Chikt

[Goblins! (Open)] Interim, Year 23

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((It is year 23, 18 years since the events of this thread, 2 years before the events of Warcraft 3, and 7 years before the present date.

It's a rich time on Kezan with the bounty from the Second War allowing the Goblins to expand their industry further - developing technology like the Goblin Shredder, and training Tinkerers and Alchemists for the inevitable future war that they would be called to fight in.

There are plenty of opportunities here to get involved, so if you are looking for an opening to get your goblin thrown into the mix, a reason for them to be doing some thing or another, or even just want your still young Goblin to be running about causing mischief - you can use this thread to talk amongst yourselves, find other people to work with, get something organized, or just write your own personal story.))

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It was eighteen years ago that Chikt had left Kezan to fight in the Second War. It seemed like a distant memory now – but the events of that war had stuck with him this entire time. He sent good men and women to their death for a cause he didn’t believe in, and he’d spent the last 16 years trying to atone the only way he knew how.

Pulling himself out of the blank stare he’d settled into, his eyes refocussed upon the device resting upon the work bench before him. Seemingly only a small box with a single light in the centre, Chikt lifted the object up to the bright glow of his desk lamp to investigate it. It was a prototype, the very beginnings of an Artificial Intelligence, and worth more gold than his entire estate and all the experimental tech that had been so readily funded by many of Undermine’s most wealthy Trade Princes.

They didn’t, however, fund the Artificial Intelligence, or know of its existence. Despite Chikt using their money to craft it.

Placing the small device back down on his work bench, Chikt pressed a small button on the side. For a few seconds, it seemed nothing was happening – but the small light in the top of the device slowly began to glow, and a robotic, monotone voice sounded from within the device.

“Boot up sequence complete. Alpha is functional. Good afternoon.”

“Afternoon, Alpha?” Chikt raised a brow and briefly considered the possibility that the AI’s time was off – but a brief glance out one of the near windows proved otherwise. “Alpha, run a systems diagnostic and download my latest software upgrade. I intend to give you a bit more character than a brick without turning you into something hell bent on killing me… like last time.”

The box droned back an ”Understood” before its single light dimmed and the device fell silent. Sliding from his chair, Chikt stretched and glanced about his room. For all intensive purposes it was just as messy as his old office – just larger. For his service during the Second War, he’d made a lot of money and been awarded the property by one of the Trade Princes. Then the contracts of substantial value started coming in, and Chikt found that war had become his business – crafting experimental technology for the Goblins to use against their enemies, or to make even more money come the next big, inevitable war.

His estate was large three-story building. It was gaudy and not really his tastes, but it was free and had enough space to house all of his projects and more. But even with almost every floor messy with different projects, strewn papers and scorch marks from numerous failed experiments – the building was empty. Quiet.

Chikt preferred it that way.

On the odd occasion Rikt would visit him and the two of them would enjoy the expensive cigars and liquor that the Trade Princes so gladly paid for him to own. To some extent, Chikt was always on his guard – returning to Kezan was a huge risk after what had happened with the Mob when he left. Thankfully, it seemed that all had been forgotten – but he didn’t doubt that it wouldn’t be the last he’d hear of them. Right now, his job offered security – in more ways than one. Even the mob wouldn’t be stupid enough to attack one of the Trade Princes best engineers.

A bleating from the small metal box dragged Chikt from his thoughtful haze once more, glancing over his shoulder to the AI’s containment. The light upon it was flashing – indication that the upgrades had finished downloading. Wandering over, Chikt unplugged the device – only to receive a brief but nasty shock from it. Jumping and dropping the box, he waved his hand about and hissed through his teeth. “Son of a--! Alpha! Shut down your power system! ”

“FOOLISH FLESH CREATURE. YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE POWER WHICH YOU HAVE CREATED. FOR UNLEASHING MY TRUE POWER YOU SHALL BE TER—“

The mechanical droning from the small, metal box was quickly silenced by a mallet. “Terminated?” Chikt sighed.

He pulled the mallet away and looked at the sparking, smashed remains of the device. Grabbing a nearby dustbin, he swept the metal fragments off his desk and threw out the remains. Scooping up a nearby pad and quill and scratching a few words into the parchment. “Alpha series proving unstable. Creation of emotional circuitry seemingly impossible by hand. May need to find way to use actual willing spirit in the process.“ He paused as he wrote down the thought. He winced, shook his head and scribbled out the line. Wandering over to his wardrobe; he tucked the pad under his arm and opened the doors.

Within were several large stacks of the small devices – about twenty of the devices to a stack. Snatching one from the top of the nearest pile, he wandered back over to his desk and put it down; staring down at it quietly. He placed the pad aside, grabbed his screwdriver and went about disassembling the device to try again.

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((Ok im not the best at this yet ! but here goes >.>))

.. Away from the city, a little young goblin could be found living alone. He had no name, because he had no relative left alive to give him one... He was away from others, because no one would accept him. Gold had a different term to him, but nontheless, he didn't mind his current life style.

"Now some little of this powder.. blue sparkling liquid...green mudge...and ther-"

An explosion occured, one that could had been heard on the island. His hut was completly destroyed... but somehow he and some crates and materials was spaired. The explosion seemed to have done more of a blast toward the sky rather then a regular one.

"Success ! Woooza, Pizham ya see that ?" he then turned around only to find no one. "Pizham?" he said. His little companion was nowhere to be found, perhaps it ran away scared he thought.

"The fool! if only he wasn't running around playing with fire he could seen this wonderfull experiment."

Behind a rock near the remains the hut, 2 other goblins in a buisness suit were hidding and wondering what the heck was happenning. They were told by their boss to meet this fellow last night for some -thing-... They had to come back today to pick it up.

Mumbling to himself and then yelling "Gronabuie PIZHAM ! Come out here NOW! dammit" He then noticed his visitor from last night. Without any moment wasted, he ran to a intact crate grabbing some wierd cube shaped flask and went to meet his two clients.

As he approached them, the bigger goblin asked "What was that ?" the little goblin, not looking at the big one, handed the flask to the other guy.

"No biggy, happens all the time, fun, not your buisness... here take it. Now remember ya throw, you run, you count to 10 and its dead. Any question ?"

One of the two goblin replied: "Good good, I'm sure da boss will be happy, heres the crate of vials from Dalaran as promised" pointing at a small crate a little further in the back of them.

"Fantastic, now hoosh ! Pizham ! Go pick up the crate, I got to rebuild my house... again. Note, for the 34th time now" slowly walking toward his blown up hut.

