Go-blin-al - Table of Contents
:: Go-blin-al Heroes ::
:: A night with the Skullz ::
Go-blin-al Heroes and Legends
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A night with the Skullz
I've seen Go-blin-als in and around Spur before. I've spoken with some, sometimes exchanged moderately friendly words with some, and I've laughed at some of their childish antics, which often seemed irritating, and at times cruel, but in the grand scheme of things, fairly harmless.
Yet in a recent evening I spent with the Skullz, the last remaining Go-blin-al tribe of Spur, I received a jarring lesson of just how cruel and how dangerous Go-blin-als can be when traveling in packs.
"Did ye know dat sum ov uz cahn be quite mild, but in a mob, da chaoz in da blud cauzez uz to loze it?" Weaver Greyrune, a runemage and the shaman of the Skullz, asked me during my time with the Go-blin-als. His question, which I presumed rhetorical, summarized my observations succinctly.
I also observed how effectively Go-blin-als can come together behind a common cause. For all the insults and blunt objects they hurl at one another, there is a remarkable kinship among Go-blin-al-kind, perhaps by necessity, given how their temperaments, tendencies, and general hygiene tends to clash with that of the rest of the world.
What have I stepped into?
Fittingly, the evening's events began on a pungent note as I awaited the arrival of the Skullz at the spot selected by their chieftain, Grimn Flintfeet: the outhouse north of the Oak Woods.
I had requested we meet at the bar in the hostel, but he insisted on the outhouse, giving this reason for the unusual interview spot: " DeN if hav go poop duriN inteview, Not hav eNy dizruptiN."
I figured it was better to spend some time surrounded by the unfortunate smells of the outhouse and my companions than be banned from a potential drinking establishment (again) for bringing in a group of guests who may not be capable of controlling their bladders (among other things).
I arrived at the outhouse a few minutes early to prepare myself for what would predictably turn out to be an unpredictable meeting. As I tested out my newly purchased quill and rifled through my notes, a few young gypsy children gathered around. I was happy to tell them a couple of jokes, which didn’t seem to go over very well, then urged them to leave because of the company I was expecting. Unfortunately, the children didn't budge, and I wasn't insistent.
The first to arrive was Condie Mull, one of the few female members of the Skullz. We greeting one another quickly, then the stocky female made a beeline into the outhouse. Within moments, she managed to produce smells so foul that flowers wilted around me. She emerged from the outhouse looking markedly slimmer.
Soon after, a parade of pungent, short-statured Skullz marched on the scene, trailing their chieftain. Including Condie, there were now ten Go-blin-als before me. Some I recognized, others I didn't. And as I should have expected, chaos ensued before any of us uttered a word. Leroy Cornbread, later identified as "muscle" of the Skullz, hacked at one of the children with a meat cleaver. The violent blow knocked the child to the ground.
I managed to utter, "Hey!", which turned out to be the last word the child would ever here: A second blow from Cornbread, and the child was dead.
"Haw haw," Cornbread laughed.
Other members of the Skullz laughed along.
Seconds later, a second member of the group, Chookub Gadzook, who looked like an unkempt Flerian at first glance, stabbed at another of the children with a steel dagger.
"Stop it," I demanded, but within moments, thanks to the collective efforts of four of the Go-blin-als, the second child died as well.
As I turned to leave in disgust, I caught out the corner of my eye Gadzook relieving me of some coins I had.
"Okay, interview over. Thanks fer yer time," I told them, and quickly made my way back to Spur. I was in no mood to spend another moment with the Skullz.
Something we can all agree on: poop
Soon, I was sitting in Town Square with a feeling in my stomach reminiscent of the one you wake up with the morning after a party at Scruple's house. I wanted to get to the tavern, drink a couple of tankards to purge from my mind the vision of what I had just witnessed, and then head to sleep.
But I decided instead to wait it out, to learn more about these Go-blin-als for my own enlightenment, and my own protection, and hopefully for that of anyone who was to read these words.
As I had expected, the Go-blin-als were quite keen on being interviewed and seeing their name and antics memorialized in print (whether or not all of them could read them). Into Town Square they marched, the odor of the outhouse clinging to them like a fly in a web. "Diz unrooly mob wuntz ahn interveew. De Shaman sey 'owz bowt we do it in uh safe place," Flintfeet informed me.
