Goblins aren’t known for their warm presences; we can be quite the opposite. Cold, offensive, odd in our own unique way, and usually caked in some sort of earthy substance – that’s us. So trust me, when I say I do love to tell my friend that I love them. It needs to be said when you’ve got a track record of being quicker to tease than to comfort. The words can come out stilted, here and there. But why?

I feel that we, as a kingdom, have placed too high a price on the word “love,” one that has been too closely associated with romance. We understand that lovers, paired as they are, say, “I love you,” and it’s a good thing they do! But this isn’t the only love there’s to see: to our families we say, “I love you,” too, do we not? We do!

So, those friends closest to us… aren’t they also family to us? Those special individuals whom we are thankful to know, and to have in our lives for however long they might be with us? So why not tell them you love them? Isaac, a dear friend of mine, is like a brother to me, and I to him. I would be a wreck if I found he’d been plagued with misfortune or illness, and he’d feel the same if such a fate fell upon me. I love him. He loves me. This is brotherhood as simple as I can explain it.

But what about my friend, Jo, the fair maiden? A wonderful woman whose strong spirit is a persistent force with no taming. She too, I love. She knows it, and I know she loves me – she’s told me. Some might be taken aback by this honesty, but that’s the nice thing about comfortable friendships: you know each other so well, that you also understand that romance will never be in consideration; the friendship is why you want to know one another. That is the bond you share, and you love them for it. There’s no other way to say it.

This is why I ought to say, “I love you.” I am thankful – proud even – to know these people, that they must know they are loved for simply being themselves, because that is love at its core: perfect acceptance of an imperfect person.

“The Goblin Cave” weaves vivid imagery and prose with reflections and commentary on the world around us. Written by Ethan Reisler, “The Goblin Cave” looks at society, reality and culture from a far away land not unlike our own.