Our story begins in the city of Polx—formerly Polkspire, the city of industry and light. Those of you who make a habit to know who’s who and what’s what may know of Polkspire, and some of you may even have been to that glorious city, but for those of you who did not go, and now will never have the chance, I am sad to report that it was in a terrible state.
After the horrible siege of the city by the orcs and trolls and their monstrous kin, the foul beasts decided that it was not enough to rip through our walls and run the hundreds of kind people out of their homes with fire and blood. No! They had to mock us by setting down camp and infesting the remnants of the city as if it were their own.
Approaching the city, I found the rumors to be true. The great outer wall—which I myself once called completely impenetrable—was knocked in on the southern end of the city. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Cracked marble from the wall poured into the city, crushing at least a dozen houses. Around the walls, they had formed their huts from mud and rocks. They piled mud and rot up into tall mounds like hills, which now extend from the city’s outer walls where the butterfly bush used to grow. They connect in haphazard tunnels like great big worms, intersecting with and crossing over each other into an intestinal pattern through which all myriad of monster travel along in darkness and in secret. They’ve also hacked down the sacred forests which once held the shrine to Sol, the sun god, to form the new barricades around the city. A dreadful looking thing made of uneven, hastily carved spikes pointing out to all who dare gaze upon the city.
I thought to myself that this must be some illusion—I’d heard many stories about the traitorous Great Wizard who lived amongst them who may be capable of such a feat—but as I approached I found it all to be true. This was no glamour, but the hard, corporeal truth.
I mourn to say the interior was worse off. These were streets built for proud men. Back when Polkspire still basked in the glorious light of the empire I made the mistake of entering the city in my scholarly robes instead of my formal robes and I found myself horrified at how underdressed I looked amongst the pristine city. I had to change immediately while still in my carriage so as to not look so out of place amongst the residents. I loathed the sight of those disgusting creatures beside the fractured marble of the buildings—which nary a year before towered above the world immaculate and splendiferous but now stood in careless decay.
The goblin kin are vile creatures of the night and so they fear all light by which we find the glory of Sol. Across the roofs, which were once built so perfectly as to just barely pierce the sunrise and cast shadow only across the other buildings and near the main roads, they had randomly hung great lengths of fabric which hung low to the street in the many places where they hadn’t bothered to support it. The white marble roads, which once beamed beneath the feet of important men as they traveled to and from important places, lay in the flickering shadows of the odd bonfire. They were caked in layers of mud so thick that the only marble that shone through was that which had been cracked and lifted up from it’s proper setting.
As you know, Orcs and trolls and the like have no interest or need for great works of art and have since, as far as I can tell, torn down nearly all they could find inside the city walls. Trolls especially, being petrified into stone when hit by direct sunlight, greatly despise the sight of stone men. They have since destroyed. I’ve seen one who, lumbering through the city center, had caught sight of the statue of the great king Ronan (which was dedicated after his victory against the menfolk of the southern provinces not one hundred years ago). It raised its club above its head and struck it down across the face, cleaving the head from the statue. It did so with such anger that I, being close enough to the creature’s eye line at the time, thought it must have caught sight of me and was about to snuff me out.
There are three main monstrous races that have infested this dear city. The trolls are easily the worst of the bunch. Pray you never encounter one on the battle field, friend, for they are three times the height of any man and stink like a bog pit. Their extra long arms drag on the ground as they walk, and so they’ve come accustomed to walking on all fours, but can easily enough stand on their stumpy legs and make an intimidating impression before they strike down with their club and crush you into a red paste. They are excessively hairy, and so they wear very little clothing. I cannot yet tell the males and females apart. Like dwarves, both the male and the females grow extraordinary beards which they bind, like their manes, in greasy braids with beads of every color woven into the strands. They seem to mostly live outside the city, in the tunnels they built, due to their immense size and paralyzing hatred of sunlight.
Beside the trolls, stand the orcs. Orcs, as you know, are cruel beasts made of pure muscle, with no tender spots on their whole bodies. They’ve got a sickly pale color to their skin, with hints of green beneath the surface. Their ears are pointed sharper than even the elves’ ears, and are thin as paper so they tear easily and lay tattered on each side of the head. They are the least offensive of the horde, standing remarkably close to human—except for their squashed noses and beady eyes. However, don’t think that means they are not merciless beasts. They fight with long barbed swords which stick in the flesh and rip it apart. They relish the fight, and when there is no fight to be had, they will turn on each other. I have seen orcs eating calmly beside each other one minute, and pulling blades on each other the next, just to pass the time.
And beneath both of these sits the goblin. Some of you have probably seen goblins before, or at least the tail end of one as you chase it down the street. They’re not terribly big, and like the little people of the Eastern coasts, they stand at about half our height or smaller, with a good portion of their height coming from their great big ears which often stand up like a jack rabbit’s upon approach. They are one of the least hairy of the monstrous races, with just the cap of dark curly hair a top their heads—though I’ve heard of some having quite glorious arm hair and even some with patches of feathers on their body. They have a great variety to them, much more so than the other races. So much so that two goblins of the same family may look, to the untrained eye, like two completely different species. Their skin is sickly green like the orcs and trolls—but often mottled in color which helps them hide easily in the branches of trees. Their thin spindly arms have great muscular hands—that could be just as easily described as paws—with long curved nails that can scrape the marrow from a bone in one clean swipe. The goblin’s defining features is its face. Their eyes have no whites, only big yellow orbs with slitted pupils like a cat’s. If you happen to see one blink you may catch a second set of clear eyelids closing sideways across the eyeball which allow them to see even when deep in murky water. Their mouths open wide across the face to allow an unobstructed view of every one of their yellowed, knife-like teeth.
I have never seen a goblin which I like.