Beyond lies the hidden world of Goblindom
What Are They Glob?
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, encounter a threat to Goblindom’s very existence.
Mica and his father-in-law Yestin, the village shaman, had stopped briefly to take a rest on their journey to visit the white wizard Morweth, and the white witch Brilith. They were sitting on the brow of a low hill when they caught sight of some strangers in the distance. Quickly lying flat in the lush grass so as not to be observed, they peered cautiously at the group temporarily camped on the opposite side of the stream that formed Goblindom’s south-eastern boundary. While they looked vaguely humin they were shorter, barely five feet tall, thickset and darker in complexion. Yathle had told Glob a few days earlier that she had seen a small armed group travelling north towards Goblindom’s southern border. Thanks to Yathle’s timely information all of the humin settlements were now on full alert. If this was a scouting party for a much larger army, were they warlike or peaceful? Who were they, what were they, where had they come from?
Mica asked Yestin to return with reinforcements and watched him disappear from view heading back to the village. By noon several heavily armed humin warriors along with Glob, Make, Mous and Neo brandishing their clubs, lay in the thick grass on the ridge after Glob had tethered simpleminded Byz to Miranda’s back leg in the pasture below and behind them. “What are they Glob? They look like us and yet…” Mica’s voice trailed off as they all struggled to identify the strangers in the distance.
Bejuss perched on Glob’s shoulder cocking his head left and right. “Rarrk – me fly over n thee wot they ith,” the old bird volunteered, and quickly took to the air. Within a few minutes he had perched once again on Glob’s shoulder. “They lookth a bit like yer doeth Mica, but they ith tho ugly n have different weaponth,” the old bird lisped, as he recovered from his short flight.
“Wot kind on weapons does they have Bejuss?” Glob asked, staring down towards the strangers.
“They’th got thhiny weaponth like mountain goblinth hath, made out on metal,” Bejuss replied, stabbing a butterfly that had flown within reach, before quickly swallowing it. “Pluth they don’t talk like uth. They thpeak in a thrange tongue, a bit like the one Morweth n Crellan uthed when they dethroyed Kilycke’th netht. They aint got no trading goodth, juth weaponth. They hath broad beakth thticking out on their face n black eyeth thhaded by thick featherth.”
Bejuss’ description of metal weapons, broad noses and bushy eyebrows made Glob’s blood run cold. If his suspicions proved correct, their magically protected land was in deep trouble. “We’s need ter calls another meetin on all who lives in Goblindom; we have no time ter waste!” Glob declared, indicating to the rest to follow. Bejuss volunteered to stay behind to keep his one eye on the strangers while the rest retired to the base of the hill where Glob summoned Yathle with his emerald topped staff, first asking her to collect Morweth and Brilith, then return to pick them up to carry everyone to the emergency meeting.
Within the hour Glob had informed her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, of the impending threat. Word rapidly spread via Hermione’s finest elven runners to all interested parties to meet at the ancestor oak. Bingle and his fellow council member Peesmold Grifflemew sat listening to Mica describing the strangers. “Hmm, it’s as we feared Mew. The humans have finally found Goblindom’s border.”
Peesmold’s ancient leathery face grew glum as he reluctantly nodded his head. “I’s afraids I’s have ter agree wiv yer Bingle. We always knew that they wud returns someday.”
“Begging yer pardons master Grifflemew, but wots are humans?” Neo enquired, nervously crossing his eyes, clearly puzzled and disturbed by this possibly dangerous new threat.
Bingle stood and walked to the centre of the room to deliver his considered answer. “Humans is the evil ugly stunted distant cousins on Mica’s own kind young Neo. They is thoroughly nasty creatures. Their kind wos sent ter the desert lands on the south, thousands on summers ago in the time afore, when we’s fought a terrible war against them n drove them away, soon after the world wos born. Theys caused truble from the outset. Theys is greedy, destructive n warlike. If theys is movin north, then theys is up ter no good. When theys wos banished, theys soon became even more savage n barbaric, cos we’s injured their minds when we’s removed all knowledge on Goblindom n its whereabouts. Some on them even took a liking ter eatin their own kind! We’s all thought theys wud die out in the harsh barren lands theys wos banished ter. Peers theys has survived n grown in number.” Bingle sat back down as Mew nodded in sombre agreement at Bingle’s accurate assessment of the situation.
Crellan the black wizard stood up, cleared his throat and addressed the assembly. “Aeons ago in the time before, after we had banished the humans we placed a wall of magic around our part of the world to protect ourselves from everything beyond our borders. If these humans find a way through, we must destroy them where they stand by all means at our disposal. Magic still rules here not metal. We cannot allow these accursed humans to invade. While we fight amongst ourselves, our squabbles are as nothing compared to the evil these creatures present to all Goblindom. How many of them now exist is anyone’s guess? There may be thousands of them. I have heard of their ways from other wizards further to the south, as you have too I believe Morweth.” Morweth and Brilith both nodded their heads in agreement. Whenever humans encounter anyone passing for witch or a wizard in their land, they burn or drown them. In the part of the world humans dwell in, there is no room for magic of any kind, no matter that their ills are still cured by magic’s practitioners in the form of healers,” Crellan continued. “They plunder, slash and burn forests, laying waste to every living thing. They kill for food, or for pleasure. They make war on their own kind for land. They share nothing with all the other kinds who live where they dwell. They either kill or make slaves of all they conquer. Humans are truly evil. They must be driven from here. Then once we have rid ourselves of them, we must reinforce our wall of magic to hide our land forever. In time we may even need to travel to their homeland to annihilate them all.”
