As to be expected, Kane was stuck behind his desk, perusing the variety of papers and reports spread out before him, instead of enjoying the crisp afternoon air. His only solace was the savory taste of his lunch that lingered in his mouth and an inkling that there were dots to be connected somewhere.
Biting into one of his autumn apples, Kane couldn’t help but feel he was missing something in the papers before him. Blackkoven had been unusually quiet. Haute seemed to be increasingly restless after his disagreement with Lorcan and Ul’vade, which wasn’t surprising. He may have to address that eventually. But the one thing that invoked this nagging sensation was whatever Laddy and Illidan had gotten involved with.
Through a series of events – documented by Laddy, Illidan, and a few others – a mysterious, unknown group has made contact. Laddy is able to communicate with them using notes and placing them into a hidden box, buried somewhere in Woodland. After a few days, Laddy returns and finds a response.
The notes have all be fairly benign, but they have been vague all the same, which is what piqued Kane’s interest in first place. Who are they and why are they so secretive? Is there something more in play or is this just some kids playing a prank…
“Excuse us, sir…”
Kane’s attention was drawn to the window where two dirty faces looked in at him. Their big eyes and pointed ears, clearly focused in on Kane as they waited for him to respond. Long, spindly fingers grasped the window sill tightly. Kane smirked at the distraction.
“Puckleflup and Dobble, what a surprise! Please come in.” Kane said, waving them into his office politely before changing his tone. “Just don’t touch anything. You know the rules when you are in here.”
“Of course, sir. We wouldn’t think to break the rules, no sir.” Puckleflup responded politely, elbowing Dobble as he spoke.
“Oh yes. Yes! I’m mean no. Never, sir.” Dobble added.
Kane could tell that the two goblins were clearly out of sorts. They weren’t behaving like their normal, mischievous selfs so clearly this wasn’t some sort of joke. If they were trying to pull something on him, he knew they would barely be able to contain the glee in their eyes. He sat forward in his chair while he stacked the papers he had been studying before placing them into a drawer, a drawing of an uncompleted pentagram on top.
“Please take a seat. You two clearly have something on your mind you wish to discuss.”
“Oh thank you, most kind of you.” “Yes, most kind.” They continued their overabundance of pleasantries as they climbed up the sides of the two chairs positioned in front of Kane’s desk and settled in. As they did, Kane continued.
“You can cut the pleasantries. I don’t need to be called ‘sir’ every other sentence. Just cut to the chase. What can I do for you?”
“Well, sir…” Puckleflup paused and corrected himself. “Well, we wants your help.”
“You want my…help?” Kane was taken back a little at the request, but hid his surprise by leaning back in chair and taking another bite of his apple.
This time Dobble replied speaking more quickly with every word. “The chapel-man Lorcan and Locke Lady have been picking on poor Dobble and Puckleflup. They don’t appreciate our fun, and…”
Puckleflup cut in, keeping pace “And they have been very mean to us for no good reason. It isn’t fair! All we did was hid some silver we founds and then they made me eat a Dobble pie! It wasn’t nice.”
“And they hung me by me ears! They are still sore!”
“I nearly died trying to get him down!”
“I nearly died getting down!”
The two had began speaking so quickly and so loudly, Kane couldn’t keep the story straight.
“Hold it!” Kane said forcibly. An echo from outside could be heard as Kane finally stopped the stream of words bombarding his ears. “Slow down, you two. Start from the beginning and then we’ll see what needs doing.”
Clearly out of breath, the two goblins told a tale of what had happened over the last few days. They traded off seamlessly, describing how they taken the silver, encountered Shay, and avoided Lorcan. They mentioned how Dobble had been captured, and how Lorcan had tricked him with the meat pie. They continued with the likely over-exaggerated lengths they went to rescue Dobble and how both faced death multiple times in the effort. They finally finished with their decision to speak with Kane and began to describe the current conversation before Kane cut them off.
“Thank you, but I think I can fill in the rest.” Pausing to choose his next words carefully, Kane chuckled.
“What it sounds like is you two have gotten yourself in a prank war and you seem to be losing.” Kane smiled as he teased the mischievous goblins.
“Losing a prank war! Puckleflup and Dobble? The masters of mischief? The princes of pranks?” The two rose to their feet on their chairs as they defended their pride. “We would never lose a prank war to the likes of the chapel-man and Locke Lady.”
“Yeah! Dobble just thought theys were being mean, but if it’s pranks they want, Dobble will show them pranks!”
Kane laughed heartily at the display of pride and determination that had come to Puckleflup and Dobble. The difference between when they had first arrived and now was night and day. Kane could only imagine the can of worms he had just opened. He could only imagine the fun it would be.
“I have no doubt you two will put up a good fight, but if Lorcan and Shay are working together, you’re going to need an ally. Or more precisely, a secret ally.”
The thought had clearly piqued Puckleflup and Dobble’s interest because they had stopped their parade and were hanging on with anticipation for Kane to continue.
“A secret ally? But who? Who would help the masters of mischief win their war?” The two looked at each other as they racked their brains before turning back to Kane, who was smirking widely.