The screams and roars woke Jond from his sleep. Peering through his frosty window, he saw twisting pillars of orange and red spreading over the city and licking at the night sky.
Downstairs he found his father strapping on his armor. “What is it, father?”
“It is nothing to fear, my son,” Jarn said. “Some goblins have foolishly broken through the city gate. Will you hand me Bearclaw?”
Jond grabbed the mighty sword from the table and nearly buckled under its weight. With two hands, he strained to get it to his father who grabbed it with one hand and strapped it around his waist.
“Into the cellar until it passes,” Jarn said.
“But father, I can help. I – “
“Into the cellar, Jond. Now.”
His father’s voice sent shivers through his body and at once he rushed downstairs. He knew it was that same voice that kept the ragtag Green Army alive when the Necromancer landed at Spiral Shore.
In the cellar, Jond stood atop a barrel and peered through the street-level window. He could see half-naked goblins with gnarled bare feet and wooden clubs chasing after terrified townsfolk. Other goblins snacked on the goods from abandoned food carts while others threw their torches onto thatched rooftops.
Jarn limped down the stairs of the house and into the street where several goblins came after him. With Bearclaw in his hand, he made short work of the menaces. A few more tried him and failed and the pile of dismembered goblins surrounding him kept others at bay. From afar, they hurled rocks and apples and yelled profanities, but they looked defeated.
“This city is under my protection. Leave at once and I will not chase you and exterminate your race,” Jarn shouted. “Have you no idea who I – “
A gurgling roar shook the house and sent the goblins scattering. A goblin, four times the size of the other goblins, appeared in the street. Atop its head sat a crown of twisted metal and in its hand it held a club that looked to be as tall as Jarn. Parts of its tattered armor were alight with flame but it did not seem to notice.
“Identify yourself,” Jarn shouted.
The goblin king roared something unintelligible and advanced. Jarn slashed at the monster’s torso, opening a wide wound. The goblin king laughed and with one mighty swing it shattered Bearclaw and left Jarn a crumpled, bloody mess.
Jond suppressed his urge to run outside. He spent the rest of the night watching the goblins run amok as they burned houses, stole valuables and carried women and children off to the forest.
He ventured out at daybreak after the goblins had left, the fires had burned themselves out and the ash had settled on the street like the white blanket of the first snowfall. His father’s corpse was stiff and he dared not look at the eyes.
Instead, he picked up every shard of Bearclaw and went to look for a forge.