I expressed my disgust with their actions moments ago, to which Flintfeet replied, "Dem keedz wuz lookin at uz cockeyed"
"Dem kidz wuz askin fo it," Cornbread chimed in. "Dey wuz like, 'Pleez slotter us.'"
"Yooz shoult not hav had meetin in plaz wif kidz," Greyrune admonished me. "Everywun knowz wut happenz when too many Gobbiez in wun plaze."
I did know, but I steeled my resolve to continue this discussion, and I was willing to risk my standing with the hostel-bar owner and bring them there.
I stated only one stipulation for moving the interview to the hostel: "If any of you have to poop, go upstairs an' use on of the empty rooms."
My mention of 'poop' earned me more laughs than I'm accustomed to.
"Poop?" Cornbread asked.
Bushwig Bill, also Skullz muscle, agreed: "Poop."
Some laughter, then, "Poop!" Cornbread screamed.
"Poop!" Bill echoed the sentiment.
With a rather smug look, Flintfeet led the Skullz northeast toward the hostel. Finally, the interview would begin. "Rinanni help me," I murmured as I headed into the hostel.
A round of chaos, please!
"Hey bebe," Cornbread greeted me as I entered the bar. "Wanna ressil?"
I didn't. Instead, I pulled out my quill, which seemed to alarm the bunch. "What's dat fo?" Cornbread demanded.
"For writing," I explained. That seemed to be an acceptable answer.
I tried to ignore the jabbering in Go-blin-al, quite certain that what I didn't understand, I probably didn't want to.
I tried to maintain some control over the situation, asking if everyone spoke Common. Grimn countered my attempts by suggesting that ,"Diz be eezier if everehone talkz at once."
My initial attempts to simply wrest names from their mouths proved difficult, but I think the group, again, was so intent on being interviewed that most eventually complied.
In addition to the chieftain Flintfeet; the muscle Cornbread and Bill; the shaman Greyrune; Gadzook, whose hand had found its way into my pockets by the toilet (and who was stilled dressed as a Flerian); Bitly Buzybody, seemingly the eldest of the group who also happened to be blind; Shleegulz Parrifatz; and one other who Flintfeet told me had no name, and who didn't speak Common.. It turned out that Mull, their female counterpart had never made it back from the woods.
Her absence was noted, and some of them began demanding "boobiez." Being the only female present, this made me anxious. I tried to change the subject, so asked I about how one becomes a member of the Skullz.
"Ah'z come up tuh dem ahn iz lak, 'Ehz, yer be uh Skullz,'" Flintfeet informed me as a jade encrusted silver coronet bounced off of him. Some of the Go-blin-als were seemingly bored with my line of questions and had started throwing things at one another.
The criteria for being named a member of the Skullz were vague. From what I could glean, you have to be a Go-blin-al, and you had to be a member of the Skullz to be a member of the Skullz. I figured I wasn't eligible anyway, so I didn't probe, though I expected that you also were expected to ignore basic rules of hygiene too.
As some of the others expressed their vast amusement that I had said, "Member," Cornbread assured me that, "Skullz rule."
I didn't argue, but the sentiment was echoed repeatedly by the others.
They also said there used to be two tribes, but now there's one, but no one was able to focus long enough to go into the history.
The birds and the Gobbies
The discussion once again veered into talk of the opposite sex. Grimn noted that he has a child by a Go-blin-al named Grizzelda, who he also claimed was his sister. The relationship didn't last, he said, so now he is "wif dat ho' Condeh."
Bill, however, said that Mull is "Cheki's woman."
Regardless, Cornbread insisted that I note that "Condie is fat." But others went on to speak favorably about particularly large portions of her anatomy.
"But there's not a lot of Go-blin-al women in Spur, huh? How do you men manage?" I asked.
The question prompted Bill to bat his eyes at Cornbread and pull him close. "Dat's how," Bill told me.
Cornbread knocked him to the floor. I wondered if I was about to witness an alternative Go-blin-al mating ritural. Fortunately, I wasn't.
Being the nondiscriminating individuals they are, they told me that they're content with any women. "Seciansz!" Bill told me.
"Yeh, we'z mak it wif Seshunz," Flintfeet agreed.
Mull, the minority Go-blin-al females, later shared the brightside of being of the minority gender. "Iz gud gittinz da lubbinz. Ah swear!" she told me.