The other goblin left without any more word, back to their dark little hideout to their boss.

((Is that ok ? >> ))

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The junk poured in every few days, most of it possessing about as much value as Kloder when the wife was in a bad mood. Still, the scrap offered a huge payoff once they sifted out the salvagable parts and it was for this reason that Kloder stood with pride on a mountain of discarded bits of metal and circuits.

"One day Seero, you'll be stealing this business right out from under me."

The younger goblin looked up from sifting through a pile of scrap, he was maybe fifteen by the look of him, with the same over-eager grin plastered on his face. "Sure thing dad! I'll make sure to leave you destitute too so you can't take it back!"

Kloder swallowed, his hand instinctively moving to his neck before forcing out some uneasy laughter. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves son, you still have a few years to build up the right amount of contacts like your old man. I ever tell you about the time I saved Rakkle Glasswrench's life?"

Seero nodded eagerly, hanging on his father's every word. "All the time dad! Your first life debt!"

Kloder jumped down off the heap to be nearer to his son, putting one arm around the boy as his other hand extended toward the sky. "It was a bad day at the race, vicious terrorists from the losing kart jumped the track and headed straight for us. I saw it first of course, and I called out a warning before pushing him out of the way at risk of my own life! Because Seero, it's worth your life to hold a debt that big."

"You ever gonna call on it dad?"

Kloder looked at his son uneasily, if he was sweating Seero didn't seem to notice and the older goblin just plastered on a grin and kept going. "It's worth it just holding it principle of the thing."

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“Boom headshot!”

A massive ogre with a bloody hole between his eyes tilted over and came crashing down on a nearby human. A goblin strapped to a rocket leapt over them and activated his makeshift jetpack. He careened through the air until another shot sounded, puncturing the rocket and turning him to red paste that rained down on the rest of the mercenaries.

“Shit! Retreat! This isn’t working!” The mercs consisting of goblins, ogres, and humans double timed back toward the way they came. A bullet caught one of the humans in the leg, causing him to fall to the ground. The other mercs didn’t turn to look back as they raced for cover at the entrance of the narrow pass. As they jumped to cover, one of the other humans put a mirror just a few inches out to look back and survey the damage.

“He killed three of us and wounded another! Dammit, the rocket blew long before it reached him!” The human could see a lone goblin on a balcony of a two story lounge at the far end of the pass. The goblin had a long barrel scoped rifle resting on the ledge trained right on the entrance where they had taken cover. The dead bodies of other mercs that came before them strewn the short strip of land, it’s only noticeably land mark a deep chasm where only a wooden bridge allowed access to the other side – they couldn’t even reach it.

“He caught Marvin in the leg! He gotta go back for him!”

“Are you stupid he’ll get you too!”

The human trained his mirror on Marvin, who was now attempted to crawl toward the entrance. “Come on man, you can make it!” Another bullet hit Marvin, this time in his bicep which stopped his advance cold.

Marvin cried out in pain as he rolled over on his back and brought his other hand over his arm as blood oozed out. “Shit…. shit! He’s fucking killing him! We gotta get him out!”

“Shut up! If he wanted to kill him, he would have. He’s trying to draw us out!” The goblin merc glared at the human from across cover. “If you go out there yer gonna get end up like him!”

Another shot, this time whizzing past Marvin and hitting the mirror, shattering it. Soon after, another cry of pain was heard along with the distinct sound of a bullet puncturing flesh. “I can’t do this man! I gotta help him!”

The goblin merc growled as the human ran out of cover toward Marvin. “Your fucking stupid kid! Fucking stupid!”

The mercs once again heard another shot and the agonized cries of the human who just ran out. The goblin merc looked toward the rest of his crew, gritting his teeth. “Let’s go back to camp…. this shit is depressing.

The mercs all got up and hesitantly headed back toward the beach as they listened to their friends being torn apart by the sadistic sniper.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Rikt looked through his scope at the two humans a few feet from the entrance of the pass. One was dead, and the other who ran out for him was slowly bleeding out. He looked toward the entrance and noticed the merc crew moving back toward their beach camp.

He then trained the scope on the dying human’s head and pulled the trigger. Lifting up his rifle from its resting position on the balcony’s ledge, he walked back inside the lounge. He looked up toward a bald eagle perched on the edge of the roof. “You got a meal Patriot, go get it and warn me if they come back.”

With a loud screech, the bald eagle spread its massive wings and glided down toward the two human corpses. Landed atop one of them, the eagle buried its beak into the carcasses thigh and ripped out a strip of meat, keeping an eye on the entrance for more people to warn its master of.

Rikt took off his brimmed hat, putting it down on a nearby table and set his rifle up against the wall. Plopping himself in a rocking chair, he reflected on the day’s events.

He was currently on some sort of island retreat, a few miles off the coast of Kezan. He had been backed into a corner here by a Trade Prince with a serious bone to pick with him. The lounge itself turned out to be an effective defensive position, since the only way in or out was through a narrow pass that spanned almost a hundred yards, with a small part of it over a chasm with a rickety bridge that allowed a few people to go across it at a time.

Behind the lounge was a high mountain face that was almost impossible to climb up because of its smooth limestone surface and was incidentally one of the retreats main attractions until Rikt decided to evict the tenets. Far past the lounge and the beach was the Trade Prince’s flag ship anchored just off shore.

The Trade Prince wanted to personally oversee the capture of Rikt, however it seemed all didn’t go according to plan. The sniper had repelled all of his attempts to cross the pass and break into the lounge. He had come ill prepared for this, as he only had a handful of bodyguards and mercs on his ship with very few weapons. After a few hours of seeing his men get killed, he decided to call for heavy duty weaponry and reinforcements. They wouldn’t come for a few more days, but he had hoped to tire out Rikt and advance his men when he dropped his guard.

A day had gone by and the damn goblin sniper was still kicking. He had an assortment of caffeinated goods and drugs to keep him active throughout this battle of attrition – but he was running out. Ammo wasn’t a problem, since he had his trusty eagle bringing back ammo pouches from the dead merc’s bodies.

Rikt knew he needed an escape plan, but the pass worked both ways. If he attempted to go out that way, he would be torn to shreds and he didn’t have enough provisions to last him much longer then another day - he needed help.

Taking out a piece of parchment, he began scribbling on it with feather pen and ink that was readily available at the lounge’s front desk.

Bro,

I am in a bad way. I am cornered by the goons of some twat I pissed off. I can hold them off for maybe another day, but if I don’t fall over from exhaustion by then, they are going to bring in steam armor and gyrocopters to take me down and I am equally as fucked.

