Skylar Krewis met us at the jailhouse door with a mask over his face. The smell hit me as he spoke. “It’s the goblins. They’re just so… rank. I don’t know if we’ll ever get the smell out.” I tried to smile through the stench in my nostrils. “It’s wonderful to see you, Sergeant Krewis. Is Quinlan in?”
“No, Miss Indira. These earthquakes. He’s out with a crew in the North quad.” He shook his head. “It’s not his job, but he feels this need to be in the thick of it.” I murmured agreement. Myntilly cleared her throat. “Sergeant, we’d like to see the goblins.”
“The goblins? What on earth for? Foul little buggers, they’ll try to bite and –” Myntilly smiled. “We believe they have information that might be of use.” He blinked suddenly. “Of course. Of course! How could I not see that?! This way.” Myntilly flashed a quick smile at me. Not that she needs it but a quick eagle’s splendor spell can really make people see things your way.
The smell was stronger in the cell block. About 15 goblins were crowded in together. When they saw us most shuffled to the back. Three of them stayed put, looking sullen.
In order to cast her language spell, Myntilly needed to touch one of them. She held out a shiny copper penny. The tallest of the three raced up and grabbed it.
Myntilly spoke to them for a few minutes in Goblin. “They keep saying that Drakthar is dead and then long live Drakthar. Weird. They say that they simply move crates from one end of the tunnels to the other. Metal, ore, materials.” I thought for a moment. “Is Drakthar undead, do you think?” The tallest goblin spoke up. “Friend of Shining One, Drakthar can never die. He is dead.” I raised my eyebrows. “You speak Common? Excellent. I want to meet Drakthar.” The goblin started at this. He retreated to whisper with his brothers. When he came back his brows were furrowed in thought. “Drakthar is dead. No meetings.” I leaned forward. “Take us into the tunnels. We will see for ourselves.”
At that moment the earth shook violently for almost a minute. When the shaking stopped, I heard a faint grinding noise. “Oh god. The building. It might collapse. Krewis! Get these goblins out of the cells. Now!”
We raced to the front door. There it was easy to see that the noise was from across the street.
As we watched, a man crawled from the rubble. I knelt to heal him and he grabbed my tunic. “My family. Wife. Daughters.”
Ian and Brus were beside me by then and Myntilly and Acgar joined us.
Sergeant Krewis and the goblins stood in the street.
Ian quickly took charge. “Let me take a moment to assess.” He walked as far around the rubble as he could. He rubbed his chin. “Yes. Yes that will work.”
“Seargeant! If you please, bring the goblins here.”
He pointed to the far side of the rubble. “They can begin to clear the stones away.”
Acgar summoned Hamouk, her mount. “Where do you want us?”
He pointed to my left. “Try to drag these big pieces away.”
Acgar fashioned a rope harness and in no time Hamouk was hauling large debris from the site.
As the survivors were pulled from the wreckage, Myntilly and I gave first aid.
As the entire family was hugging and thanking us for saving them, Quinlan arrived.
“Damned earthquakes. We can’t catch a break. Glad you were here.” He turned and saw the goblins. “Krewis! What in Garl’s name do you think you’re doing? Those are goblins, man! I’m surprised they didn’t slit your throat and loot your body in all this chaos.”
I raised my hand to get his attention. “What?” He snapped at me. “Quinlan, it was my idea to use the goblins. I thought the jail was collapsing and I ordered Sergeant Krewis to bring the goblins out. Then it just seemed natural to put them to work.” He narrowed his eyes at me. “You ordered one of my men? You ordered one of my men?”
Myntilly hurried over. “Hello Captain Quinlan! I must commend Sergeant Krewis. He showed great valor in this rescue. A lesser man would have lost control of the goblins. It’s obvious that you’ve trained him well.” I wasn’t sure if my splendor spell was still active, but Myntilly was on a roll.
Quinlan turned his back to me. “Why,” he asked Myntilly quietly, “did you release the goblins?”
“We want to go down into the tunnels. Into Drakthar’s way.” She paused. “It’s a good plan. And the goblins, well, they seem to look up to me. There’ll be no trouble.”
Quinlan was silent for a long moment. “OK. But they better show up for their court date.”
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