“But shouldn’t we hire someone a bit stronger? A bit taller?” Eyon squinted at the goblins lined up along Sellsword Street. “I think the tallest of them barely has a hand on me, and I’m short for my age.”

“Patience, boy,” said Gullywax. “Much as I’d like to hire you an oakshaft spearman or a fey crossbowman or even a human, we’ve not ten coins to rub together between the two of us. We’ll have to make do with a gob until more coin or more renown comes our way.”

At the wanderers’ approach, the goblins (and their handlers) began to shout and heckle them.

“You there, boy! Good strong gob here, eight coin!”

“Gob for hire! Will bring own arquebus if you bring shot!”

“Finest gob in Sellsword! Was chief of Earpincher tribe once!”

“Gob! Gob! Gob here! Kill protect and serve!”

Gullywax whispered advice at Eyon as they walked along the cobblestones. “Don’t pick any that are too short; goblins grow all their lives and the taller ones are the most experienced. Pick one with armor; it will last longer in serious combat and have a better chance in ambushes. A sword is better than a bow or hammer because it can parry blows as well as attack. Don’t be afraid to haggle, but keep in mind the lowest any will go is half their initial offer.”

Eyon paused in front of a goblin taller than he was with burnished armor and sword. “How much?”

“Hunnert coin fer ten days,” the gob sniffed.

“Too much coin for too short a time,” whispered Gullywax, his whiskers tickling Eyon’s ear.

Further along, a goblin in ramshackle armor was swaying as if drunk (or punch-drunk) and using a sword for a crutch. “Five coin, thitty days,” it panted. “Bes’ deal onna Shellshord.”

“Obviously something wrong with that one.” Eyon was inclined to agree.

Eventually, they came upon a goblin with solid-looking (if coated with a rusty patina) armor, a sword that shone at the edge and the point, and a massive iron helmet that covered its head and all its features.

“How much to hire you?” Eyon said. The gob looked a good compromise in height, and stood solidly with boots planted on the ground.

“Fifteen coins, thirty days,” said the goblin, its voice echoing in its helmet.

“Hm.” It seemed solid enough, and quiet in comparison, but that could as easily be an indicator of weakness or stupidity as strength. “Impress me.”

The goblin clanked forward, lifted its sword, and tossed it into the air. It pivoted, and with a short running start ran up a nearby brick wall before launching itself, seizing the sword in midair, and falling with it–a lethal spike–to the ground. The sword buried itself in the packed earth up to its hilt.

“I think we’ve found our gob.”

Inspired by this.

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