. "You have to be kidding?" Olhos saw a crown of red feathers growing from his head. It was another goblin from the city, but this was larger, almost as tall as the trolls that destroyed his tribe.
"Hey, get over here!" The giant reached for him, but Olhos was faster than his hands. And the giant's heavy gambeson made it even slower.
To avoid the giant goblin, he climbed to the rooftops where the foundations are too weak to carry the red-feathered goblin. But another goblin chased after him. One without feathers, but instead with ears and a tail of a mountain lion wearing light clothes. This one was faster and light and caught up with Olhos in a matter of seconds. "What's up?" The cat-eared goblin asked.
The stench coming from him irritated Olhos' nose, the smell of blood. The cat-eared goblin grabbed him in an arm lock. The smell of blood grew stronger because the smell came from his catcher, and that smell awakened the strength he locked away. Olhos' pupils grew to cover most of his eye, and a sudden surge of strength came out. "Get off of me!" Olhos broke free, and he used the strength given to him to leap far away from his perpetrators.
He landed in the middle of the town where another feathered goblin stood. Its hair was long but not as long as the first one Olhos spotted. Its wavy brown hair reached the nape of its neck, and long white feathers protruded out through his hair from the back of his ears. "Stick, why'd you let him go?" It asked.
"He was stronger than I thought."
"Stick?" Olhos looked at the cat-eared goblin. Then the other goblins came and surrounded him. And once all four of them stood next to each other, that was when the cogs in his brain began to move. "Rock, Smoke, and Sun."
"What the? How do you know your name?" Sun asked.
"It's me," Olhos dropped his bow and placed his hand on his chest. "Olhos, one of Cala's former retainer."
"Olhos!" The brothers yelled in astonishment.
"Yes, it's me."
"It's been so long." Sun walked up to him and embraced him. Sun's stuffy fur coat made Olhos sneeze. "Oh sorry."
"It's ok. Come, I'll lead you to my camp. We can talk from there."
The brothers followed Olhos to his modest tent. They sat around the broken sword sticking out from the ground. "What are you doing here?" Rock asked.
"I came back after getting kicked out of my new tribe up north. I thought I could at least come here to get some food before heading west, but no one was here."
"Sorry about that." Sun said, "We didn't abandon this place because we can, but because we had to. Although you can blame me for it since it was my fault."
"It wasn't your fault." Smoke affirmed, "It was those trolls that attacked us."
"That's true," Rock said.
"I guess that's why you left." Olhos looked around the decaying town. "Because those trolls destroyed everything. But where did you guys go?"
"We went to Razin," Sun said. "It took us two days to get there, thanks to the shortcut. Then we challenged their former Chief to a duel, and when Smoke won, we merged our two tribes together." Then Sun had a brilliant idea, "You should come with us! We're heading north to talk to the tribe there, and you could be our guide. Then once our business there is done, we can take you home. I bet your former followers would be happy to see you."
"No, I'm fine living on my own."
"Are you serious? Doesn't it get lonely?"
"It does, but I would rather be here. But I can be your guide. I lived with the tribe north from here with Sum, if you guys remembered him."
"Great! Let's go!" Sun jumped on his feet.
"Wait, right now?"
"Yeah, we're kind of in a hurry." Sun paused, "Oh, but if you need time to prepare, that's totally fine."
Olhos stared in the direction of the little shed he hid at night. He clenched his teeth before giving his answer, "No, I don't need much time to prepare." Olhos grabbed the helmet, hanging on the sword, and placed it on his head. "I'm ready when you are."
The brothers welcomed Olhos with opened arms, and the five of them went on their way. Olhos asked about the loud sound he heard earlier; it was apparently Rock tripping while hunting for a deer. That also explained the blood he smells on Stick's body.
Sun cooked the meat and divided it evenly among the four of them. He gave one to Olhos, but he refused, stating to Sun that he was committed to a vegetarian diet, much to the brother's surprise. While they walk, Sun told Olhos about their journey and explained to him how they became what they are now. And that their mission to meet the northern goblin tribes were connected to their new form.
Olhos knew it was related to their powerful form, but when he mentioned the city goblins that also looked like them, the brothers looked at him in dismay. "That can't be possible, can it?" Stick wondered.
"You think it's related to Pagasa's former student." Smoke asked.
"Maybe," Sun answered, "But let's not worry about it now. We cross the bridge when we get there. For now, we need to form an alliance with the northern tribe." Olhos wondered what the alliance could be for, and to his surprise, Sun answered his curiosity. "We're planning to go to war."