Slyth the Griffin, in yet another of the thirty adventures in my fantasy anthology – Goblin Tales
I Want To Go Home
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, set out on a desperate search.
Neo and little Ylesse sat in Miranda’s feed trough out of sight of anyone passing the old mares stable, watching her eat. “Uncle Neo, why don’t your eyes stay still?” Ylesse wondered, getting dizzy as she sat on the goblin’s knee feeding Miranda, and trying desperately to follow wherever Neo’s crossed eyes wandered. If anyone else had asked such a personal question, they would have immediately felt the painful effects of Neo’s club on their head.
“Cos I’s wos born that way,” he smiled, while holding out a handful of oats for the old mare to eat, “I’s gots used ter it see. I’s can sees as well as any other when it comes ter it. It’s just that I’s sees two on everythin.”
“But uncle how do you know which one is real when you look at someone?”
“Why bless yer gentle heart sweets, I’s always figures it out. I’s just hits em wiv me club. Whichever one yells is the real one,” he replied, laughing out loud.
Ylesse giggled, hugged his leathery old neck and kissed his long pointed nose. “Oh uncle Neo I do love you so, but you are such a fibber. You never hit me,” she replied with a smile on her innocent young face.
“That’s cos I’s knows that wot I’s sees is both on yer,” Neo winked. Ylesse giggled and kissed his nose once more, making the old goblin blush deeply while he nervously peered over the side of the trough, not wishing anyone to know that he had a very soft side to him. He couldn’t help but notice how much she took after her beautiful mother Agnitha. One day soon she would steal the heart of a young humin boy, the way fair Agnitha had stolen Mica’s. When that time came, whoever he may be, he would also have to pass doting Neo’s long list of demands regarding her health, welfare, honour and happiness, let alone that of her parents. In the old goblin’s eyes, no one would ever be worthy of his darling humin niece’s affections. Miranda nuzzled them both in thanks as she ate the fresh oats that they had brought her. None of them noticed the intruders who silently stole into the stable until it was too late…
Night had fallen when Neo vaguely became aware that he was being shaken violently. “Neo wake up, wake up blast you. Where’s my Ylesse, wake up dammit!” Mica yelled as his rush light illuminated the semi-conscious old goblin. He shook him so hard that his teeth began to rattle.
Neo moaned and slowly returned to full consciousness. “Urgh wot hits me?” he muttered, gingerly feeling the large bump on the back of his head. Glob sat beside him, after Mica had finally put him down, while his fogged crossed eyes began to slowly clear.
“Where’s Ylesse brother, where is she?” Glob demanded as Neo’s brain returned to normal.
Miranda neighed and stamped her hooves on the stable floor. Make puffed on his bestest briar pipe and stooped to look at what she had seen. “There’z three clear zetz on footprintz Glob look!” Mous declared from behind his brother, pointing to the marks as he followed them back outside into the darkness.
Mica held Agnitha close. “I want my baby back Mica, I want my Ylesse,” she said, sobbing her eyes out and burying her face tearfully in his chest.
The Weavilmark brothers, Mithhandle and Stewstring, sat staring nervously at their vicious and totally unpredictable leader, Sloweye Narglemouth. “Yer sure bout this is yer Narg?” Mit wondered. Stealing a humin child was not their normal line of business.
“Wot d’yer mean by that yer skinny bag o’ bones?” Narg yelled, glaring insanely at the brothers. “Keeps yer eyes peeled for intruders, both on yer – or else!”
“But why dids we stoles her Narg? We’s cant’s eat her can we? No one eats humins, theys taste nasty.” Stew added sheepishly, keeping a wary eye on Narg’s spiked war club.
“We’s stoles the humin brat for ransom yer stupid idiot. Now shuddup afor I’s smashes yer brains out!” Narg was beginning to regret bringing these two halfwits along on this job. If needs be they would serve as expendable decoys while he escaped with the child.
Neo’s bandaged head ached like mad; he had a pounding headache. He sat through endless waves of pain while Glob and Mica tried to make sense of what had happened. Glob had sent Bejuss with a message to the mother of all, Hermione Fingletook, requesting Grassnit’s help. With the best tracker in Goblindom following the trail, hopefully little Ylesse would soon be safe and sound in her mother’s arms by the end of the coming day. Make and Mous returned empty handed a few hours later, having followed the three sets of footprints in the dark until they mysteriously vanished before their eyes on the western trail through the southern woods.