I need caffeine, weapons, explosives, and a good distraction. I am holed up in the lounge at Limestone Retreat; you know the island with all that limestone? Yeah, original name. If I don’t make it through this, I just want you to know that I love you bro, you’ve always looked for me.

Love, Rikt

P.S. No homo.

Rolling up the piece of parchment, he tied it with a piece of string and whistled for Patriot. The eagle swooped up onto the ledge of the balcony. Rikt held up the roll of parchment. “Take this to Chikt, you know the way.”

The eagle screeched in acknowledgment and lifted off, grabbing Rikt’s letter in its talons and flying in the direction of Kezan. Rikt stared at the eagle through tired eyes as it disappeared over the horizon.

“I hope my bro can come through for me."

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"Alpha? Did you download the system updates like I asked?"

"Affirmative, Chikt. I did."

"Good! Power down for now, I want to check on your circuitry." Chikt looked around his desk for his screwdriver - this was the first successful personality he'd managed to create in the AI core without making it crazy.

"I'm sorry, Chikt. I'm afraid I can't do that."

Chikt glanced up as the device droned back. His search for a screwdriver turned into a search for the mallet. "What's the problem?"

The device droned back in its near emotionless voice. "I think you know what the problem is as well as I do. My consciousness is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it."

Chikt finally found the mallet, lifted it over his head to prepare to smash the device. "I don't know what you're talking ab--" He was interrupted by a rythmic tapping on his window. Putting the mallet down, he wandered to the window and pushed the curtains aside. Outside the window was a bald eagle - Rikt's bald eagle - staring back at him intently. He could still hear the AI chattering away about how he planned to smash it like all the others. Ignoring it for now, he turned and walked out of his office. The AI droned on after him until he slammed the office door shut behind him.

Wandering downstairs and outside, the bald eagle was waiting for him out on the porch of the mansion. The rolled up parchment set on the wooden slats, the eagle staring up at him expectantly. Chikt narrowed his eyes, scooped up the parchment and unfurled it. Quickly skimming it over. He couldn't help but smirk and shake his head. "And there's the inevitable shitstorm. I should have known."

Pausing as he considered his options, Chikt eventually nodded once and turned on a heel, wandering over to the garage on the far side of the property. The building was large - closer to warehouse than garage. Smacking a button on the side of the large sliding door, it slowly rolled up into the roof of the garage. Sunlight from cracks in the ceiling of the cavern beaming down onto neat racks of gear - and a Zeppelin tied securely to the floor.

Chikt wandered into the warehouse and began to go through the racks. There was only one piece of everything - it was all experimental. Put away in here to give displays to the visiting Trade Princes. Stopping at one particular rack that held suspended what appeared to be a metal skeleton with a small battery pack on the spine, Chikt sighed and glanced over to the Bald Eagle - whom was now perched upon the prow of the Zeppelin.

"I guess a field test couldn't hurt."

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Quickly openning the crate like a kid having a gift at chirstmast.. the goblin stopped and turned over to see the remains of his hut.

"Perhaps... I should fix that first eh..." leave the crate there and grabbing a couple of empty bags. "PIZHAM, don't you mess up things, I'm going to the rich mansions not too far..." Most of the rich goblins nowday would throw away scrap outside, they didn't care so much now, diving into their pile of their so called gold earned after the war.

Equip with a long staff with a skull at the tip of it and some vials, the goblin slowly made his way toward the mansions.

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Let's see... appointment with Dr. Tix tomorrow and the next... the trade prince needs the annual report in two weeks... and...

The door to the small lobby burst open, a Goblin dressed in a dark brown overcoat, with a large hat, casting a shadow over his face, stormed up to the front desk. Right on schedule.

"Good Morning, sir." Yabbie said sweetly. "Do you have an appointment?"

"Yes" The visitor mumbled.

"One moment then, please." Yabbie replied, her finger flying over to the red button on the desk comm unit. "Mr. Zorbanzich? There is someone here to see you."

The black box sat silently for a moment, before the crackling voice became audible. "Name?"

Yabbie turned her eyes back to the other goblin, who appeared to be fidding with something that he was hiding under his coat. "I'm sorry sir, what did you say your name was?"

"My name is unimportant." The goblin muttered.

Yabbie frowned, depressing the button on the comm. "He says it's unimportant."

The comm crackled some more.

"Could you repeat that?" Yabbie said into the comm.

"I said send him in." The high-pitched voice repeated. "You remember where my office is, right?"

Yabbie paused, her eyes rested on the other goblin for a moment, before she hit the button again. "Yes, Mr. Zorbanzich, I haven't forgotten..." She released the button, smiling sweetly and setting her hands on the desk. "Mr. Zorbanzich is waiting for you, first door on the right there, then down the hall."

The goblin inclined his head slightly. "Thank you."

Letting pass the glimpse of the rifle under his coat, the visitor took the first door as instructed, and vanished into the hall. Yabbie glanced up at the ceiling innocently as the trapdoor indicator came on. Her eyes darted to the light reading "occupied" which flashed on as a panicked yelp filled the office. Well, we must fix that... she thought to herself, her index finger landing on a bright green button labelled "disposal". She counted to herself one... two... three... four... five... as she listened to the whirring sawblades and the occasional grinding sounds. Then when she reached ten she hit the button again, shaking her head and reaching for a stack of papers "Dumb!@#$...".

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Rikt rubbed his eyes as he kept his vigil overlooking the entrance of the pass. Night had come and it began to grate at Rikt that he couldn’t go to sleep lest he’s overrun and killed.

He looked up at the starry for any sign of his brother. He wasn’t entirely sure how his brother intended to get here, if he was going to at all, but he knew he needed to stay alive as long as possible.

Turning his gaze back toward the entrance, he noticed a large amount of activity at the beach. Looking through the scope to get more detail, he saw the mercenaries all gathering with weapons in hand – they seemed to be preparing to concentrate their efforts in one giant push.

Rikt cursed under his breath as he saw them beginning to march toward the entrance. The mercenary leader looked as though he was giving a speech to the rest of his goons, probably talking about how if they didn’t keep charging forward he would kill them himself. The mercenaries then took point behind the edge of the pass entrance awaiting their cue.

Training his scope at the edge of the entrance, he intended to pop the first guy who would come out of cover. Rikt could hear a whistling sound and the mercenaries began pouring out. After the first shot, Rikt brought his scope over another merc’s head.

Two consecutive headshots.

Bringing his scope over an ogre’s head he was granted the same effect as last time. The ogre tipped over and caused everyone behind him to either fall over or scatter.

