A Chronicle of Goblin Politics
(5 Lirisa 376: Somewhere in Zoluren)
-by Fionl’n Dymar, Attendant
“At two cycles of age, Jomay brought the seven to her chamber and observed them closely.
The only Goblin to emerge alive from the chamber would later come to be known as one of the most noted assassins in Goblin history. Jomay named the Goblin, Grishnok. In Goblic, the word -nok- is translated as blood or the foundation of life. The word -grish is the Goblin version of an assassin’s blade. Jomay found irony in the name that would one day become feared throughout the known lands.”
The politics of Goblins are not as disorganized as one would believe. As with most hierarchies, the quest for power, the shadows of deception and intricate conspiracies abound. The Goblin race is no exception. Leading the race is the King, a shrewd Goblin and one of great power. Not much is known of his predecessor or even how aged he is, however if I were to guess, I would say quite ancient. There appears to be a distinct separation between the Noble, Assassin, Warrior, Shaman and Peasant classes. The Noble caste of Goblin is comprised of the regent Prince and a lesser prince who serves under the regent. The Prince oversees a section of land assigned to him by the King. The Goblin King would generally place the most trusted princes in strategic positions to aid him if any of the other nobles decided to take it upon themselves to attempt betrayal. Each prince designated their own chieftains who would oversee the individual clans and villages. Generally, those of the wealthier goblins who could line the pockets of the regent would be granted these positions. The chieftains would answer directly to the Prince and many times be the ones to suffer the greater consequences if the King was displeased.
Outside the noble caste is the assassin caste – the King’s ‘insurance’ policy. They are autonomous and answer only to the King. Even the princes fear the assassin caste. The King made every guaranty that the assassin caste would be granted an abundance of wealth and fame in the Goblin culture to maintain their obedience. They were prevented, however, from the ruling of any clan. The king used this as a way to balance the power between the nobles and the assassins. During our time in the Goblin lands, I had come to know the three clans of the assassin’s caste. The Gur’tik, Kroan, and M’ord were the most notable. Of the three, the Gur’tik were most favored by the King.
There are countless clans of goblins. Some are more civilized, if there were such a thing, than others. During our travels, we observed ranging cultures and traditions but one thing was abundantly clear – they all worshipped and feared the king. Clans are comprised of the common Goblin peasant and the warriors who maintained strong borders. Magic remained a closely guarded secret among the Goblin culture. Many who are trained in it do not survive. The ones who do become Shamans of their tribe and are revered through respect and fear as their counterpart nobles. On the outer borders of the Goblin lands live a wilder and loosely knit groups of Goblins, outcasts rather, making their homes in the deepest mountain caverns. These Goblins wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone including their own race if it suited them. Many of these savages were scattered into small bands and were shunned by the organized Goblin culture.
I had served as Jomay’s attendant for many years before we ventured to the desolate lands. We had found the portal to the Goblin kingdom and there discovered this vast society. The warriors were not very welcoming as we entered their lands but soon realized the power that my mistress possessed. They were helpless to stop anything she desired to do. Archers, shamans, warriors all succumb to the will of my mistress. Jomay manipulated her way to the great city, and positioned herself as a being of great magic. The King, seeing she was a creature of immense power, knew this would be an opportunity for him to gain even more wealth if he could control her. Jomay, of course, is not one to be controlled, however she did reveal that an alliance would be mutually beneficial so she entered into an arrangement with the King to teach some of her ways in return for protection and use of their warriors at a later time. The King agreed to an alliance in a manner that the Goblin people believed was his idea.
At the King’s insistence, Jomay closely aligned with the Gur’tik clan. They displayed the most promise in ruthlessness and willingness to learn. She began to instruct members of the clan in language, history, and magic. The Gur’tik demonstrated their prowess during many campaigns. Among them was the assassination of a prominent Kobold queen starting a civil war in the Kobold lands. With the Kobolds now in disarray, the Goblin King sent in his warriors to destroy their city and gain control of even more lands.
The Gur’tik remained the King’s favored for many years until one fateful day they sided with a few of the outer princes who desired to overthrow the King. They believed that with Jomay’s teachings, nothing could stop them. Not even the King himself. The Gur’tik leader, Garumok, along with the outer Princes met secretly for many months before cornering Jomay. They presented an offer to either aid them in overtaking the throne or face death. We were surrounded by assassins and archers who nervously awaited a response. My mistress remained calm knowing they were no match for her powers. She could have easily destroyed the insurgency. She paused very briefly before agreeing to their plan, or seemingly appeared to. It was all a delicious game to her.
