It’s Alive!!!

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After what seemed like forever (in reality a calendar month), the third and final edition of Glob’s wonderful tales are now live on Amazon in Kindle and paperback form.

Here are the two main links:

US

UK

So now is the time for you to read the anthology. Then post that review.

Just remember – we all need a little magic in our lives. Glob’s Tales are chock full of magic and wonderful characters!!!

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It’s pre-order time

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The third and final kindle version of the above anthology of thirty inter-related tales is now available for pre-order until October 31st from your preferred Amazon outlet.

Some of you have asked me to have it translated into the common language of whichever country you are domiciled in. While its true that the normal English passages could easily translated, the same cannot be said for Goblinspeak, the language of Globular and every other goblin living in Goblindom, whose tales these are. Neither can Bejuss the lisping raven’s speech be translated. So, it won’t be happening…

PS – I’ve also set it up as a paperback.

😉

Apathy Rules…

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It’s a sad fact but reader apathy is on the rise.

When I posted this, deep down I knew there would be little interest due to the modern day curse – reader apathy.

Only one person wanted to read and review the third and final edition of my fantasy anthology – Goblin Tales. I gave twelve of you the choice to read it prior to publishing for nothing. All I wanted in exchange was a positive review from each of the twelve. While a few of you (13) clicked ‘like’, that was as far as any of you was prepared to go.

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. But it’s what most authors expect these days, despite all of our hard work. By not taking up my offer, which would cost you nothing but a bit of your time, you killed a wonderful fantasy anthology, depriving the rest of the english speaking world of the chance to immerse themselves in it…

The ultimate irony is that had eleven more of the thirteen people who ‘liked’ the post taken up the offer to email me for their free .pdf copy to read and review, this post would never have been written. But it’s still not to late for you to change your minds. Just follow the instructions on the previous via the above link in red.

Remember – books need to be read, not ignored…

😉

Pay attention!

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Right, I’ve finished the rewrite of my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales. The next stage is to format it, first as an e-book, then later in paperback form. But only if there is a demand for it.

Now here’s where you come in.

If and I do mean if I publish it, depends entirely on you my blog followers, all 680 of you.

To that end I have prepared a .pdf version for a minimum of twelve people to read – 160 pages in all. Or if you prefer – 84,768 words. If you would like to be one of the lucky twelve (even if fantasy is not your thing) email me at:

jackeason5@gmail.com.

Remember, if twelve of you don’t come forward wanting to read and positively review it, Goblin Tales will not be published; it’s as simple as that!

I would ask you to remember this as well; a five-star review is not a critique, riddled with spoilers, no matter how glowing (or gushing) it may be. Nor is this an excuse to compose a diatribe designed to put people off reading the book in question!

Reality dictates that no e-book lasts long these days without a flurry of positive reviews, right from the get go. Should you chose to help out, I shall place Goblin Tales in an ‘order only’ time frame of one month to give all twelve of you thirty days to post your review on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Would I refuse to publish a book I’ve been telling you all about by offering you selected passages from it? Of course I would if it is greeted with a lacklustre response prior to publishing!!!