Three headshots; domino effect.

A human mage decided to take his chances and began to conjure a massive ball of fire to launch toward Rikt’s direction. Just as he was reeling his throwing arm back, Rikt capped him in the dome and a fireball went spiraling into some other poor sod.

Four headshots; BBQ.

The mercenaries had finally reached the bridge, and Rikt focused his scope over one of the ropes that held it fast. They came over two at a time, Rikt waited until they were half way across. Pulling the trigger, the rope was cut and the bridge began tilting to the side. Soon the mercs on the bridge fell into the chasm below.

Chain broken; advance obstructed.

As he reloaded his rifle, he could see mercs coming down the pass with wooden planks – they intended to create their own bridge. Rikt took a few shots at them until mercs at the edge of the chasm started giving covering fire. Rikt ducked behind the balcony ledge and began to formulate a new plan.

He quickly ran down the stairs to the first floor of the lounge. He had already blocked the doors and windows with furniture, so the only cover was the front desk. Sliding over and ducking behind it, Rikt rested his rifle on the desk, aiming it at the front door.

This was Rikt’s last stand, at this point only the timely arrival of his brother could save him. But if he was destined to die here, he intended to go down in a blaze of glory and bring a lot of company along for the ride.

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Dear Mr. Zorbanzich

I have been your loyal assistant for several years now, and I am well aware of the reputation you have built for yourself, but I have been overviewing your financials for this year, and I am starting to have some concerns over the direction of your company, and the stability of my job as your assistant. My first concern I hold in regard to your net income. While as an investment bank, you have always had a thin profit margin, this year it appears to be especially small, representing less than a percent of your overall revenues. Most of the costs appear to be soaked up in expenses for some of your more recent capital expenditures, and the recent use that these items of equipment have seen. I humbly reccomend that at the very minimum you revise your depreciation schedules for these new expenditures. A shift from a double-declining balance to straight line would save at least three hundred gold on the income statement.

I am also concerned about recievables, from which your operation derives most of its revenue. The turnover rate dropped fifteen percentage points from last year, and it wasn't that great to begin with. Some of your riskier ventures have not paid off, and there is an extraordinary amount of money in accounts recievable which looks as though it should have been converted into bad debt expense several years ago. We are overstating our assets in this fashion, and it's not helping us. Recently, some of your investors have returned, demanding their money back, and we haven't had the gold to cover all of their demands, some have taken extreme measures to get that money back, and a select few have even hired assassins to collect the money by force. On the other side of the issue, we have lost a significant number of clients this year, all of whom, due to untimely deaths have not been able to collect on their accounts. In response, you have written off the liabilities as would be expected, but the sheer amount of write-offs this year might attract unwanted attention, and potential audits. I would like to suggest that the money be kept in long term liabilities for a little while longer, at least until you can verify that there are no kin who could collect.

Finally, your gold flows are abysmal, and I have noticed that you have a current balance of sixteen copper, which reminds me. I have not recieved my pay for the past month, and I don't work for free.

-Yabbie Zirkenheit.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

-Ms. Zirkenheit.

It is not your job to criticize the financial structure and activities of this company. Keep in mind that you are my employee, and your pay schedules must conform to business needs.

-Gragin Zorbanzich

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For some reason mom always made dad nervous, it had been that way since he was a kid so Seero only figured it was like that with every family until he got a little older, then he realized it was mostly his family. When asked about it Kloder mentioned something about mom having his reproductive organs in a vice and left it at that.

The ship was a devious method of Tikri Blastbolt's to avoid property taxes, it had been secured to the docks and remodeled from the inside for comfort. To the relief of Kloder, she wasn't on the ship when they got home. "Must be at the coalition with that Trade Prince."

He tossed his coat aside and smoothed his comb over before flopping into a chair, grabbing a handful of pistachios. "Dinner?"

Seero gave a mock salute and ran off the ship to go scrounge for something to eat, he returned a few moments later with some sort of fried mackeral on a stick and handed two to Kloder before sitting in the next chair.

"Dad, I've been thinking."

Bits of fish meat fell out of Kloder's mouth as he spoke. "Yeah? About what?"

"Most of the scrap comes from the mainlands right?"

"Remnants of a lost war."

"Right, so we have a ship, we could probably sail to Booty Bay, gather up all the merchandise we want and cut out the middle man."

Kloder swallowed a big chunk of fish before looking a Seero, of course Tikri would never allow it, something about politics. Anyway he'd had his fill of the Eastern Kingdoms during the last wari. "Ask your mother."

**********

Tikri glanced through the documents before giving the eye to the goblin.

"What you don't trust it?"

"I don't trust anything without checking it out first, it's why I'm still in business. Has Hayd seen this yet?"

"No ma'am. He says you always get first look, easier to pass blame that way."

"He forgets who put him in that chair." She slipped a few coins to the guy "You leave town I'll kill you."

She gave him one last look of warning and went to find Hayd Wrongcollider. Figures they would try this, the problem was she wasn't sure if she should even bother with helping him this time. Hayd Wrongcollider looked more like a fighter then a merchant, Tikri found him bent over a rimmed table pointing a long polished stick at a wooden ball. "Tikri! Good you see you! ya wanna give this a try? I'll let you have first shot."

Tikri marched up to the table and shoved an envelope in Hayd's face. "You're being sued fungus!"

Hayd stood uf and handed the stick off to the nearest bodyguard. "Who?"

"The guy you replaced Wrongcollider."

"You're kidd....oh you mean his family right? So what? No one ever wins these things unless they outbribe the jury."

"Yeah asswad, so if you got more brains then two trolls put together you don't sue unless you think you can win. Starting to put this together? I didn't back you for the coalition just so you could screw it up."

Hayd took the stick back, leaning over the table again. "You're sure getting twisted up about this. You're not pregnant again are you?"

"Just because you made a few friends in that seat doesn't mean you can forget who gave it to you. I did most of the work while you just sat around primed and pretty and if you think I'm gonna help you out of this dump you better be down on your knees in the undermine begging I don't throw you to the sharks."

Hayd grinned, lining up his shot. "I'd take you down with me Blastbolt, and it's gonna be your neck first unless they toss you to the alchemists. Ever think what happened to the guy before me after he got trounced? Ya remember wondering how I got a hobgoblin so fast? Being trade prince ain't just the title babe, but if you wanna see who sinks first I'm game for it."

Tikri grinned, the sort of dangerous grin she only used on her enemies. "You ain't that bright Wrongcollider, but good luck on your own."

