Greencloth Mikkleweasel (Red Eye or Red)
Once again for your reading pleasure, here is another timeless tale from my anthology Goblin Tales
Madness and Misadventure
In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, are plunged into a nightmare situation.
To the casual observer everything appeared normal in Goblindom. And yet ever since the first light of dawn had peered gently through the window at the waking brothers, Glob’s ninth sense, backed up by his eight others, told him some form of disaster would surly descend on their household before nightfall. There were times when he simply wished he had never woken up. Today would prove to be one such day.
After breakfast Neo went to feed and groom Miranda the mare, and spend time with his much loved honorary humin niece Ylesse, Mica and Agnitha’s pretty young daughter.
While simpleminded Byz played happily with spiders, snails, slugs, woodlice and caterpillars under his bed after he had helped Glob with the washing up, Make sat outside the door with his back to the old oak’s trunk smoking his bestest briar pipe, contentedly blowing honeysuckle flavoured smoke rings, which drifted slowly upward through the leaves above his head.
Accident prone Mous yelped and sucked furiously at the latest nasty cut on his thumb, after he sliced it open on a particularly sharp splinter while clearing up the debris from the carved wooden pots and dishes he had just dropped on the floor.
As for Glob, he settled himself down on his chair by the window while he digested his breakfast. His faithful friend, Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, perched on his shoulder. Between them, they quietly discussed their plan to go fishing in the stream beyond the woods.
On the valley’s northern border, no one took the least bit of notice as three goblins sat beneath an oak. After all, there was nothing out of the ordinary about this. All kinds of creatures travel back and forth across Goblindom every day, making camp, or simply taking a break as these three did.
Greencloth Mikkleweasel, otherwise known as Red Eye to those who greatly feared him, because of the fiery red colour of his eyes, sat with his back to the gnarled trunk of an ancient oak, chewing on a dried mushroom. No one, not even his two companions dare to use his familiar name of Mikk. Calling him Red, or Red Eye, was acceptable to this most evil of goblins.
Red had sent one of his companions, Smiddle Banfook, a tall yellow skinned goblin with green hair tied back in a ponytail, on a mission into the northernmost limit of the southern woods.
Opposite Red sat the third member of the group, the diminutive goblin Glormfist Bezeldrop, lovingly caressing his metal mace. He carefully tested the tip of each of its spikes with his finger as he finished sharpening them with a piece of sandstone, while they both awaited Ban’s return from his reconnoitre of the woods.
Red had recently been released from gaol. His cellmate was none other than the northern plains goblin Grimsdyke Mugwurzle, who, before being incarcerated had been a purveyor of seeds.
When Bejuss had gripped the black hairs sticking out of the orange pumpkin shaped wart on Mug’s nose with his beak, tugging hard, the cantankerous goblin had sworn revenge on all who were against him. They had all laughed uncontrollably at his painful and bloody experience, angering him. The court case Mug had brought against Bejuss, for assault with a deadly beak, had backfired on him when he tried to strangle the old bird in court. When Mug told his tale to Red, he jumped at the chance for some sport with wood goblins on his release.
Ban soon reappeared from the gloom of the oak forest. “Well – is they livin where Mug says they is?” Red demanded to know.
“Aye Red,” Ban replied. He grinned nervously as he deliberately seated himself well away from Fist, not daring to make eye contact with either of his companions, and began pulling twigs from his ponytail. The brown blotches on his yellow skin glowed brightly, a sure sign of his extreme fear when in the company of these two most dangerous goblins.
“Whens I’s goin ter bash wood goblin brains out Red? Me mace is hungry for green blood agin.” Fist demanded, with murder on his mind.
Red’s homicidal eyes and green leathery face showed no sign of emotion as he replied quietly to Fist’s demand. “Easy lad, alls in goods time, they’s goin nowhere is they,” he replied, smiling crookedly as he scratched the tip of one of his long ears with a twig.
Fist removed his horned metal helmet, spat on it, and began polishing it with his sleeve. “I’s needs ter smash brains outs I’s tells yer!” the tiny insane goblin growled, fast losing control and baring his yellow fangs. Ever since birth, Fist had steadily grown more and more unhinged, making him the perfect goblin warrior in a battle. He knew no fear. When he was in one of his insane rages, he carved huge holes in the ranks of the opposition with his vicious spiked mace. He was worth far more than a warrior three times his size and build to any goblin leader. The way he left nothing but broken bloody bodies and smashed skulls behind him was chilling. The only leader he had ever known, let alone taken notice of, was Red who had taken him under his wing soon after he was born. Red looked after, fed and cared for him. In turn, Fist looked upon Red as his older brother, a goblin to be respected.
