“Hey you, dockhand! Get to work!”

The loud sneering voice brought Chetan Bahe out of his daydreaming. He looked up. In front of him stood Daniel Richards, the harbormaster’s spoiled son. Internally, he groaned at the sight of Daniel, but kept his composure as he got to his feet. When the harbormaster was too busy to oversee the operations of the dock, he sent Daniel to keep an eye on things.

“My father’s not paying you to lay around all day,” Daniel said with a smirk. He pointed to a small fishing boat that had just pulled up to the dock. Though it didn’t look like much, Chetan was sure it was a runic ship. A regular boat that had been enhanced through the carving of runes into its wooden structure. The power of the runes enabled ships to move faster, and survive dangerous weather conditions, but the runes were a secret. They were known only to the people of Half Moon Bay, and the creatures they’d learned the art from.

“Get those barrels of fish to the market!”

“Yes sir,” replied Chetan, a bit shortly as he tried to hide his annoyance. He turned and walked over to the boat. He would have liked to punch Daniel, but it wouldn’t be worth losing his job. Two other deckhands had already heaved one barrel off the ship. Chetan began to roll it up the dock to the market stalls located right next to the docks.

It was a very labor-intensive job, but Chetan knew he needed to work hard to support his household. Hard work was something Daniel would never know, he thought. The harbormaster’s son had never known what it felt like to struggle.

Chetan looked at Daniel as he rolled the barrel past him. Daniel’s back was turned, but Chetan was sure he was still wearing a smirk on his face.

Suddenly, something else caught Chetan’s eye. A small, red, cylindrical object had come rolling out from behind a stack of crates on the dock. There was a long wire coming out of one end, and it was spewing bright red sparks. He let go of the barrel as he realized what it was, a goblin Boomy Stick.

The crudely-made explosive was rolling straight towards Daniel, who still had his back turned. In an instant, Chetan sprang into action. He ran to Daniel, grabbing him by the shoulders and throwing him out of the way as he kicked the Boomy Stick off the dock and into the sea. The lit fuse fizzled out as the stick fell down to the sea floor.

Chetan breathed a sigh of relief, but moments later Daniel was screaming at him.

“You! I’ll have you fired for this! I’ll-”

“I just saved your life!” Responded Chetan, a bit of anger noticeable in his voice. He tried to calm himself, there was important work to do, the explosive hadn’t just appeared out of thin air.

Chetan reached out a hand and helped Daniel to his feet. As he did so, he saw a small figure run out from behind the crates and up the dock. It wore a huge fur coat that kept its body hidden, though Chetan was sure its skin would have been green. It sprinted off into the city, faster than any human could run.

Daniel had noticed it too.

“What the hell is that.. thing?” There was a tone of disgust in his voice, as if he already suspected the answer.

“A goblin,” Chetan replied, in a hushed tone. They were on the docks after all, surrounded by outsiders.

“And if I hadn’t saved you, a lit stick of goblin-dynamite would have blown up at your feet.”

“A goblin?!” Daniel now wore an expression of pure revulsion. “One of this filthy, ugly, little creatures was trying to kill me?!”

“Shh, keep your voice down,” Chetan looked over his shoulder, making sure none of the outsiders had heard.

“No, it wasn’t trying to kill you, they aren’t like that. Maybe it dropped the explosive by accident.”

“Oh and I suppose the fuse just lit itself?” said Daniel with a look of incredulity, “It sounds like that disgusting creature was attempting to murder me!”

“For all we know, it could have lit by itself. You know how careless the goblins are with their runes, all of their equipment has a chance to spontaneously combust.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, “Oh yes, of course, it all comes back to those damn runes. Magical trickery that causes most of this town’s problems.”

“Look,” said Chetan, cutting him off. “That’s not important right now. What matters is that we get to City Hall right away.”

“City Hall?” Daniel scoffed, “What exactly are the politicians going to do about it? That horrible creature has probably crawled back into the sewers, or wherever it is that they come from. You know, I don’t see why we don’t kill them on sight.”

Chetan sighed, finding it incredibly difficult to keep Daniel from ranting.
“Daniel, that boom stick could have blown a hole in the dock. Don’t you intend to inherit your old man’s business some day?”

“Well yeah,” said Daniel slowly, as if trying to find something in Chetan’s words he could disagree with.

“Well then we have to get to City Hall. We need to warn them. We need police officers down here keeping an eye out so this doesn’t happen. You hate goblins don’t you?”

“I despise them.”

“Then tell the people at City Hall that you want them kept away from your father’s business.”

Daniel pondered this for a moment before he replied, “Alright, you win, let’s go.”

When the two men arrived at City Hall they were surprised to see a long line of people at the front desk. They listened in as they told their stories. Apparently, the people who lived East of the city had been hearing loud explosions coming from the goblin-controlled mountains.

An old woman was seated behind the desk frantically filling out reports as the citizens gave her the details. After a few minutes of waiting, Chetan and Daniel told their story.

“Our police force is spread thin at the moment,” said the woman, “but we’ll get some down to the docks. We’ll make it a priority, we can’t risk even a single goblin-sighting by an outsider.”