“Your fortunes are restored?!” cheered Denstra once everyone returned to the Endeavor and explained what happened.
“And the Barmeks are part of a Clan now?!” asked Endea.
“Yes to both,” answered Bashoon. “Now we’ve got a safety net if we’re ever in financial trouble again!”
“Could you explain why the Clans are so important?” asked Arsha.
“Gladly,” replied Bashoon. “While a family can do great things on its own, when its part of a Clan, it can do so much more. It demonstrates that we’re willing to put aside differences to pursue the betterment of the Imperium and the best way for us to do that is to seek profit.”
“Well, I’m happy you have your fortunes back and can rest easy knowing you have other people willing to help your family out,” declared Arsha. “…Er, does this mean…?”
“I’m not leaving Realmfleet!” yelped Bashoon. “I plan to serve Realmfleet until retirement!” Arsha released a breath.
“I was worried for a minute there,” she chuckled. “We would have lost a fine Officer.”
“What’s gonna happen to Torsko?” asked Denstra.
“If I know my future father-in-law’s tolerance level for traitors,” muttered Arsha, “nothing good.”
There was a celebration in Dwelga that lasted a few days over the return of the Scale-sword of Yunshul. It was quite the cause for celebration and, with Goblins being Goblins, it was the biggest chance for profit. Food, drink, fancy items, all were being sold at all prices. This was a true Goblin party. After the celebration, golden busts of Bashoon and her parents were set into a wall with other busts. This was the Wall of Heroes, set with the busts of famous Goblins who changed the course of the Imperium’s history and sought new ways to make profit. Once that was done, Chancellor Penshek gave a speech of praise towards the Barmeks, thanking them for their service to the Imperium, despite the wrongs they had suffered. After the speech, Bashoon and her parents returned to the Endeavor and went back to work with a new view on life. “Well, I can only see things getting better from here,” sighed Bashoon.
“Ain’t that the truth!” replied Mr. Barmek.
“New heroes talking about the future?” called Arsha’s voice. She stepped into the restaurant.
“Wanna join in the conversation?” asked Bashoon.
“Much as I’d want to,” sighed Arsha, “I’m afraid I have an assignment for you. We need a new internal communications system set up and I need you to help Malak and Dalengor.”
“Understood, Captain,” confirmed Bashoon as she headed off to give Dalengor and Malak a hand. Arsha chuckled.
“You know, I may write a Letter of Promotion Recommendation for her very soon,” she mused.
“You think she’s served long enough?” asked Mr. Barmek.
“She’s certainly brave enough and her record’s impeccable,” answered Arsha. “I don’t see any reason to…” the intercom interrupted her.
“Shalvey to Arsha,” called Shalvey.
“It never fails,” Arsha sighed to herself. She headed to the restaurant’s communications terminal. “Go ahead.”
“Rokalla and Orbak have an Alpha Priority transmission for you,” relayed Shalvey. “They have reason to believe a Wraith is now involved in Dr. Borg’s affairs.” Arsha’s eyes went wide.
“Route the call to my Ready Room,” directed Arsha. “I’ll take it there.” She left the restaurant and headed to her Ready Room, unpinning her hairpiece, and fastening it to her waist. Once inside, she opened a channel. “Please tell me I heard Shalvey wrong,” she begged Orbak and Rokalla’s holograms. “Please tell me you DIDN’T tell her about a Wraith.”
“I wish we didn’t,” sighed Orbak. “The Wraith freed Torsko as I was about to behead him and they escaped with Dr. Borg and her cronies.”
“Your Majesty, I need the full story,” sighed Arsha.
“You WON’T like it,” warned Rokalla. “I sure didn’t.”
Torsko was restrained by his neck and wrists, awaiting the guillotine blade to drop. He was alone in the center of a circular, closed-off courtyard. Many people, dressed in dark robes, observed in silence as drums rang out, reverberating deep into the very fiber of Torsko’s being. The only one who wasn’t robed was Orbak. The drums silenced as a robed man unfurled a scroll. “Hear ye, all in attendance!” called the man. “Let it be known that on this 1300th day of Irtum in the 4006300079th year of the Three Realms’ Third Age of Unity, Former Goblin Chancellor Torsko Canerba is found guilty of the following charges: deception of the Goblin Imperium to secure ill profits, silencing innocent voices, keeping the Imperium in a state of stagnation, aiding and abetting the terrorist Dr. Borg, and engaging in treason against the Under-realm! Let it be known that the judges have deemed he is too dangerous to be kept alive! Let it be known that Orbak Emboramii, the King of the Under-realm, is recommended to behead Torsko so the Realms may rest easier! Let it be known that none in attendance are to discuss what happens here unless at the King’s discretion! Your Majesty, will you follow the judges’ recommendation?”
“I shall!” snarled Orbak. “I request a few words with the Condemned as I carry out the execution!”
“Your request is granted!” replied the man. Orbak stood up and strode towards the guillotine.
