The Perks of Immortality - Chapter 9 Goblin Infestation and Goblin Remnants
As Kegan’s life began once again at the shrine on top of the mountain he was confronted with the choice of which path to take. He had been taking the path back into his valley. But now he knew there was a village down the other path.
Kegan felt very conflicted about the village. He liked the idea of other people, they might be interesting, and they might help him survive. But he also felt some kind of unnamed fear towards the village. What if they didn’t like him because he was a burden? Their clothes were better, some of them had some kind of wonder material that looked like it had been made just to be worn by people, it looked so comfortable compared to his hides and furs. They had amazing and powerful weapons, the bow and arrows seemed really effective against goblins. And the large man had wielded a spear with a special tip. It was some kind of shiny rock that Kegan had never seen before.
He wasn’t sure if they would remember him, and even if they did, wouldn’t they also remember that he had ate their food and slept in their bed for four days before dying? Kegan dealt with enough dead bodies to know that his own corpse probably ruined the bed it was on.
This had helped Kegan makeup his mind. He would go into his valley slay all of the goblins and then go and tell the villagers how he had helped. Donell seemed appreciative last time for what Kegan had done.
The month of preparation went by quickly. Kegan had a routine at this point and he was very good at getting everything done on time. He normally had some extra time, and in this life he spent that extra time in his first week trying to recreate the bow and arrow weapon he had seen. He had to give it up after the first week.
He couldn’t find any of the right materials. The wood he was using seemed wrong and not springy enough. He tried using plant and leaf fibers for the string of the bow, but they weren’t strong enough and constantly snapped. The arrows themselves were also completely wrong. If he made them entirely out of wood they didn’t really have enough weight. He was also pretty sure he was doing the feathered ends of the arrows wrong.
Kegan had used traps for some of his previous lives. He’d eventually abandoned the idea of using traps for the simple reason that it was hard to predict exactly where the goblins would be, and leading them into traps was tedious. It was often faster to just use javelins on them and take them out.
However, there was now a new reason to start using traps: the goblin broodmother, and the elites that followed her. There was only one way up the mountain pass, so Kegan could concentrate all of his trap making in one area and not have to worry about leading them there.
The simplest and most effective traps were shallow pits with wooden spikes at the bottom. The momentum of the goblins falling was enough to impale themselves on the trap, and he could use the pit to conceal the trap itself (goblins were stupid, but they weren’t stupid enough to run into a stationary wooden stake). But there were two problems with using those traps. First they were time consuming. Digging the pit took most of the time. Second the path they were most likely to use only had a thin layer of soil in some areas, most of it was bare rock.
Kegan wasted a day trying to figure out a solution. He gave up and went to sleep. The next morning he woke up and the solution immediately came to him. If goblins couldn’t fall on the trap, then maybe the trap could fall on the goblins.
There was really only one location where this could work, but all he really needed to do was kill the broodmother and elites, not the entire horde. The rest of the month much of his spare time was spent doing dragging material up the mountain to build traps at the top of the 30 foot climb. He ends up building a few wooden structures to make part of the climb easier.
There were a few days when he activated his new Trainer perk and he tried to spend those days doing the more physically exhausting work. One of the unlisted benefits of the perk is that he now knew how to train his body. Before the perk he only had a loose understanding that doing more activities generally improved his body. One of the unexpected benefits of the trainer perk is that he was able to avoid wasting food. Generally if he killed a wolf or a deer he would not be able to eat the whole animal. He knew how much he could eat before the meat went bad. The Trainer perk almost doubled his appetite though,
He also tested out his new Ambusher perk. He couldn’t easily tell the difference. Leaving it on all day also doubled his appetite. The difference was slightly more noticeable when he went hunting deer. If he was far enough away and they looked in his direction they would look right past him without seeing him. He looked at his reflection in the stream to try and see a visual difference. It looked like the distortions in the air given off by a fire, or a hot day when the sun is shining on a rock.
The one other change Kegan made was an upgrade to his club. In the process of trying to find something that would work as a bow string Kegan found certain grasses could work has a sturdy rope. He managed to find an odd shaped rock that was the perfect size, and he used his new rope to attach it to a very stout log. He probably could have figured this out before, but his previous club had been more than sufficient for regular goblins. He was building the club to fight the new elite goblins he’d met.
The goblins began to surge out of their caves right on time. Kegan went about the most aggressive extermination he had ever attempted before. He made his bone and leather armor set much bulkier and heavier than it normally was. Which meant that his normal hit and run tactics were a little harder to pull off. But he had a different goal this time. If he couldn’t beat four regular goblins in combat, he knew he wouldn’t stand a chance against the elites.
Even when he could finish off all the goblins from a distance he would always let at least 5 get close to him. He would use his spear first, his club next, and finally his wooden daggers / stakes if it came to grappling.
The other reason for his aggressive approach is that he was hoping to preserve some of the larger animals in the forest. He had won last time, but it felt like a hollow victory with the balance of life in the forest completely destroyed.
