Thursday, 4 March 2010

Some things aren't just black and white.


It was cold; so cold that the tips of Mikkell’s fingers were starting to get numb and he was wondering how long he could keep up with his current actions without dropping his SMG. The icy water was up to his chin and as he carefully waded through it, he cautiously looked around to try and spot any unusual movement. To his left were three more Grymn light –infantry troopers with the look of being as frozen as he was. To his right were another six; including Sgt Freidl. Together, the squad waded slowly towards the river bank, trying not to make a sound or ripple in the water that would give their presence away. Although it was slow progress, they soon reached the bank and scraped themselves out of the water on their bellies; quickly finding cover in the bushes along the edge of the river bank. With a signal, one of the troopers was sent out into the darkness to scout the area while the rest of the squad kept low and maintained an all-round defence. After a few moments, the trooper returned; reporting that the area was clear and that they could relax their guard a fraction. Sgt Freidl looked around the squad and whispered “it’s about time we got a brew on lads...Mikkell, you can take first watch”. Mikkell hefted his SMG and, crouching low, took up a position nearby where he could keep a look out for any danger.
Staring out into the darkness, Mikkell wondered what he was doing there. He had been brought up by a loving family, had been well schooled and had even been offered a well paying job at the local gunsmiths but he had decided to throw caution to the winds and join the army. Mikkells father was extremely proud of his decision to serve in the Grymn forces but the rest of his family had been horrified. They just couldn’t understand why he would want to leave the security of his home and go and put himself in harms way while serving in the military. Mikkell had explained that there was minimal risk involved, especially because there had been no malicious contact from Sleiti or Bohkin forces for generations now but his family were very sceptical about the whole business...well, as it transpired, they had been right. Although there were no Sleiti or Bohkin involved, there had been multiple incursions into Grymn space by other alien foes. These new foes were especially problematic because they seemed to want to steal everything they could get their hands on and remain hidden while they stole. When they had finally showed themselves, they proved to be highly proficient fighters; utilising low tech ballistic weapons and sharp blades to good effect. The Grymn forces didn’t know what they were really called but they had been given the nickname of Noblins.
Noblins were small, green skinned aliens with an almost skeletal face and small beady eyes. They spoke in sharp, shrill voices and had a keen desire to keep hold of everything that they had stolen. They were usually finely dressed in high collared trench-coats and sturdy boots. Their sharp claws and teeth meant that they were also a menace when unarmed and they would keep fighting even if their cause was hopeless. They had even been known to chew off their own hands to escape bonds of confinement so muzzles were a common sight on captured Noblins. At the current time, the Grymn council had no idea as to how they had arrived in Grymn space as no star-ships had been detected during the various Noblin incursions. The council had agreed, however, that the Noblins represented a moderate threat to Grymn security and they were to be either wiped out, incarcerated or forced to leave the planet. That was why Mikkell now found himself sitting in the bushes, shivering with cold and staring out into the blackness of night with a readied SMG for company.
“Shift’s up mate” said Durin, disturbing Mikkell’s concentration “the brews are on as well.”
“Cheers Durin, it’s been quiet here...let’s hope it stays like that.”
Mikkell quietly made his way back to the rest of the group; leaving Durin to carry on the watch. He quickly found his squad clumped together around a lightless stove drinking tea from small tin cups. He crouched low and quietly scampered towards them. He nodded to those present, unshipped his small day-sack and removed his mug, tea and whitener from it. He also found a small packet of fruit biscuits to go with his drink. Pouring the hot water into his mug, Mikkell crouched low, shivering due to being so wet. He could feel the warmth filtering through the mug and stirred the contents until they resembled tea. He then sat down next to Fria and cupped his mug in both hands whilst taking small sips of tea.
“You look frozen solid!” whispered Fria “come here and snuggle, I’ll soon get you warm”.
“Cheers mate!” he whispered in return as he shuffled over to her and allowed her to put her arms around him to get some heat through his chilled muscles. Fria rubbed his arms and hugged him close while he sipped his tea and he began to feel the chill lessen slightly. He looked around and noticed that most of the squad were in huddles just like he was but he had been lucky as there were only two girls in the unit and he had managed to be on the receiving end of hugs from one of them. There was no impropriety involved but he would rather be hugged by a girl than a boy any-day.
“You’re chilled to the bone” whispered Fria “you seriously need to get some meat on your bones!”
