The latest tale to be re-worked

maxresdefaultI finished it yesterday…

~~~

Fell Whispers on the Wind

     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 frightening beast from the past.

~~~

     As the last days of summer gave way to the cool windy days of autumn, Mica’s wife, the fair Agnitha, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who she named Ylesse after her grandmother. In the first three months of little Ylesse’s life, the goblin brothers where invited by Agnitha and Mica to be her guardians. Needless to say they took their duties to ensure her safety and happiness very seriously, especially grumpy old Neo, who she immediately crawled to when Mica and Agnitha brought her to visit them in their oak tree home for the first time. The normally bad tempered old goblin’s heart completely melted when the humin youngling clung to his neck, gurgling happily while she stuck a chubby finger into one of his nostrils, making his crossed eyes water. From then on, whenever Agnitha needed babysitters, she always knew that her precious daughter would be safe and sound in the goblin brother’s tiny home, being lovingly watched over by her five doting guardians and Bejuss.

~~~

     When winter finally took hold, knowledge of the child’s birth reached the ears of Geraint, the brother of the black witch Cazophen, killed so long ago by Glob and his friends. By midwinter’s eve the valley was completely transformed into a picture of frozen silent tranquillity under a thick blanket of snow. But all was not well. Mica and all the humins in the village were on edge. The howls of recently arrived timber wolves echoed throughout the valley surrounding the village. The humins knew that sooner or later they would come in search of an easy meal among their cattle, swine, goats and sheep.

One particularly crisp winter’s morning, Brilith arrived at the goblin’s home unannounced accompanying an elderly white wizard named Morweth, friend and teacher to all in the craft. Morweth’s sense of Geraint’s plan to do evil had been the reason for him leaving his home in the east. The ancient wizard sat down half frozen on a root of the goblin’s oak tree home, exhausted by the arduous ordeal of their long trip. “Glob, you must talk to Mica and ask him to convince his father-in-law Yestin to accompany him to the sacred glade. I have much that they both need to hear. Should either of them reject the suggestion, tell them that little Ylesse is in mortal danger, now go my friend.” Then he turned to the rest of Glob’s brothers and sent each one on an errand, simple minded Byz included, summoning all who dwelt in the southern wood to the meeting.

Glob left immediately for the house of Mica and Agnitha, while his brothers departed in different directions on their various missions. On hearing that baby Ylesse’s safety was the reason for the old wizard’s journey, Agnitha urged Yestin to accompany Mica and Glob to the glade, brooking no argument from him. Her father’s hatred of all things magic was legendary, but faced with his determined daughter, he relented.

When the trio appeared at the edge of the glade, they saw before them an assortment of Goblindom’s inhabitants. Elves, southern woods, plains, and mountain goblins stood shoulder to shoulder with humins. All of them assembled round the outer edge of the stone circle. Standing at its centre beside the oval alter stone, leaning heavily on Brilith’s shoulder, was frail Morweth. Yestin’s deep loathing of wizards and witches prevented him from drawing too close. But, for the sake of his precious granddaughter’s safety, he forced himself to listen.

Morweth cleared his throat, shifted his weight from Brilith’s shoulder onto the staff he carried and began. “Friends, I felt it my duty to come here today to tell you of the fell whispers on the wind. Good Yestin, while I know of your hatred of all magic, both black and white, I beseech you to listen without prejudice. Your granddaughter Ylesse is in the gravest of danger. Even as I speak Cazophen’s vengeful brother Geraint is preparing to steal her and make her his own. He is coming himself this time, sending no agent to do his bidding. Because Ylesse was born in autumn Yestin, like me, he knows she will one day be a powerful healer, as his sister would have been if you had not falsely declared her to be a witch because of your professional jealousy. He plans to turn Ylesse’s power for good towards the black arts instead. Ever since you condemned Cazophen, he has planned his revenge on you and your family. At this very moment he is conjuring great evil to fulfil his evil quest. Make no mistake Yestin, this time he means to come himself! I see clearly what form he will take.” Morweth staggered uncertainly on his feet, due to his great age and the effects of the freezing temperatures on his ancient frame. Brilith assisted him by taking his arm and gently guided him to sit on a small stone beside the altar. The white wizard’s speech had brought back to all assembled, the terrible memories of the day when Lungwort, the mountain gremlin, had arrived the summer before Ylesse was born, employed by Geraint to murder fair Agnitha.

Mica went to the centre of the circle. “Friend Morweth, how long before he comes?”

The ancient wizard lifted his head to look at Ylesse’s father for a few moments before replying, “even now he has sent his scouts to spy upon you and your family Mica. You have been hearing the howls of timber wolves in the hills surrounding this valley of late. They are his servants. He sees all through their eyes, hears all through their ears. How long before he comes? Soon – very soon. Certainly by the end of this current moon, two days hence.”

Glob, Neo, Make, Mous and Byz sat listening intently in silence, fearing yet another foul beast was about to enter their peaceful valley. Neo rose from his seat and climbed on top of one of the smaller upright stones of the circle so that all assembled could see him. “Begs pardons yer worship,” he began, bowing low as his eyes frantically crossed themselves, clearly nervous about what was going to happen, “we’s wood goblins wos just wonderin wot kinds on beasty he mights transforms hisself into?”

Morweth’s pale lined face darkened as his vivid blue eyes held nervous Neo in their steely gaze. “He means to transform himself into a giant wargob, young goblin.” Without exception, every goblin and elf assembled there trembled in fear at the revelation.

Make nervously tottered towards where the old wizard sat. “B-b-but a wargobs is a mythical beasty, tolds bout in bedtime’s stories ter scares yung goblins n elves if theys beens naughty sir,” he managed to stammer before wetting himself as he  shook with uncontrollable fear.

Morweth placed his bony hand on the tiny goblin’s shoulder, trying to comfort him as he replied. “Sadly lad, it’s no myth. Wargobs were real in the time before. In the great battle of Blaxhorn twixt good and evil before peace reigned, the evil black wizard Crellen created a great and terrible army of them, half bloodthirsty mountain goblin – half wolf, to conquer the world. I know Geraint has sought him out to learn how to transform himself into one.” With the exception of the humins, all the other kinds living in Goblindom firmly believed the widely held, oft spoken legend about the wargobs. Among all goblins and elves whether they were wood, plains or mountain, tales were told of a pack of ferocious wargobs nearly wiping out all their ancient forbears during the terrible battle of Blaxhorn. Only a precious few survived the wargob attack to continue the many ancient bloodlines. Mica and Yestin needed no further convincing after witnessing the frightened reaction among the goblins and elves, that Morweth was indeed telling the truth. All who had assembled quickly left the sacred glade in silence to prepare for the forthcoming inevitable battle.

