Each Friday for the next so many weeks I'm going to highlight some aspect of Uhl, the fantasy world in which I set my novels. Posts will include details on Uhl's people, places, races, and more.
A short excerpt from The Hall of the Wood, in which Skave, a haurek stalker, faces off with our hero, Jerrick:
Skave's hands went from his belt to back over each shoulder in a flash before both jutted forward with a quick snap. There was a blur of steel and then Jerrick was plunging to one side even as his sword and knife came up for protection. One of the goblin stars whirred by his ear as another sailed harmlessly overheard. Jerrick caught still another with his sword, flinging it aside mostly by accident. But then a flash of pain seared across his upper arm, and Jerrick knew one of the flying weapons had grazed him, or worse.
Stumbling, Jerrick regained his balance on the slick ground and turned to face the charge he knew was coming. But the haurek just stood there, a look of amusement—or was it pleasure?—reflected in his drab, yellow eyes. Jerrick's arm hurt, but he didn't dare move his gaze from the stalker to inspect it. Already, he felt his shirt clinging to his arm as the blood trickled from the wound.
Skave drew his sword. "It would seem first blood is—"
Jerrick spun his knife around so that his fingers gripped the edge of the blade. The knife was not balanced for throwing, but at this range, it would do. The blade sprang from his three-fingered grasp, twirling end over end towards the stalker's gut. Skave's words caught in his throat as he attempted to dodge the attack. His reaction was too slow as the blade pierced his hardened leather and sank into the flesh beneath. Skave looked down at the hilt of the weapon jutting from him for a moment before his fingers closed on the knife's hilt. He yanked it free with a grunt.
"You were saying?" Jerrick asked, the edges of his lips turned up in a smirk of his own.
Skave snarled, all traces of amusement wiped from his visage. Tossing Jerrick's knife aside, he raised his blade and charged.
Fierce combatants, adequate strategists, and competent craftsmen, haureks are a strong people both physically and mentally. Because they are at home either underground or on the surface and in any climate or terrain, they are the most adaptable of Uhl's races. Their preference, though, is for the shadows and half-light of the Underland where they gather together in blood clans ruled by only the most ruthless.
Extremely superstitious, haureks have great respect, and sometimes fear, for magic. Their own witch mothers are looked upon with awe and reverence. They believe that one's fate can be read in the stars or the roll of the bones. Strange happenings or an abnormality in their routine lives is often looked upon as a premonition of things to come.
Their humor is often crude and disgusting--they get as much of a laugh from a verbal joke as from the screams of their enemies as they lay writhing under the torturer's tender mercies.
Haureks are man-like or greater in size. Their skin is a parched, dark tan while eyes are yellow or green with beady pupils. Men and women alike are covered with dark, bristly hair. They employ a wide variety of arms and armor.
They prefer hard drink as a rule, often brewing their own thick ales and stouts. Their particular recipe is not highly sought after, for it takes a goblin's taste buds and stomach to properly appreciate the potent drink. Brewing is a major part of haurek society; recipes and techniques are passed down from generation to generation.
They will take slaves, often killing them when they are no longer needed. Though carnivores, they will not eat other humanoids like some others of their kind are wont to do.
View my gallery of goblins on Pinterest.
Read more about the people and places of Uhl at the World of Uhl.
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