The Goblins had been raiding the fields south of Stone Creek for the better part of four years, the majority of young Duncan Reed’s life at that point. His father and brothers had formed a party and youngest son Duncan had been left to keep an eye on the farm and the forest line in the western hills. They were where the Goblins would run to or from and if there was to be action that day that is where it would most likely be held.
For his own part, young Duncan hadn’t wanted to stay behind, he had wanted to go with them, to carry his father’s things, to joke and play with his brothers, but this was no time for playing, this was a hunt, and Duncan was still too little to fire a proper bow, or swing a weapon with any real force. He was destined to be a lookout. He was fated to watch.
Hours passed and what started with sharp eyes and keen ears all bent on the possible dangers of the forests and hills slid slowly into a new sort of focus; an inner attention to detail. Duncan Reed sat on a large log half-drowned in Stone Creek and had such daydreams.
The earliest few were of the battle he would have taken part in; of him, swinging his club into the faces of goblins. Soon he imagined the family’s evening meal later that night. He heard his brothers squeal about his honor an his power and his father would smile and look upon him lovingly and his sisters and mother would all favor young Duncan with smiles and kisses upon the cheeks. He saw further on, seeing himself as a man, tall, broad, strong as his father. No. Stronger. He saw himself a soldier, a knight maybe, he knew that he was meant for great things.
And lost as he was in the future’s dreams and his own potential, he was caught completely unawares when the first of the Goblin raiders came stomping up the creek with his father’s bloodied staff in hand.
Young Duncan would remember very little of the fight that came soon thereafter. He would in fact be found unconscious amidst a collection of no less than five Goblins. He was slick with mud, and had a few river stones seemingly stuck to him, his hand had become tangled in a river weed and his club had been lost, a piece of driftwood in his hand instead. All five of the goblins were dead. the entire population of that creek seemed to have fallen prey to some sort of natural disaster; everyone’s clothes were soaked, many had become entangled in vines and maybe even choked on them. All died at day in the creek, all but young Duncan.
When his father and brothers found him, and brought him home, and told their tale of falling victim to a goblin trap, and how though captured they still managed to break their bonds and scare off the goblins only to find them then all dead under the body of young Duncan; though they be damned to figure out how little mud-slicked Duncan managed to survive their assault, let alone bring down their party.
The rest of Duncan’s childhood was very different from his first few years. He spent many hours a day playing at swords and shields with his brothers, and many more than that with his father learning to track and forage. He had little time for games with other children; for his was a path of greatness. He was to be a soldier. Eventually he took up the piecemeal armor his family was able to scrape together, and with a shield and hammer made for him he set out to enlist in the first strong or worthy company he could find.
That was some years ago, and while he has since learned of the great power that had awakened in him there in that shady little creek, he still remembers the fear that grasped his heart looking out on that party of Goblins, and the joy and love that was showered upon him with his waking.
The fear would always be there. But he knew, it would always be worth it at the end of the day. Fear meant little when the defense of his family was on the line. Fear means nothing when you’re protecting something important.