~~~

     Geraint sat in his workshop checking all of the ingredients for his transformation one last time. Crellen had repeatedly warned him of the repercussions should he go through with the spell. Despite all, Geraint was so obsessed with his evil quest to seek revenge for his sister that he brushed aside the black wizard’s dire warning. By nightfall his transformation was complete.

~~~

     Yestin immediately called a meeting of the humins. Soon lookouts were dispatched to the borders of the village and beyond, covering the hills surrounding the valley along with all the many paths leading to it. Glob summoned Yathle and immediately went to demand that Obadiah Fingletook, the grand high goblin, join the fight. Should Obadiah object; Glob would expose to all in Goblindom who the real ruler was.

He demanded that Obadiah immediately recruit an army of mountain, wood and plains goblins and lead them into battle. The ornately adorned throne room where Obadiah sat echoed his shrilled reply to Glob’s demand. “Never, do you hear me – never! This is a humin affair, nothing whatsoever to do with goblins.”

On hearing the loud argument, her magnificence Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, sailed into the room like a ship of war under full sail, ready to fire a broadside. “You may stay here and hide like a coward if you wish Obadiah Fingletook. But your brave brother Glob and his friends need our help!” she fumed, glaring angrily at her first born. Obadiah sat on his throne with his head lowered; tears welled up in his eyes. His bottom lip quivered like a naughty goblin youngling who had just been found with his hand stuck in the honeycomb jar. Hermione immediately took charge of the situation. “Dearest Glob I shall raise you an army and lead it myself. How soon before the wargob appears?” Much relieved that their mother had taken charge, Glob told her that they expected the beast before the end of the moon.

