Goblins were not quite monsters, but they weren’t exactly fae either. It was impossible to call them fair by any stretch of the imagination.
They were beings of inherent filth, ruin, and chaos. Anarchic yet monarchic, scavengers and corpse feeders, born from cauldron pots and mottled with grease.
Suffice to say, they made for odd clients.
Goblins were, at times, handled by hunters, though not in the same ways they dealt with most monsters. For one thing, goblins were trickier to kill than one would expect from creatures that averaged less than three feet tall. For another, their harmful intentions tended to be focused on each other than on humans, so the only real issues came from humans wandering into goblin lands like absolute idiots who can’t read the plainly marked signs outside of the swamps and caves they dwelled within.
Given the general attitude towards a person too arrogant, belligerent, or self-righteous to understand obviously set limits was “just let the saints sort them out”, hunters didn’t really get involved in those cases, if just for the sake of self-preservation.
If goblins ever did become problems though, a carefully tossed grenade tended to clear them out quite easily as their poorly stored gunpowder inevitably went off from the slightest volatility.
In summation, goblins were the right mix of tricky to kill but easy to scatter to make them largely unnecessary for hunters to deal with, so the general policy was “take a goblin job if you really want to, but don’t try too hard”.
Of course, that rule wasn’t actually meant to refer to taking a job from a goblin. That was an unusual choice, but Bonnie was in between jobs at the moment and when a squat, mottled green-skinned creature with big, batlike ears, a squat nose, and a mouthful of crooked fangs called out to her from a tree asking if she was a huntsperson and if she wanted a job, she had to admit, she got a little curious just what the little guy wanted.
A goblin village could loosely be called a shantytown. The buildings were ramshackle, made of metal sheets and cobbled pieces of larger buildings. They weren’t meant to be especially sturdy, just easy to put up in case of disaster.
The real point of interest were the cauldrons and pits dotting the village. Bubbling, boiling cauldrons, filled with liquids of varying shades. Primarily shades of green, though there were plenty of other colors. The goblins would toss things into them at random points. Rotted fruit, mushrooms, chickens. Some living, some dead. They went into the liquid with a splash, and smoke would belch up from the cast iron.
Goblins came into the world screaming. They were a lot like humans in that respect. The flesh of a newborn was scalded red, but settled to green soon enough as they flopped from the cauldrons into the pits of mud that cooled them down.
Bonnie watched with some curiosity, before the goblin that caught her attention brought her over the village’s Hob. A hobgoblin was a goblin but taller, closer to 4ft than 3, with larger tusks and blue speckles across its mottled skin. They were natural leaders of the goblin people, by virtue of being the biggest.
Bonnie was not a particularly tall person, really she was usually fairly short for a woman, but even she had to kneel to avoid being taller than the hob and offending him as he explained the job.
“You’re a hunter, aye?” Yes. “You hunt.” Yes. “If we pay you, will you hunt for us?” She would. She was curious what they wanted her to hunt though.
“A tar pit.”
Bonnie paused. She wasn’t quite sure if she heard the hob right. He had a bit of an accent. Did he really want her to hunt a tar pit?
A tar pit was, as the name implied, a pit filled with tar. However, with its shimmering surface, it looked much more like a large pool of water rather than a mass of thick, viscous, sticky liquid that would cling to and drag down anything that tried to drink from it.
It also wasn’t alive. So it wasn’t as though Bonnie could actually hunt it.
For good measure though, she fired a bullet into it from her demonbane, and then blinked as she saw a burst of blood spray from the tar’s surface, followed by a burbling screech of pain before the tar began to push upwards and a monstrous mass of tar-covered bodies came out from the depths with a trumpeting cry from the mammoth that formed the core of its body.
It wasn’t the only creature in there though, as antlered heads pushed from its back and sabertooths snarled from its shoulders. Human and goblin faces stretched up its legs and its tail was made of coiling snakes and entrails. Its mouth opened and the howls of the damned spilled out along with the skulls of squirrels. Altogether, it was a true monstrosity.
And Bonnie felt a smile come to her face as she unslung her rifle.
She could hunt a monstrosity.