While Red was in gaol, he commanded Ban to look after Fist until his release on pain of death, a task that he reluctantly agreed to. It was like looking after a dangerous unpredictable wild animal. To make a living, and to keep Fist occupied until Red’s release, the pair ambushed passing strangers. While Fist terrified or maimed them, Ban stole their wares.
Both Red and Ban knew the fine line Fist trod between anger and sheer murderous insanity, and what it took to control him. “We’s aint here ter bash brains Fist, at least not jus yet. We’s here ter kidnap us a wood goblin, so calm yerself little brother!” Red replied, passing a piece of dried mushroom to him.
Glob picked up his willow wand fishing pole and his batwing leather tackle bag. “Who’s comin fishin?” he asked as he and Bejuss headed for the door.
Make and Byz held up their hands. “Ooh, ooh, I’s comin please Glob,” Byz suddenly volunteered from under his bed, much to Bejuss’ great annoyance. The last thing he wanted was the simpleminded idiot tagging along and spoiling the peaceful day. Mous reluctantly declined the invitation. He wanted to make up for his clumsiness and had decided to stay behind and carve some new mugs and bowls. He sighed as he watched the fishing party leave.
Neo sat on the bench beside Mica’s door happily playing pat-a-cake with little Ylesse, while talking with her mother, fair Agnitha. His friend Miranda the mare grazed contentedly on the fresh grass beside Mica’s roundhouse tethered to a stake.
A terrible bloodcurdling goblin war cry rang out from the direction of the goblin brother’s home. Neo instantly took off, running as fast as his short legs would allow. When he entered through the splintered door of their home a few minutes later, he was greeted by a scene of utter destruction. It looked as if a violent whirlwind had struck. Every piece of furniture – chairs, stools, table, and beds, was smashed to pieces. The kitchen was reduced to a pile of broken pots, mugs and bowls. The cupboard doors hung on their leather hinges at crazy angles. Worse – the floor was spattered with pools of green goblin blood!
Who or what had done this?
Mica soon entered behind Neo, shocked at the scene of utter senseless destruction. “Where are your brothers Neo? What happened here? Who did this?”
“I’s fears sum terribles monster has takens em Mica,” the old cross eyed goblin muttered as uncharacteristic tears filled his eyes, “why wud anyones does this – why?”
Mica blew his battle horn summoning his fellow humin warriors. Within a few minutes they began following Neo as he tracked a trail of tiny goblin footprints leading towards the stream beyond the forest.
After tethering simpleminded Byz to a sapling, where the young goblin immediately began playing with tiny blue butterflies that fed on the nectar of the wildflowers, Make sat next to Glob on the bank of the stream, smoking his bestest briar pipe. He idly watched the damsel fly tied on the end of Glob’s fishing line dance just above the stream’s surface. Bejuss closed his one eye and spread his wings to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, as well as the peace and quiet. He had perched on a branch of the willow overlooking the scene below, mainly to get out of the way of Byz.
Their tranquillity was soon shattered when Neo and Mica suddenly burst into view at the head of a heavily armed search party. Neo ran forward hugging his three brothers, relieved that they were alive and well. He told them about the destruction of their home. The fact that Neo had shown such emotional concern for their welfare, and his obvious relief that they were unharmed shook all of them, Bejuss included. Clearly something must have happened to Mous, but what? Had he gone mad and destroyed their home then run off?
“Puts him in there for now,” Red ordered, indicating a large tangle of briar. Its vicious thorns would ensure that their prisoner did not escape. Ban threw the unconscious goblin into the centre of the briar patch.
“Can I’s beats him Red, huh can I’s?” Fist pleaded, dribbling constantly, hoping that the answer would be yes, while he glared insanely through the tangle of briar at the still unconscious Mous. All thoughts of the wanton destruction he had meted out inside the goblin brother’s home an hour earlier had completely evaporated from his frenzied mind.
“Why’d ya have ter hit him so hard Red?” Ban nervously inquired, “yer only needed ter taps him on is bonce wiv yer club ter knock im senseless while Fist smashed up the place.”
