Warning: there are mentions of violence, mild cannibalism typical of goblins and murder.
Moonreaper has always been small even for a goblin. She didn’t know who among the clan had fathered her but her mother had always cared for her to the best of her ability. She shielded Moonreaper as much as possible from the other goblins but Moonreaper was unfortunately curious. They’d lived together in a small tent further away from the rest as a protection for her. It had made their life harder in other ways but Moonreaper wouldn’t know that until she was older.
One of her earliest memories is getting a chicken to take care of. Her mother made sure she fed the chicken and kept it safe from animals and hidden from other goblins. Moonreaper would hum to the bird as she took care of it. She’d had the chicken for about a year when one of the other goblins found her bathing it in a nearby stream. They brought back some friends and one of them sat on Moonreaper while the others tore the bird apart and ate it in front of her.
She raged and fought so hard that she managed to knock the larger goblin off her back but they converged on her and almost killed her. Her mother found her shortly after and dragged her small body back to their tent to take care of her. Moonreaper wasn’t allowed to leave the tent for months after that.
When she was finally allowed to step outside again Moonreaper started wandering further and further away from the clan village. She would constantly wander through the hills near the ramshackle tents that made up that awful place. She hated the village and she hated the other goblins. As far as she could tell, her mother was the only one with any sort of empathy.
She wandered further and further each day. On one trip she stumbled across a dragonling stuck in a poorly made Goblin trap. She scurried over as quickly as she could and broke apart the trap with a nearby rock. The dragonling was bleeding horribly from the leg and shrieking fiercely in pain. Moonreaper’s mother had taught her some very mild healing so she scurried around looking for leaves to use as a salve to stop the bleeding.
She shoved the leaves in her mouth and chewed as quickly as possible then pulled them out and stuffed them into the wounds left by the barbs. The dragonling hissed at her but stopped shrieking. Moonreaper used long grass to tie around the mess to keep it in place, and then she went to hunt for something to feed the creature. She didn’t even consider that the dragonling might have called for its mother. She just snatched up a few rabbits and took them back to the other creature.
The dragonling devoured both the carcasses and promptly fell asleep. Moonreaper would normally rush back to the village to make sure she was home for the night with her mother, but she was worried about the dragonling. It was injured and she knew some of the other Goblin hunters came out this way. She sat near the dragonling closely watching for danger.
Just as Moonreaper herself was about to dose lightly the ground started to tremble and the dragonling stirred. It lifted its head and screeched happily several times. At the sound Moonreaper looked to the skies and there was an adult dragon circling overhead. It dove into the trees and hissed at the dragonling.
At the sound Moonreaper lunged at the large dragon, entirely unthinking. It caught sight of her before she could connect though and swatted her away into a tree. Moonreaper was momentarily stunned but she quickly shook it off and got up to lunge again. Before she could lunge again the dragonling got between them and hissed lowly. The larger dragon paused and Moonreaper stopped what she was doing. The dragonling held up its injured leg and Moonreaper hissed at it in reprimand. ‘You can’t move it. It’s not clotted!’
The dragonling turned to look at her but clearly didn’t understand what she was saying. The older dragon, however, understood her words perfectly and stopped lunging at her. It looked to the dragonling and they seemed to speak without words for a few moments.
The dragon looked up at her and sat down. “You saved my child. Why?”
Moonreaper shook her head and looked at the dragon again. “The hunters would have killed it if they found it in the trap.”
The dragon nodded. “Yes but why did you save her.”
Moonreaper tilted her head to the side and frowned. “So it would not die. They hurt my chicken for no reason. They are cruel. Why would I help them?”
That seemed to make a strange sort of sense to the dragon. “We do not accept favors and so I return your kindness. What is it you need?”
Moonreaper frowned. “No favors. It is a baby. It doesn’t deserve to die.”
The dragon snorted. “You are young and your race is short lived. I offer you a reward for saving my child, not a favor.”
Moonreaper hesitated because she knew the dragon could eat her easily. “What is the reward?”
The dragon looked at her for a long moment and then said simply, “I will allow you some of my blood. You are a barbarian, it would lend you further magics. You would also be able to speak our language.”
Mooreaper had started to deny the reward but being able to speak draconic gave her pause. She wanted to warn the baby and tell it how to spot goblin traps in the future so it didn’t get hurt again. With that Moonreaper accepted. The dragon one claw with the other and held it above Moonreaper’s head. She opened her mouth and let the liquid slide down her throat.
It burned bright and hot and she felt so full of energy she wanted to hunt and kill and rage. Her pulse pounded in her ears and when she regained full control of her senses she was heaving breaths on all fours with her hands clawed in the dirt. She shook her head and stood, then turned to the baby dragon and tried to form the new words in a language she’d never spoken before.
“You have to watch for goblin traps better. They don’t even hide them well. Don’t get so excited for a snack that you get caught again!”
The baby huffed. “I be careful now. Thank you.”
Moonreaper hurried back to the goblin village as quickly as she could, still feeling energized from the dragon blood. There was a buzzing in the back of her head that told her she needed to get home now.
When she made it back to the home she shared with her mother she stopped dead. There were pieces of a goblin body strewn in front of the little shack. At first Moonreaper didn’t understand what she was seeing. Then she noticed the little bracelet she’d made for her mother from pretty feathers and grass that Moonreaper had found as she’d wandered through the surrounding area.
She felt anger build up inside her. Her blood became like fire inside her and she began to snarl and growl. The clan chief’s son chose that moment to approach her and start taunting her about tearing her mother apart. Moonreaper flung herself at him and screamed as she bashed his head into the ground repeatedly. When his skull was nothing but mush and she had no more to hold onto she moved to the next closest goblin. Eventually they overwhelmed her and her rage burned hotter until fire spewed from her mouth and she disintegrated them all.
She raged through the village, murdering every single goblin, without remorse. She burned the entire village to the ground and went to collect her pack from their shack, the only building left untouched by her fire.
She’d just settled the little patchwork vest her mother had made for her on her shoulders when she heard a voice cursing from beyond the doorway.
“Why are you here?”
The man turned around quickly and looked down at her. “I needed a goblin.”
Moonreaper tilted her head to the side and responded. “I am a goblin. What do you need?”
The man pushed his glasses up his nose and looked at her. “It’s a mission.”
Moonreaper rolled her eyes. “Yes, what do you need though? Will I get to kill things?”
Her rage was still burning white hot and she figured killing things was as good a way to spend it as any. “I am De Guy.”
Moonreaper just shrugged. “Not a favor. What do you need?”