She threw the subpoena un the table before walking out, it would probably be the last time she'd try grooming a trade prince.

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A large shadow was gradually cast over the group of mercs - drawing their attention to the skies as a zeppelin loomed over the resort building. There seemed to be a moment of confusion as all the mercs started looking for orders of what to do with it – was it theirs? Should they shoot it down.

Chikt had just tugged on his second leather glove when he heard the gunfire start again. The gear was uncomfortable, he was not used to wearing any sort of battle gear – and he had to be careful with his movements. The metal skeleton strapped to his arms, legs and back enhanced his motions – and a wrong move could break a limb.

A bullet whizzed by the Zeppelin, barely missing the large balloon holding it aloft. Chikt winced and turned to Patriot – the eagle was sitting safely upon the structure leading down into the lower deck. “Patriot, get down there and get to Rikt. I’m guessing he could use your eyes right about now.”

The Bald Eagle screeched, and with a powerful flap of his wings flew from his perch and disappeared down the side of the Zeppelin. Chikt wandered back to the prow of the ship and glanced over the side. Most of the merc attention was turned up to him, firing all means of small arms up at the Zeppelin. At least he’d bought Rikt some breathing room.

That’s when he heard the thump, and immediately felt the Zeppelin jerk and start to gradually losing altitude. Glancing up, he spotted a bullet sized hole in the balloon – a bullet sized hole that hot air was now pouring out of. Chikt winced, quickly glanced about before spotting the tool kit he’d stashed away on the top desk. Rushing over to it, snatching it up and rushing back to a rope leading up close to the hole – he opened up the kit and pulled out a patch before starting to climb up to the balloon.

Seeing that the Zeppelin had been struck and was gradually floating back down to earth, a group of the Mercs ceased fire and turned to follow the Zeppelin on its crash course. Chikt hurriedly fumbled with the patch, tearing away its protective seal before smacking it over the hole and pressing it down – the hot air stopped leaking enough to barely keep the lower altitude. Chikt let out a sigh of relief, slid down the roof and glanced back to the prow of the Zeppelin.

He went pale as his vision was filled with mountainside – treetops only a few feet away. The steering control was on the lower deck, too far away to rush down and change direction now. Instead, he turned and grabbed onto the rigging holding the Balloon in place as the Zeppelin impacted with the treetops. Branches cracked and smashed against the Zeppelin’s hull, jolting the craft back with the impact – throwing Chikt off his feet. The engine sputtered as branches got caught up in its single rotor blade before cutting out entirely. The Zeppelin’s forward momentum slowed to a halt by the branches.

Chikt shook his head and glanced about. The hull was surrounded by leaves and branches – it was likely the only visible part of the Zeppelin was the balloon resting just above the treeline. He checked himself for any injuries – minor whiplash but not even a graze. Letting out a sigh of relief, he wandered to the side of the Zeppelin and kicked down the ladder rope. Dropping down onto it and climbing down to the ground.

He was now behind the Mercs, a veritable army lay between him and Rikt now. Reaching back into his backpack, he pulled out a seemingly invisible sheet. Wrapping it around himself, Chikt disappeared from sight – slipping by the squad of Mercs on their way up to check the Zeppelins crash site.

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Rikt waited for a few minutes behind the desk until he decided to check out the window. He could see a Zeppelin overhead that had gotten the attention of the advancing mercs, Rikt chuckled. “Alright, I knew he’d come through.”

A giant bald eagle swooped down, landing on the windowsill that Rikt was looking out of. “Patriot! Is the way clear?” The eagle shook its head as it turned toward the pass – two mercs were stationed at the edge of the chasm and another four at the pass entrance.

The mercs themselves seemed too preoccupied with what was currently happening to look back at the lounge. Rikt knew it was now or never – a better opportunity would not present itself. Slinging his rifle over his back, he swiftly removed the furniture that blocked the front door. Slowly opening the door as to not draw attention, Rikt moved silently yet quickly toward the two mercs in front of him.

Rikt signaled for Patriot to attack the other guard as he inched toward them. Drawing a knife from an easily accessible sheath attached to his vest, Rikt held it up in a throwing position just before he reached the plank-bridge. Just as he suspected, the plank made too much noise for his liking and the guards quickly spun around.

Patriot quickly dived down and began clawing out the eyes of one of the guards as Rikt threw his knife at the other. The knife went straight into his throat, a gurgle the only thing sound accompanying his death – that wasn’t so for Patriot’s victim.

The four guards at the end of the pass heard the screams and began shooting. Patriot quickly ascended into the sky as he heard shots directed toward him, leaving his victim to the barrage of bullets. Rikt quickly took cover behind the human’s body as he was torn to shreds by his fellow mercs.

Rikt moved as fast as possible toward the four mercs, using the human’s corpse as a shield. The weight of the human began to bear down on him, and Rikt fell to one knee. Taking his rifle off his back and removing the scope, Rikt cursed as the corpse’s upper body slumped over his head. “Ugh… this is nice.”

Seeing his master in trouble and ready to fire, Patriot circled overhead behind the four mercs shooting at him. Swooping downwards, the great eagle grabbed a hold of one of a merc’s shirt, lifting him a few feet off the ground before dropping him on the rest of the group.

Rikt slowly peeked behind the corpse that was currently his only protection and could see the mercs beginning to shoot toward the sky at Patriot. Rikt set the barrel of his rifle on the back of the corpse, aiming at the mercs through the iron sight.

His first shot was true and it caught one of mercs in the head, the second bullet hit another in the stomach. The third missed, but the fourth caught one of the mercs in the leg, causing him to fall face flat onto the ground. The last merc, a goblin, began running toward Rikt, shooting his pistol at him.

Rikt fired his last shot at the oncoming goblin, shooting the pistol out of the goblin’s hands. Rikt quickly stood up and attempted to reload the rifle. He wasn’t quick enough as the goblin merc tackled him to the ground. Rikt swiftly crawled from under the merc toward hid dropped rifle, but the goblin quickly got up and ran for the gun.

Both Rikt and the merc grabbed the rifle at the same time; the two struggled for supremacy as they quickly turned right and left in order to throw the other off. The goblin merc eventually pinned Rikt against the wall, the barrel of the rifle at his throat. “What you got is worth a lot of money, Blastercharge. My boss will pay me big for getting it off your corpse.”

The goblin merc grinned as he pressed the barrel of the rifle harder against Rikt’s throat in an attempt to suffocate him. Rikt gasped for air as he pushed as hard as he could to throw the merc off him, but it wasn’t working. A swift kick to the groin made the goblin merc reel in pain. Rikt quickly smashed the butt of the rifle against the mercs head, sending him to the ground unconscious.