Three days of intense fighting. Every inch of his body felt beaten, bruised, sore, and cut up. He had made two sets of armor, knowing that the first set would likely end up destroyed. He’d underestimated just how bad the fighting would get. He was left wearing a mixture of both sets of armor, the most intact parts from each one. It offered barely any protection. The bones that made up the armor were shattered and rattling around loosely because the leather that held them in place had been shredded and torn in so many places.
After a jog through the forest to find the last stragglers, Kegan finally called it a night and went to his cabin after 3 days to get some much deserved rest. He kept it short and only slept for two hours though. He woke up and there were ten goblins waiting outside his cabin. They were all injured and easy enough to dispatch. He caught another two hours of sleep, went outside again and killed two more goblins that had made their way to his cabin.
He survey the dead goblins littered around his cabin, his work had only just begun.
Kegan spent the next few days butchering the goblins for their sharpened rib bones, and then burning the bodies in large fire pits. At one point he came across two juvenile wolves gnawing on a goblin corpse. They quickly ran off when they spotted him. Seeing the wolves brought a smile to his face. The wolves were his long time nemesis before the goblins arrived, but now they felt like allies in this fight. He might have also caught sight of some deer running away, but he wasn’t sure. If any deer survived they were likely feeling very skittish right now.
Eight days passed and Kegan had started waiting on the mountain at the location of the climb. He had a huge array of both weapons and traps where he was. He couldn’t see the goblin horde directly, but he could tell they were approaching. The trees they passed shook, and some of them even fell down.
As the horde came up the mountain pass the elites seemed to instantly notice all the traps and woodwork at the top of the climb. Kegan, didn’t know an easy way around hiding all the traps, but he figured they would just climb them anyways. After all, they didn’t really have another route up, and the brood mother was hesitant to stop because it meant being swarmed by baby goblins.
They were shouting in their language at each other, and kept gesturing towards the top of the cliff. They made up their mind at some point and continued their approach to the climb. Kegan let out a sigh of relief he hadn’t realized he was holding in.
They were getting nearly in range of the traps when suddenly the broodmother stopped. Kegan was confused for a second before he saw the broodmother scooping up clumps of baby goblins, and then hurling them towards the top of the cliff.
The goblins came screaming and flailing their way to the top of the cliff. Some of them were impaled on the traps, but a few others survived. They quickly saw Kegan and ran towards him to attack him.
Kegan cursed the blue spirit and began fighting off the baby goblins. He was doing his best to pay attention to the cliff. But all he could really keep track of was the non-stop aerial goblin assault. The quickest way to get rid of the goblins was to hurl them off the mountain.
Out of the corner of his eye he suddenly saw two of the elite goblins climb over the cliff. He took a momentary break from throwing baby goblins off the cliff to throw a bone tipped javelin at one of the elite goblins. It was close enough that the goblin had no chance of dodging the javelin. It moved to the side and the javelin caught it in the shoulder.
Kegan was pulling another javelin out of back pouch, and trying to throw at the second goblin elite. At the same time the elite goblin with a javelin in its shoulder pulled it out and turned it around hurling it at Kegan. Kegan had as little chance to dodge it as the goblin elite had, but his armor was better made so the Javelin hit him in the center of the chest but the tip broke rather than penetrating his armor. Kegan’s throw was messed up by the javelin hitting him in the chest. It went wide flying over the edge of the cliff.
The goblin that wasn’t hit was able to close the distance to Kegan quickly enough to prevent him from throwing another javelin. Kegan had his spear out and was able to keep the goblin elite at a distance. Both of the elites that had scaled the cliff had clubs.
Kegan was jabbing with his spear at the goblin elite, it deflected some of the blows, but many went through. The bone armor that the goblin elite was wearing was protecting it from any serious injuries, but Kegan was getting small cuts in between the ribs of the bone armor. At least he was getting those cuts in, until the second elite goblin was able to join the fight.
Together they were pressuring him, and pushing him back from the cliff edge. He wasn’t used to this fighting style, they had been much more aggressive last time he had fought them. As he thought about their change in fighting style he realized there weren’t any baby goblins flying up to the cliff top anymore.
He was too caught up in the fight to realize what this meant. A few seconds later, when he was pushed further back from the cliff edge, he saw the huge bulk of the goblin broodmother climbing up over the ledge.
Kegan realized the mistake he made too late to make a difference. He shouted in anger and rushed one of the goblin elites. He drove his spear between the bone armor, and thrust hard pushing the goblin elite off its feet and onto its back. It opened Kegan to attacks from the other goblin elite. He took a club hit to the shoulder as he finished driving the spear deeper into the chest of the other goblin elite.
Immediately after he got into a grapple with the remaining goblin elite. The elite was unable to bring its club into a good position to strike Kegan, and Kegan had pulled out a wooden dagger and was jamming it into the gaps of the elite goblin’s armor. The dagger was only causing minor bleeding and wouldn’t end the fight fast enough.
Kegan realized the broodmother was about to join the fight, and he shoved the remaining goblin elite in the direction of the broodmother and rolled backwards to gain some distance. The broodmother shoved the goblin elite out of the way and was making her way towards Kegan.
He had fought enough battles to know when he had lost. In the periphery of his vision he could see the two other goblin elites coming up over the top of the cliff. Kegan took the only option left to him, and he began sprinting up the mountain path away from the goblins.