Skippy’s Field Preface and Chapter One

The beginning.

Field Entry Preface:

My people have known about the existence of Pingo Village for some time now. The village first appeared fifty years ago when a small group of goblins was driven south by their larger, nastier cousins, the hobs, and by the ever-encroaching threat that is the double-dealing, cattle-stealing, pocket-rubbing, pig-faced scum known as the orcs.

As an eager young scholar from the Royal Scribes Academy of Hafenstadt, I took it upon myself to study these fascinating creatures firsthand by pretending to be one of them, thereby immersing myself in their culture, and thereby learning all of the secrets of this fascinating subgroup of lower humanoids.

However, I think some explanation of my own history and credentials is in order.

I, if you did not know, am a hafling that was raised in the quaint little village of Poppy Seed, a hafling village under the protection of the human realm of Auserset. I was born Skippinus Parsnip Willowfluff, though I and my associates refer to me simply as “Skippy.”

My mother and father were, and still are, distillers of wines and other various liquors, so I am well familiar with such spirits, though I, myself, tend to avoid them. My mother says that I was conceived after she and my father drank copious amounts of broccoli wine while smoking, according to them, “a field’s worth of Green Jane.” I, personally, believe their fortuitous excess in such is the source of my exceptional intelligence and scholarly curiosity.

I spent much of my childhood working in the family business, but during my spare time, I explored quite prolifically, often journeying into the neighboring fields, woods, and even other people’s houses at times, and this was also where I unwittingly learned about female anatomy, as I accidently stumbled upon young, unmarried Gerty Pumpkinbutter’s bath time, although the incident only occurred a mere twelve times.

My parents decided to send me to the big city after that to, and I quote, “stem my curiosity.” Little did they know that the port city of Hafenstadt would be the answer to my prayers, as it afforded me all of the amenities I would need to sate my burgeoning curiosity. I was enrolled in the Royal Scribes Academy, where I have been living and studying for the last nine years.

Now, at the mere age of twenty-one, I am working on my first field study, and I have chosen as my subject of interest the Goblinicus Cowardicius, otherwise known as the common Jade Goblin, or just the “Goblin” to laypeople.

Through much prior research in the Royal Scribes Academy Library, I discovered that there is little known about the common Jade Goblin, other than that they are thieves, they are scavengers, they believe in a strange, unknown religion, their females do not wear clothes, they have a terrible lack of culinary mastery, their daily hygienic habits are unknown, and that their females do not wear clothes. Naturally, as a true scholar and researcher, I will discover all of the secrets of the common Jade Goblin, such as whether or not their females do not wear clothes.

My journal starts here because I have made contact with Pingo Village’s chief, a rather stout old goblin with one eye that simply goes by the name “Chief.” He has eagerly agreed to my research in Pingo, but that was mainly due to the fact that I have promised him various goods and sundries from Hafenstadt, of which he has already been supplied with some gooseberry pies, though I made those, myself.

The Chief and I have come up with a backstory as to where I have come from. Apparently, I am visiting from another tribe, that tribe called the “White Skulls,” and according to goblin gossip, the Skulls are the terror of the various goblin tribes. In light of such horrendous tales, no one will dare question my membership or status.

Also, apparently, according to the Chief…I, being a rather attractive young halfling and all, am considered quite horrendous-looking to his people, though I believe this simply to be his own personal bias. Nevertheless, if what he says is true, it should further cement my reputation as a “bad ass” from the White Skulls.

I shall write often in my journal so that I may create a comprehensive field guide for the layperson interested in learning about these fascinating lower humanoids.

Written this day, Julius 11th, in the age of King Rilewun, One Thousand Two Hundred and Twelve.

Skippinus P. Willowfluff


1: Churpo Bop…Vingo Pingo (Chapter One…Pingo Village)

The Chief gave Dulp the staredown. The Chief’s staredown was especially intimidating, as the old gob only had the use of one eye, the other covered by a thick black eyepatch, the origin of which, Dulp had no clue. Nevertheless, Dulp would not be intimidated by the crusty curmudgeon, even if the old gob was nearing *shudder* the ancient age of thirty.