Hope to hear from you soon,

Jack

😉

One more Goblin Tale

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Thicker Than Sap

     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 lisping one eyed raven with the twisted beak, hide a fugitive.

~~~

     Glob was having a wonderful dream. He was laying on a bed of freshly picked oak leaves beneath the ancient branches of the ancestor oak, being fed honeycomb by her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, lying beside him naked as the day is long, while she gently kissed his forehead and stroked his leathery old ears, making him squirm in ecstasy. His nose however was definitely not dreaming. It twitched violently. The next moment he woke barely able to breath, choking on the pungent fumes that filled the entire household.  Bejuss felt sick, so sick in fact that he fell from his customary perch in the rafters to the floor. His eye watered as he did the best he could to cover his nostrils with the thick flight feathers of one wing. Make felt distinctly queasy. Half awake, he filled his bestest briar pipe with a plug of his honeysuckle flavoured tobacco, lit it, and inhaled deeply before filling the room with smoke to drive off the stench. The combination of the pungent smell and thick tobacco smoke woke Mous who immediately threw up on their still sleeping younger brother, simpleminded Byz. Neo could not stand the overpowering smell either. In sheer desperation he covered his face with his cobweb blankets in an attempt to get away from it. His stomach heaved violently. Leaping out of bed with one hand clamped firmly across his mouth, he rushed to the window. Quickly flinging it open, he began breathing in sweet lungfuls of fresh air through his long pointed goblin nose. But it was too late. His stomach had simply had enough. It decided to revolt by emptying its contents, spraying them through his fingers, down the gnarled bark of the old oak. “Rarrk – wot jutht died?” Bejuss cried as he flew rapidly through the opened window, glad to be outside in the fresh air.

Make and Mous both ran for the door to escape the foul odour. But it was strongest there. Something was blocking it from the outside, preventing them from flinging it wide open. Byz crawled inside one of the kitchen cupboards in a desperate attempt to get away from the smell, but to no avail. The poor soul threw up in the nearest thing at hand, Neo’s favourite mead mug. Glob staggered across to the window from his own bed, far greener in the face than was natural for a southern woods goblin, and stuck his head outside beside his cross-eyed curmudgeonly brother who was slowly recuperating.

From the twig he perched on among the sweet smelling leaves of their oak tree home, Bejuss eventually spied the problem. Huddled against their door was a pathetic figure. He was practically naked, clad only in a filthy flax loincloth, and shivering uncontrollably despite sweating profusely from fever, which added to the overpowering stench from his body. On his head he wore a faded red batwing parchment convict skull cap, with tattered flaps that barely covered his ears. Grey hair flowed in tangles across his shoulders. His long pointed nose stuck out above a white bedraggled moustache and a long filthy beard which grew down to his chest. The only other item of clothing he wore was a pair of tattered willow bark boots, from which the blackened nails of his toes protruded. Great clouds of flies surrounded him, while maggots feasted on the dead flesh of his many wounds. “Rarrk – there’th thomeone laying againtht our door Glob; he don’t look well. Maybe he’th dead,” Bejuss reported, making sure not to get too close to the cause of the gut-wrenching smell.

Glob nodded, sighed, and began climbing out through the window to investigate. When his bare feet finally felt the rough bark of the great bough beneath them, Glob studied the bag of bones for a few moments. “It can’t be – I’s wos sure yer wos dead! What happened lad, where’ve yer been all these summers?” he exclaimed as he finally recognised the source of the foul disgusting odour.

The pathetic creature struggled to open its glued up eyes. “I’s is already dead in Brag’s eyes Glob, yer mus help me, I’s begs yer. I’s bein hunted by Grizweavil Bragsbill. He wants ter flay me hide orf me body cos I’s escaped his punishment gang. Make no mistake; he’ll do it whether I’s is dead or alive.”

Glob took a deep breath before gently picking up the pathetic stinking creature, shifting him away from the door. After it was finally flung wide by Make, and the entire household were at last able to breath fresh air, Glob introduced their smelly visitor. “Brothers, this is Limberespan Van der Graff, me long lost twig cousin. Lim these is me brothers, Neopol Stranglethigh, Makepeace Terranova, Eponymous Tringthicky n Byzantine Du Lac. This here raven is me good friend Bejuss,” he said finally, as the old bird perched on his shoulder, quickly covering his nostrils with one wing. After Glob and Make had tended to his festering wounds using honeycomb and fresh sphagnum moss, before bathing, feeding and clothing him, Lim began his story.

~~~

     He and Glob were born from adjacent acorns, harvested from the Van der Graff twig which grows out of the fourth largest limb of the ancestor oak. As we already know from her magnificence’s previous explanation to Glob, when the acorns are carefully selected by her, they are taken to the birthing room to maintain the finite number of goblins living within Goblindom. For the first six summers of their lives the twig cousins were extremely close. They often found themselves defending one another, whenever the other young goblins ganged up on either of them. To emphasise how close they were back then, Lim informed Glob’s brothers, “blood is thicker than sap yer knows. After all, me n Glob is froms the same twig.” Glob nodded his old head, remembering those innocent days so long ago. When they were finally released into Goblindom, Glob took the path south to the southern oak woods, while Lim headed east towards the jagged range of mountains, known as the Widow Spires. Magical Goblindom always allows each new goblin younger one moon to find its true place within its boundaries, before it finally transforms them into one of three goblin types, plains, wood, or mountain. Many times over the intervening summers Glob heard what he thought were far-fetched tales of Lim’s escapades. And so when Lim said he had just escaped from penal servitude, Glob finally realized the tales were true after all.

Curmudgeonly old Neo grew more angry by the second, sitting by the fireplace staring at the flickering flames through his constantly crossing eyes. The cause of this, his latest bout of displeasure, was the fact that Glob and the rest had temporarily placed Lim in in his bed to recover. “So, wots did yer do ter gets yerself in truble this time thens?” he growled, while his crossed eyes danced violently back and forth as his anger grew.

