CruelSummerLord writes "Hobgoblins named their clans for the gruesome fates they inflicted on their victims, and the Spine Breakers were no different. Ugtharn and the rest of the Council of Crippled Helplessness stood on a raised platform, looking down at the sight of the Heart Piercers’ and Hackers’ ruling councils kneeling and shackled in two long lines. Two Spine Breaker hobgoblins stood behind each member of the defeated councils. One of the Spine Breakers held a large war hammer, while the other held a long wooden stake.
The Heart Of The
“So orcs are much the same in the Dreadwood as they are in
the Vesve,” Apallin said, before taking a swig of mead, “if somewhat less
“Orcs are much the same everywhere,” Weimar said with a
chuckle. “I’d venture the reason many of the Vesve orcs are better organized
comes from working for Iuz. Is it the same for the hobgoblins working for the
“Sadly, yes,” Chloeithy said, glancing into the embers of
the nearby fire for a moment. “The hobgoblins of the Yatils and the Vesve at least
fight among themselves more.”
Weimar drank his Big Cedar Log thoughtfully as Chloeithy
brushed her hair back behind her pointed elven ear. Chloeithy and her human
friend Apallin belonged to the Knights of the High Forest. They regularly drank
at the Wise Moose Tavern when they were in Highfolk Town. Weimar met them
there, and soon they were swapping stories of defending the forests they loved.
“It’s funny, though,” Weimar said, as he raised his tankard
to request a refill, “my gnome friend said that the hobgoblins we killed had
tattoos that showed their allegiance to Maglubiyet. Why would they be fighting
for the Society?”
Chloeithy and Apallin exchanged glances.
“Can you show us what it looked like?” Apallin asked, as
Chloeithy retrieved a quill, ink and some parchment from her pack and lay them
on the table.
Weimar’s sketch was rather crude, but it still showed
Apallin and Chloeithy what they wanted to know.
“Those are the markings of the Spine Breaker clan,” Apallin
said, as Chloeithy put away her writing materials. “What are they doing this
“They’ve pledged allegiance to the Horned Society,
apparently,” Weimar said. “And wouldn’t they be ‘this far west’?”
“The Spine Breakers are one of the most powerful hobgoblin
clans in the eastern Yatils,” Apallin said. “And I meant what I said about
‘this far east’, too. The Heart Piercer and Hacker clans would be in their way
if they attacked Highfolk.”
“One of the dwarven delegates from the Yatils told me about the
fighting happening there between the different hobgoblin clans,” Chloeithy
said. “Could the Horned Society be involving itself in that?”
Ugtharn was every inch a hobgoblin war leader. He wasn’t
particularly tall for his race, being some five feet and nine inches in height,
but he was broad and thick, his plate mail seeming to almost strain to hold in
his muscled frame. His skin was blood red in color, his apelike features twisted
into a hateful sneer. His eyes smoldered with repressed anger, reflecting an
inner fire that seemed apt to explode into volcanic rage at the slightest
As the chief of the most powerful tribe among the Spine
Breakers, Ugtharn was the senior member of the Council of Crippled
Helplessness, the tribal leaders who governed the clan as a whole. He’d led the
Spine Breakers to victory over the Heart Piercers and the Hackers, and he
reveled in his triumph.
Hobgoblins named their clans for the gruesome fates they
inflicted on their victims, and the Spine Breakers were no different. Ugtharn
and the rest of the Council of Crippled Helplessness stood on a raised platform,
looking down at the sight of the Heart Piercers’ and Hackers’ ruling councils
kneeling and shackled in two long lines. Two Spine Breaker hobgoblins stood
behind each member of the defeated councils. One of the Spine Breakers held a
large war hammer, while the other held a long wooden stake.
Ugtharn smiled, reveling at the anticipation in the air as
his clansmen waited for him to give the command.
“For Maglubiyet!” he shouted, as the rest of the Council
burst into laughter.
The Council’s laughter was almost drowned out by the screams
of the Hackers’ and Heart Piercers’ leaders as the Spine Breaker hobgoblins hammered
the wooden stakes through their backs. The floor of the cavern where the leaders
knelt soon ran crimson with blood, as they thrashed about in agony. A few of
them were nailed directly to the ground, the stakes impaling them through and
through and piercing the cavern floor.
Ugtharn smiled. A few of the Spine Breakers’ defeated rivals
survived their grisly impalements, their every living moment one of unbearable
agony. The Spine Breakers weren’t completely heartless, though. They would
eventually put the crippled hobgoblins out of their misery.
Relaxing in his private quarters sometime later, Ugtharn poured
himself some of the fine wine he’d claimed from the Hackers’ treasure hoards. He
also made sure to pour some for his guest, before they sat down in comfortable
chairs on either size of his blazing fire pit.
Ugtharn’s guest didn’t look like he would’ve been welcomed
by most hobgoblins. He was small and slender, just over five and a half feet
tall, and he didn’t seem to have an ounce of muscle on him. He wore a thick hood
and cloak that seemed to almost engulf him, his features hidden behind a full
facemask. Most hobgoblins wouldn’t have respected him, disdaining someone who
looked so weak, but Ugtharn had good reason to feel differently.
“Everything worked well, I trust?” the masked man asked, as
Ugtharn took a drink of wine.
He spoke the hobgoblin tongue as fluently as any actual
hobgoblin Ugtharn had ever met, which made Ugtharn respect him all the more.
“Very, very well,” Ugtharn said, raising his goblet in
salute. “Your advice was everything you promised and more.”
“I should hope so, considering that I staked my life on it,”
the man said. Ugtharn couldn’t make out the man’s features behind his mask, but
he was certain the man was smiling wryly.
“You took a large risk, and you’ll have a large reward,”
Ugtharn said. “Ten thousand gold coins’ worth of gems, as you demanded.”
“You won’t have any problem getting the Hacker and Heart
Piercer soldiers to obey you?” the man said, raising the bottom of his mask
slightly to take a drink.
“What, just because they were our hated enemies?” Ugtharn
said, his own smile turning into a malicious smirk. “They’ll obey us…once they
know their place.”
Ugtharn laughed at that, as the masked man merely raised his
“The Spine Breakers have nearly tripled in number with your
help,” Ugtharn said. “Now, we’re hungry for blood and treasure.”
“You’ll find plenty of both in Highfolk,” the masked man
said. Once again, Ugtharn was convinced the man was smiling.
They tapped their goblets together in a toast. "