I've been inspired to write this story by this unit

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Which I'm told is sadly no longer in production. I want to thank Little Joe for providing me with said information, my friend for exposing me to it and GW for annoying me with their undifferentiated background writing.



In a remote part of the World's Edge Mountains, on the highest peaks far above the clouds, there was a small Dwarven settlement. It wasn't large enough to be called a town or even a village. In truth it was just a few ramshackle huts surrounded by huge tooth-like outcrops and shrouded in eternal snow. It wasn't the most hospitable place, but it had one great advantage: It was safe. That high up in the mountains there was nothing to fear. Even the carnivorous creatures that plagued other parts of the World's Edge Mountains shunned this place for lack of suitable prey. The top was a safe haven. And thus the only dangers for the inhabitants of the peak came from below.

The only reason to establish a settlement in this place, of course, was the rich veins of ores and minerals the mountains held. The hardy Dwarves had diligently dug a small mine into the rock, and while it was a mere mousehole compared to the mighty shafts around the ancient Dwarven holds, it was theirs and theirs alone and they didn't have to share any of their riches. The buckets full of gold and jewels that were brought up convinced them to endure the bitter cold for just a little bit longer every day. And thus days turned to weeks, and weeks to months, and months to years, and the Dwarves began calling the place home. And with the lack of any real dangers it was a good place to call home for sure. They christened it Lofty Peak. There hadn't been any accidents in a long time, but the Dwarves were far too traditional to cut back on their safety measures regardless.

Dwarven miners in all parts of the world had a time-proven practice of keeping captured Goblins in cages and taking them below ground as a safety precaution. Deep down in the earth there were dangerous and poisonous gases of all sorts which were a silent but deadly threat to all creatures as it took its toll on the body. If a band of miners unwittingly crossed a field of poison gas, the flimsy Goblin in the cage would perish first, alerting the more durable Dwarves to the danger. Thus their ancient archnemesis would be put to good use in saving lives.

The Dwarves of Lofty Peak followed this time-honored practice as well. But since it was only a small settlement, it had only one Goblin. And since no poison gas had been found yet, the Goblin was still alive and well after many, many years. And thus the Goblin had come to live with its jailors in the comparable comfort of Lofty Peak.

This little Goblin, he was an odd fellow, unique among his kind. Long ago he had been born to a tribe like any other Goblin, but unlike any of the other Goblins, he was neither strong enough to fight his way to the top nor clever enough to outsmart his rivals. He was just a runt, being bullied around by everyone, and he had never been important enough to receive a name, though for much of his life he had been under the impression he was called Git. This was also the reason why, unlike any of the other Goblins, he had been captured by the short-legged Dwarves when the rest of the tribe fled in terror from their axes and hammers. And thus he had been put to gas duty. His spindly frame allowed the sturdy miners to carry his cage with ease, making him the team's favorite, and thus he'd surely have died below ground, hadn't they eventually decided to take him up to Lofty Peak.

At first the Goblin had resented them and didn't like his cage. But the days at Lofty Peak were far more peaceful than anything he had experienced in his life, and after a while, he came to enjoy his job since it basically came down to being carried around like an important person, and he found out he had some considerable sway over them due to his import on their survival. The Dwarves, on the other hand, often found the solitude and the cold, dark days of Lofty Peak depressing and found a valuable source of amusement and distraction in the ceaseless illogical and nonsensical ramblings of the Goblin. Thus he got his first real name: The Dwarves called him Jabber, because they claimed he never shut his mouth. And in time, they came to see him as a mascot and a good luck charm. As it was a peaceful time above the clouds, their ancient aversion and grudges were dulled somewhat as they enjoyed the antics and charades of the little Goblin.

At first they had fed him only scraps; the bones and the leftovers that no Dwarf wanted to eat. But as their fondness of Jabber grew, his diet improved considerably. They gave him the same ration as one of them, and at special occasions and celebrations he was treated to the choicest bits like a beloved pet. Jabber found the dry Dwarven bread and cooked meat and vegetables revolting at first but after he got used to it he actually found them quite delectable. At any rate it was better than fighting with Snotlings over bones and putrid garbage as he had done long ago.

One of the miners was in charge of Jabber. He let him in and out of his cage, carried him, bathed him regularly and, most importantly, fed him. He was the one Jabber had to answer to, and he called him Boss. This was the Dwarf he had the most contact with, and he was very nice compared to the old Boss. The Boss even taught Jabber a few simple games, and many long evenings they spent playing and laughing to pass time. The Boss only grew angry when Jabber tried to cheat. Jabber didn't understand why, after all what good was a game if you weren't allowed to cheat, but he quickly learned not to. After all it was a bad idea, making the Boss angry. But the Boss was never angry for long and soon he would laugh again. It was a great time. Jabber hoped it would last forever.

