Having almost turned back, his sudden fearlessness evaporating as he crossed the town's edge bridge, Roi steeled himself once more to go out and adventure. He thought of the death of his family and those faceless green beasts that had murdered them in their sleep. Again, it wasn't a hatred towards them, more of a mild curiosity. Could they be reasoned with? What were their motives? Having thought about the retaliatory raids conducted by the Town Guard, Roi wondered whether there really was much of a difference between his ilk and theirs anyway. It was with these thoughts, absorbing Roi's attentions as he walked past the stone bridge and into the darkening valley, that he was suddenly aware of a high-pitched chittering noise.
At first he dismissed it as some wild animal snuffling around in the bushes, but soon the same sound was in stereo. He paused and felt the weight of his mace in his right hand and brought his shield to bear forward in his left. The chittering escalated to a kind of squealing, not a frightening noise in itself but more so when replicated. It felt like the creatures making the noise were almost building themselves into a frenzy, trying to reach a crescendo. All of a sudden the noise stopped. The silence oppressive. Roi was motionless. Then from amongst the gorse Roi spotted the glinting red eyes, pointy ears of a little greenskinned creature. It emerged, tentatively, with a rusty spear lowered in his direction and started to make some guttural noises interspersed with a weak, hacking cough. Roi turned fractionally towards it and both stood facing each other, now in silence. From his left side he heard twigs cracking and out emerged another one of these goblins, a rusted club held in two hands. Again the pause from the creature, it didn't want to come too close. Roi felt slightly emboldened, not brave, his knees were shaking and he was tempted to start to walk backwards towards the safety of the other side of the bridge. But he was rooted to the spot. Perhaps this was mistaken for steadfast bravery by the little green, pointy eared creatures. Just as Roi was starting to think about approaching the goblin with the club (he was slightly nearer and seemed more timid) the whistling sound of an arrow flew behind him, not particularly close. Keeping an eye on the two goblins already in front of him, Roi slowly turned his head to his right to see another scrawny goblin fiddling with his short bow, reloading again but making a hash of it, all fingers and thumbs. Roi felt a complete abstraction of the scene and was amazed the he had not run, screamed or pissed himself. Yet. The goblin with the spear took two steps towards Roi, who lowered his weapon, as if to invite him on further. He could hear the deep, jagged breaths of the goblin and the slimy mucus travelling up between it's throat and mouth. He was desperate for the goblin to spit it out. His senses seemed alive, he felt alert and for the first time, perhaps ever, Roi smiled a smile that emanated from deep inside his being.
At that very moment, the loudest "bang" Roi had ever heard, broke the tableau and shattered his moment of clarity. A smouldering mess remained from where the spear armed goblin had once stood and Roi was quick to notice that scuttering feet and wailing screams broke from where the two other greenskins had once stood. A familiar, affable chortle sounded from behind him and Roi needed not to turn to face the laugh, knowing full well that his friend Kharmur was there, blunderbuss in his hands. When Roi did turn he watched Kharmur's smile dissipate. Perhaps his friend was expecting a warmer welcome from Roi, or perhaps Kharmur noticed a slight change in Roi's demeanour; he was after all slightly upset that the moment had been taken from him. Roi quickly gathered himself and approached his old friend with an embrace and a thanks, but that moment between them had been real and would not be discussed. They spoke now as normally as they could, Roi thanking his friend and Kharmur murmuring there being no need.
It was again unspoken that Roi now had a companion; he knew that no matter what he said, Kharmur was here for the journey.