World's Shittiest Goblin
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Goblins, horrid creatures. Hard to kill, with a lifespan of several hundred years if they don't get killed, these adaptive creatures have spread everywhere on their home planet Tasseria, plaguing all its people. Goblins know nothing but violence and destruction, smashing, killing and burning everything that comes in their way. Granted, their IQ is in the single digits, so it’s not like their brains have much storage space for other things anyway. Thankfully, their idiocy and small stature makes these rat-like creatures a much smaller threat than they consider themselves to be. Pretending to be dead will usually get them to move on, for they won't know the difference. However, there was once a goblin who was different from his brethren.

Sqr'lk of the Toebiter Tribe had been through some miraculous event of circumstances been blessed, or cursed depending on the viewpoint, with keen intellect at birth. While others of his tribe were busy pillaging and cutting off toes, which they wore in crudely made necklaces, Sqr'lk was more interested in studying the anatomy of the corpses the other goblins left behind, or pressing leaves and flowers between the pages of a book he had stolen from a human.

Sqr'lk was frequently made fun of by his other tribe members who couldn't understand why he did the things he did. He was made fun of for keeping his food over a fire before eating it, when everybody knew that fire was only for warmth and destruction. They made fun of him when he only stole those odd sliced boxes with symbols in them when there were much tastier and shinier things to steal.

Because of his antics, Sqr'lk had become somewhat of an outcast and he didn't feel like he belonged with the tribe. He knew that humans wouldn't take him in either, for they couldn't get past his scarred and wart-filled green skin, uneven needle-like teeth, or his four yellow eyes. He didn't blame them.

Thoughts of where he could go and start his life anew circled his mind during one night, keeping him awake as he lied on the wet grass, looking up at the beautiful night sky. His kind thought that the stars were the eyes of dead goblins, but he knew this to be likely not true.

"There must be more than this out there," he said to himself.

That was when the little goblin saw the thing that would change his life forever. A shooting star crossed the sky above him, leaving a glorious white line in its wake, disappearing quickly afterwards. All of Sqr'lk's four eyes widened in surprise and his jaw dropped as low as it could, unhinging like that of a snake.

In his mind, this confirmed that the sky was not just the roof of the world, that it was something impossibly large, far far away. Despite assuming its magnitude to be enormous, Sqr'lk decided that he wanted to go there. He needed to go there. He had to know what was out there.

From that point forward, he was obsessed. Every hour, minute and second of his waking hours, his mind was consumed by thoughts, plans on how to get so high. He observed the flight of birds and insects, made miniature slingshots, ballistae and other contraptions, scribbling an empty notebook he had stolen full of illustrations and blueprints with coal he had taken from the fireplace. Despite all of his plans and ideas, nothing seemed to work. Sqr'lk began doubting his own intelligence, thinking that maybe he actually was just another, dumb goblin.

He was just about to give up, when the town near his tribe had some sort of festival. He saw how the humans had put up strange, thick paper arrows, with short strands of rope connected to the blunt end. They lit the ropes on fire, and when they burned all the way to the end, the rear of the arrows exploded, quickly propelling the arrows high up to the sky with a trail of fire and sparkles trailing behind them, where they exploded in many, bright colors. All the other goblins were terrified of this display, running and hiding in holes and tree trunks, but Sqr'lk was enamored. He simply stood there, the explosions in the sky reflecting of his large eyes. He understood, that that was what he needed. Without the explosion in the end of course.

He managed to steal a few of the arrows and inspect them. He figured out that they had a fine black powder inside, which burned with intensity, creating propulsion that carried the arrows to the sky. However, Sqr'lk understood that he would need a continuous source of propulsion, which the powder could not provide.

His next subject of intrigue was energy. He understood that the arrows were carried by fire. Through examining the arrows and normal fire, he was able to deduct that there was some sort of connection between fire, heat and movement. At the time Sqr'lk obviously couldn't understand the exact nature of this connection, or the fact that light, heat and movement were all sorts of energy, but it was enough that he could figure out that they could be converted into each other. All he needed now was something that could burn either infinitely, or for an impossibly long amount of time. But Sqr'lk knew that fire was a fast destroyer - his brothers and sisters used it all the time to burn houses and people. He couldn't think of a single thing that could burn for so long.

Once again, he was almost close to giving up, but then his tribe had to take shelter from a storm in a deep cave. The walls of this cave were lined with blue, glowing crystals. They called these crystals "tinglerocks", because being close to them made the goblin's skin feel tingly and touching them made their skin go numb for a while. However, others weren't as lucky. Sqr'lk observed that whenever an insect came close to the tinglerocks, it fell to the ground dead, slightly sizzling.

