A small boy awakens on straw staring up at the sky. Grinning at the blue sky; he mocks the clouds above. The condition of the boy wearing nothing but a pair of tattered shorts becomes clear. His skin only shows a color do to the suit that has settled on him from head to toe. His ribs, and back stick out of his skin like ripples in sheets. Though his smile doesn’t fade as he knows how lucky they are to see the day. His spirit surpasses his physical appearance. As he walks without shoes through a shortened torn patch he remains joyous. His feet pass through unable to penetrate scar tissue from previous travels through harsher environments.
In the distance a woman’s voice rings out, calling a name repetitively in a slightly annoyed tone. The child no older than seven sits up and looks off towards a small hut made out of branches. A women with long flowing brunette hair wearing a dirty faded blue dress stands waving at him to come towards her. Her age is clearly in her thirties and the years were hard. Her face is has the markings of a thief and whore indicated by letters branded into her cheeks. A P for prostitute and a T for thief. Her wrists shine with scars from former shackles. Letting out a sigh he stands and begins to meander his way over to her.
Boy,” yes mother? ”
Mother,” Glenn I need to run to the river to gather up some water so we can wash up before your brother arrives and I need you to wait here him.”
Glenn,” Alright…I guess..do I really need to wash up though its a waste of water.”
Mother,” Yes, you do you haven’t washed in a while…and it will be dark here soon.”
Glenn,” I know but…”
Mother,” No but…just get your brother a bed made up so he can rest, a trip to town takes a lot out of him.”
His mother gathers up a two buckets which may be the only thing they own that is not in rough shape. With a sigh she uses some vines to tie the buckets to each end of a long pole like stick. She lefts up the stick and places on her shoulders wrapping her arms around each end to hold it firmly in place. She begins to walk off down a faded trail towards a small river that ran about two miles away on the edge of a dead forest.
Glenn sighs watching his mother fade off into the distance, picking up a stick he begins to practice his letters in a small patch of dirt. A few hours pass and darkness begins to fall. Slightly worried, for his mother should have returned before dusk. He works on attempting to start a fire. Heading inside he sits down next to a small pile of sticks and straw. Placing the straw in the center of a small fire pit inside the home of sticks and vines. He begins to hum a tune his mother hummed to him to calm him when he was little to numb the worried feeling that was slowly growing. Picking up a stone of flint and a small dulled knife which he slides harshly against to stone to create a spark. After several minutes he manages to catch the straw on fire with a small ember. Blowing on the spark it begins to glow. Smiling having started his first fire on his own he wondered what his mother will say when she gets back.
The glow of the fire shines out of the cracks of the hut. With the light he sets up his brother a place to sleep next to his and his mothers. His brother had been gone for a few days. the small village was about a days trek away, though he often wondered why they lived so far away from town he never did ask assuming that his mother knew best. The brother was only 13 and his mom promised once Glenn turned ten he could go with him to town. He looked forward to the experience of seeing other children and hoping maybe he could play with them as his brother took care of business. His thoughts were interrupted by a smell that he had never smelled before.
It was foul and alarming, turning he looked out the entrance of the hut to see a stocky thing with green skin and pointy ears looking in on him. Its mouth had rows of semi sharp teeth as its lips had red blood dripping down from it. Though it very large by any means but was bigger than the boy. It stood on two leather armor covered its body though the condition was very poor, in its hand was a long jagged dagger which had a rough and long life as well. Took him but a second to realize that he was staring at a goblin. Sliding back his hand landing on the dull knife he used to start the fire he grasped it.
Goblin, “whats…this…?” the goblin’s skills at the common language was limited at best. Grinning it entered the hut. The boy held up the knife and the goblin let out a cackling laugh.
Goblin, ” cute….soft…bony….not much meat….” The goblin look at the boy closely slightly disappointed upon his find.” NOt hungry now….eat tomorrow…”
The goblin put away his dagger without taking his eyes off the boy. Taking a step towards Glenn who let out a scream. It was at the moment the Goblin felt something alarming in his chest as he looked down at a small piece of metal sticking out of his leather armor. Confused, by it he reached to touch it cutting his finger on it. At this point he realized the pain he was in and it he could no longer breathe. Turning his head as best he could get Saw a larger boy holding a short sword that had been embedded into the back of the of the beast. Gagging the goblin fell to its knees and the boy let go of the sword. The goblin then fell over onto its side and life faded from its eyes.
Boy,”Glenn are you okay? Wheres mom?
Glenn remained still, his grip on the knife was strong as it remained pointed outward toward the goblin’s mortal coil. Unable to speak nor blink: his brother clapped his hands to get Glenn’s attention. Glenn turned and looked at his brother a moment before tears came across his face. He stood and rushed over to his brother dropping the knife as his arms raised to grab a hold of his brother who welcomed him with open arms. Scared Glenn dug his face into his kin’s chest. It was at this point he began to blurt out. ” Kross.” sobbing “Kross..mom went to the river and hasn’t come back…”
Kross,” shhh…its alright now but we need to go…” Kross knew that if one goblin was around more were sure to be in the area pushing Glenn aside he quickly put out the fire as the sounds of a horn blew off in the distance, searching the goblin he removing the sword from the back of the goblin with a steady jerk, he began to remove the armor and collected the goblin’s weapon. Placing the leather armor covered in black blood around Glenn and suiting him up it was a little big for Glenn, but now was not the time to be concerned with such things. Kross wrapped the belt for the sheath of the dagger around his younger brothers waist placing the dagger in it’s home. Taking his brothers hand he pulled him out of the hut.
