2011 SECOND EDITION *
*featuring the shortstory "LEGEND OF DARCOS' ARMOR"
From a familiar time, one so ancient it lies deep within all our bones, surfaces a glimpse into the endless age-old struggle between life and death, light and darkness, good and evil. This struggle festers through our blood, drives our choices, our quests, and our wars. During the Times Before, the first battle between these forces clashed resulting in the Shadow Years marking the beginning of The Middle Times. Evil is defeated and The Years of Plenty follow soon giving way to another time of war, The Indigo Years. With evil vanquished once again, a charming Grenelvin family embarks upon a deserving respite that leads down a dangerous mystifying path of hidden treacheries inevitably uncovering another evil festering amidst the lands...a rogue goblin leader. The new determined spirit of youth engages the old sinister evil in this beginning part to the mystifying tale of intrigue known as The Middle Times: Rise of the Goblin King.
The second edition includes a restored chapter and the printed version also features the shortstory "The Middle Times: Legend of Darcos Armor".
Before Gingi thinks of a response to Doflo's wisdom, he spies a sparkle twinkling off in one of the nearby piles of tower debris. The brilliance of such a sparkling object mesmerizes him as if beckoning him unto it. Completely entranced, he points anxiously toward it. “Look at that…what ever could it be?” He scampers across the ground toward the shimmering object in nearby pile of debris forgetting all about his current predicament.
“Remembers…we split everything foursies!” One of the slender Orloks shouts clumsily following behind Gingi toward the sparkle that he now also spies. Quickly the sparkle cast its enchantment upon him as well. The red glow emanating from the surrounding lava pool in the fissure reacts with the sparkle entrancing the two more as if nothing else around existed.
Somewhat delightfully amused by his comrades, the large Öruk goblin, Doflo, interrupts their trance with a loud chuckle. “Come along now boys, is it a bit of someone's earring or perhaps a gold token lost during the wizard's great defeat?” He and the other thin goblin walk up behind the mesmerized two. Doflo curiously wonders what could bewilder the two so adamantly as they squat down near the glow. “Perhaps our journey is already turning profitable.” Doflo happily announces as the sparkle becomes clearer to his eyes. There in the ash and debris a single hand reaches up from the ground. “Blimey is that a …”
“…Ring? Yes, a golden ring and it be attached to that finger which is attached to that hand.” Gingi whimpers while covering his mouth to muffle his whine. He scoots back away from the ring bearing hand while covering his mouth in astonishment. He stares up and gasps at Doflo. Gingi uncovers his mouth and whispers. “It be him…Agzônth!”
The other two thin Orloks slowly back away as well. A haunting gaze covers their faces. It is common to come across decaying goblin corpses once in awhile but this hand shows no signs of decay. The two clutch each other in fear. The two cry out in unison. “We are doomed!”
“Do not be such a Troll head!” Doflo demands sternly staring down each of them. “Be quieter when you speak, we do not wish to make the ground shake again. It is obviously not the wizard…he would not be here at Indigo Tower ruins simply because he died at the Mazadain. Ye all know this do ye not you silly Orloks?”
“But what if it is Agzônth?” Gingi inquires in a quieter voice. “Maybe he was not dead and someone buried him here.”
Doflo studies the hand poking out of the rubble grayish in color. “No, all wizards' skin is one of the colors of the rainbow. This hand is not the dark blue of the indigo wizard. It appears to be the color of your kind.” Doflo points at the three Orloks, who examine their skin color against the hand protruding from the debris. “So, if ye all are gut-livered cowards then I shall keep the pretty trinket for myself.” Doflo snuffs them, turns around and reaches out to claim the golden ring.
Quivering from head to toe as Doflo reaches out for the ring, Gingi squeaks in a fearful voice. “Why is the hand not rotted and picked to the bones by the Râvens by now Doflo?”
“Hey that be a good question now is it not?” He glances toward Gingi as he grabs and tries to twist the ring off the finger. “I believe it is stuck." Doflo examines the hand more closely while nearing closer to the ground with his face for a better view. "You are right Gingi…there be no signs of decay for something lying in the ground for so long.” He spits a little ash from his mouth to the side and apparently readies to take a large bite of the whole finger including the ring.
One of the slender goblins comments sinisterly. “That is it Doflo get it all…the whole thing!”
Before Doflo blinks, the lifeless hand suddenly grabs him by the neck with a death grip pulling him down to the dirt. Caught by surprise the large goblin Öruk topples forward with the mysterious hand firmly clinched around his air pipe. The other three goblin Orloks shriek in horror and begin jumping up and down wildly without any sense of what to do next. The ground moans and quakes underneath their feet.
“What do we do now?” Gingi shouts restlessly toward the other two as he waves and flaps around like a Râven with its head cut off by a sharp blade. Doflo, however, bred for massive strength similar to only a Troll is only stunned shortly. He slowly opens his eyes, sucks in some air and spits the dark dirt and ash from his mouth. He grabs the wrist of the hand around his neck with his two mighty hands, lets out a tremendous deep growl and begins awkwardly lifting his body up slowly. The other goblins start toward him to help until they notice the hand continuing to clinch tightly around the husky goblin's throat. They quickly turn about and huddle behind a nearby collapsed wall of stones. Doflo heaves and grunts using the mass of his strength. From afar in amazement they watch their stout companion slowly upright himself, first unearthing an arm, then a head, torso and finally the complete creature buried under the tower debris and ash. In the glow of the surrounding lava pools the silhouette of the two prompts visions of demons to the three hid goblins. Doflo continues to heave and grunt with his mighty strength until he stands upright exposing the buried evil completely.
Copyright 2010-13 DSMacLeod
The Middle Times Tales & Legends. All rights reserved.
All images provided courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.