Lim ignored the angry outburst and gratefully accepted Make’s freshly filled spare pipe, lit it with a taper proffered by Mous, lay back for a moment enjoying the comfort of Neo’s bed and the sweet taste of the honeysuckle flavoured tobacco. “I’s wos always in truble wiv our chief, Monkwig Gribblehang,” he slowly began. “I’s can’t help meself yer sees. I’s just steals things wot take me fancy. Each times I’s wos caught, Monk sent me ter one work gang or other. But this last time, I’s really cooked me goose so ter say, when I’s stole Monk’s bestest briar pipe n his supply on mountain dew flavoured tobacco. He sent me orf in elf chains ter Grizweavil Bragsbill’s punishment gang. Anyone wot gets sent there, never comes back alive. Brag is the most dangerous n murderous on us mountain goblins n an excellent shot wiv the huntin bow. When Monk declares war on another goblin chief, Brag is his first choice to lead his army. If he sets his mind ter killin, yer is nought but walkin dead! One night a moon back, I’s tooks me chance n hid as we wos bein taken back ter our camp. For nearly half the moon I’s has been headin west n south, hidin by day n movin by night. Brag took it personal when I’s escaped n started huntin me wiv his pack on hungry timber wolves, wot he uses ter controls his prisoners. Five nights back I’s thought he had finally caught me. I’s wos makin me way through Athol’s Pass, just east on here. Takin a rest, I’s wos caught by one on his wolves wot suddenly appeared n grabbed me leg. It began shakin me sumink fierce as it tried ter drags me back up the pass ter Brag. I’s cud hears him yellin orders ter his other wolves not far off. I’s managed ter gets free by sticking me fingers in its eyes. It’d ripped me leg ter shreds as yer can plainly see. I’s crawled inside an old fallen log, but it reached in n grabbed me arm. I’s thought it were goin ter bites it orf. But’s I’s managed ter clench me fist n shove it down its throat, choking it ter death. Thens last night I’s finally found meself here in yer valley, n made me way here. The rest yer know.”

~~~

     Mica and his portly friend Cantor were returning to the village from the south, where they had been trading with the next humin village. They had stopped to visit Neo’s mentor and great friend Grimefleet Binglenook, the last of the elder goblins. They both sat with him outside the door of his home on the largest bough of his oak tree. With his ornately carved snail shell ear-trumpet stuck in his relatively good ear, Bingle listened to Mica’s news. Because of the ancient goblin’s increasing deafness Mica found he had to speak directly into the ear-trumpet. Cantor took advantage of the moment, quietly eating the last of the food his wife had packed for the trip, while Mica and Bingle talked in the warmth of the morning sun.

From somewhere close by, a chilling howl made their hair stand on end. Mica motioned to Cantor to climb higher while he scooped up the tiny goblin in his arms and quickly followed. As they watched, hidden from view by the old oak’s thick coat of leaves, they saw first one, then a second timber wolf cautiously circle the oak’s great trunk, sniffing all the while. Soon a well-muscled and unusually tall mountain goblin archer and three more wolves hove into view below. “Wot dids yer finds me lovelies?” Brag quietly asked as he surveyed the oak. He loved his wolf pack more than life itself. Each was like a son to him. His cruel black eyes spied Bingle’s front door. He quickly climbed up onto the bough and unshipped his powerful bow from across his broad back. Nocking an arrow, he entered the ancient goblin’s home before soon reappearing, scowling with disappointment. He quickly climbed down and re-joined his faithful wolves. “Nothing, he aint here me lovelies, don’t worry we’s will finds him soon enuff. Thens yer can tears him apart n fill yer bellies, after I’s has killed him slowly for murdering yer brother that is.” The five wolves all bared their fangs at the thought of sharing in Brag’s revenge for their dead sibling. The fearsome mountain goblin had not forgiven what Lim had done. When he found the lifeless body of the youngest wolf, he slashed the palm of his hand with his sword, swearing a blood oath of revenge over the corpse. Now he was more determined than ever to find his missing prisoner. His wolves warily sniffed the air. They could smell goblin on the wind. But they could also smell humins too, which made them nervous. Brag began to walk in the direction of the humin village with his faithful wolves ranging all around him, searching for Lim’s scent amongst the rest.

“Who’s he after?” Cantor whispered as they slowly descended with one eye on the departing goblin and wolves.

“Not sure, but you can be certain he’s not here on a friendly visit. Circle round him and head for Glob’s place. My guess is he’s hunting one or other of our goblin friends. I’ll follow him to see where he goes,” Mica whispered. The two humins left only after making sure old Bingle was well and truly hidden, deep inside his oak tree’s hollow trunk. When Cantor reported the news to Glob and his brothers, the defence of Lim began in deadly earnest.