Skippy’s Field Notes #1:

Gobs are a diminutive lot, not taller than four feet, though a four-foot goblin is considered quite tall, and bogos, the female of the species, tend to be taller than their males…I’ve also heard that bogos don’t wear clothes…Perhaps, it’s not a rumor…I should definitely investigate it…Anyway…

Gobs, the male of the species, range in color from a pale green to a forest green to black, though those of ebon skin are of orc-mix or half-orc, but unlike the foul, shoe-staining, woman-stealing, lower-than-algae scum that constitute the orcs, such ebon-skinned gobs are still considered kin and are treated thusly.

Gobs are bald, with smooth round heads and long, long pointed ears that can sweep back like a hare’s, though such long ears tend to have nicks and holes in them, I presume, from the hard life that gobs lead.

Contrary to popular belief, gobs have round, button noses, though the canines of their teeth are longer and sharper than ours, “fangs,” if you will, though I can only assume such fangs on a gob would only serve to frighten small children, as humans tend to look upon goblins, in general, as pests, and my kind tends to look upon them, in general, as the dirty thieving neighbors you don’t want lowering the value of your property by their mere presence.

Gobs wear a patchwork assembly that are made from clearly stolen clothes from nearby villages, though from what I understand, it is the bogos that cut and assemble the stolen cloth into wearable articles of clothing for the gobs. Such a reassembling of cloth explains why gobs tend to have bright patches of cloth covering otherwise plain clothing of white and brown. You may see a gob wearing a white shirt bedecked with patches of blue and orange, along with brown trousers that also have patches of red and yellow. Such a collage of colors reinforces my original statement upon seeing them, that being, “My word! If gobs are anything, they are colorful!”.

S.P.W.


“What?” shrugged Dulp.

“You know what!” yelled the Chief.

Dulp shrugged again.

Of course, he knew what. It was, in fact, he who had eaten the last chicken in the pen, and ever since the Great Gob had instilled within gobs the knowledge of how to fry these succulent fowl, they were any village’s greatest treasure.

“Urrrrg…” growled the Chief. “Never mind!…It doesn’t matter…You’ve got a job today.”

“Aww, crap,” mumbled Dulp.

“What was that?” asked the Chief.

“Nothing,” replied Dulp with a dismissive wave. “Continue.”

The Chief stepped aside to reveal someone Dulp had never seen, nor met before.

Before him and next to the Chief was the ugliest gob Dulp had ever laid eyes upon. This stranger was a little shorter than Dulp, but that’s where the similarities ended. This gob had pale, peach skin like a human, blonde, curly fur on his head, blue eyes—fra’kicken blue eyes!—and a…a, well…not goblin face. He had a button nose like a gob, but this…this stocky little thing was round in the face like he’d had more than his fair share of chickens from the pen, not lean and hungry like the rest of them.

He didn’t look like any gob Dulp had ever seen before. He looked more like a human, to tell the truth, but that was a pretty grave insult amongst gobs, so Dulp kept his mouth shut until the Chief did some explaining…and boy, did the Chief need to explain this one.

“This is Skippy,” growled the Chief. “He’s visiting from the White Skulls up north.”

The world grew very narrow in Dulp’s vision as his heart leapt into his throat.

The White Skulls were legend amongst goblin kind. They were the baddest of the bad, badcore from cradle to the grave, hardcore baddies that rode wargs right out of the womb, the best lancers in all the twelve tribes.

Dulp had heard about them, the White Skulls—Heckens, everyone had—but…he’d never thought he’d live to see one. Yep, this gob, “Skippy,” was an ugly beeyatch that was one to watch.

“He’s come down from the Broken Tooth,” grunted the Chief. “That’s the tallest mountain in the Wyrm’s Teeth Range. He’s taken the head off a dwarf before…so don’t piss him off.”

This gob, “Skippy,” looked over at Dulp, nodded once, and smiled. He had perfectly flat teeth…teeth he had clearly filed down…a sign that he didn’t need to look bad, no…He was bad.

“Uhhh…okay,” said Dulp warily.

“You’re gonna show him around while he takes notes,” grunted the Chief. “He’ll be staying for a while. Show him the village, but keep outta trouble…I mean it. We get in good with the White Skulls, and we got it made…You want it made? You wanna be a made gob? That’s what’s on the line.”