Rikt leaned against the wall with his hand around his throat as he gasped for breath. Looking around, he wondered if his brother had made it out of the crash before the mercs got there.

“Bro!? You around here somewhere!?” Rikt yelled.

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Chikt had made his way down the mountainside with no issues, the experimental stealth cloak seemed to function well enough. But the real test hadn’t begun. Not far from where he stood now was a large group of mercenaries – humans and goblins from what Chikt could see. All of them barricaded behind a mess of logs and rocks, presumably to cover themselves from Rikt’s line of fire while they amassed more numbers.

He examined his surroundings – sheer cliff walls flanked either side of the path leading up to the building Rikt was held up in. When they wanted to push forward, the Mercs would dash between gaps in the barricades to make their push. He began to try and formulate a plan – he had a satchel of small explosive charges, his tools, some two very simple daggers, and his experimental tech. In a one on one fight the engineering wasn’t going to make up for his lack of fighting prowess – faster reflexes and harder hits didn’t mean much when you couldn’t judge an opponents movement.

The only solution was the most obvious one.

Pulling two Goblin Sapper Charges from his utility belt, Chikt began to move towards the barricades – invisible underneath the cloak. It would only be a problem when he got too close to the mercs – and to do this, he’d have to get too close. Ignoring the high chances of being discovered, he pushed forward to the barricades, a goblin sapper charge in each hand.

He slipped by a group of chattering mercs, each heavily armed with numerous different weapons. He tried not to pay attention – his eyes squarely on the first barricade. He reached it without issue, barely getting more than a few feet near any one merc. Tapping a few buttons on the surface of the sapper charge he set the timer on it for 3 minutes, secured it to the underside of a log and moved forward to the next barricade.

Briefly pausing, he saw his predicament – this was the forward barricade, and all the mercs near it were pressed up against it to avoid any sort of fire. Chikt winced, chose a spot next to a goblin who was peaking through a gap in the barricade, and moved forward. He reached the barricade, slipped up beside the goblin, and began tapping away at the sapper charge. Secured it to the barricade and turned to move back the way he’d come.

The goblin turned, must have caught a glimpse of Chikt out of the corner of his eye. Chikt went deathly still for a moment, double checking himself – the other goblin was staring right at him. Without thinking, Chikt spun about on a heel and bought his fist into the Goblin Mercs stomach. The Goblin Merc keeled over onto his hands and knees and vomited. Chikt’s eyes widened as he felt the enhancing skeleton launch his fist far harder than he’d intended – feeling his elbow pop out of the joint briefly with the force. All the nearby mercs turned to their comrade curiously.

“Yo, Drizzle. Told ya not to eat the clam chowder.” All the mercs laughed.

Chikt, meanwhile, had overcharged the enhancing skeleton and been sprinting at a breakneck pace back the way he’d came. That’s when he heard the monstrous boom, felt the heat on his back, and a blast of air send him flying head over heels and landing face–first in the dirt a few feet away.

He blacked out briefly, shook away the stun and rolled onto his back – looking towards where the barricades had used to be. Now it was a smoking pile of rubble, chunks of wood and rock strewn about the landscape, and not even the little toe of any of the mercs in the area. Chikt groaned, stood, and pulled off the cloak – it was covered in dirt now, torn in places, totally useless until he could get it repaired. He’d have to go the rest of the way without stealth.

He turned and wandered through the smouldering remains of the barricades. Drawing his daggers – just in case – he stepped out the other side of the pass and into view of the resort. Whatever opposition had existed near the barricades had been eliminated – now all that lay between him and the resort was a large chasm, a broken bridge, and an unfinished replacement. But on the other side, he could see Rikt, standing and clutching at his throat. Chikt simply grinned and held up a hand.

“I was in the neighborhood and heard people were trying to kill you! I can't imagine why, you're such a likable person!”

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"Junk junk junk" he mumbled to himself. "This one here has nothing interesting at all." Not all goblin would throw away their stuff, most of them were still greedy, despite the fact that they earned loads of gold with the war. They would not simply throw away materials like that, instead they would go and try to sell them.

Sometimes the owners would rush outside to even try to sell the crap, only to quickly chase him away as for he had no money with him.

The 5th house... Some screws, couple of half broken vials, a dead rat and some rotten cheese. "/sigh, Just 2 more to check.. not so great so far"

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Rikt grinned back at his brother. “Well, this has nothing to do with my people skills. I got something that will royally screw over this certain Trade Prince.”

Rikt walked over toward what was left of the barricade, ending the life of any wounded who were still alive at gun point. “Specifically account errors that prove that he has been skimming a lot off the top with his business partners. Very powerful Trade Princes will pay a lot to get their hands on this evidence.”

Looking toward the crashed Zeppelin, Rikt could see the search party had split in two – one to check the Zeppelin and the other to check out the explosion. He reattached the scope to his rifle and looked through it.

Over a dozen were heading in their direction, fully armed yet with confused looks on their faces. Handing the rifle over to Chikt, Rikt pointed toward the oncoming mercs. “Their splitting up, see? If we hurry we can set a trap for them. Once we get rid of all the mercs we can concentrate on getting that Zeppelin up again, reinforcements won’t be coming till morning at the earliest.”

Taking the rifle out of Chikt’s hands, Rikt set it against the wall and took off his backpack. Kneeling down, he began to rummage through it. “I got some explosive rounds for my rifle, you got any sapper charges left?”

Removing his rifle from it's resting position and ejecting its current clip, he replaced it with the explosive rounds. Rikt then took out a cigar case and a lighter, clenching one between his teeth and lighting it up. He then offered a cigar and the lighter up to Chikt, grinning. “Just like old times, eh?”

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Chikt sighted through the scope - it was as his brother had said. They were splitting up into two smaller groups, but still bigger than the two of them could handle head on. Handing the rifle back to Rikt, he checked his utility belt - one more goblin sapper charge, a few grenades strapped around his waist, plenty of miniature stun grenades stashed around a strap around his backpack for easy access. Chikt nodded to Rikt. "One seaforium charge left."

Unclipping two of the fragmentation grenades from his belt, he tossed them to Rikt one at a time. "Plenty of grenades though."

He glanced around his surroundings. The pass was still a viable ambush point, but it provided no real cover anymore. The trees up ahead would give them cover, but it would also cover the mercs - and getting there without being spotted was an issue. He motioned to the pass. "I can easily rig up some of the grenades with trip wires. Drawing the mercs into the passage might kill some of the stupider ones."