In the days to come, the King was to travel to the outer lands with a small contingent of Goblins. The Gur’tik clan set a trap to ambush them when they knew help would be unavailable. However, as they began their assault, they were astonished to see it would not be the King who was attacked. As a result of their treachery, the Kroan and M’ord clans united under the King’s Grishtona Archers and obliterated the entire Gur’tik clan. In the final massacre, Jomay appeared at the side of the King. With an eerie smile, she grasped the patriarch of the Gur’tik clan and transformed him to stone. The disloyal princes were beheaded as an example to all the other clans. Their families were spared and forced to serve as slaves to the other clans loyal to the King. Betrayal was rewarded with swift retribution and most times by elimination of entire family lines. The king placed the ‘statue’ of Garumok in the great hall for all others who would think of betrayal to see.
The King rewarded both the Kroan and M’ord clans with the treasures of the Gur’tik and the teachings of Jomay. Of the two, the M’ord were more magically inclined and had spawned many a prominent shaman. The Kroan were more suited as combat assassins and saw many violent campaigns. Jomay chose one of each clan to begin her instruction. The first, Gumpuc of the M’ord clan, was already a shaman in his own right. The second was to be chosen at birth by Jomay. She believed that taking one at an early age would allow her to directly influence the direction she wanted. The following year, seven Goblins were born to the Kroan clan. At two cycles of age, Jomay brought the seven to her chamber and observed them closely.
The only Goblin to emerge alive from the chamber would later come to be known as one of the most noted assassins in Goblin history. Jomay named the Goblin, Grishnok. In Goblic, the word -nok- is translated as blood or the foundation of life. The word -grish is the Goblin version of an assassin’s blade. Jomay found irony in the name that would one day become feared throughout the known lands.
Grishnok was trained by his clan in the ways of the assassin. He was also educated in the theory of tactics and combat. Many attempts had been made to teach him the skills of magic. He was tutored by Gumpuc. While there had been animosity between the M’ord and Kroan clans, Gumpuc took a liking to Grishnok. He also took pleasure in tormenting Grishnok with his magics. After all, what didn’t kill him would make him stronger, and if it did kill him, Gumpuc didn’t care. He would have him raised and attempt to kill him again if only to educate him properly. While he developed his physcial and mental prowess, he was never able to grasp the concepts of magic. Not in the sense of mana and it’s manipulation, rather. As the years progressed, Grishnok had also been schooled in language and the art of voice by Jomay. His knowledge of Common, Koboldish, Haakish, S’Kra Mur and Ilithic were extensive. Although he could understand much of the Ilithic language, the intricacies and delicate nature of the verse eluded his speech.
Grishnok rose quickly in his standing with the King. He led one of the lesser known Goblin clans, whose banner were crossed scimitars, to victory against the town of Riverhaven. While they were unable to maintain control of the town, they were able to gain many supplies and even captured a naval vessel docked there. With each victory, the King would reward Grishnok and the Kroan family with more lands, goblin women and gold as the M’ord clan looked on with jealousy. It was recorded that Grishnok had thirteen wives and over thirty children. Under the recommendation of my mistress, Grishnok was given leadership of the clan he led to victory. This was unheard of in Goblin culture since the assassin caste were traditionally never given leadership positions of clans. Many of the princes feared what this unbalance would now cause.
Jomay left the Goblin lands for a period of time. Even I was not told of the reason for her travels. She returned three years later and was pleased to see her creation exceed even her expectations. She sent Grishnok to the provinces to gather slaves and begin disrupting the guild of Empaths. Jomay had intentions of bringing lost secrets back so that it would turn the guild leaders against one another.
Grishnok began his tirade by sending his forces against the guild houses, taking hostages as well as killing many of the Empaths. As a personal trophy, Grishnok would behead his victim. It would later be discovered that Jomay and the necromancer known as Velmix would use these dismembered parts in a horrific ritual to bring into creation the race known as Orc. For many months, Grishnok was able to keep the Empath guild in disarray while secretly transporting slaves back to the Goblin lands. Many of these slaves were used in experiments by Jomay and did not survive. The ones that did, wished they did not.