Dulp let that sink in. This was the type of glamorous life every little gobling dreamed of…to be a made gob…to sit on mounds of stolen gold Ausers, to sit in your own leather-backed comfy chair, to be surrounded by sixteen buckets of fried chicken…

“Hey!” exclaimed the Chief. “Are you listening, dillwit?”


Skippy’s Field Notes #2:

Apparently, a “made gob” is something for the males of the species to aspire to. I don’t know much about it yet, as everyone’s description of the designation tends to vary. What I can say is that it involves sitting around doing nothing while eating an assortment of favorite foods and enjoying various sundries of varying worth. Oddly enough, in such fantasies, females are never mentioned. How curious.

Also, apparently a “dillwit” is an insult in colloquial Gob, “Gob” being their spoken language and not to be confused with “gob,” the designation of being a male of the species. The “Dill” in “Dillwit” refers not to the pickled cucumbers my kind are familiar with, but to the gob male genitalia, so I can only assume the “wit” part speaks for itself. We have a similar insult in halfling, but it’s far coarser and much more derogatory, usually involving the part in question combined with “head,” although there are variations of it.

Nevertheless, I find it all very interesting…Isn’t language fascinating!

S.P.W.


“Yeah, yeah,” nodded Dulp. “Show him around the village. Got it.”

“Good,” grunted the Chief. “Now go be useful…as if that’s a possibility.”

The Chief waved him off and left him at the mercy of the village’s new guest, the old gob walking off to who knew where, probably back to his hutch.

Dulp ignored the crusty old gob’s departure, as there was a far more pressing concern at play…Skippy had walked up to him.

Up close, Skippy was even uglier and more disturbing than Dulp could imagine.

The ugly gob wore a good set of brown trousers, a sturdy leather belt with leather pouches hanging from it, a white wool shirt with actual wooden buttons, and a sturdy, sackcloth pack on the back like a human would wear. He also had some sort of leather strap acrost the curly blonde fur on the top of his head, that strap containing two glass circles strapped in leather, “goggles” as Dulp remembered them being called, and he wore actual leather boots, not bearstrips like most gobs wore.


Skippy’s Field Notes #3:

In a fascinating tidbit of information, gobs do not have traditional footgear. They instead wear strips of rough, fur-bound leather they call “bearstrips” across their bare feet, though the toes and heels poke through the front and back, somewhat like sandals, but without covering the entire bottom of the foot. However, it is highly doubtful these strips are made from actual bears, as most gobs are a cowardly lot prone to running and hiding at the first sign of trouble. From what I’ve seen, this group of gobs is no different in that respect.

Interesting note: Most halflings prefer to go barefoot, though we can and do wear shoes and boots as necessary. Obviously, I wore boots on this expedition to ensure that no gob becomes suspicious of my large hairy feet, but you know what they say about the size of a man’s feet!…Ah, ha!…Sorry, that was a bit of crude humor, but I must say, I slay me sometimes!

S.P.W.


Dulp decided to be cautious and prepare to run; that was the Way of the Gob. This “Skippy” was a dangerous fellow, even if he was ugly beyond belief, but to be fair, that ugliness only added to the gob’s street cred.

“Uhhh…I’m Dulp,” said Dulp. “I’m supposed to show you around, so…err…follow me.”

“Excellent!” smiled Skippy. “I can’t wait to see and explore everything!”

His voice made Dulp cringe. The ugly little gob’s dulcet tones were lilting and singsong; it was like listening to an elf, an uncomfortable thought at any time. Plus, Skippy’s accent was weird; Dulp had never even suspected that gobs from other villages sounded so differently.

“Yeah,” said Dulp cautiously. “Let’s…uhhh…Let’s just take a walk, and I’ll point stuff out.”

“Excellent!” smiled Skippy.

Dulp cringed at the sound of Skippy’s voice again. This was going to be a long day.

He led Skippy on a leisurely stroll through the center of the North Quarter, past the ramshackle hutches that currently surrounded the small “Square,” or the center of the Quarter.


Skippy’s Field Notes #4:

Gob houses are aptly named “hutches,” such as one would think of when involving domesticated hares, and the interior of such “hutches” isn’t much different from their animal counterpart.