Using his recent accidentally acquired magical power of invisibility, Bejuss perched in the branches of the willow tree the humans sat beneath beside the stream, having passed freely through the magic barrier; not realising for one moment that it was something which should not have been possible. The barrier’s apparent weakness would be tested by another in a few moons from now.
Bejuss listened intently to their conversation. He understood the odd word here and there. From what he could make out, they were trying to work out a safe route up a sheer rock wall. Unlike them, Bejuss only saw the meadow and the low hill beyond where Glob, Mica and the rest had lain a few hours earlier within Goblindom’s borders, beyond the stream. When Mica, Crellan, Morweth, Brilith, Yathle, Glob, Make, Mous and Neo returned back to the hill overlooking the humans, Bejuss was waiting for them with his news. “Rarrk – they’th only thee high mountainth in front on them Mica, not our home,” the old bird happily lisped his report, as he munched contentedly on the juicy slug Glob had just given him.
The humans sat contemplating the long climb ahead of them. “By the gods how are we ever going to climb that?” Daffid asked of his companions, craning his neck as he looked up.
“More to the point, why do we even want to? I can’t even see its top for the heavy cloud covering it, can you?” Owen grumbled, balking at the terrifying thought of such a long and dangerous climb. Daffid nodded his head in agreement.
Gyred, leader of the scouting party, glared at his two companions before spitting out his curt reply. “Because our chief, prince Olin, son of queen Morag, believes the ancient folk tales told in our halls of a hidden land full of riches somewhere beyond the great mountains, that’s why. Now stop grumbling and get ready to climb you scum!”
As he watched the humans prepare, an idea began to form in Glob’s mind. “Why don’t we’s lets em climb up a ways? Once they is aboves ground they is easy targets. Bejuss cud pecks em unseen.”
Crellan’s eyes lit up as a cruel grin broke out across his face. “If Yathle, Morweth and Brilith will agree I have an idea to assist Bejuss. Whatever we do, the humans must not realise that magic is being used against them, or that what they see and climb is created by it. What happens to them must appear wholly natural.”
Daffid climbed steadily with Owen and Gyred roped to him, following behind. Each human carried their spear, shield and sword securely tied across their backs with strong leather thongs. “How much further do we have to go?” Owen muttered as he gasped for air. None of them had ever climbed so high before because in their former desert homeland, no high mountains like these existed.
“Ow! Watch it, that hurt! Mind where you’re pointing that spear,” Daffid yelled swinging round suddenly, accusing Owen of wounding him. Bejuss flew a few feet away unseen and unheard. The old bird was enjoying himself as he looked at the bleeding wound he had just inflicted on the leading climber’s exposed calf.
Next he flew above them picked up a pebble and returned to where Gyred was busy searching for hand holds with his fingers. Carefully taking aim, he dropped the pebble on the human’s bare head. “Watch it you scum, you’ll have the whole mountain down on us blast you!” Bejuss then grabbed the leather thong holding Daffid’s weapons, pulled hard at its slip knot and watched them fall, crashing and clattering against the rock face towards Owen and Gyred, who desperately flattened themselves in order to avoid being skewered or sliced.
In the meantime, Yathle carried the two wizards and Brilith to the topmost peak of the magic barrier, while they clung on to her, ready to cast spells. At Crellan’s whispered command, Yathle flew back down through the apparently solid sheer rock face of the magic barrier at breakneck speed. She deliberately aimed her headlong dive at Daffid. Before any of the humans realized what was happening Yathle struck the unfortunate man with such force that he was sent flying, falling to his death. Owen and Gyred screamed as they too were wrenched free, still secured together by the rope. Fortunately for them, the rope parted when Daffid’s fall was temporarily halted by a jagged spine of rock, and caught itself, suspending them both as their now dead companion lay on the ground far below. Yathle continued on down through the barrier and incinerated the dead human, turning him to ash while Bejuss flew to the rock ledge and began pecking furiously at the taught rope, parting it strand by strand.
From where they stood, far below the action, Mica, Glob, Neo, Mous and Mica’s fellow humin warriors watched the frantic efforts of the two remaining humans, seemingly hanging in mid-air. Once more Yathle flew above the humans unseen and unheard by them. Crellan, Morweth and Brilith quickly released wave upon wave of spells designed to loosen rocks. Gyred had managed to wedge his feet firmly into a narrow crack while he desperately held on to the rope. Owen was too far away from the rock face to help himself. All he could do was hang on hoping and praying that his leader would soon rescue him. While Bejuss tore at the rope with his razor sharp twisted beak, high above, thanks to the combined spells, the rocks began to drop. At first it was just a few pebbles that bounced their way down the apparent sheer rock face. But soon much heavier boulders crashed and bounced their way down. Bejuss’ seventh sense told him it was time to leave. By the time he had re-joined Glob and the rest, a full scale avalanche was underway.
“I doubt they even knew what hit them,” Mica said later, after they all had watched the combined magic of Crellan, Morweth and Brilith repair and strengthen the magic barrier once more, while Yathle incinerated the broken bodies, turning them to ash that drifted on the wind. What they had all witnessed that day was an unwelcome glimpse of a possible future. The days of Goblindom as they all knew it may yet be numbered unless the magic barrier continued to hold the human hoard at bay.