During this time, the Goblin King enjoyed a period of trade with the Umato Gaen, also known to be the Outcast people. The ‘angry people’, as they were called, came to an agreement with the Goblin King; for his support, they would aid in capturing lands for him including those in the province of Zoluren. The King sent the M’ord and Kroan clan to aid the Outcasts in securing some strategic areas. On a fateful day in Riverhaven, Grishnok’s mentor Gumpuc was slain and traveled the starry road. The M’ord house blamed it on the Kroan clan and an internal war began in the goblin homelands. As the King struggled with the two opposing factions, Grishnok began developing his own allies in preparation for the Outcast wars, even bringing some of the King’s Grishtona Archers to his cause. With the guidance of Jomay and the aid of the Red Sash Pirate Jourok, the three began forming a faction that would spread terror across the face of the lands and seas.
The Goblin King was unaware of Grishnok’s treacheries, but became increasingly annoyed at the independence displayed by the younger Goblin. The King was unable to focus his attentions clearly on the problem due to the continuous fighting between the assassin caste. He sent one of his regent Princes, Tnok, to investigate the matter and bring Grishnok back to answer to the King. Tnok was a moderate tempered Goblin who believed in war only as a final result. Odd behavior for a goblin indeed, however he commanded one of the larger clans in the area Grishnok was focused on. Many meetings occurred between Grishnok and Tnok and an agreement was sealed between the two. As part of the treaty, Grishnok would leave the Goblin lands and not return to the lands Tnok claimed as his. In addition, he would relinquish any claims the Kroan clan had gained over the years. Grishnok, the master tactician, knew this would be a temporary arrangement and used it to his advantage. A war would soon cover the lands and the Goblin race was no longer important to him. Or so he wanted everyone to believe.
The King regained control of the warring assassin caste and was able to dissolve the Kroan clan. Instead of rewarding the M’ords with the spoils, he gave them all to Tnok. The King believed the fighting began as a result of too much power in the assassin caste and decided to focus on the loyal nobles. Tnok now had the larger portion of the Goblin lands, all of the Kroan wealth, and was to be said next in line to the very throne should the King be slain.
The Outcast war began in the lands at large and Grishnok broke his treaty. The Goblin Prince was prepared with his archers. But Grishnok and his new allies destroyed Tnok’s army and eventually captured the regent Prince. We had relocated to the Outcast encampment just north of the crystal city of Shard. The faction members had been attacking the northern lands in force while the Outcast army focused their attentions on claiming Shard. Jomay, along with the necromancer Velmix, put into play their own insurance policy. She knew that the alliance was a temporary one and that for them to succeed, they would need to have an advantage. The experiments on Grishnok had been leading him to his new destiny and now all the pieces were in place to finish it.
During the war, a number of prisoners were taken. Among them was an Elf of extraordinary ability. Many experiments on the prisoners had failed, however the necromancer believed it would be successful on one such as this. As the soul of the captured Elf was successfully divided in two, a new being was formed. They had seen the success of that experiment and now were ready to transfer the essence of Grishnok into his new host body. For three days the two performed the ritual and just before the Outcast camp was overrun, they were successful in concluding the ritual. The transfer was now complete and the body of Grishnok now held the essence of the Regent Prince Tnok. And the Prince, or so he now appeared to be the Prince Tnok, was released in accord with the treaty talks. Grishnok with Tnok’s essence was now in the hands of the Outcasts to be delivered to Zoluren.
Only Jomay, Jourok, Velmix and myself knew of this transfer and it would remain secret until the day the body of Grishnok was executed. Tnok, rather Grishnok in Tnok’s body, resumed as Regent Prince, claiming all his lands as well as the Kroan lands and was now in a closer position to one day be the Goblin King.
Jomay predicted the Outcast government would betray the alliance and she was right. During the peace talks it was evident that the Outcast King favored an alliance with the other provinces and had no intention of honoring or rewarding the faction members. Jomay, Tnok and myself returned to the Goblin lands and reported to the King that Grishnok had been defeated. She described the betrayal of the Outcast King and expounded on Tnok’s dedication to the Goblin people. The King was pleased and rewarded Tnok greatly. Afterall, he had always been the most loyal to the King. He asked my mistress what she desired and she replied, “Only to continue to serve you, my King.” She tilted her head slightly and bowed. A dark smile crossed her face before we retired to our manor.