I am falling out of love with the idea of using goblins. I had already decided against using elves or dwarves or wizards back when I was writing the book. I think I want to axe them too. I also want to de-hero Drugane a little.
Rather than having this be a war between humans and goblins, I want to make it more meaningful. So here's what I'm thinking now.
In my world there are there's been a lot of hardship. Ya know, famines, plagues, clan wars... all the fun stuff the middle ages had to deal with. And in this world there is booze, and there is tobacco, and then there's these other plants that are much more... potent. When the various components of this plant are refined they cause various reactions in humans. The less refined forms bring a calming, euphoric feeling. Make your problems go away. But the stronger stuff cause stronger reactions. And it's addictive. So they become axious to ensure they can continue to get their hands on it. And those making the drugs know this, and use it to their advanage. They prey on people in the towns, starting them off on the light stuff and then sneaking in a dose of their stronger stuff. After that, it's pretty difficult for the people to get un-adicted.
And this plant can be combined with others to cause specific reactions. There are forms of this drug (or drink, or salve) that brings out the sadistic side in people. They lose all inhibitions and gain a desire to see the world burn. To bring the adult into this... they get sexual gratification from it. They like to do things like hurt people just to see what it's like. Some forms are like a surge of adrinalin, which over time can bulk people up until they're inhumanly strong.
The stronger stuff also speeds up the metabolism, and the healing process.
As you can imagine, the non-adicted people don't like this to much. They try to burn the plants and things like that, which sparks the "war". Those in power use the addicted to go into the villages and do their worst. At the point the book starts, the "good" folks have the upper hand and all the "bad" people can manage is to go in from time to time in raids. They're holed up mostly in the forest, where they can grow the plants.
So to adultify Drugane, I want him to have tasted this stuff. During one of the pillages during the worse times of the "war", he is going to be in the basement. His mother and sister are upstairs. He hears the addicted people break in, hears screams. But he is too afraid to move, to go up and try to help. He hesitates too long, and when he finally gets up enough courage to charge upstairs they are doing aweful things to his mother's dead body. He tries to stop them but he's just a kid. They slash his face, mock him for his cowardice. And then as they leave they give him some of the stuff that speeds up his healing process, so that he can live with the shame for his life. But along with the shame, they leave him with the addiction.
He runs away from his home because he can't bear having to deal with the shame and pity from everyone there. But he's stuck with the addiction. He can't sleep right without taking some of this stuff, he has nightmares. And during the day he can't concentrate. He gets depressed He buys the light stuff for a while, but he is fearful he'll get slipped a higher dose. So he gets his hands on a plant and makes his own. He hides all of this, because he's ashamed that he's adicted.
So up to and during the time with Emor (who I hope I come up with a way to make less... unbearable) he's hiding this. And at some point I would want to force him to confront the addiction in a big way... and lose. I'd want him to succumb to it in a big way. Not sure if I want him to miss something important because of it, or do something bad. And not sure if I want it to be from sadness/desperation or wanting to be stronger/heal faster. Emor makes a childish attempt to console him about it, and Drugane leaves. And he makes a decision or sees something that brings him back, and after that he's resolved to beat the stuff. I'm thinking I want him to eventually start taking the easy stuff again. And Emor grows some balls and trashes the stuff. They get in a big fight and it comes to blows. Or something...
Just writing down ideas so that I don't have to remember it all...