Red turned on Ban, seizing his throat in a vicelike grip, half choking him. No one ever challenged him. “I’sll let Fist enjoy hisself smashing yer brains out if yer question me ever agin, d’yer hear me! Now shuddup n go n keep watch for truble yer spineless fragwizzle!” Ban slunk fearfully away into the shadows, massaging his throat and gasping for breath. Fist grinned insanely after him, licking his lips at the thought of giving his mace a drink of goblin blood, not caring which one – Ban or Mous.
Glob hesitantly entered through their shattered door, shaking his head. “There is the unmistakeable marks on madness n misadventure bout this,” he muttered sadly with tears in his old eyes, while he absentmindedly picked up the shattered pieces of his chair from amongst the destruction.
“Come away Glob. You and your brothers must stay with us until we have found Mous and got to the bottom of this,” Mica declared, throwing a reassuring arm around his old goblin friend. “Besides, your home needs to be rebuilt and your furniture renewed. This is no fit place to live in.”
Bejuss flew away on a mission of his own. He quickly vanished into the gloom of the woods in search of Mous. When he caught up with him, he had made up his mind to peck the obviously insane goblin’s eyes out. In the gloom his one eye soon detected a trembling goblin hiding behind a tree stump.
Ban in his haste to be well out of sight of Fist and Red Eye had not realised how far he had wandered into the southern woods. He temporarily hid himself, trying to decide whether or not to run away. At the back of his mind he knew full well that if he did, Red would surely find him and set the diminutive insane goblin upon him.
“Rarrk – hath yer theen a mad goblin hereaboutth?” Bejuss noisily demanded; stabbing his razor sharp beak into the tree stump just above Ban’s head, making him quiver in fear. “Me’th lookin for the one wot broke our home. Tell me or me’ll peck yer eyeth out yer grotkin – thpeak up!”
Ban was on the point of a total nervous breakdown when Bejuss suddenly appeared and confronted him. He grovelled on the ground in front of the old bird crying and soiling himself. “Please master raven, don’t hurts me I’s begs yer. Twerent me wot smashed yer home. Twas Fist wot done it after our chief Red Eye hit the goblin we’s found inside on the head, n gave him ter me ter carry away.”
After viciously pecking the top of Ban’s head in revenge, Bejuss convinced him that for his own good he had better return with him to the humin village and explain all to Glob and the rest. Ban tearfully agreed. Anything, even gaol, was better than looking over his shoulder in fear of Fist’s vicious mace.
Ban soon blurted out all he knew without any further persuasion. Mica insisted he lead them to where Red and Fist were camped. His reluctance to do so quickly vanished when Neo angrily struck him between the shoulders with his war club, knocking him to the ground.
So, whats we’s goin ter do wiv him Red?” Fist asked, momentarily returned to sanity.
“We’s goin ter demand ransom lad,” Red winked his reply, as a seldom seen crooked smile spread across his evil green face.
Mous began to stir within his briar prison. “Urgh, where iz I’z; me head achez zummink terrible?” As his eyes slowly cleared he saw Fist peering insanely at him through the tangle of briar.
“He’s awake. Can I’s bash him now Red, huh, can I’s?”
Red got up and joined Fist outside the tangle of briar glaring at Mous. “Wot’s yer worth I’s wunders, eh scum?”
“Begz pardonz yer worzhip, I’z aint worth nothin, I’z juz a clumzy wood goblin,” Mous replied truthfully, rubbing the lump on the back of his head. Like lightning, Fist began smashing his way through the tangle of briar with his mace in a blind insane rage. When he was in this state, not even Red could halt him.
“We shoulds ave gots here sooner,” Make sobbed as he looked at his wounded brother.
Fist lay dead, tangled up in the briar. His tiny body was staked to the ground by humin flint tipped spears with Bejuss angrily pecking out his lifeless eyes.
Mica’s fellow humin warriors had quickly overpowered Red Eye, trussing him up on a pole with Ban, ensuring that neither would escape the justice of the wise council and the inevitable death sentence.
Neo and Glob gently laid the badly wounded Mous on the stretcher they had made to carry him home. Thankfully, the tough briar had helped to cushion the blows from Fist’s cruel mace. With a lot of gentle nursing by Brilith and Agnitha, his body would slowly mend. But, only time would tell if his mind would fully heal from the vicious beating he had endured that terrible day when madness entered the valley.
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