Kross himself was about a foot taller than his brother and a bit more stocky having been keeping himself composed he wore a slightly worn shirt and pants as well as shoes that shown some wear and tear but still had some life to them. Dragging his brother out into the night, they heard an approaching group coming up the trail leading to the river. Kross shook his head knowing they could not make it town without being spotted. Kross ordered Glenn to dive into the small hay pile that he had been resting on earlier that day.
Glenn took a moment to follow his brothers orders as the fear of being killed grew greater as the sound of the small hoard grew louder. He wondered why his brother wasn’t coming too the pile of hay was big enough to cover them both.
Darth ran back behind the house where he had dropped his spoils from the village earlier having seen the goblin enter the hut. The bag was rather large considering the size of the young man who had carried it all this way. Hurry as fast as he could he joined his brother in the hay, covering the bag as best he could without leaving him or his brother exposed. The goblin mass passed by the straw as a few broke off to investigate the hut finding their dead ally they let out a horrid scream causing the night to fill with the sound of horror. The goblins tore down the hut letting out a war cry they stormed off towards the town assuming someone was already heading their to warn them.
Glenn and Darth remained hidden till dawn. Once the sun rose Darth poked his head out telling his brother to remain hidden. Darth headed off towards the river at a running pace. Upon arriving he began to look around for signs of his mother carefully searching the sides of the rivers and the tracks that lay in the wet earth. Seeing signs of his mother tracks among the claw marks of the goblins; he began to realize the truth of what had happened. Searching for a while he saw some drag marks in the softened soil. Tears began to form around his eyes as he followed it seeing bits of a faded blue dress stained with blood along its grooves. He found his mothers remains tied to a tree. The goblins had cut the flesh from her bones till there was barely anything left. Falling to his knees he began to weep.
After a few moments of morning he stood knowing his brother was alone and scared. He untied his mother from the tree and placed her body in the river watching the water carry it away. He again begun to cry knowing he could never tell his brother what he had found. That there would be no grave to come back to, that she was gone forever. After he regained his composure he began to head back to his brother at a quickened pace.
Upon returning he sees his brother sitting on top of the hay stack with a smile on his face. Confused Kross approached him.
Kross,” Glad to see you smiling again Glenn. ”
Glenn very excited responded, ” Kross, Kross, you wont believe it but I saw a wizard.”
Kross,” Glenn what are you talking about no one is here. ” Looking around he saw no signs or marks of a traveler nor wizard that his brother was claiming. ” Where did he go? What did he look like?”
Glenn,” Kross when you left he appeared next to our hut.” Glenn pointed to the hut that had been repaired. A smile on his face.” You see the wizard waved his hand and the hut was back again. The wizard was dressed in all grey and he had creepy black eyes, but he was really nice. Told me a secret he did and gave me this.” Glenn holds up a black coin with a raven on it.” He said if I ever have a wish all I need to do is flip this coin and he will come back to grant it.”
Kross,” give me that.” Kross demanded and Glenn closed it up in his hands screaming.
Glenn,” NO, I CAN’T, he said if anyone ever touched it other than me it wouldn’t work. ”
Kross,” now your just making stuff up let me see it. ”
Glenn,” NO, I wont. IF I do it wont work don’t you get it? The wizard was very stern about that.”
Kross,” fine then be that way, I don’t want to look at the stupid coin anyway. I brought back better stuff than that from town.” Kross digs out the bag from the hay and pulls out some apples tossing his brother one who fails to catch it as he holds onto the coin tightly. Kross sighs and picks up the apple, dusting it off hands it to Glenn who takes it with his empty hand and ravenously eats it. Kross also pulls out some salted pork and some shoes for his brother as well as a brand new shirt. In the bottom of the bag he sees the coffee his mother requested, with a sigh a tear runs down his face as he lifts it out of the bag.
Glenn,” thank you for the cloths and shoesKross you are the best brother a boy could have you know that. Whats that stuff?
Kross,” Coffee for mother..” he says as sadness creeps into his tone.
Glenn,” for who?”
Kross,” Mother you dult”
Glenn,” who? ”
Kross,” stop it thats not funny”
Confused Glenn looks at Kross. Glenn,” I am not being funny Kross, who are you talking about?”
Kross now getting angry,” What are YOU talking about? Mom our mother, the lady that takes care of us. ”
Glenn,” what lady its always been just you and me,” Glenn slips on the shoes which have some room to grow as he tosses the shirt on over the leather armor. still holding onto the coin.
Kross,” NO it hasn’t you jerk. Mom….Mother…” Kross looks over at Glenn who has a confused smile on his face as he seems to have honestly no clue what Darth is talking about. “Eat up, we are going to move somewhere nicer.” Kross says with a forced smile fighting back the tears, not sure whats going on with his brother but he decides it might be for the best. Means Glenn wouldn’t be burden by the loss of their mom as he is.
Years pass as they travel from town to town stealing and conning what they needed to survive, as Glenn held onto the coin. Once Glenn reached 16 he fell in love with a women and soon they had a family. Glenn got a job as a farm hand and stopped his life of crime. Kross decided it was time for him to move on that Glenn had a real future before him and it wouldn’t be fair for him to continue to hold him back. As Kross’ crime kept him on the move, to avoid being captured. One day Kross left his brother a note leaving in the dead of night wishing Glenn the best of luck; telling him he would be back from time to time with gifts for him and his family. It was at this time Kross took up drinking coffee and began to explore the world on his own.