Day 32 of 100 Word Prompts: Knight
Flint had been at sea for the last few weeks, trying his best to perform his duties to the captain on board the Orcadia. He had done his rounds diligently while also doing whatever he could to keep the goblin, Plonk, a secret in the cargo hold. At mealtimes, Flint would pocket pieces of bread or dried meats from the cook to bring down.
“Sorry it isn’t more,” Flint said on one such occasion. “I wish I could bring more than a handful at a time.”
“Are you kidding?” Plonk replied with a mouth full of food. “Your hands are huge. One handful is enough for a day’s food for me. I don’t need much, honest.”
“How’s the hold treating you?” Flint asked. “I’m sorry I don’t get down here more often.”
“No, no, no, you’re fine. You don’t need to apologize,” the goblin replied, scratching behind its left ear. “Thank you for not ratting me out to the captain or squishing me where I stand. You’re doing a really great thing for me.”
“It’s the least I can do,” Flint said. “I don’t see you as dangerous or a nuisance on board. Why would I get you hurt or killed?”
“Well, in any case, it’s appreciated, Flint,” Plonk replied as they began tearing into the meat with their sharp teeth.
“Can I ask you a question?” Flint asked.
“You just did, so I don’t see why not?” the goblin replied.
“Why are you traveling to Teshal?” Flint asked.
“It’s a quest I’m on for my Queen,” Plonk replied.
“Goblins have Queens?” Flint asked.
“Not all of us, but yes, I do,” Plonk replied, taking the last bite of the meat before lying back against a crate and patting their tiny rounded stomach.
“So, you’re a knight?” Flint asked.
“Nothing as formal as that,” Plonk replied. “Queen Urush told me that if I could collect one of the tinderstones from the southern wastes, I would be counted among the greatest goblins in history.”
“That sounds like a good thing, I think,” Flint said.
“That’s not all. No goblin has ever returned from this journey, so before I left, I made a bet with her. If I were to return with a tinderstone, she would have to marry me,” Plonk said. “Then, I would become a goblin king!”
“Really?” Flint asked.
“Yeah, I have to do this. To be a king would be great, don’t you think?” Plonk said.
Flint had no idea what a king would have to do, let alone a goblin king, so he simply smiled and nodded.
“There’s something I’ve meant to ask you, Flint,” Plonk said.
“Shoot,” Flint said, sliding to the floor across from the goblin.
“Why are you traveling to Kinia?” Plonk asked.
“That’s where the goliath nation is,” Flint said.
“Are you from there?” Plonk asked.
“No, but I think I was originally. That’s what my friend told me anyway,” Flint replied.
“Why now? Couldn’t you have returned sooner?” Plonk asked.
“Well, you see, there was an accident on one of the mountains in Baswea. One of my employers died,” Flint said, looking toward the floor. “I didn’t know that would happen up there. I was the only one that survived.”
“What?” Plonk said, “That kind of stuff happens all the time in the city for goblins. You’re running because of that?”
“The man who could be my father told me to go. He arranged this whole trip,” Flint said, motioning around him. “He told me that he would send me a message when things cooled off down there. You see, the people I was up the mountain with were part of the most powerful group of merchants on this side of Baswea. And Dick wasn’t too happy when he found out his son had died.”
“Bah!” Plonk said, waving their hands wildly. “Death is something that can’t be avoided, and as long as you go out spectacularly, I think you’re going to be fine in the great Goblin Kingdom in the sky!”
“The Goblin Kingdom in the sky?” Flint repeated.
“Yeah, Goblins have a god. He’s a fearsome and mighty warrior,” Plonk said, flexing his arms until he saw Flint looking at him disbelieving. “Okay, so he’s not a mighty warrior, but he is cunning and tricky. He appreciates a trick, especially when it’s funny. Have you ever seen a goblin grenade?”
“No, I hav-” Flint began, but stopped when he heard the door to the cargo hold open.
Plonk placed his fingers over his lips, shushing the goliath.
“Flint?” Leonel called out.
“I’m here,” Flint said, pushing himself to his feet. “Sorry, I, uh, I was tightening the ropes on this crate.”
“Good job, Flint, but your shift is over. You can go get some rest,” Leonel said, standing at the open door.
“I’ll-I’ll be right out,” Flint said, “Let me finish checking these, and I’ll report in,” Flint said.
“Okay,” Leonel replied with a nod as he closed the door.
“Why’d you stand up!?” Plonk hissed. “You could’ve gotten me caught!”
“I wasn’t trying to get you caught, but they know I’m in here. They always know where I am,” Flint replied, motioning to himself. “I’m kind of hard to hide.”
“Still, I don’t want to get caught,” Plonk said. “Please, please, please, be careful! I don’t like the way some of these sailors smell. They smell treacherous.”
“I’ll be careful, Plonk. You don’t need to worry about me. We should be reaching Kinia soon, are you getting off the boat there to find another to Teshal?” Flint asked as he cleaned up the little bit of mess with Plonk’s help.
“I’m not sure,” Plonk replied. “I haven’t planned that far ahead.”
“I’m going to give you a piece of advice that was once given to me by a dear friend,” Flint said. “You should plan for success because if you don’t, you’re planning for failure.”
“Your friend sounds smart,” Plonk said, scratching their chin. “I promise, I’ll come up with a plan to get to the Teshal Dominion. Come back tomorrow, and I’ll let you know what it is, okay?”
“See you tomorrow, Plonk,” Flint said with a smile and a wave as he squeezed between crates to the main walkway.
“Be careful, Flint,” Plonk said, their ears poking over the top of a crate. “I’ve only lived the six long years I have because I have a good instinct about betrayers. There’s someone on this ship that has ill intent toward it.”
“I’ll keep my eyes peeled, Plonk. Good night,” Flint said as he pushed through the door into the hall and wandered off toward the hammocks where he would lie across two of them and pass out until the next morning.