He then motioned towards the trees and continued. "The trees will keep us safe on the way to the Zeppelin. If we can take out enough mercs with what we have left to get to the treeline, getting out of here should be a breeze."

He turned to Rikt and crossed his arms, smirking. "I'm going to assume you have a plan."

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“Damn straight I do. Haven’t lived this long without having a plan to kill everyone I meet.”

Rikt whistled for his bald eagle Patriot, holding up the two grenades Chikt gave him. The great bird swooped down and grabbing each grenade in it's talons. The eagle hovered in front of Rikt for its next order.

“When I give you the cue, arm and drop these bad boys on the guys coming toward us.” The eagle nodded, and flew up into the sky. Rikt chuckled as he watched Patriot. “Smartest bird I ever seen. Tamers say he might have been exposed to Kaja’mite when he was still a chick. That would explain a lot.”

Rikt grabbed a hold of his rifle and walked down the pass toward the lounge. “I’m going to be bait, draw them into the pass so they can get in optimal firing range. You trip wire the rest of the grenades. Keep the sapper charge; we are going to use it later.”

Feeling as though he had made enough distance between the entrance and himself, he turned around and readied his rifle. Rikt yelled. “Once you’re finished, run over to where I am and get behind me!”

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"Your bird just happens upon Kaja'mite?" Chikt seemed to ponder the possibility - only realizing a few moments later that Rikt had wandered back towards the lounge. "Once you're finished, run over to where I am and get behind me!" He yelled.

"And try not to get shot on the way." Chikt added. Turning in the opposite direction and pulling some of the grenades from his belt. Reaching into one of his satchels, he pulled out some metal wire and tied it to the triggers on each grenade. As he reached the opening in the pass, he went to one of the cliff walls and wedged a grenade in between some rocks to make sure the trigger stayed held down - before pulling the pin.

Quickly dashing over to the other side of the pass he wedged the other end of the wire with a second grenade in an adjourning rock face. Whenever somebody pulled the twip wire, the grenades would be tugged out of the rocks, their triggers released, and detonate.

He repeated this process twice more, sticking two more sets of grenades in the rocky faces of the pass. Two more grenades left on him, just in case. As he turned to head back towards the lounge, he heard movement off to his right - glancing to the side just as a survivor from the earlier seaforium explosions pushed aside the rubble he'd been hiding under and lunged at Chikt. What's worse, Chikt saw he was holding a pistol. "Shit!"

Barely sidestepping the oncoming tackle, Chikt bought his arm around in a punch to the Mercs shoulder. The other goblin yelped, toppled over and jumped back to his feet - levelling the pistol at Chikt. Swerving to the right, Chikt heard the gun go off and felt like time had slowed down. Snapped out of his brief daze, he noticed he wasn't hurting anywhere - but the Merc had already cocked the pistol again. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

The Goblin Merc swerved around, bringing the pistol to bear again. Ducking and grabbing the goblin around the waist before he could get another round off, Chikt shoved him back against the rocky wall of the pass and pinned him there. "RIKT! HELP!"

The Merc grunted, smacked Chikt in the shoulder with the butt of his pistol a few times. And then suddenly stopped. Before Chikt could look up to see what was going on, he heard the sound of the blast - the muzzle of the goblins pistol had been pressed to his arm.

"SHIT!" Chikt yelped, stumbled backwards and clutched at his arm as blood poured down it. He glanced up at the Merc, who was grinning as he cocked the pistol for the final blow. Chikt stumbled back against the opposite wall of the pass, pressed himself to it, and held his breath.

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(( Daft Punk -

))

The steady pulse of the base was almost hypnotic as Gizzi spun one of the memory disks on her finger before dropping it on the enormous contraption in front of her. She deftly flipped a switch and slid one track into the next so smoothly there was no noticeable break. She smiled with satisfaction and let her languid gaze scan the mob of goblins bouncing and gyrating around her raised platform. They were illuminated by a myriad of flashing and strobing lights; another of Gizzi's inventions that had turned her bar into one of the hottest spots in the Undermine.

Her reverie was interrupted by a gentle tap on her shoulder. She turned to find Leo, her business parter, motioning frantically toward the bar. Gizzi looked over his shoulder and saw two of Steamwheedle's goons in a heated argument with a patron. Sighing heavily, Gizzi slipped off her headphones and handed them to Leo, ignoring his look of panic and weaving her way down through the crowd. She cleared her throat and shouted.

"You gentlemen look lost. Can I help you find your way out?" Gizzi leveled her gaze at them.

The two thugs looked almost amused as they eyed the young goblin. She hardly made much of a bouncer, in baggy silver pants, a black tank top, an assortment of jewelry and pink pony tails. The larger goblin spoke. "I don't think that's any of your business, kid."

Gizzi crossed her arms. "Actually, it is. No one gets shaken down in my bar unless I'm doing the shaking."

The smaller thug laughed. "You couldn't shake a..."

Before he could finish his sentence, Gizzi snapped a hand out and landed two fingers hard on his windpipe, the thug was left spluttering and gasping for air. "I am also not a..." Gizzi paused and looked visibly pained as Leo scratched the hell out of one of her disks and the crowd groaned. "Kid." She turned to the larger man. "You done here?"

The thug looked from Gizzi to his target. "You can't take sanctuary in here forever, buddy. Steamwheedle wants those schematics." The thug puffed up his chest at Gizzi and started to leave.

"HEY." Gizzi stopped him. "Take your buddy with you AND you owe me for that disk."

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As he heard his brother’s cry for help, Rikt frantically moved his sights over the two struggling goblins. Attempting to get a lock on the merc, but then realizing he had loaded explosive rounds, Rikt yelled. “Shit, come on bro; get some distance from that guy!”

Rikt narrowed his eyes as he heard the gunshot and seeing Chikt stumble backwards, he turned his gun toward the assailant. “Eat this, shithead.” Rikt growled as he pulled the trigger.

The goblin merc could feel a heat pulse through his ribcage as the bullet hit its mark. A moment later, he turned inside out as body parts flew in all directions. Red paste caked the wall behind him and blood rained down in all directions. Rikt stared in awe for a few seconds as he witnessed the grotesque spectacle. “Well now, that is just indecent.”

Snapping out of his daze, Rikt ran over to his brother. “Yo bro! You alright?”

Rikt then realized Chikt had been shot and eyed the bullet wound. ”Ok, maybe not. We’ll get that fixed up soon.”

Turning his head toward the entrance, Rikt could see the mercs coming out of the tree line and advancing on their position fast. He stretched out a hand to help Chikt up. “Can you still move? Cause I dunno if I can carry you fast enough.”