~~~

     On his return to the valley the welcome news that a goblin army was on its way did much to cheer the humin, goblin and elf occupants of the valley. Not wishing to be left out, Bejuss had flown off to summon his avian cousins. Eagles, hawks, owls, crows, rooks and ravens all soon arrived, taking up station in the tree tops of the woods surrounding the village. Yathle flew off to summon her many sisters to add to the aerial armada after Glob had summoned her and told of the battle to come. With the arrival of the magnificent Hermione, dressed in her finest goblin armour at the head of her army, made up in equal measure from plains, wood and mountain goblins, the most warlike within Goblindom, the valley was soon filled to overflowing. As night fell the glow of countless campfires could be seen in all directions. Mica ensured that each group consisted of equal numbers of humins, goblins and elves, charged with guarding a specific path, road or pass, supported by a wyvern and its attendant squadron of birds. On the ridges to either side of the valley, encampments were quickly set up to house the many legions. Heavily armed elves and wood goblins guarded the forest paths to the north and south. Nothing could enter the valley in secret. The whole was protected by the watchful gaze of thousands of vigilant eyes.

But Geraint had a trick up his devious sleeve. He knew of a long forgotten path through Athol’s Pass to the east of the village, which Crellen had told him about. It was to that pass that he now ran in his new and terrible form at the head of his army of timber wolves, griffins and mountain ogres, promising them their fill of fresh goblin and humin flesh when they won.

~~~

     Morweth sensed the beast’s evil intent. Accompanied by Brilith, with one full legion of heavily armoured mountain goblins marching in close formation behind them, they sought out the hidden entrance to the valley. Above the advancing armoured column Yathle and her attendant squadron of eagles flew overhead, acting as the ancient wizard’s eyes. The howls and war cries of Geraint’s army grew louder as they sensed fresh meat. Then a cry more terrible and spine chilling than any heard before or since, drowned out those of the wolves, ogres and griffins. Geraint and his army halted for the night, temporarily camping at the eastern end of Athol’s Pass until dawn, still believing their location was undetected.

Yathle and her eagle squadron circled constantly all night. Then in the misty gloom of early dawn she finally saw the beast at the head of its army. Covered in a shaggy silver coat of thick course fur in his new guise as a wargob, Geraint was twice the size of a humin’s draught horse. His huge grotesque face with its tiny lidless slanted red eyes and pointed ears, with a mouth full of cruel fangs that constantly gnashed together, dripped foul slobber on the ground beneath his feet. He sniffed the morning air through his hideously deformed snub nose; his humin like hands with their razor sharp talons flexed in anticipation. He sat on his heavily muscled back legs for a moment, swishing his bushy wolf tale from side to side, while his deep chest heaved wildly as he prepared himself for what was to come.

~~~

     Neo excused himself and rapidly returned to Agnitha and baby Ylesse’s side guarding both of them with his life, and by hiding them in the hay loft of Miranda’s stable. He instructed her that when the wargob drew near she was to stomp her hooves and neigh loudly, warning of its approach.

