Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dark Market Bar


"I expect you to take care of that," my lord orders of me. His large hands busy lighting his last bogie. He walks across the front of the bar, scanning the floorboards in front of his feet with a clarity and mental emptiness I hunger for.  

"If she cannot be turned my master, she will fall victim to my blade like the others before her," I answer obediently. He nods once then turns his gaze back towards the floor as if unsure of the path before me. I turn away, my back to my master, and sit on the couch closest to the far end of the bar. 

His doubts of my abilities leaves me with doubts of my own. But I was sure of my purpose when I joined the ranks. My allegiance to the dark market bar has been beyond reproach in my eyes since I was recruited, but not in the eyes of the other soldiers who have served longer and remain in lower rank in the eyes of the goblin king. He values my opinion and often seeks it out, but not this time. This time, he has made his decision without my counsel, and I must obey for fear of exile. 

He walks over towards me as his left hand searches the front pocket of his jeans. "Bogies," slips passed his lips as he turns his body away, his gaze still focused on the flooring under him. "Don't forget," he mutters as he places the paper credits on top of the far end of the bar. His mind distracted with greater concerns than my memory. 

I don't answer. I can see he is troubled by the doubts racing across his mind. Doubt is essential on the path of the dark market bar's secret society. If I lack doubt, others might think I am too trusting. They will try to take advantage if they believe I am gullible, forcing me to restore my powerful position among the ranks with anger and hate. I would be cornering myself into a no-win situation. 

Doubt is a necessary evil, for without doubt, there cannot be anger; without anger, there cannot be hate; and without hate, there cannot be love, another necessity, but one I do not understand in relation to its opposite. Hate is a powerful ally. Perhaps there cannot be hate where there was never any love to begin with, and therefore, there cannot be love where there was never any hate. The two energies feed off of each other, creating a balance of opposing forces. In order to conquer the dark path, one must foster love along the dark path and then turn it to hate. Perhaps? But I am still training. The path of light is simple. They foster love through meditation and peace. The dark path fosters anger and hate.

I stand up and walk over to the bar. I count the amount of credits sitting on the bar, three five credit bills. 

"Bogies are only twelve credits" I instruct my master insolently, as if correcting his math. His gaze does not sway in my direction. He is focused on matters he does not wish to share. I pull three singles from my red square, then fold the three fives back into my red square before returning it to my pocket. 

I place the three singles on the dark market's bar, a few feet away from him, realizing the error of my tone and fearing a harsh correction. My lord remains silent. The goblin king rarely speaks when his physical demeanor can speak for him. 

"I will need more time to turn her," I plead with him. 

His eyes lift off the ground to check mine for honesty. He is unconvinced. "If she is turned then you will be out," he explains. I don't understand. Why would I be out if I turn her? I thought, if anything, I would be out for not being able to turn her? Perhaps he never intended for her to join the dark path. So much training lost over a commoner such as her. I sense his anger brewing, but on the surface, he remains calm. 

Still I feel compelled to see her again. I want to bring her to the dark market bar as my equal, but I know that can never be the case. She is an outsider from across the river, and generally speaking, outsiders not welcome. 

When I met her it was through the usual channels. She was selected from the list of eligible recruits listing for the dark army. I hand picked her as I did the others. As before, the women must undergo a strenuous test of faith to be accepted. They must have complete trust and faith in their own direct master no matter what hardships they face. Even my own master can test them, and the women must maintain their faith in me. A true test of blind faith in the path of the dark market. Eventually, fear overcomes their anger and hate and my master orders me to take care of the failure, as is the case with this one, but I sense she is different. 

"Her ability to heal is as strong as her ability to lie and manipulate. A truly powerful witch that I can sense would be an ally to the dark army," I argue, but there is no arguing with the great goblin king. 

"She is plotting against you as we speak," the great goblin king informs me. 

"There is nothing she can do to me," I answer, "any attempt to turn against me will only draw her deeper into the dark path, my master."

"I have made my decision," the goblin king concludes, "if you continue along this path, it is at your own risk." Once his mind is decided, he has never changed it no matter how reasonable the argument. Only the queen can overrule his decisions, and these are matters she leaves in his capable hands. 

"What about the queen?" I ask.

"You can ask her opinion, but it will be no different than mine," the king responds. His stance now defensive, threatened by my suggestion that I would seek the queen's judgement. 

"If she is already on the dark path, then I submit her to you as your student," I retort. "Let the dark market bar lead her along the path that completes her training. I will summon the spirits to protect myself against her magic."

"So be it," the king acquiesces. "The witch shall be turned to the dark path without you as her master, but if she fails, you will have to answer for it," the goblin king declares. 

"So be it master," I respond, "let the darkness prevail."


Let the darkness prevail

Read about the Queen

Skip to the path of Denny

Begin the tale of Hoblin v Govlin

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