She laughed, then squealed a couple of times – I didn’t ask what memories prompted the latter noises –then added, "Ain't neber git bored, ah tellz yoo dat."
Go-blin-al for one and one for Go-blin-al
Determined to learn more about the Skullz itself, I asked what the purpose of the group was. "Main use ov da tribe iz pertekshun," Greyrune informed me.
From what, I asked?
Among other things, Flintfeet noted that the ruby dragon Slep'infir'a has taken an interest in attacking Go-blin-als of late.
This soon led to Flintfeet's demonstration of a weapon he had commissioned to protect against the Dragon: a "skatapult." ("Skat" is Go-blin-al slang for fesces.)
Grimn would later demonstrate the power of the skatapult, launching a piece of doo at Gadzook. It was a direct hit. My thoughts went out to Slep'infir'a's bondmate who might have to buff the dragon' scales if a scatapult attack proved effective on him.
But third-stage Dragons aren't the only sentient beings of Aradath that Go-blin-als view as a threat. Leuians, not surprisingly, do not mix well with Go-blin-als.
"We'z reeleh hate fleebagz," Flintfeet told me.
Why?"'Cuz dey iz alwayz tryin ta kilz us," according to Cornbread.
They don't care for Elves either. "Elves is dumb," Cornbread told me.
"Cept San elve" amended Gadzook.
But the Skullz claim that they managed to ally themselves with the Monitanians, or "Swamplingz."
Leader of the pack
Flintfeet, chieftain of the Skullz, had opportunities to demonstrate his leadership abilities during the interview.
After the incident by the outhouse, the female Mull had not returned with the Skullz. But partway into the interview, she stormed into the hostel, irrate. Apparently, the nameless Go-blin-al of the Skullz had killed her by accident, presumably as they were fighting the gypsy children.
"Weer iz 'imz!?", she demanded.
The guilty Go-blin-al emerged from the shadows, rattling of something in Go-blin-al. She was too busy strangling Gadzook to notice immediately. But she did soon enough, and punched him squarely in the jaw.
Flintfleet looked on with obvious displeasure. "Dat not spozed tuh happin," he told me.
His solution to the problem? "Ah wuz gunneh keel him fo' it, but den dat not mek nuh sense. If ah keeled him fo' killin `blinz dat be stoopit," he continued.
Fortunately, as the leader, Flintfeet succeeded in resolving the problem in a swift and fair manner. He calmly discussed the situation with both Go-blin-al, explaining each side of the story.
"Ohz, [and] ah stuk him wif muh nife," Flintfeet added.
There's clearly no justice like Go-blin-al justice.
Skullz for hire
The Skullz are for hire. "We'z do enethin' fo' munee," Flintfeet proclaimed. "We'z gut folkz, we rooin tingz... We steal stuff, wez eevin danze nekid."
None would give me a quote as to how much a naked Go-blin-al dance would cost, though I expected getting it to stop would cost even more.
The group even went so far as to demonstrate for me some of the skills and techniques. They decided to create what they call a "roadblock," which entailed gathering by a gate and closing it, then charging people to pass (whether the payee knew or not that he or she was paying).
The demonstrated several techniques, from subtle pickpocketing and disguises to more blatant threats and uses of weapons. They didn't seem intent on killing any of their roadblock victim so much as wreaking some profitable havoc while amusing themselves.
The group wasn't particularly discriminatory so far as who they'd block: Secians, homicidial hand clerics of Taath, wayward bards; all fair game. (They didn't seem overly particular in what they got from the victims either, be it coin or one victim's lollipop.)
As I left the Skullz, they were in the midst of a fiery battle with a Penthanian runemage, whose act of translocating away their shaman had sent the group into a blood-frenzy. The prospect of inhaling the scent of singed Go-blin-al was not appealing, and besides, I had seen enough, so I called it a night.
Looking back at my evening with The Skullz, a quote from the blind old Go-blin-al stands out in my mind. "Gob'z iz hoard creturez; we needz ta stick t'gedder," were Bitly Buzybody's parting words.
For better or for worse, it seems, and despite their chaotic ways, The Skullz under the leadership of Grim Flintfeet, should manage to stick together nicely. Especially if they continue not to bathe.
Posted: The 7th day of the 8th month in the year 319
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