If they had been on the ground, many more people would’ve vaporized. Not much of a consolation for those who were, but you have it. Of course, Exhaultia and Darvinia went first, then Garthort. Members of the Grand Concordance of the Wise perished, including Santun Shield-Breaker, Vumto the part-Giant, and the Chief Diva of the Bard’s Guild.
Members of the Society of the Night were lost, XoXor of the Abyss, Renomite, Boss of the Blasted Prairie, Sisssmorrr of the Snake-Folk, and Marmek, Marquise of Moon.
Many, many others were lost but since listing them would be longer than this story, with apologies, we’ll take that as read.
Those Society troops who were in the rear, not because they were going to stab anyone in the back, feigned ignorance of any subterfuge. Then retreated quickly. Citadel of the Light forces, chose mercy and not because they were exhausted by everything.
The injured were tended and all the post-battle details were seen to. A little slowly. Not a criticism, just an observation.
Vork and Bork had walked to the epicenter of the explosion. They had been just on the edge of the energy ball and suffered only minor injuries. No bodies were left here, just white ash.
“A hella o’ a ting,” Bork muttered to himself.
“I agree,” replied a voice.
The Goblins whirled around but saw no one.
“We’re in no mood fer shenanigans,” said Vork whose hand hovered over his flaming sword.
Fading into existence was Garthort. Well, a transparent version of him.
“Dis is roight surprize dis is,” said Bork
“Imagine how I feel,” remarked Garthort.
They all stared at each other for a moment.
“So, yer a ghost now, eh?” asked Vork.
“What do you think?”
“Wot da ‘ell happened?” asked Bork
Garthort’s first impulse was to lie. Old habits and all that.
“Darvinia slipped a ring in my pocket and implied that it would free me from that collar they put on me. She also told me that I was good at taking opportunities. I was about to die, so I thought, ‘what the hell?’Might as well try it. Exhaulita stole it from me. Then…”
“Boom,” stated Vork.
“Yeah, boom. And here I am.”
“Roight, roight,” muttered Bork.
“Corse could be lots worse,” observed Vork.
“I’m damned to wander the Land for all eternity. How much worse could it get?” spat out the Ghost.
“Ya could be sent downstairs, as it were,” countered Bork.
Garthort was about to argue but had to admit that would be much, much worse.
“Ya died a ‘ero, dats wot everyone’s sayin’,” said Vork.
“Struth! Der writing songs ‘bout it now,” confirmed Bork.
“That’s ridiculous!” replied Garthort.
“Oye mean, ya did stop da betrayal roight in da nick o’ toime,” asserted Vork.
“But I was only trying to save my own skin,” insisted Garthort.
“Or, and yah can toike da credit, den enjoy it,” suggested Vork
“I thought you were reformed?” asked Garthort.
“Matter o’ bein’ practical loike,” stated Bork.
“Ders sum value in bein’ a ‘ero,” pointed out Vork.
“ Specially a dead one,” added Bork.
“You are suggesting that I present myself as hero to the Citadel of the Light crowd? And tell the story as if I planned it all along?”
The Goblins nodded at him.
“It feels weird to say this, but I’m not sure I want to lie about this.”
“Or yah can take away da heroic deed dat dey all thunk ya done,” said Vork.
“Further devidn’ ‘n all ready fractured land,” added Bork, “Or, give da folk sum hope fer da future.”
Garthort paused. Then he said, “I think… I think I can do that.”
“Good on ya!” said Vork with a grin.
“Let’s head back ta camp. Dansey will be roight chuffed ta see yah,” said Bork.
“Yah,” said Vork as they began to walk.
“He might be my first real friend. Is that sad?”
“It’s a funny old world, innit?” asked Bork rhetorically.
As they walked back to camp, Vork cleared his throat and asked, “’Ow long were ya carryin’ dat ring?”
“About a week I think.”
The two Goblins looked at each other and cocked their eyebrows.
“Why do you ask?”
“No reason, just makin’ small talk as it were,” said Vork casually.
“What sort of hero should I be?” mused Garthort, “Bold or humble?”
“Wot’s yah first impulse?” asked Bork.
“Humble. They love that whole ‘I did what I had to’ shtick.”
“Roight in one squire,” agreed Vork, “Oy tink yah got dis in da bag.”