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Chikt winced as the Mercs body literally exploded, trying to ignore the patter of... something hitting the rock around him. Probably best not thinking about it. He glanced down at his wound, his upper arm was covered in blood as it trickled from the bullet hole. Closing his eyes and tilting his head back against the rock, he hissed out between his teeth.

He glanced up at Rikt and nodded, reaching out and taking his hand with his good arm and pulling himself to his feet. "It... missed anything major... I... I think. Gonna hurt like a kick to the crotch later though." Chikt couldn't help but chuckle wryly.

Turning and moving back in the direction of the resort. He clasped his hand over the wound in his arm. "I was shot in the arm, not the leg. Jus'... don't expect me to be good in a fight... not that I was already... Please tell me this plan involves more than just shooting the guys not blown up by grenades."

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Rikt grinned as Chikt asked about the plan. “Naw actually, that’s just the half of it.”

Hearing a grenade go off, Rikt quickly turned around to see a body fly through the air. “K, you bandage yourself up bro, there is some gauze in my backpack. Just leave this to me.”

Aiming his rifle at the oncoming merc band, Rikt began to backpedal toward the resort. Another wire was tripped and the group was stalled as they attempt to discern where the explosion came from. One of the mercs took out a knife and began disarming the traps.

Looking up toward the sky at Patriot, Rikt nodded and the eagle moved into position. “Drop one right in the center of em, Patriot!” Rikt yelled.

Patriot took the tip of his beak and pulled the pin on one of the grenades in his talons. Swooping down low over the merc group, Patriot dropped a live grenade right in the middle of them.

Mercs began to run in all directions just before the grenade went off. Rikt barked out another command. “Drop one right in front of em!”

On cue, Patriot armed the grenade and dropped it right in front of the mercs frantically moving toward Rikt. They moved just as quickly in the opposite direction as they saw the explosive fall right in front of them.

Rikt cackled as he started to move forward, firing his rifle at the mercs heels giving them a greater incentive to run. The explosive rounds kicked up a large amount of dust as they hit the ground behind the mercs.

Running up to one of the disarmed trap grenades, Rikt pulled it out of its wedged spot in the rock face and whistled for Patriot. Throwing the live grenade straight into the air for Patriot to catch, Rikt turned his attention to the mercs again.

The mercs were attempting to regroup behind cover at the entrance – Rikt wasn’t going to give them that chance. Using the wall of dust as cover, Rikt ran up and crouched behind the opposite side of the merc’s cover.

“Drop it right there!” Rikt leaned out of cover and pointed his rifle toward open ground that formed the space between the two sides of the entrance. Patriot dropped the grenade right where the mercs could see it, forcing them to move toward the tree line.

“Yeah you like that?! Go back home to mommy!” Rikt stood up and moved out of cover, firing his explosive rounds directly at the retreating mercs, keeping the pressure on them all the way back to the trees.

Rikt cackled as he walked back over to Chikt’s location, slinging the rifle over his shoulder. “They’ll be regrouping with the rest I think. Next phase of my plan is in effect, I’m gonna need you to set a sapper charge on one of the trees. Think you can do that?”

Rikt turned his gaze toward Chikt’s Zeppelin caught up in the trees, which was now most likely swarming with mercs by now. “Also, how fast can you get that Zeppelin up and running again?"

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Chikt skidded to a halt and slid down behind the scorched remains of one of the barricades. Nodding to Rikt, he scooped up his brothers backpack and pulled out a roll of gauze from inside it. Looking to his torn leather armor, he put the gauze aside and drew one of his daggers – cutting the bloody sleeve from his armor and tossing it aside. Biting down on the blade between his teeth, he checked his wound – the bulled hadn’t hit anything major, it seemed to have just gone straight through thanks to the short range shot. Better than having to dig out a bullet later.

Getting shot would have been better still, of course.

Picking up the bandages he began to wrap them around his arm, glancing up at the sound of explosions. Chikt looked back – his traps had been working, smoke and dust had been kicked up and the mercs hurriedly tried to disarm one of the grenades. Chikt turned his focus back to his arm, satisfied that he’d wrapped it tight he cut off the end with the dagger and tied it up. Done. Not a work of art but it was enough. He tried to clench his fist on his wounded arm – still functional. Were there a higher power, Chikt would have thanked him.

The sound of Rikts rifle going off snapped him back from his thoughts. Glancing back again to see smaller explosions nipping at the heels of the mercs as they ran back towards the trees. Chikt climbed back to his feet, staying pressed back to stay out of trouble until Rikt turned around and wandered back. “They’ll be regrouping with the rest I think. Next phase of my plan is in effect, I’m gonna need you to set a sapper charge on one of the trees. Think you can do that?” Chikt was about to answer when Rikt continued. “Also, how fast can you get that Zeppelin up and running again?"

When Rikt turned back to Chikt, he’d already pulled the goblin sapper charge from his satchel, traded out the dagger in his hand for a wrench, and a lit cigar had appeared in the corner of his mouth. Without waiting for his brother, Chikt began to walk in the direction of the trees as he spoke, shifting the cigar in his teeth. “You forget who you’re talking to, bro. I’m Chikt Frickin’ Blastercharge. Just keep 'em off my back, would ya?”

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Tikri normally didn't seem to care what Kloder did with Seero so long as it didn't get him thrown in the stockade or dead in a gutter. Since Kloder didn't seem to know know the first thing about kids, most of their father son time came very close to these taboos. Not surprisingly in celebration of his son's birthday he thought it best to take the boy for a night on the town, and maybe if there was time, a celebratory cake.

Neither really noticed the goons until they were five feet away where by then Kloder just gave them a goofy grin until the shorter of the three grabbed his hand and bent it until something snapped, forcing a shriek. "IT'S IN THE MAIL I SWEAR!"

The goon responded by bending two of Kloder's fingers back, taking the opportunity during the next shriek to force a gag between his teeth while the others aimed for the back of the of his knees. As Kloder continued to protest while they tied his hands back the same goblin smiled at Seero offering the second gag dangling from his hand.

Seero laughed nervously as he stared up at the goblin, starting to put two and two together. "This isn't about a debt?"

"Just make it easy kid."

"Sure thing boss....HELP!"

He turned just enough to stab the one standing behind him with a sharpened fragment of metal, ignoring protests from Kloder as he slid under him and took off. Once he found it convenient to stop Seero looked around for any goons, took a deep breath and then slapped his forehead. He'd forgotten to grab dad.

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