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The Storm of Destiny

by C. D. Ratliff

Ganth watched the slaughter with glee; tiny figures fell before the approaching line of black-robed wizards. The terror began at dawn when the broken body of Lamia, a young witch from Castle Reach was found amidst her cauldron and herbs. From the cliffs the goblin watched unseen the results of his vengeful handiwork. Annihilation had found the goblin village that had banished him.

Brilliant flashes of wizard fire toppled trees and cottages like toys a petulant child grew tired of. His clan was destroyed by the terrible assault of her kinsmen as Ganth looked on. They’d showed him no mercy with their judgment; he’d shown them none with his revenge.

The witch had been disgustingly easy to kill — the deed was done in five minutes. It took longer to plant signs of many killers rather than just one. Beside her body he left a silver arrow bent double: the symbol of a goblin enemy slain.

Ganth retreated into his cave feeling clever. At first light he would return and scavenge what remained of his former village; as the only survivor the plunder was rightfully his. He slept.

Through the fog of sleep came the sounds of dread. Ganth moved not a muscle. His cleverness never slept and he knew to be still. The apparition appeared a few feet from his face as he lay stone-still. He knew her before she spoke. He’d expected this would happen; he didn’t expect what she said.

“The wizards come for you. My sister, Mila used the Talking Stones of Divination, they told her the truth.” The sad face of the murdered witch dissolved into the dark.

Ganth rose tossing his bed aside and prepared to flee. Goblins had no defense against wizard magic, and magic was coming for him. He should have foreseen — but no matter; he would be gone before they arrived; they would find only his scent.

Tying his belongings into a kerchief he hurried to the door. Silence met his keen ears and he grinned before stepping out into the night.

A solid line of black-robed avengers appeared from the darkness; a semi-circle closing his path to freedom. Mila came forward and stood before him trembling. Her arm raised, her finger pointed at him and she spoke.

“Lamia was preparing the draught that would take her life softly and peacefully. She sought to escape the painful, fatal illness that claimed her when you came. You tortured her, a body too weak to escape.” Tears covered her face but she didn’t look away.

“My gift to you is the disease she suffered. Have you the courage to end it? I think not!” Mila folded her arms and a green glow covered his body. Ganth vomited blood as the knife-like pain seized him.

“Enjoy your revenge Ganth: you’ve earned it.” The circle of robes faded into the dark leaving the dying goblin to enjoy his reward.

Copyright © 2007 by C. D. Ratliff

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