One of these days, the Boss took him below ground as usual, with the rest of the squad. Jabber sat in his cage, dangling his legs happily, and listened to the familiar sounds of the mine. The darkness of the mine was almost a second home to him. At this moment his nose caught a strange, pungent smell on the air. Jabber jerked, opened his mouth in disbelief and greedily sucked in the dry air of the mine. The Boss noticed his bewilderment.
"Oi Jabber. You're looking all green around the nose. What's the matter?"
Jabber sniffed the air.
"Boss, Boss!", he squeaked nervously. "I smellz sumfin'!"
"What do you smell, Jabber. Is it gas?"
"No, no! Jabber 'as been a good Grobi! No gas!"
"What is it then?"
Jabber hesitated for a moment.
"Greenskinz", he whispered hollowly.
"Oi Jabber. This isn't the time for one of your games."
"But Boss! I smellz dem! I really do!"
"Must be your imagination. There are no Greenskins in these here parts of the mountains. Well except one of course. Must be your own odor playing tricks on you. Time for your monthly bath, methinks."

That very moment a group of shadowy figures came swarming out of the unfathomable darkness below the earth, surrounding the surprised Dwarves. The next minute was all shouting, screams and the singing of crude weapons that flashed in the light. Jabber's cage dropped on the hard floor and the scared Goblin gave a surprised yelp. Then it was over. Silence reigned once again as a number of menacing shilouettes grew out of the shadows around Jabber. The frightened Goblin recognized the almost-forgotten form of his sinister cousins, those devious fiends that would lurk beneath the ground and clad themselves in jet-black robes. Snickering, they began surrounding the trapped Jabber with a wicked grin on their faces. Jabber began to shiver and sunk back into his cage as far as he could.
"Lookie, lookie", one of them growled as he began poking Jabber with a stick. "What's dis we 'ave here? 'as ta be ar lucky day!"
Suddenly loud, clanging steps appeared behind them. The dark Goblins jumped and whirled around. From behind them a huge, menacing Orc in thick armor and with an impressively horned helmet appeared, a huge, bloodied choppa at his side.

"I knew we wud find sumfin' good up 'ere", he declared in a booming voice and lifted his axe. "Ta boldly go where no Orc 'as gun before, 's always been my motto. Stand in awe before my genius. Behold da future Boss of all fings green!"
The dark goblins began to bow and scrape.
"Sure ya are, Boss. We 'ave ta admit ya waz right... sumhow. 'owever, we fink dere's an itzy, wee, tiny chance dat if we goez even higher, den we'll all..."
"Silenz!", the Orc boomed. "I'm not payin' ya ta fink, I'm paying ya ta dig. We'll take dem mountunz in a storm! And from dere we can go wherever we wantz! Dat plan is foolproof! Soon da world will tremble before da might of Waaagh Halfgit!"
"Uh... sure, Boss. You're da Boss, Boss."
The Orc lowered his mighty head.
"And what'z dat ya 'ave dere?"
"Ah, look what we found, Boss. A stuntie toy. Lotsa fun it looks."
The Orc stepped forward, looked at the cage, and bowed down, so deep that his huge head loomed just a hand's width away from Jabber. Jabber felt his dim, red eyes resting on him. He smelled his foul breath, and slimy drool oozed from his huge tusks and dripped on his body. He could have swallowed Jabber in one gulp if he so chose. But instead the Orc rose up again.
"Nonsenz!", he bellowed. "I'm not interested in scrawny Gobbos. I want dem stunties. When ya find a few of dem, den uvvers are around also. I know dat becuz I'm clevar. We'll now go back and get da rest of da ladz ta join us up 'ere. It's time ta get Waaagh Halfgit rolling!"
With these words the Orc turned around and disappeared in the darkness whence it came.
"Sure, Boss. You're da Boss, Boss", said the Goblins and hurried after him.
After that, silence.

It was a long, long time until Jabber dared moving again. All around him the candles started dieing out. Finally he realized he had to act. In the flickering light he put his arm through the bars of the cage and struggled to reach the lifeless body of the Boss. It was barely long enough, and after some contortions he managed to pull himself close. He grasped into the pouch at the girdle and retrieved the key. Jabber had seen how the lock worked hundreds of times, but never once had he done it himself. And he had to do it from the inside. It was a mighty task for his little Goblin brain and his shaking hands. But finally, it was done. Jabber opened the door and crawled out of his cage. For the first time in many, many years, he was free. There was but one thought on his mind. He had to warn the stunties!

Back at Lofty Peak night had already fallen, and the Dwarves had become worried by the prolonged absence of the mining team. Two of them had left the cosy warmth of their homes in order to look for signs of their return. That moment, a small, hunched figure came hurtling and stumbling through the snow, arm-waving and screaming in a shrill voice at the top of its lungs. The Dwarves turned around.
"Look, Snorri! Grobi!"
"By Grimnir's axe, it's one of those blighters alright. Has been ages since I've seen one. What's it doing up here all by its lonesome?"
"Looks mighty crazy to me. Has to be one of them mushroom-addled maniacs. Probably lost its way or something. Gonna starve to death up here, unless it freezes solid first."
"Well then let's put it out of its misery shall we. That's a good opportunity to finally give my new custom made gun a try. Let's see if it copes with the cold as well as it should."

A shot thundered through the night and echoed from the needle-like rocks surrounding Lofty Peak. The small figure stumbled and fell, then lay silent. A freshening wind began covering the body with snow as Morrslieb and Mannslieb followed their trails across the clear sky.

At dawn, not a single Dwarf of Lofty Peak was alive.