Gob hutches are built from ramshackle mismatchings of various piles of wood, straw, stone, and what may or may not be mud. In spite of their looks, these monstrosities of engineering and architecture are quite secure in keeping out rain, holding in heat or ventilating as necessary, and purveying an internal comfort that says “okay.” The only thing they can’t seem to do is keep out bears. You would think that ursine protection would be an important feature for the average gob, but alas…no.

Gob domiciles are quite bare inside, save for a square hole in the floor covered by a hatch. This hole serves the purpose of waste removal and is centered over a deep well-like structure that tunnels many feet below the ground. All waste is thrown down there, including animal bones, old food, and of course, biological waste, so falling in one is not only a death sentence, but is probably one of the most horrible ways to die that I can imagine. These waste removal holes are called “murder holes,” though for the life of me, I can’t imagine why.

Other than that, gobs have a small bedding area made up of whatever blankets and cloth they manage to steal from wherever, though I’ve heard rumors that their females sometimes make them for them, but what gobs have to do to acquire such blankets from bogos, I cannot pry from even the most talkative gob.

It’s frustrating, really, but I will remedy that once I interview the bogos of Pingo Village. With my natural charm and good looks, I’m certain they’ll tell me the secret of why they make and give out such blankets to their male counterparts.

S.P.W.


“This is the North Quarter,” nodded Dulp. “This is where we gobs live. You can see the majority of the hutches around us, and that big one over there is where the Chief lives. We get most of our livin’ stuff done here, like sleeping and eating and stuff, and we keep the hutches close so that if one of us gets carried off, the others know to run.”

“Carried off?” asked Skippy. “Carried off by what?”

“You never know,” shrugged Dulp. “Wolves, bears, killer clowns, living dolls…It varies. We watch out for anything and everything.”

“Oh,” replied Skippy thoughtfully. “That’s actually pretty sma…Wait…Wait, wait, wait…What did you say? Did I hear that right?”

“Hear what right?” asked Dulp.

“Did you say ‘bears’?” asked Skippy.

“Oh, yeah,” nodded Dulp. “Old Thatch got carried off by one four-and-a-half seasons ago. A big brown sucker just smashed down his hutch and chewed him up like beef jerky. It was the talk of the village for an entire moon’s path.”

“Eww,” grimaced Skippy. “Never had a problem with bears before. Wolves, sure, but bears? Not so much.”

“Gotta keep a sharp eye out for ‘em out here,” nodded Dulp. “They sometimes like to disguise themselves as big rocks covered in brown fur. We’ve lost more than one gob that way. When I was young…oh, about ten full season-cycles ago, I remember when Bemmy Gimptoe leaned up against one and was immediately snatched up. Got chewed up like an old shoe in a doggo’s mouth. Grossest thing I ever saw.”

“Huh,” said Skippy thoughtfully. “I didn’t know gobs were so tasty to bears.”

“Eh,” shrugged Dulp. “I’ve heard we taste like chicken due to the sheer amount of chicken we consume.”

“Makes sense,” replied Skippy.

“Yeah, we had a song about Bemmy back in the day,” said Dulp.

He cleared his throat and then quietly sang the lyrics to a song that he hadn’t sung in a very long time.

“Bemmy Gimptoe, Bemmy Gimptoe. He’s a very tasty treat,” sang Dulp. “Bemmy Gimptoe, Bemmy Gimptoe. Yeah, he tastes like chicken meat.”

“Oof,” grunted Skippy. “That’s kind of disrespectful to the dead, isn’t it?”

“What?” asked Dulp. “Oh, wait…You mean the bear thing. Nah, we were singing that long before Bemmy got eaten.”

“Oh,” said Skippy, a look of stark confusion cast upon his ugly face.


Skippy’s Field Notes #5:

It’s quite fascinating how terrified your average gob is of bears. Apparently, this fear is grounded in not just fact, but in legend. One such tale involves the goblin village of Yamity, about fifty years past. In said village, it was said that in the middle of winter, a huge great-white ursine came down from the north to prey upon the innocent victims of the village, dragging gobs from their hutches and eating them whole without so much as scraps of clothing left behind.

