Newminor looked away and began talking to himself as if in a soliloquy. “Judging by the number of skins here, there must have been an entire patrol. If they took the swords from the goblins, then the blades must have been superior to their own weapons. So these simpletons wiped out an entire goblin patrol with inferior means?”
Newminor turned and regarded the party again. “You mean to say that the four of you killed an entire goblin patrol?”
“Well actually,” Bander corrected, “it was mostly Linvin who done it.”
“Just you, Elf-Man?”
Linvin looked Newminor in the eyes and said, “There was no other choice.”
“No,” responded Newminor as he took in the enormity of the event, “I don’t suppose there was.”
“Have you any idea who they were?” Linvin asked.
Newminor came out of his daze and returned to his normal self. “Is it not obvious to you? Well, it must not be if you are asking the question. They were a Mandrean Army patrol.”
“Mandreans,” Rander repeated. “We just told you they were goblins.”
“When I said you were without a clue, I can see I was more correct than I thought,” Newminor chided. “Okay, kids, here’s a short lesson to bring you up to speed.”
“After the War of the Unclaimed Territory, there was a huge age gap within the Mandrean Empire. Most of the men of fighting age were dead. That meant the Legions were decimated. Without Legions, there would be no empire. Lord Mandrean the Thirteenth was not going to let that happen. He needed to replenish his forces quickly so as not to lose control of conquered lands and also to seek restitution for the war by capturing new ones.
“As I said earlier, between the Goblin Nations and the Mandrean Empire are the Endless Mountains. The clan of goblins nearest to them is called the Cangons. Among the clans, they are unique. Their population is greater than that of all the other warring Goblin Nations combined. However, their lands are nearly devoid of all natural resources: metal for armor and weapons, trees for building, and even quality farmland to feed them. These are the chains which hold them back from conquest of the Nations.
“They are also the only people who know the strange and winding paths through the mountains. As a result, they looted Mandrean villages near the border, constantly over the years. To keep Legions there for protection, was both costly and futile considering the area that needed to be guarded.
“Lord Mandrean had a plan. He made a deal with the Cangons. He would sell them food, weapons and what have you, in return for infantry goblins.”
“You mean slaves?” Rander interrupted.
“That’s hardly the term,” Newminor told him in disgust. “Actually, it was a good deal all the way around. For the Cangons, they were able to reduce their overpopulation and solve their food crisis at the same time. The reduction of Cangon soldiers, however, still prevented them from conquering the nations. For those bought by the Mandreans, their lifestyle in the Legions was far superior to anything in the Nations.
“As for the Mandreans, they no longer had to worry about raiders coming out of the mountains. The Legions were now fully manned with fierce warriors who would fight to the death, without reservation, and they could continue with the business of the Empire.