Born First

Scrottus tapped a crossbow bolt on the metal plate in his skull. His little tribe had been sharing stories of their youth. Though the goblin chose to process little more than the soft murmurs of their voices. His decrepit little mind had a difficult time with chronology and facts. More specifically he could never remember what it was he was supposed to remember about any given thing. The tapping intensified until each of his companions had shot him disapproving glares while trying to listen to Kaji. Scrottus wondered for a moment at what they had hoped to stir in him with those looks. A few dozen more taps and he decided keeping them pleased enough to continue defending him would be the goblin thing to do. A few dozen more taps and he stopped.

The murmurs shifted in pitch and he knew his turn was fast approaching. Memories of a goblin female whelping him flashed to his mind. Or was that his offspring. Would he remember seeing himself be born? The plate on his skull begin to feel hot. He remembered a fire or at least had the scars that told him so. He remembered the burnt flesh of his tribesblins filling him with a gnawing hunger. Did he set the fire or had it been an attempt on his life. He remembered worshippers and Maglubiyet. Had he been sacrificed to the flaming goblin or had the fire been Maglubiyet eradicating the cult of Scrottus. “…the scrottila…” He quietly whispered the name. Refusing to believe he was doing so out of fear of his god.They called him the firstborn, though he remembered less than usual about who “they” were. The voices paused and he saw that their eyes were on him. The goblin hopped to his feet making himself maybe an inch taller than he was when sitting on his stump.

“I come from the place all goblins do…” he said. His companions looked confused. Bowlt was about to speak when the goblin continued. “…but the comin’s and goin’s of goblins don’t make for exciting tellings. I wanna tell yous about why they” who were they? the globin pondered “call me the firstborn!” He could see intrigue wash across his tribes’ faces. Often had they wondered why this disfigured little murderer called himself the firstborn. “Many… long time… ago in a cave hidin’ behind water fallin’ a great big ol’ goblin tribe sat and whispered many no-tells. Layin’ on black stones were a tribesfem sick and dead…”

Kaji interrupted “How can you be sick and dead? Doesn’t the latter nullify the former?”

Idiot thought Scrottus to himself, of himself. Or did he. His evil little eyes looked to Carver.

Carver… he thought wrathfully. If the shade was reading his mind it gave no sign. Or maybe his mind was too disorienting to be read. This pleased the devious little wretch. Kaji continued “So? How was she sick and dead?”

“Yes, yes, blame the dark one! He distract Scrottus and waste time! umm… what had happened was… her soul caught a plague!” The others looked incredulous or perhaps impressed. Yes, yes, my tale enthralls them! the words echoed in the goblin’s skull. “Her soul needed healin’ but the chief said to send her to Maglubiyet. The shamans raised much fire and cooked her flesh to free her soul. As her fleshed cooked her womb was burst by my tiny, deadly claws! I crawled from her wounds to the floor of the cave. They named me Scrottus the firstborn… for I was born first and my fleshed look to them as the son-sack of our men.” His companions looked upset and aghast. And yet they seemed eager for more. “How did you survive?!” they all belched in unison.

Scrottus’ pupils overtook his eyes like a shark. He remembered something, clearly this time, he had seen the sheblin be burnt. And watched the child emerge but he was not the child. He had been compelled, somehow, to wade through the flames. To devour the child and take its dark blessings. He remembered many goblins screaming. His plate burned and now it felt like those dark flames.

The silence hung in the air for a while before Terios shifted and said “Well then, I suppose it’s my turn.” Scrottus stared at the dirt and tried to draw a timeline of his life. A few moments later, and more twists and turns than the arrow of time allows, he felt the futility of the endeavour. The minotaur no doubt would have harrowing exploits to distract his cursed mind.

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