It is said that the three bravest (relatively speaking) gobs hunted down and slew the beast, the beast, of which, they nicknamed “Paws,” and it’s said that the beast was so dangerous, it even came with its own ominous accompanying theme music.

Such a notion is ridiculous, of course. The goblin instinct is to run when comrades are in danger, which is the very reason their hutches are built so close together, not to rescue those in danger, but rather to run while the hapless victim is being mauled and eaten. Hence, the old gob saying of, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear. I just have to run faster than you.”

S.P.W.


They continued to walk all throughout their little conversation. They had crossed the Square into the East Quarter before Dulp had even realized they were somewhere new.

“Oh, wow,” he said as he looked around in surprise. “Guess we’re already here.”

“Here?” asked Skippy as he looked around in return. “Where’s here?”

“This is the East Quarter,” said Dulp matter-of-factly. “We keep our stuff here.”

Around them were a few small hutches, smaller than the average gob hutch anyway, and this sight was accompanied by the loud ringing of a hammer on steel, though the source of that sound was obscured by a line of said small hutches to the east of their immediate position.

“Stuff?” asked Skippy. “What kind of stuff?…And where is that noise coming from?…It sounds like a smithy at work…”

“Funny you should say that,” nodded Dulp. “Follow me.”

He had Skippy follow him past the line of east hutches.

“This is where we keep various goods and sundries we…umm…acquire,” said Dulp cautiously. “We keep anything we come across in here, and we even have a larder, but that’s locked with a heavy-duty lock that we sto…uhhh…came across. The Chief has the key to that.”

“The Chief has the key?” asked Skippy. “How do you get anything to eat, then?”

“You do as the Chief says, or you don’t eat,” shrugged Dulp. “Not that it matters. We find stuff to munch on anyway. Of course, if you’re desperate for food, you can always take your life into your own hands and go try to catch a bo…uhhh…Never mind that. Forget I said that.”

“Forget what?” asked Skippy in curious wonder. “What were you going to say?”

Dulp changed the topic. It was best Skippy not learn of something so dangerous. He doubted that even a White Skull could survive such trauma.

“Oh, look, we’re here,” he said nervously.

They had rounded the corner of the line of hutches to where Yappa was busy hammering away on an unfinished blade laid out upon a black wrought-iron anvil. The big black gob was busy working away as a couple of goblings kept air going through the tuyéres of a large stone forge via the bellows.


Skippy’s Field Notes #6:

Goblings are what gobs call their male young. These little tykes wander in from the South Quarter, getting the boot from their mothers once they turn the tender age of four, four being considered a preteen amongst goblin kind. It’s here in the North Quarter that they take up various positions as apprentices to different gobs that the Chief assigns them to.

They have names, of course, but no one really recognizes a gobling name until that gob turns six, when they are considered to be full-fledged adult gobs (they’re actually teens at this point, but that’s a source of contentious debate, so I’ll move on).

You would think gobling mortality rates would be high, but little goblings start life very intelligent and gradually lose intelligence over time, much like a tax attorney, and it’s not uncommon for a gobling to save an adult from a potentially fatal mistake.

Incidentally, I discovered that Dulp is only sixteen-years of age, but in dwarf and halfling years, this translates to an age of about fifty-seven, or thirty-one for a human, as goblins age far faster than most other races.

S.P.W.


“This is the forge,” nodded Dulp. “Yappa, here, works the forge to supply us with weapons and other stuff we need in order to stea…uhhh…get by. He goes by Yappa Blacksmith because he’s a smith and he’s…”

Yappa looked up at him with a warning glare.

“Really strong,” finished Dulp. “Anyway, this is Yappa.”


Skippy’s Field Notes #7:

Gobs display a surprising lack of ethnic racism. I theorize that this is due to the fact that they are literally at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to the subhumanoid races. They really only show a dislike of elves, but that’s mainly because they’re terrified of them.

As I may have previously mentioned, black gobs have orcish blood, though they display none of the negative traits of the common orc. In my observations, black gobs are slightly taller and stronger than the common jade gob, though the source of this should be obvious, as they have, as I previously stated, orcish blood.