Morweth and Brilith joined Glob and the rest of his brothers at a safer vantage point behind the forward goblin legion. The vast army to the rear consisting of mountain and plains goblins, humins, wyverns, birds, wood goblins and elves, quickly re-assembled, drawing a tight heavily armed shield wall of goblin blades, humin flint weapons and elven bows around the village in three ranks. Between the front legion of mountain goblins standing firm at the entrance to the pass and the village behind them, Mica had organised the digging of many pits each filled with sharpened stakes covered by lightweight grass mats. Behind the pits he arranged a killing ground where fire pots full of burning pitch would be catapulted, should the enemy break through.

~~~

     Yathle cried out her warning to alert the entire valley as Geraint and his army slowly began their advance. The battle of Athol’s Pass was about to begin. Horns blew when Geraint charged at the head of his army through the pass, urging them on with his bloodcurdling howls.

The forward legion of mountain goblins drew up in three shield wall ranks, one behind the other, armed with the finest razor sharp, magically forged, blue metal goblin blades at the ready, completely blocking off Geraint’s progress. Hermione led her army from the front, quickly taking two more goblin legions to stand ready on the narrow path leading from the pass. Morweth and Brilith accompanied by Glob, Make, Mous and Byz sat in the branches of a mighty oak that faced towards the eastern entrance of the pass, giving them an excellent view of the battle as it unfolded. High above on each side of the narrow pass, companies of elven archers stood ready with their stocks of poisoned arrows stuck in the ground at their feet, ready for use.

At Yathle’s signal, her sisters and their attendant squadrons of birds flew off on both sides of the pass, immediately attacking and soon dispatching Geraint’s griffins. Then they turned their attention to the lumbering ogres bringing up the rear, soon making short work of them, before finally concentrating on the back ranks of charging timber wolves. As Geraint and the front ranks got within bowshot, they were subjected to a deadly shower of poison tipped arrows raining down upon them from the elven archers above.

By the time Geraint crashed headlong into the first shield wall at full gallop, there were barely twenty survivors of his mighty army left alive. In the heat of battle he made a fatal error as he lashed out at the nearest ranks of goblins. To gain a physical advantage over the tiny goblin soldiers, he reared up on his hind legs and slashed at them with his razor sharp claws over the top of their shields, decapitating some of the front rank. At the precise moment when he stood up, accurately thrown flint headed spears delivered from the hands of the humin warriors, pierced his chest.

The second shield wall closed quickly with the remainder of the first. With his army dead, the elven archers turned their attention to Geraint. Within the space of two heart beats he suffered no less than fifty arrows burying themselves deep alongside the flint spears within his grotesque form. Morweth and Brilith conjured a freezing spell of terrible power, merging Geraint’s feet into the rocky ground amid the bodies of the dead from both armies. Unable to move, he bit and slashed at any goblin foolish enough to close with him, while howling with fury. This was the cue for Yathle and her sisters to deliver their fiery assault. Each wyvern formed up one behind the other, before diving down to deliver their fireballs, setting Geraint’s thick shaggy fur alight. This action was the signal for the squadrons of eagles, hawks, owls, rooks and ravens to dive in their thousands, pecking bloody clumps of burnt hair and flesh from Geraint’s terrible head and powerful shoulders. At a blast of her battle horn Hermione summoned the front ranks of her goblin legions to rapidly retreat behind the remaining third shield wall. She beckoned forward the humin fire pot launchers and directed their fiery assault on the still breathing monster. By now Geraint realised the battle was lost. He attempted to revert back to his normal self to enable his escape by disappearing from view. But it wasn’t to be. Crellen had repeatedly warned him that once transformed into a wargob, there was no going back. As more and more fire pots full of burning pitch fell on him, elven arrows and humin spears rained down. Now mortally wounded, Geraint found just enough strength left to emit his terrible wargob howl one last time before he died, totally consumed by the flames.

~~~

     “Well my dears,” Hermione began, several hours later as she sat at the head table as the guest of honour outside Agnitha and Mica’s home holding baby Ylesse in her arms, “you truly have a beautiful daughter.” Between the roundhouses, trestle tables had been hastily erected with benches for all to sit, eat and drink their fill. The mead flowed freely. Songs of the battle of Athol’s Pass, quickly composed, were being sung loudly in drunken voices by all. Despite the cold of the night, the adrenalin of battle still flowed through their veins, warming them.

