A Dangerous Affair
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 confronted by a perplexing mystery.
After a long cold winter, spring had finally returned. With the demise of the giant black dragon, life for all inside Goblindom’s borders had once again resumed its erratic path. Trolls like Boggis continued setting traps to catch unwitting goblins for the pot. Ogre’s still terrified anyone foolish enough to enter their domain. Griffins caused trouble wherever they could in their own particularly ferocious manner. Crellen the black wizard resumed his evil ways. In the western mountains, gremlins again raided those closest to them intent on murder and mayhem, and his esteemed magnificence, Obadiah Fingletook, the grand high goblin, continued to annoy all those unfortunate enough to encounter him.
In the goblin brother’s home, simpleminded Byz stole Bejuss’ food to play with. Make and Mous interminably argued over everything and nothing like a pair of naughty goblin younglings. Neo’s foul temper grew ever shorter at their behaviour, and long suffering Glob sighed and shook his head, wondering if their home would ever be a peaceful one. Whereas in the clearing beyond the woods, Mica and the rest of his fellow humins had already begun re-building their village on the scorched earth where it previously stood before Kilycke wreaked so much destruction.
To get some peace and quiet, Glob climbed to the oak’s topmost branches to check on the new season’s supply of acorns. Unable to contain his anger any longer, Bejuss pecked Byz sharply on his head making the simpleminded goblin cry, and flew through the open window to join Glob. “Rarrk – Byz ith thtealing me food agin mathter Glob – me fed up!”
Glob offered him a grub he had just skewered with the point of his sharp goblin blade as it attempted to burrow its way into an acorn. “Here yer is Bejuss, sticks wiv me lad. I’sll takes care on yer from now on. One things mind, I aint yer master, none on us is, just calls me Glob, alright?” The old goblin smiled as he watched Bejuss gratefully accept the juicy morsel from his outstretched hand. Between them they checked over each and every new acorn for pests of all kinds which Bejuss hungrily devoured. “Bout time ter gathers some acorns for yung Mica’s swine – fancy helpin me?”
Bejuss nodded enthusiastically, he always felt happiest in the old goblin’s company. “Rarrk – what’th thwine n how me goin ter help?” he asked, temporarily distracted by a passing bee, which he quickly caught and swallowed, before it could sting his throat.
Glob chuckled. “Swine is big creatures wot has curly tails, long faces n sharps tusks that Mica’s folk brought wiv them when they came ter stay in the valley, a long time back. Humins likes ter eat em, but theys prefer em fat n tasty see. Besides the swine rootin around the village for grubs n worms n suchlike ter eat, we’s helps Mica feeds em by givin em acorns too. Mica says it makes em taste better. Funny folk is humins Bejuss lad, theys don’t eat many plants n berries, theys likes ter eat cooked flesh. All yer gots ter do wiv the acorns is pick the best ones, snap em orf n drop em ter the ground. Once we’s got enuff, we’s gathers em up n puts em in the big old willow-bark boot Neo made ages back for Mous, n then we’s delivers em ter yung Mica.” Bejuss nodded once more and began enthusiastically helping by selecting the finest acorns he could find. With each deft slice of his sharp twisted beak, another plump acorn bounced its way down through the branches and leaves of the old oak to the ground below.
By mid-morning the pair decided they had picked enough. Glob began the long climb back down to their home. As his feet touched the large bough outside the goblin brother’s door, Bejuss flew up to him from the grass below with a puzzled look on his face. “Me can’t find any on the acornth we got Glob, they ith gone!”
Glob peered down at the grass beneath the bough. Sure enough not one acorn lay where it should have been. He climbed down to investigate with Bejuss following close behind. “Neo, Make, Mous, Byz – gets out here now!” Glob yelled as he scratched his head. Like Bejuss, he was completely puzzled by the mysterious disappearance. Where were the acorns – more to the point who had stolen them, and why? Four tiny heads peered nervously down from the great bough above. Glob glared accusingly up at his brothers while Bejuss continued searching in vain through the grass for the missing acorns. The old goblin was livid. Someone had committed a grave offence, punishable by death, according to goblin law. “Alright, which one on yer miserable grotkins stoles the acorns thens eh – come on, owns up else it’ll be the worse for yer! Me n Bejuss just spent all mornin gettin acorns for Mica’s swine, n now theys all gorn! One on yer stole em. When I’s finds out who done it, I’sll bash yer on yer bonce so hard yer’ll see stars for a moon or more, so I’s will. Thens I’sll drag yer orf in elf chains ter the wise council for terrible punishment!” he seethed, smashing his bony fists together, absolutely beside himself with fury.