~~~

     Brag carefully bypassed the humin village via the heavily wooded western slopes of the valley. He temporarily camped in Cazophen’s cave, sending out three of his wolves to scout out the area around the humin village.

Bejuss watched the unfolding scene below him from on high. After Cantor had reported Brag’s presence in the valley, he had been on his way to recruit his griffin friends Slyth and Garr for what would inevitably occur, when the old bird spied a lone timber wolf descending from Cazophen’s cave, heading towards the goblin brother’s home. He watched it deliberately circle through the woods, following Lim’s scent on the northern side of the humin village. The wolf briefly stopped beneath their oak, before heading off in search of the two other wolves that were sniffing the ground behind Miranda’s stable. They had been temporarily distracted from their hunt for Lim by the thought of a mouth-watering four legged meal, after they came across the scent of the old mare and her foal. Curious to see where they had come from, Bejuss descended silently. He perched in the branches of a tree, hidden from view, above the cave. Peering intently through the foliage at the entrance, his one eye focused on Brag who was seated on a large stone, with two timber wolves sitting on their haunches at his feet.

A little further down the track Brag had taken to reach the cave, Bejuss spied Mica crouching behind a tree. He landed silently behind him, unseen. The old bird gently tapped Mica’s heel with his twisted beak before suddenly re-appearing, making the normally unflappable humin warrior jump. “Thorry,” he whispered as he hopped on to Mica’s shoulder. “Brag’th in there n he’th got two wolveth wiv him. The other three are behind Miranda’th houthe. One on them thniffed our houthe, then went ter fetch the other two, it mutht have thmelt Lim!”

“Brag, Lim – who are they? What are you talking about Bejuss?” Mica whispered his enquiry, clearly puzzled, as he kept an eye on the cave entrance.

Bejuss quickly realized Mica knew nothing of the unfolding events. “Begth pardonth Mica, me woth forgettin yer don’t know; me had better explain. Brag ith after Glob’th twig couthin Lim, coth he ethcaped from hith punithment gang n came here for help. They’re both mountain goblinth. Lim killed one on Brag’th wolf guardth on the way here. Accordin ter wot Lim told uth, Brag ith a murderin monthter. No one wot ith thent ter his work gang ever thurviveth!”

The look on Mica’s handsome face changed from curiosity to one of grim determination as the reason for Brag’s presence here so far away from his mountain home, finally became clear, thanks to Bejuss’ explanation. “Go and let Glob know what is going on old friend. Seek out Cantor and get him to gather our warriors together. Tell him from me to set a guard at your home and send some of our warriors to kill the three other wolves, before they can return to Brag with their news.” The old bird nodded his head. Quickly vanishing from view, he flew off. Once he had passed on Mica’s commands, he continued on his journey to fetch Slyth and Garr.

~~~

     The agonised howls of the three dying timber wolves when they were slain by some of Mica’s humin warriors, close to the goblin brother’s home, brought Brag’s malevolent mind back to reality. While he awaited his wolves return, he had been day dreaming about how he was going to torture, then skin Lim alive. His two remaining wolf sons ran beside him, eager for revenge, as he sprinted down the wooded slope of the western side of the valley. Abandoning his normally cautious ways, Brag ran through the humin village in a blind rage, bow at the ready. Mica’s friends, Verig, Jasper and Manx lay in wait, hidden behind the northernmost roundhouse, spears at the ready. Should Brag or either of his two remaining wolves get past them, Neo, Glob and Make were hiding behind an old tree stump in the northern meadow, between the village and their oak tree home. They were fully armed with their war clubs and razor sharp blue metal goblin blades.

Inside the house, Mous and Byz had barricaded the door with all of their furniture. Lim hid in a secret compartment in the largest cupboard the goblin brother’s possessed. Cantor placed himself in front of the cupboard as the last line of defence, bitterly regretting his impetuous decision, and feeling decidedly uncomfortable inside the cramped confines of the tiny goblin home. He could neither stand nor crouch, so he had to kneel with his head bent sideways. He was armed with his spear and his razor sharp flint bladed knife. Close at hand should he need it, was Neo’s second best war club. On the spur of the moment he had decided to squeeze himself inside. Glob, Neo and Make assisted by pushing him from behind, while Mous, Byz and Lim pulled on his arms from inside their home after he had temporarily got stuck in the tiny doorway, due to his fat belly. Neo had suggested that they leave him wedged in the door. To the old curmudgeon’s way of thinking, what better way was there to stop Brag entering? Then all they had to do was defend the window. Cantor took immediate angry exception to the suggestion. Though his head and shoulders were inside the goblin brother’s home, he somehow detected where Neo was and lashed out with one foot, kicking the cross-eyed old curmudgeon where no goblin, or humin male for that matter, should ever be kicked. Neo bent double in extreme agony. The unbelievable pain emanating from his groin temporarily straightened his naturally crossed eyes. Intense white spots danced across his eyesight, temporarily blinding him. Struggling for breath, the old curmudgeon quickly grunted his apology through gritted teeth. After Cantor had finally got inside the goblin brother’s home, Neo tottered off and sat at the other end of the bough among the leaves, rocking back and forth and crying like a younger, while tenderly cradling the painfully bruised part of his anatomy for a considerable length of time.