"Heat!" he exclaimed as he watched the smoke rise from the bug. He knew that his kind were considerably more durable than any other creature on the planet, so he was able to conclude that whatever the rocks radiated was harmful to life but barely affected him. He also understood that whatever they radiated was somehow related to fire, thus, he thought, there must be a way to turn it into movement.

The crystals weren't very strong, so Sqr'lk was able to easily break parts of them off by smashing them repeatedly with a rock. He then took these rocks with him to experiment on them. He tried everything he could think off, but nothing he did would turn the radiation into movement.

One day however, the Toebiter tribe spotted the king's messenger riding on the road next to the forest line. This of course looked like a full course meal in the eyes of the goblins, who rushed out of the forest and crippled the messenger's horse by cutting its tendons with their blades. The messenger was carrying a beautifully ornate staff, which had sides made of two different metals. He tried to use this staff to fight off the goblins, and amid the battle, Sqr'lk used one of his tinglerocks to block one of the messenger's strikes. As this happened, Sqr'lk witnessed how an arc of electricity shot from the other end of the staff, shocking the messenger, who was quickly overwhelmed by the goblins and died. As the goblins swarmed over the bodies of the man and his horse, picking anything that piqued their interest, Sqr'lk managed to swipe the staff. He had seen lightning before and he knew that it set things on fire when it struck them, and even though the lightning he had just seen from the staff was small, he decided that it would be worth experimenting with.

Upon experimenting with the staff and the rocks, he figured out that when one end of the staff touched the rock and the other end something else, small bolts of lightning were created, and these bolts could set things on fire. On the tribe's next raid on the town, Sqr'lk stole any metallic objects he could find and some of the black powder that made the fat arrows fly. He tried to do the same with other metallic objects as he had done with the staff, but for some reason that didn't have the same effect. He sat in the middle of the objects and thought to himself: what makes the staff different from the others? That's when he realized that the two ends of the staff were made from different metals. He also tried what would happen when the other end of the staff touched the black powder, and to his great joy, the powder set aflame and exploded all over the place. A plan started finally forming in his mind.

For months, Sqr'lk observed the town's blacksmiths work from afar, and when night fell, he would sneak to work the forge. At first, he did small rods made of two metals like the staff, figuring out that they worked in a similar way. Then he started working on plates of metal, because he knew he would need some sort of capsule. These plates were made of a metal native to Tasseria, which was extremely durable but still soft enough to be molded relatively easily. He would also, at the same time, roll away a barrel of gunpowder from the barracks every night. He would store all of these deep in the cave, hidden from humans and other goblins.

When he thought he had enough plates, he found a secluded clearing deep in the forest, where he used a hammer and a lot of nails to make a capsule the size of a human house. The upper part was empty, and it had a front window made from a pane of glass. There was also a plush chair nailed to the floor. In the back of this part was a removable container. Inside of this container was a big chunk of tinglerock. Connected to this was a "spark rod" as Sqr'lk called it, which crossed over to the next part of the ship but could be easily pulled out. In the back of the upper part there were also dozens of powder kegs, secured with rope to keep them from moving. Behind the upper part there was another container behind the one with the tingle rock. Connected to this other container was a large cone, which was the last part of the ship. This cone had a little handle on all sides, which could be used to pull it to different directions. Making all of this took Sqr'lk a few years, but finally, he finished. It wasn't pretty. The plates had dents and buckles in them, it had odd angles and protrusions, but Sqr'lk was proud of it.

When he was ready to launch, he called the other goblins to see his big moment.

"I'm going to the ancestor's eyes," he told them.

"What? Why would you want to ram yourself against the roof of the world? You're insane!" They told him.

"Perhaps I am."

And with that, he climbed aboard. He poured a lot of gunpowder to the bigger container. He secured himself with rope to the chair and dropped the other container so that it connected to the other. The spark rod met the tinglerock, and the moment the other end touched the powder, a small spark was born. There was a beat as Sqr'lk was hoping that this would work, that all of the research and hard labor he had done wouldn't have been for nothing. Then, he was pushed to the back of the chair with an immense force, as the powder beneath him ignited and the capsule took off, carried by an immense, roaring fire that pushed out of the back of the capsule.

As Sqr'lk of the Toebiter tribe, who you might nowadays know from the Library as Sqr'lk the Scholar, soared through the sky, the chief of the Toebiter tribe, fully expecting Sqr'lk to impact with the roof of the world and drop right back to the tribe, shook his head and said, "He truly is the world's shittiest goblin."

Sqr'lk however didn't impact with anything, but was soon floating in space, beginning his great, 400-year adventure into the depths of space.

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