Interesting note: I pride myself on my own lack of racism. Giving these poor, dimwitted, uncultured, uncouth, and lazy subhumanoids a chance at a successful life is my own mission in life, and I am proud to call myself a researcher and a scholar untouched by intrinsic bias. Goblins deserve recognition in the world, unlike those swill-drinking, money-denting, cow-tipping scum known as orcs.

S.P.W.


The black gob working the forge was all muscle, three-foot-nine-inches of pure raw power, and Dulp couldn’t help but be jealous of him a little bit, but he was their only blacksmith, and he could cave in their skulls with a flick of a finger, so no one ever picked on him, not even the Chief.

Yappa was currently dressed in a nice-looking, soot-covered, white smith’s apron, along with a matching pair of sturdy black pants, a style that always seemed to show off his rippling muscles from any angle. This was the style Yappa always wore, so Dulp figured him to be a showoff on purpose, but he wasn’t stupid enough to call him out on it.

“Hey,” nodded Yappa. “What’s the score, Dulp?”

“Just showing the new guy around,” shrugged Dulp. “This is Skippy. He’s visiting from the White Skulls.”

“Oh, really?” asked Yappa. “I’ve heard a lot about the Skulls…”

The big black gob looked up from his work for a brief inspection of their new guest, looked back down to hammer a blow, and then looked back up at Skippy with one big black eyebrow raised in open curiosity.

“You’re from the Skulls?” he asked, his voice rife with disbelief.

“Yep,” smiled Skippy. “I’m here to observe and study your village.”

Oooookay…” said Yappa cautiously. “And…uhhh…why might you be observing this little village…uhhh…”

“Skippy,” smiled Skippy.

Rigggght…” replied Yappa slowly.

“I’ve been fascinated with Pingo Village ever since I first heard about it,” said Skippy matter-of-factly. “My colleagues at the coll…My…uhhh…comrades from the Skulls don’t think much of Pingo, but I want to put this village under their protection.”

Really?” asked Yappa in open disbelief. “Most people just want us gone.”

He hammered the blade in front of him a couple of times before looking back up at Skippy for a reply.

“From what I’ve seen,” continued Skippy, “I think Pingo’s great. I want to learn everything about it. There’s a lot of history and culture here that needs to be preserved.”

“Uh, huh…” said Yappa with one raised eyebrow. “Weeeeell…if that’s what you’re really here for, then I’m all for it. Be nice to get some supplies from the big ci…errr…the Skulls. I could definitely go for some better food. The grub here is sustaining, but…you know.”

“Yeah,” frowned Skippy. “I know what you mean…Maybe I can cook for you all some time.”

Yappa’s face lit up with open enthusiasm.

“You would!” he said with a huge grin. “Food made by half…uhhh…the White Skulls is supposed to be the best! Count me in!”


Skippy’s Field Notes #8:

Gob food is atrocious, to say the least. They get by on whatever culinary garbage they can muster, including but not limited to: stale bread, moldy cheese, salted meat about to go bad, hardtack, and chestnuts, though they do have a unique dish made from chicken meat that is “fried” in some kind of oil.

Speaking of their unique dish, gobs have mastered a technique called “frying”. This arcane technique is only known to goblin tribes, and I may very well be the first outsider to observe it. It involves breading raw chicken pieces and then dropping those pieces into hot oil, the origin of that oil, still unknown to me. All I know about the oil is that the bogos make it, but how or where they get it from, I have no idea.

The origin of the fried chicken recipe is quite fascinating. Apparently, a mysterious and elderly gob stranger known only as “The Colonel” showed up in a goblin village one day and granted ancient bogos the knowledge of oil-making along with granting ancient gobs the knowledge of how to use that oil in combination with raw chicken…There is a prevailing theory that “The Colonel” was actually the avatar of the Great Gob…Fascinating. Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves…Delicious!

S.P.W.


Dulp was impressed, mainly because no one had ever impressed Yappa before, not even the Chief. The big musclehead was usually only interested in his work, but if a gob could actually gain his enthusiasm, then that gob was one to watch, and Skippy was definitely one to watch.

Goblins in the Mist: Skippy’s Field Preface and Chapter One Copyright © 2021 Matthew L. Marlott

To Chapter Two

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