~~~

     Brag’s sharp eyesight detected movement on either side of him. The villagers were fast closing with him and his wolves. As he ran blindly forward, well aimed spears quickly found their targets. Soon Brag stood alone. He readied himself, arrow nocked. The taught string of his bow sang in the breeze as he fired wildly. If he was going to die, he would make sure he took as many as he could with him. Large shadows appeared on the ground where he stood as Slyth and Garr dived towards the mountain goblin archer. In a few moments Brag’s life ended when Garr ripped his head off his shoulders with one swift bite. As the mountain goblin’s headless body relaxed, his last arrow flew free, passing harmlessly through Slyth’s flight feathers.

Once the brief fight was over, his body and those of his wolves were unceremoniously dumped in the middle of Athol’s pass as a warning to anyone else who thought of entering the peaceful valley with murder on their minds. After Bingle had been retrieved from his hiding place and reinstalled on his rocking chair outside his door, Glob, his brothers, and Bejuss, had a pressing problem. The old goblin posed a question to Mica and his warriors. “Wots we’s goin ter do bout Cantor? He can’t get outs on our home. His fat belly won’t let him.” The extreme nervous tension the humin warrior endured while waiting for Brag’s assault had made him hungry. He had helped himself to their entire store of honeycomb, dried fish and mead.

Verig smirked and winked as he replied, “looks like he’ll just have to be your guest for a while longer Glob; at least til he slims down that is. Meantime you and your brothers are welcome to stay with us.” As Glob and Mica led the party of humin warriors, goblins and griffins back to the village where Agnitha, her daughter Ylesse, and the women were preparing a victory feast, the sound of raucous laughter echoed throughout the valley. Still nursing his painful groin, Neo smiled to himself at the thought of Cantor being trapped. Bejuss briefly perched on the windowsill of their home, peering inside at the unfortunate Cantor, wondering how long the humin would be there. Then, smelling the feast he flew off to the village. A bowl of juicy slugs, worms and snails awaited his attention.

From deep inside the cupboard behind the decidedly overstuffed Cantor, a pathetic voice cried out, “Glob, anyone? Cans yer hear me? Cans I’s comes out now? Is it all over?” In the heat of the moment, Glob’s twig cousin Lim had been completely forgotten about…

PS – Neo learnt a painful lesson, don’t you think? 🙂

More later

😉

Hands up…

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Akhen

…who read my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale, the sequel to Turning Point, the science fiction story I wrote in 1995? Not many of you I suspect since after falling out with me, the publisher pulled it off the market!

A few days ago I was looking for some of my unused saved material for my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales, which I am currently re-working. In amongst everything stored in the sideboard I came across my original MS for the story in question under its original title – The Berserker Saga, saved on a CD. Before you ask, I wrote it while on a trip back to New Zealand in 2003. Needless to say I spent many months more than I intended back in Nzed while I wrote it. It all came to an abrupt halt when my then laptop objected to having coffee spilt all over it. Thank god for the CD!

After returning here to the UK it would be seven years before I was in the position to offer it for consideration to a publisher, let alone afford a replacement laptop. As it was, it was available on Amazon for barely six months back in 2010…

So, once I have finished re-working Goblin Tales, I’ll be tackling The Berserker Saga once again, minus all the nonsense the publisher insisted must be added, such as his curriculum vitae of the characters, just because he couldn’t remember who is who, plus his adding his and his then business partner’s names to the by line. The latter being the reason we fell out!!!

The more astute among you will have read it chapter by chapter already, since I published it here on my blog over many weeks last year. As its 102, 518 words in length on 196 A4 pages, which equates to a little over 324 pages for both the ebook and print versions, I fully expect it to occupy me for most of next year (2018).

More later

😉

 

One more re-written…

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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…

More later

😉