None of his brothers had ever seen the normally placid older goblin like this before. Even Neo shivered with fright at the prospect of appearing before the wise council in chains, accused of such a thing. Byz immediately burst into tears. Make and Mous looked accusingly at each other. Neo gingerly climbed down to where Glob paced angrily back and forth with old Bejuss now sitting on his shoulder doing his best to look fierce and angry by puffing up his feathers, in support of his friend. Neo fell to his knees in front of his angry older brother, wringing his bony hands with tears welling up in his crossed eyes. “None on us stole em Glob, we promises. We wos inside all the time, honest! We heards em droppin n bouncin orf the branches, buts I’s swears we didn’t steals them – why wud we, we’s all knows the dreadful penalty for stealin acorns wot’s been picked special?”
From where he perched on Glob’s shoulder, Bejuss lowered his head and fixed Neo with his one good eye, staring intently into the pleading old goblin’s terrified, frantically crossing eyes, looking for any sign of guilt. “Rarrk – Neo ith tellin the truth Glob, he didn’t thteal em.” Then the old bird flew up to the other three, staring into each set of frightened eyes in turn, before returning to Glob. “Make, Mouth n Byz ith not guilty neither,” he said, shaking his head with bitter disappointment. Secretly he had hoped that Byz was the culprit.
Glob calmed down just a little. “Thens we’s gots us a thief round here somewhere, wot is stealin goblin’s acorns. We needs ter tells the mother on all, Hermione Fingletook, bouts this. It’s against everythin writ down in the great book on law,” he said as his anger slowly subsided.
After he had summoned Yathle, she delivered him and Bejuss to the ancestor oak’s front door, much to the great relief of Glob’s brothers. Being angrily accused of a capital offence had clearly shaken them. As usual Obadiah ranted and raved, demanding to know why a lowly southern woods goblin, particularly him, had arrived unannounced. Glob and Bejuss completely ignored him and went straight to Hermione’s private apartments and knocked loudly on the door. The door was opened by young Heliotrope, looking a trifle flushed as if she had just run a very great distance. Glob’s heart pounded furiously at the sight of her bewitching beauty. She smiled sweetly when she enquired what they wanted, fixing Glob with her hypnotic mauve eyes while deliberately squeezing his hand. Her intoxicating perfume stirred the old goblin’s blood. She tenderly kissed Glob’s cheek making him blush, before pointing towards the terrace.
Hermione sat in the shade eating honeycomb cakes and freshly baked watercress delights, while sipping delicately on a cup of the finest acorn tea. Her eyes lit up when she saw her visitors. “Dear child, please bring more cups for our most welcome guests if you please,” Hermione commanded as she smiled at Glob and Bejuss.
“Yes mother dearest,” the beautiful young goblin replied, while smiling sweetly at Glob, before quickly disappearing to fetch two more acorn cups.
“Now my dears, what brings my favourite son and the most noble of the raven clan here I wonder?” Glob opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Heliotrope may have lost her deadly siren magic, but the effect she had over all goblin males, with the exception of Obadiah who only loved his own reflection, was growing steadily by each new moon.
“Beg’th pardonth yer magnificence,” Bejuss began, bowing low and spreading his wings, “me n Glob wath collecting acornth thith morning ter feed Mica’th thwine. When we had got enuff we went ter collect them from the grathth beneath the oak where we live, but there were no acornth anywhere. They had vanithed!” Still unable to speak, Glob gulped and nodded his head in agreement. Heliotrope returned with two cups, placing them before Bejuss and Glob. Hermione poured fresh acorn tea and offered her guests the choice of a delicious honeycomb cake or a fresh baked watercress delight. Hoping for a fat juicy slug, sadly Bejuss declined…
Heliotrope’s obvious amorous intentions towards Glob had not gone unnoticed. “Daughter, Globular and dear Bejuss have just brought a most perplexing situation to my attention. So I must ask you to leave us alone to discuss it in private,” she commanded. Heliotrope’s exquisite mauve eyes grew dark. She briefly pouted before slowly walking to the door in her most seductive way; mesmerizing Glob by the way her shapely hips swayed, increasing the desire for her within his very being. She briefly stopped to blow him one more kiss, and then closed the door quietly behind her. “My dears what you have just told me is most serious indeed. The wise council must be told straight away. Clearly a thief is present in your valley. I shall ask my chief scout Grassnit Thimblefoot to accompany you to investigate and apprehend the culprit. No matter who it may be, the law is quite clear. The penalty for stealing acorns is death!” As Glob, Nit, Yathle and Bejuss returned to the valley, no one noticed Heliotrope silently slip out from the ancestor oak.
