“Pop-op will you tell us a campfire story?”
“Yeah! A super scary one!”
“One that’s soooo scary Tommy will drop his marshmallows!”
“Hey! But not that scary, right pop-op?”
“Ha ha, alright you four. Which one shall I tell? The one where your great, great grandfather slayed a Dragon?”
“No, not that one again. We remember it all, from the message written by the king-”
“To the weight and balance of the perfect sword crafted by the best blacksmith of the land-”
“To the part where you can never remember the color of the monsters scales!”
“The first time it was green, then red, and the last time you told it they were purple!”
“Ho ho, is that so? I always remember them being black.”
“Alright then, what about the time a titan besieged the capital of our kingdom?”
“That one’s not believable enough,”
“Yeah, there’s no such thing as a creature two castles high……is there?”
“Well you’re all so picky tonight! If you’re so tired of my stories why don’t you just stare at the fire instead!?”
“Aww pop-op, come oooon, just one story we haven’t heard before.”
“Hmm, well what about ‘smirk’ The Curse of the Goblins?”
“That one doesn’t sound too scary…”
“My interest is piqu- pick- peak-…I’m curious!”
“Hush then children and let me tell you the story, of a settlement not long ago. Our great kingdom was expanding and bordering nearer and nearer the realms in which monsters dwell. This particular settlement had wandered too close, and this foolish band of pioneers would soon face the wrath of an especially vengeful population of the little green beasts.”
Long before the realm of man existed, the empire of beasts reigned supreme, and of those beasts the most powerful were not the strongest. Nay. Nor were they the smartest. The ones who proved mightiest of all were the ones whom seemed infinite. And so it was that so vast were the number of goblins, that no creature, man or beast, could dare oppose them. But as history would have it, their hordes were soon rivaled by that of the human variety, and their meek composition would force them back into the darkness of the nightmares they came from. A beast however, is still a beast, and children you should never corner one.
The settlement of Great Oak, by name of which it came to be called, was funded and backed by powerful merchants seeking the rich veins of ore in the area. The settlers, all debtors to the many companies, were forced into the journey. All their hopes and wishes all poured into one ancient oak near the center of town, for they were now powerless spectators in their own plays of life.
Like any town funded by merchants and traders, Great Oak grew quickly and its value became renowned. So far had the rumors of wealth spread that they began to attract the eyes of others. Soon caravans and peddlers alike began roaming through the lands of this settlement, each hoping to get a hand in the cookie jar so to speak. And when enough food, and the people looked friendly enough, a new citizen would join. The town was bursting with life and goodness, Shepherds tending to flocks in fields, craftsmen tending to their trade, even exotic pets being acquired by hunters. All watched from the shadows by less human eyes, eyes full of disgust, eyes full of disdain.
Before long, night raids were being conducted by armed goblins. The green devils stole goods from houses and materials from stockpiles, and what did they do with it all?
THEY BURNED IT ALL TO ASHES AND DUST
But the merchants would have no pesky intrusion on their profits, and the citizens of Great Oak were conscripted into service in “defense of the town” for the greater benefit of the people who had grown dependant of its trading. The peace loving people who had settled in the land of the ancient oak, were trained in the art of war, and the fields that had birthed life and food, were stained in the blood of an ancient enemy. On that day leaves fell from the ancient oak like tears from a mourners eyes.
That was not the only thing to fall on that day however. For each goblin carried on his person a small wooden token, in representation of their honor. Such a small token. So precious were they to the warriors who needed to prove themselves to their superiors, that they horded them. For it was simple, one token, one goblin removed. It was simple so that everyone would know how mighty a warrior was simply through the amount of tokens they had.
The tokens flowed in as goblin blood flowed out, and soon the stockpiles were filled with them. A greater blow could the goblins deal by stealing back the small medal, than by looting the farms.
And so it was that when the goblin menace was finally removed from the area around Great Oak that the tokens ceased.
But the greed of man is a far greater foe
Soon the villagers began crafting their own tokens, symbolizing their own wealth. As a black sickness grew over the hearts of the villagers, even the ancient oak was weighed for its tokens, and then carved by shaking hands 'till it was no more. For the vengeful goblins had not cursed them with theft, but gifted them with greed
“The only thing left of the Great oak now is a plethora of old buildings, and wooden tokens leaking out of each one.”
"po- po- pop-op, tha- tha- that stories not re- re- real is it?
"ye- ye- yeah, there’s no way a small little thing could kill a to- to- town is there?
“EEK!!! A TOKEN! POP-OP’S GOT A TOKEN!!!”
“He he he, don’t worry children ‘tosses it into the fire’ greed can only get to you if you let it.”
as the children and the grandfather reside to their homes, the fire dies down slowly, and a green glow emits from a cracked and burned wooden eye.