“You’re telling me!” he replied “I eat like a Devourer yet still I never put on weight...I could really do with a thick layer like Djoord has” he whispered while looking towards a rather portly Grymn sat next to the lightless stove. Djoord looked over and grinned at him, he had seen that Mikkell was in the embrace of young lady and raised an eyebrow in mock disdain.
“Feth!” cried Durin from where he was hiding on watch “in-coming!”
The squad of Grymn dropped their mugs and grabbed their SMGs, quickly positioning themselves for all-round defence again. They could hear a stumbling approach through the undergrowth from Durin’s direction. They all braced themselves as a small, trench-coated Noblin burst from the cover of the bushes, drew two sharp swords and charged straight at the nearest Grymn. Garyt managed to snap-fire a couple of rounds before the Noblin piled into him, knocking him to the ground. Garyt fell back and was desperately defending himself with the stock of his rifle as wild flurries of sword blows reigned down on him. The furious Noblin was screaming away in its horrible, chittering voice while darting malicious glances around those Grymn present. Moments later, Durin burst through the same bush as the Noblin had and brought the butt of his SMG down hard on the top of the evil thing’s head with a loud crack. It fell instantly unconscious and landed across Garyt with a thud.
“Cheers guys” said Garyt, looking around at the rest of the squad “it’s good to know that I can count on you lot”, the irony in his voice was almost opaque.
“What did you want us to do?” sneered Djoord “shoot at you both?”
“ could have done something” he replied, a bit crestfallen.
Sgt Freidl climbed to his feet and surveyed the still body of the Noblin. “Mikkell, get some ties and bind its hands and feet...Durin, do you have a muzzle on you? If you do, muzzle this devil”.
In moments the Noblin was completely bound and considered to be in a safe enough condition to leave in a corner. Durin was relieved by Gunar and along with the rest of the squad; quickly did a perimeter search to make sure that there were no more Noblins nearby. Once things were deemed to be clear, the squad returned to their mugs and continued warming up again. As the evening wore on, the Grymn began to sort things out so that they could bed down for the night. A guard roster was drawn up, bivvies were erected and night time routine was sorted. Those that were able to go to sleep went to bed and those that were due to take on a guard duty, stayed up and chilled out by the stove. Everything settled down and the Noblin remained silent in the corner where he was left.
Morning came as quietly as the night had been. The few Grymn that were awake, had started cooking breakfast and stirring the rest of the squad from their slumber. Sgt Freidl climbed out of his bivvy, stretched and went over to see how the Noblin was getting on.
“Oh fething hell...” he cursed “where’s the fething Noblin gone?”
On the ground in front of him was a muzzle and some ties but no Noblin.
The squad immediately grabbed for their SMGs...Except for Djoord...
“Has anyone seen my SMG? I left it by my bivvy and it seems to have gone” he said.
“Where’s my pack gone?” asked Gunar.
“...and my Binoculars have walked!” intoned Marise.
After a brief search it was discovered that on top of an SMG, pack and binoculars, various other things had disappeared; including rations, some dog-tags and a few items of spare clothing.
Freidl held his head in his hands...
“I bet they never had this problem when fighting Bohkin” he said “this will be fun to explain to the boss when we get back”.
Freidl sighed and ordered the camp to be cleared ready for the move out. He gave Djoord his pistol and suggested that it would be a very bad idea for him to lose it. Once every thing was ready, the squad was assembled, formed into a standard patrol formation and began to march off into the trees. They were going to have to head back to base and report what had happened and replace the kit that had gone missing. Freidl was downcast as he knew that his squad would be a laughing stock for allowing a fully trussed Noblin to not only escape but to take a bunch of kit with it. He was not looking forward to walking into the Sgt’s mess after work either.
“Fething Noblins!” Cursed Freidl as he turned the squad towards the direction of base and tried to think of a way of making his embarrassing little experience sound less of a comedy...but he couldn’t.
From the bushes, a pair of beady eyes watched the squad depart. A grin formed on an almost skeletal, green face as it began to look through Gunar’s pack. It had been a good night’s haul for the Noblin. The boss would be very happy with his new treasures...


  1. love the story. Are you making Noblins or do you have a figure in mind for them?
    I need to get back to my Grymns, I am in a painting slump
    Keep up the good work

  2. Spyglass Miniatures (now Eolith) used to make a single miniature for a Noblin and was looking to make sci-fi versions of it (the available one was a fantasy miniature with sword and shield). I wrote the story a while ago so there was promise of troops...but none materialised so if I was going to fight against a Noblin force, I would probably go for Night Goblins but arm them with sci-fi weapons.

    I know what you mean with painting slumps...I couldn't pick up a brush just before Christmas (I was too into sculpting) and then one day...I couldn't stop painting and hated sculpting again...