Gogglepod sat up slowly, rubbing his tired eyes. “Surely it is not morning already,” he thought. But, a quick glance out the window proved him wrong as he beheld long rays of gleaming yellow sunlight pouring onto the wooden floor below. Swinging from his hammock, he dropped onto the makeshift floor, barely making a sound with his soft feet. Donning his brown, frayed, buckskin shirt and pants, he shoved a coonskin cap on his head to cover his brown greasy hair.
Dressed warmly, he completed the morning routine by slipping his small feet into two massive woolen boots lined with brown bear fur, and thrusting his icy cold hands into two fluffy rabbit skin gloves. Finally, he climbed the long ladder out of his room, through the roof, and into the forest air.
Gogglepod’s home resembled the average home of any Fumble. It hung from a large, thick overhanging branch of a massive tree. Especially in the forest of Darvan—a timberland well known for its grove of massive tree trunks and branches packed densely together—hanging small wooden cabins from large branches is not problematic. The Fumbles are forest folk, learning about the trees, playing in the trees, and in many cases, fighting for the trees. Thus, they soon began setting up their homes and villages in the trees.
A trunk of a smaller tree is fastened perpendicularly to an upholding branch. Around that thick vertical post is formed what looks like a small beehive. The initial vertical post is then used as a ladder to climb out a small hole in the roof of the round cabin and into the branches above. Though a more lengthy description could be given of Fumbilian dwellings, this should have to suffice for now.
Upon exiting his home, Gogglepod leaped onto one of the nearby tree branches and lightly stepped across branch after branch. He slowly made his way to the village square, a network of wooden planks, some cracked and broken from little maintenance over the past years, covering the tree branches overshadowing all the Fumbilian homes. The large section of planks served as a meeting place for all the Fumbles in the village, allowing them to cook food over open fires (for here the leaves and twigs are less dense, welcoming more sunlight than on the forest floor) or shop in the town trading houses. Some little shops are even located in hollowed out holes of wide surrounding tree trunks.
Gogglepod, like most Fumbles, was very short, especially when compared to the average human height. However, his size was no representation of his determination. He was an expert warrior, fierce with the short sword and bow. In fact, almost all Fumbles share the same characteristics: exempting their own race, Fumbles care little for other people groups or species. Their justice is swift and their mercy lacking. Gogglepod was no exception.
The morning breeze brushed over Gogglepod’s face as he stepped into the village square. He was brushing away the branches barring him from entering the town square when the tremendous sounds of the market commotion pounded against his tired ears, kicking his sleeping senses into awakened action.
All around him the market was crawling with Fumbles, hurrying and busily attending to their duties—but not the daily morning duties. Mothers were not buying food for their children or cooking breakfast stews. Children were not running rambunctiously about the market in cheerful spirits. Fathers were not laughing around the outdoor stoves and fire pits. In fact, no one appeared to be in cheerful spirits.
“I must have missed a terribly important announcement,” concluded Gogglepod, now anxious about the uncharacteristic liveliness of the morning.
Turning to an experienced war veteran standing near one of the closest shops, he inquired about the commotion.
“Trippen, what is all this hustle and bustle.”
Trippen turned to his approaching friend. He appeared gruff, even more so than Gogglepod. While the latter had a decent smile when used and a handsome face to accompany it, Trippen possessed a weather-beaten face, hardened by bitterness and age. His muscles were tensed and his back bent from years of hard service to his community in war and battle. Old age conquered his head in now gray unkempt hair, yet fury still shot from his eyes.
“Have you not heard? Gorban’s folk have risen up and attacked the Southern Fumbilian hunting party,” replied Trippen in a low voice and angry tone.
Gogglepod’s face flushed red with rage as he thought of the crimes of this neighboring people group. Gorban’s folk, a league of talking beasts led by the infamous gorilla Gorban, were long-lasting rivals of the Fumbles. While treaties had been signed over the generations, neither side ever kept their end of a deal. Neither community cared for the other, and while some odd souls in both groups advocated for peace every so often, their voices were quickly silenced by the overwhelming cries of war and treachery.
“How many did they kill?” inquired Gogglepod after inwardly venting his rage.
“At least three of the Fumbilian guard have fallen,” replied Trippen coldly.
“If ever I can form a counterattack party, I plan to show those beasts a lesson they will remember for ages to come.”
“Have we sent for the Northern, Western, or Eastern hunting parties?” inquired Gogglepod. “Surely they can reinforce our comrades in the South.”
“None of the three other parties can currently be located. They have been gone several days and will most likely provide no reinforcements for this skirmish. But, a counterattack party is in the making. I just need volunteers.”
Gogglepod froze. “A counterattack!” he thought. “This is the chance I have always wanted: to administer justice to our foes.”
Caught in a crisscross of emotions, indignation and rage began to cloud Gogglepod’s mind to all rational thoughts. With sudden determination, he made up his mind.
“I will go,” he blurted out a little louder than he intended. “How many more brave souls do you need?”