Nit closely studied the grass beneath the oak for any clue left by the thief. A little way off, Bejuss suddenly let out a cry of triumph. “Rarrk – footprintth, me found thome look!” A narrow track of bent grass led off to the western path in the wood. Glob and Nit stood looking at where Bejuss pointed with one wing while jumping up and down excitedly.
Nit knelt down to carefully study the footprints. “Hmm – tweren’t squirrels, nor swine neither,” he muttered as he searched among the old humin and animal tracks. Then his eyes lit up when he found a clear set of fresh goblin tracks made that very day, leading north. “Well Glob this ere track is simple enuff ter follow cos on the depth on each footprint,” he said with a smile. “Clearly the thief wos weighed down wiv his plunder. Peers he made no attempts ter disguises his tracks. We’d best gets movin affor it gets too dark,” Nit declared as he puffed furiously on his clay pipe, giving him the air of a learned investigator. “Better brings yer brothers alongs Glob. We may needs em if we has ter fight the thief along the way. Better tells them ter come armed, n while yer at it might be as well if yer ask yer humin friend Mica ter bring a couple on his kind wiv him ter help.” Within the hour the thief catching party of goblins, raven and humins were following closely behind Nit as he read all the sign on the path.
Heliotrope carefully adjusted the soft lilac scented spider web pillows and sheets covered with fresh oak leaves, which she had carefully picked and spread across the bed, smiling at her efforts to make the place feel and smell so inviting. Meeting him again in the ancestral oak had finally made up her mind that Glob was the goblin of her dreams. While she could no longer induce the mating frenzy with deadly song, she could still make his blood rise using all of the feminine weapons at her disposal. She smiled to herself while gazing happily out of the window of her hidden love nest, daydreaming about what was to come. Heliotrope was on fire with longing for Glob. It was time to bring her chosen beau here. She knew it would not be easy, but she was determined. As any male in Goblindom knows, no matter what kind he may be, once a female chooses you, nothing short of running away to another land will ever deter her. Sometimes, not even then…
She looked approvingly at her beautiful reflection in a tiny pool of water beside the path she walked on as she headed south towards the old goblin’s home. She wore a pretty mauve primrose in her hair, matching her eyes. She smelled of sweet lavender. She was especially pleased with her careful choice of clothing, designed to reveal her curvaceous firm young figure to her intended mate.
Glob and Mica sat beside the path exhausted. Nit had force-marched the group of thief catchers for most of the afternoon, in his obsessive need to catch the perpetrator of such a dastardly crime. Mica’s two humin volunteers, Griffith and Jaster sat talking and joking with Glob’s brothers. They drank some of Neo’s excellent mead while sharing in the feast Make had prepared. Bejuss perched on Glob’s shoulder gratefully accepting the slugs, worms and snails the old goblin fed him. Nit suddenly froze. “Shush, listen’s, someones coming – quick hides?” he hissed as he disappeared behind a clump of thorn bush. Within the blink of an eye the party all followed his example.
Heliotrope appeared round the corner in the path, a vision of feminine loveliness and desire. Her inbuilt intuition told her that her goblin was somewhere close by. “Globy my sweet darling,” she called softly, as she cast her beautiful eyes around, searching for him. “Where are you my dearest love? Come to my arms.” Mous bit his tongue when Neo cuffed him as he was about to laugh out loud over the pet name Heliotrope used. Clamping his hand over Mous’ mouth, Neo hissed at him, indicating to his brother to keep silent, or else!
Glob stood up; by now totally under her spell. Heliotrope smiled with deep satisfaction. Sexual desire flowed through her veins as her intended mate walked trancelike towards her. She took his hand gently in hers, tenderly kissed his cheek, and walked back along the path with him, disappearing around the corner. Neo was about to leap to his brother’s aid, brandishing his club, when Nit seized his shoulder shaking his head. “Shush!” he whispered, waiting till he knew the pair was out of earshot. Then he beckoned the party to follow him.