When Bejuss reappeared with Grassnit they were not alone. Slyth the Griffin, and his brother Garr, had come without hesitation at Bejuss’ request. Normally they would have ignored a plea for help from goblins, preferring to hunt them instead. But Slyth had formed a bond of deep friendship with Bejuss during the battle with Kilycke the black dragon, owing his continued existence to the old raven’s prompt action. If Ylesse had been kidnapped and not merely run away as the young of all kinds are apt to do on occasion, the chances were he already knew who the likely culprits would prove to be. “I know but one goblin foolish n greedy enuff ter kidnap yer daughter Mica,” Slyth hissed, “his name is Sloweye Narglemouth. He’s a nasty piece on work. He used ter be a captain in her magnificence’s army. But Hermione had him flogged n dismissed for stealin. He’d think nothing on killin yer younger if he don’t get paid ter return her. He may even kill her if he does. He don’t care about anyone but hisself. Garr saw him wiv two mountain goblin brothers by the name on Mithhandle n Stewstring Weavilmark yesterday. The three on them were headin this way.”
Garr nodded his head in agreement. “I know where their camp was yesterday. I’ll fly over n see if they is still there,” he volunteered, rapidly taking to the air and vanishing into the night.
By now Neo was fully recovered and ready to smash heads with his war club. “Wot’s does they look like Slyth?” he demanded angrily, as his leathery old face took on a murderous aspect.
Slyth’s inscrutable face gave no hint of his loathing for goblins. For a split second he briefly considered snacking on the old goblin before quickly dismissing the notion. “Narg is a plains goblin; grey in colour, bearded n wears body armour. He has two fangs sticking out on his mouth. He favours a spiked war club. He’s a formidable goblin warrior, known for his brutality in battle. Mit n his brother Stew on the other hand, are mountain goblins, stupid n easily led. They have long hooked noses, large torn ears which lay back behind their pointed heads, n tall skinny brown bodies. The only clothes they wear are tattered loin cloths. Neither carries any kind on weapon except for wooden staffs.”
Garr’s sharp eyesight soon picked out the shapes of the three kidnappers in the darkness. The two razor sharp halves of his large birdlike beak clacked together at the pleasurable thought of ripping off goblin legs. Seeing no sign of Ylesse in the goblin’s camp, he flew silently back to the humin village to report.
By the time the sun’s first rays showed in the east, the rescue team of angry and determined humin warriors and wood goblins, led by Grassnit, and closely shadowed by a vengeful Neo out for revenge, silently surrounded the unsuspecting trio. Mica whispered to Bejuss to seek out his daughter. The old bird duly flew off and perched directly above the kidnappers for a few moments, cocking his head left and right listening for any sign of her whereabouts. Meanwhile, Slyth and Garr circled silently overhead, hungrily waiting for the signal to strike. Mica and his fellow humin warriors hid from view behind the ancient tree’s surrounding the glade where the kidnappers had made their temporary camp. Glob, Nit, Make and Mous crawled forward through the long grass behind Neo armed with their clubs towards the sleeping trio.
Ylesse didn’t know where she was. All she knew was that her prison was dark and damp, and full of all manner of creatures that crawled all over her. She could feel worms and snails squirming around beneath her naked legs. The frightened little girl shrieked when a bat’s wing brushed her face. “I want to go home,” she sobbed. Her tears left clean trails as they slid down her dirt encrusted cheeks. “I want uncle Neo, I want my mummy,” she cried, desperately trying to free herself from the rough twine wound tightly around her hands and feet.
She screamed when large wings brushed her face. “Rarrk – me hear princeth,” the old bird lisped as quietly as he could. He began to peck at her bonds, slowly fraying them until little Ylesse was finally free. “Rarrk – yer father told me ter find yer n thtay wiv yer till the nathty goblinth wot thtole yer hath been caught. Yer uncle Neo ith ready ter do battle wiv them princeth, we mutht thtay here till the battle ith over.”
Even though Ylesse couldn’t see him in the darkness of her prison, she stroked the brave old bird’s feathers as he perched on her hand, lifting her spirits. “When can we go home Bejuss, I want my mummy?” Ylesse whispered tearfully in his ear.