“For 36,000 years of your life,” growled Orbak to Torsko, “you’ve evaded scrutiny! Broke the backs of the poor! Sucked dry the bounty of the Goblins! Consorted with evil! Today, you will pay your debt as your thieving hands and treasonous head are removed!”
“Kill me, Orbak,” hissed Torsko, “and you lose profit!”
“You mistake me for my first ancestor, Intrag the Conqueror!” snarled Orbak as he took the rope attached to the guillotine’s blade. “I do not inflict bandits upon the poor! I do not consider the rulers of the other Realms my inferiors! I do not…!”
“That’s what makes you weak!” interrupted Torsko. “Intrag would have approved of my methods! His word was once law before you watered it down!” Orbak pulled the rope down, causing the blade to go up and undo its restraints on its own.
“I did not merely water Intrag’s word down,” he hissed in a low whisper, “I removed it! Intrag is dead and so is his twisted view of law! Never again will the Under-realm suffer his corruption!” His grip on the rope started to lessen…then a wind blew around the execution yard. The wind picked up until something caused the guillotine to be reduced to splinters, freeing Torsko. The wind then concentrated in one area before dark mist swirled, obscuring the shape of a man until the man inside swung his arms out, banishing the mist, and revealing a bare-chested man in only pants and shoes with the same crown as Orbak. Black mist constantly flowed around him and he strutted with a swagger reserved for confident warlords.
“Your king has returned,” chuckled the man. “You may bow.”
“Intrag?!” breathed Orbak.
“Manners, boy,” chided the man, Intrag. “Use my honorifics. Say, what’s your name, anyways?”
“I am Orbak Emboramii, the current Under-king!” introduced Orbak. Intrag flinched.
“You are a descendant of mine?” asked Intrag. “How do you claim the throne?”
“It became your son’s by right and deed!” declared Orbak. “You were killed long ago, as was your repugnant wife!”
“If you ARE my descendant,” growled Intrag, “then her blood is in your veins. Do not insult her.”
“I am the one who gives the commands!” shouted Orbak. “Now, if you will excuse me, I have an execution to carry out! Once that’s done, I will deal with you and your needs as a refugee!”
“…What did you call me?!” whispered Intrag.
“Current Under-realm law clearly states that all refugees be offered assistance,” replied Orbak as he turned his gaze to Torsko. “I offer it to you, Intrag Emboramii…”
“I AM NO REFUGEE!” roared Intrag as he forcibly turned Orbak to face him. “I AM THE ONLY KING OF THE UNDER-REALM! I was going to be nice and ask you, but now I am ORDERING you! Vacate my throne or I will soak this yard in your blood!”
“I won’t cede the Under-realm’s throne!” declared Orbak as he converted his scepter to sword mode.
“It isn’t yours to give!” challenged Intrag as he rushed at Orbak. He summoned a large blade and the two swords clashed. “Impossible!” breathed Intrag. “Oyed himself made me a Wraith!”
“So you DID make a deal with the Titan!” snarled Orbak as he swung his sword again. As the Wraith and King fought, Torsko tried getting away, but the people in attendance weren’t giving him the chance. He had to continue dodging the blows to stay alive. Things weren’t looking too good for either side as both were evenly matched. That is, until the Scorpion arrived. It fired a few shots to scare everyone back as Dr. Borg was transported down.
“Intrag! Torsko! To me!” she called. The two took the opportunity and joined her, allowing them to be carried up to the ship.
“SHOOT IT DOWN!” ordered Orbak. The audience tried, but it did no good. The Scorpion vanished and fled the scene. Orbak unleashed a flurry of curses in the Under-realm’s language that I shall not translate here.
“Great, so Oyed’s got something more planned!” growled Arsha once the story was finished.
“If Intrag’s Wraith is involved, you bet,” remarked Orbak.
“How bad is Intrag, Your Majesty?” asked Rokalla.
“Let’s just say,” replied Orbak, “he never believed the Divine Ones’ message of unity for all Realms. He publicly called it a hoax, even in their presence, and tried to slay them when they said it wasn’t.”
“I’m surprised his soul wasn’t obliterated on the spot!” gulped Arsha.
“Family legend…or rather, historical fact now,” explained Orbak, “said that Oyed saved his soul in exchange for serving the Titan.”
“Well, we can’t let him go through with this,” growled Rokalla. “Arsha, there have been reports dark energies being discovered on an island off the eastern beach of the Gamfinar Jungle. The Endeavor is to lead a small fleet there and investigate what’s going on. The fleet’s already assembled at the Rooka Forest.”
“Understood, Admiral,” confirmed Arsha.
“Good luck, Captain,” bid Rokalla. His part of the call ended. Orbak sighed.
“Arsha, if the fleet needs help…” he began.
“You and your wife will be the first I call,” replied Arsha.
“Just be careful,” advised Orbak. “Intrag’s not one to be underestimated, especially now that he’s a Wraith. Orbak out.” The call ended and Arsha changed into her duty uniform. While she changed, she didn’t notice that her rose was giving the faintest of glows.