“What’s going on Nit?” Mica whispered, also wanting to help rescue his old goblin friend.
“Shhh – look!” Nit pointed to Heliotrope’s footprints. “They’s the same ones we’s bin followin – see? Looks where she just stood, they’s match!”
“But wot bout Glob, he ain’t safe wiv her Nit, she’s truble!” Make declared, clearly frightened for his brother’s safety.
Nit smiled coldly. “E’s safe enuff for now lad; all’s we gots ter do is follow em n she’ll lead us ter where she stashed the stolen acorns. Er magnificence has long suspected yung Heliotrope was plannin summink like this. She wants a goblin realm of er own see, just like her magnificence’s sister Sherazid wanted. She mus av stole the acorns ter plant her own oak wood, another crime punishable by death. Now lets us follows em n see where she leads us.”
Heliotrope sat Glob gently down on the bed. His blood and eyes were afire with sexual desire. His mind was in turmoil. He had totally lost all reason. The young goblin temptress tenderly kissed him and stroked his ears, invoking emotions within him that no goblin male should ever experience. She poured some extremely strong mead into a mug and made him drink. As the effects of the intoxicating brew, mixed with the animal feelings of lust for her rose within him, Glob finally lost the last remnants of his legendary self-control. In his frenzied state, he bit and licked her as he feverishly tore her clothing off, revealing her firm young body in all its naked beauty. His animal desire made him pull her roughly to him. The pair writhed on the bed while making love, completely unaware that Nit and his party were silently surrounding the oak where Heliotrope had built her love nest.
On a signal from Nit, Neo, closely followed by Make and Mous, burst through the door and snatched Glob who was still raging with animal lust for her. Make quickly bundled him outside and hit him on his head with his club, dazing him. As Glob’s legs buckled, Make pushed him off the bough to the waiting arms of Mica below. In her sexually frustrated fury, Heliotrope launched herself at Neo, screaming, spitting, biting, clawing and scratching. But he was too quick for her. He quickly knocked her out with his club. Make and Mous then bound her in elf chains and dragged her outside, still naked.
After Bejuss had checked to make sure his friend was alright, he flew to Nit with a look of triumph once more breaking out on his face. “Rarrk – me found the acornth Nit. They ith hid over there in that old tree thtump,” the old bird reported. Nit and Griffith followed Bejuss to where the seeds for Heliotrope’s future goblin domain, were carefully stored.
By the end of the day, Mica, Griffith and Jaster had returned to the village and fed the retrieved acorns to their swine. The animals grunted contentedly, munching their way through their favourite sweet tasting food.
Young Heliotrope stood before the wise council still naked, held firmly by the elf chains, shivering and trembling with fear. Her fate was already sealed. She burst into tears when Nit, Bejuss, Neo, Make and Mous gave evidence against her. Byz was excused from giving evidence because of his simple mind, and Glob was clearly still in no fit state. Bingle, the last elder goblin had no choice but to pronounce the sentence of death upon her for the heinous crimes of treason and theft, to be carried out immediately by the court appointed executioner.
Bejuss’ friend, Slyth the griffin, flew high into the air with the crying, naked young goblin female firmly held in his claws. If there was one thing a griffin liked it was ripping the legs off a goblin. But he would make sure that he did not end her life too quickly. He was going to enjoy carrying out his task. The fact that he had been deliberately selected by the wise council on Bejuss’ strong recommendation did not enter his mind, nor did Glob and his brothers ever know of it. Heliotrope’s tortured screaming was finally silenced as her tragic young life ended when Slyth eventually tired of playing with her and bit off her head.
For the next few weeks Glob lay tied firmly to his bed, with his green blood still on fire from the effects of Heliotrope’s evil carnal desires. Her magnificence, Hermione, mother of all, came to visit him, bringing a potion to relieve his condition. She was deeply saddened that she had allowed her most favourite son to be an unwilling pawn in the whole sorry and dangerous affair. Bejuss barely moved from Glob’s bedside as he slowly got better. The old raven chatted to him constantly in his lisping way, bringing him a ripe acorn to eat from time to time, or telling him about what was happening in the world outside, beyond the goblin brother’s home in the old oak tree. Goblindom had rid itself of another evil. How many more would appear in the summers to come was anyone’s guess…
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