“Thoon princeth, very thoon,” was all he said, doing his best to console her.
Narg lay on his side dreaming of the jewels he would demand in ransom. Mit lay on his back snoring loudly. His brother Stew sat resting his head on his staff, struggling to keep his eyes open while on watch. Just because he was the youngest, he saw no good reason why he had to be the one on guard. He could hear the muffled shrieks of the humin younger from beneath the large stone he sat on. Putting her in the hole and covering it, kept her from being seen or heard by anyone passing close by. Mit had wanted to gag her but Narg had said no. The savage insane brute delighted in hearing her frightened screams whenever an insect crawled over her, or a bat brushed her with its wings. Throwing her trussed up little body into the hole was her punishment for biting him when they snatched her. What none of them realized was that there was another tiny entrance to her temporary prison, large enough for a child to squeeze through, which old Bejuss had found quite by accident while listening for her among the roots of the oak tree he had initially perched on.
At the sound of Mica’s battle horn Slyth and Garr dived down at lightning speed. Neo charged with his war club swinging menacingly above his head closely followed by his brothers and Nit. Mica and his warriors ran from their own hiding places with their flint headed spears at the ready, screaming their terrifying battle cry. Narg leapt to his feet instantly awake, slashing with his spiked war club at Neo as he closed with him, ripping flesh from the old goblin’s shoulder. The last sight Narg saw in this world was Neo’s triumphant bloodied face grinning back at him as Slyth’s opened beak snapped shut, instantly beheading the loathsome brute.
Stew ran for his life as fast as his spindly legs would allow. Neo now angrily gave chase with bloody murder on his mind. He hurled his club at the lanky mountain goblin’s legs tripping him and sending him sprawling. Before Stew could rise, Neo leapt upon him like an insane animal biting deep into his ears, face and neck, trying to gouge out his eyes with his sharp nails. Make soon arrived and swung his club hard, knocking the mountain goblin senseless. Still not fully awake, Mit found himself pinned to the ground under Mica’s heavy foot, feeling his ribs snap as Ylesse’s father put all his weight to good use. He lifted the badly crushed and terrified goblin effortlessly by the neck and threw him at Garr’s feet. The griffin nodded his head in thanks like a grateful hungry dog does when its master throws it a bone. Holding the seriously injured goblin down with one large claw, he slowly tore him limb from bloody limb with his razor sharp beak.
Mous pulled the still angry Neo from the now unconscious Stew. “He haz ter ztand trial for hiz crimez brother, leave him be. He ain’t goin nowhere; he’z unconciouz.”
“Lets me be! I’s wants ter murder him, n tears him apart wiv me bare hands. If’s he harmed a hair on my Ylesse’s head, I’ll rips out his black heart, I swears it on the great book on law!” Neo screamed, with Stew’s green goblin blood still dripping from his sharp pointed teeth. He tried desperately to free himself from his brother’s firm grip to get his hands back on the unconscious body laying at his feet on the grass, bleeding profusely from where Neo had torn viciously into his ears.
“Uncle Neo I want to go home…” The old goblin suddenly smiled, relaxed and turned round. He ran to little Ylesse with tears of joy in his crossed eyes, scooping her up in his leathery arms as she jumped from her father’s and ran towards him. An overwhelming feeling of relief filled the old goblin’s heart as they hugged each other. “Take me home uncle Neo,” Ylesse said, clinging tightly to him with tears in her young eyes, before adding, “uncle, your hurt,” after she saw the vicious wound on Neo’s shoulder.
“Taint nothing sweets. It’s worth it so long as yer’s safe,” Neo replied, wincing when she gently touched his wounded shoulder. Mica smiled as he and everyone there, Slyth and Garr included, followed behind the old goblin as he gently carried his humin niece home. He was happy to see her safe and sound once more with her devoted goblin guardian.
The unconscious and bleeding surviving kidnapper was tied securely and carried on a pole between two of Mica’s fellow villagers. Garr and Slyth walked beside him poking him with their razor sharp beaks and licking his body with their tongues while Bejuss sat on his chest angrily pecking lumps out of his face. When Stew was eventually taken in front of the wise council for trial, he would welcome the death sentence they would inevitably bring down upon his worthless soul…