He was Gorebs, and Gorebs was his name. He had been called a goblin, an ogre, a ghoul, and a barghest, but none of those were really true: he was Gorebs, and that was all that could be said on the matter.

Gorebs had a fearsome reputation, largely on the strength of his occasional devourings. Living as he did in the labyrinthine Stony Hills that separated the densely forested wilderness from the intensively farmed and settled lowlands, many types of creatures wandered by his home, and he tended to eat them when he was hungry (which was often). Gorebs did not discriminate between fish or fowl, hunter or hunted, and generally could see no difference between the squawking of a trapped bird or that of a trapped trapper.

This was neither cruelty nor malice, but it was not innocence either. Gorebs had a fair idea that his prey did not take kindly to be eaten, and did not suppose that he would either if it came to that. But he was hungry, and that could not be denied; it could at least be said that he did not kill for sport or take more than would satiate his slow-simmering gut.

And that was how it was for seasons uncounted: the unwary did well to fear Gorebs, while Gorebs did well to devour what he could when he was hungry. There was every indication that things would have gone on that way, as well. But that was before the comet.

And the comet changed everything.

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