Mica and the goblin brothers made their way among the victorious army thanking each of them for saving the day. Determinedly urged on by his daughter Agnitha poking him sharply in the ribs, Yestin made a point of seeking out Morweth and Brilith to apologise for being so wrong about them and to shake their hands. Neo sat beside Hermione. Ylesse smiled and gurgled as she stretched out her tiny arms towards him. Seeing the bond between her goblin son and the humin baby, Hermione handed her over. He gently held her in his arms as she once again stuck a finger in one of his nostrils, making his eyes water, much to the amusement of everyone. Even old Neo managed to crack one of his rare toothy smiles, while gazing through tear filled cross eyes with love flowing from his heart for the tiny humin child. Thanks to innocent Ylesse he finally understood the deep instant friendship Glob felt for Mica since the day when he had rescued him from the she-wolf all those long summers ago.

~~~

More later

😉

Oh what an idiot!

hqdefault

A couple of days ago my number one Sony Vaio laptop finally curled its toes and died, having its equivalent of a heart attack when its hard drive went into melt-down. Nothing unusual in that – even technology has to wear out! After all I had been using it on a daily basis three hundred and sixty-five days a year for the last three years.

The only major setback for me was that I was only three stories from the end of the third edition of my reworked fantasy anthology Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales. While I’d religiously saved its file to the hard drive, like an idiot I hadn’t backed it up on a flash drive!!!

Fortunately I have another Vaio laptop (this one) which still works. So, it looks like I’ll be starting the rewrite once again. This time I will back up the darned file as well as saving it to this laptop’s hardrive. I retrieved the new cover, family portrait and map of Goblindom from a file here on my WordPress blog.

I was so damned close to finishing the third edition for the ebook marketplace, so very close. Serves me right for being an idiot and not backing up my crucial files…

😦

Another teaser

GoblinTales(Cover)

The following short extract from one of the thirty tales of the anthology, describes the real enemy of every living thing in Goblindom…

~~~

Crellen 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 any and 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 living things in Goblindom. How many of them 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 think Morweth.”

Morweth and Brilith both nodded their heads in agreement. Crellen continued, “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 practioners in the form of healers. 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 enslave 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.”

~~~

Crellen’s description of our species pretty well sums us up, wouldn’t you say?

More later,

😉

Want a taste of what I’m re-working at the moment?

GoblinTales(Portrait)

Glob holding his emerald tipped magic staff with Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak perched on his shoulder. Make with his bestest Briar pipe. Cross-eyed Neo with his war club. Accident prone Mous. The youngest goblin brother – Byz, always getting into trouble…

~~~

Here is one of the thirty tales that has been reworked so far, contained within the fantasy anthology Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tale.

~~~

I Juth Want One Night’th Thleep!

     In which Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, seeks revenge.

~~~

     As the sun slowly climbed in the sky all was quite in the world, except for the sound of loud snoring echoing among the ancient trees, terrifying the woodland creatures. Glob yawned, broke wind, stretched, burped, scratched his backside and turned over. A few more minutes in his warm bed was all he asked of life at this particular moment in time.

Make curled his arms tenderly around his pillow and began murmuring sweet nothings to it with a silly smile on his face. Mous tossed and turned muttering unintelligible bursts of nonsense words as he fought an imaginary monster. Byz lay on his back kicking his feet in the air dreaming he was a goblin youngling once again, gurgling happily, and furiously sucking his thumb. Between his loud snoring bouts, Neo mercifully fell silent with a look of total bliss on his old leathery face. In these far too brief moments of silence he dreamt of waking up each morning nestled beside his beloved Miranda. Then as fast as his dream faded, his snoring quickly resumed.  Over the countless years they had all shared their comfortable oak tree home with him, each and every one of his brothers had become immune to the effects of Neo’s nightly audible assault; but not simpleminded Byz’s pet raven, Bejuss.

~~~

     The old bird suffered terribly each night from Neo’s ear-splitting assault on every fibre of his being. Deprived of precious sleep yet again, his feet locked themselves even more than usual to the perch, as his cage was violently vibrated with each fresh snore, threatening to shake him loose at any moment.

Now wide awake, bleary eyed and decidedly unhappy with the situation, he covered his ears with the tips of his flight feathers. Poor Bejuss did his level best to rest a few moments more before the sun’s rays finally entered the window, bathing the interior of the goblin household in its golden light. Ever since the day when he first willingly joined the band of goblin brothers, he had come to dread bed time. Within an hour after sunset he knew that Neo would be the first of the brothers to go to sleep. Something had to be done about the goblin’s peace destroying snoring – but what?

~~~

     After breakfast Glob sat beside the window enjoying his favourite view of the Southern Woods, allowing his meal to digest properly. Make carefully packed a plug of his honeysuckle flavoured tobacco in his bestest briar pipe, lit it and enjoyed the pleasant taste of the sweet herb, while idly blowing smoke rings out through the window past Glob’s head.

As usual, Neo left the domestic duties to his brothers, considering tasks like cleaning and washing up beneath him. He quickly left on his morning visit to be with Miranda in her stable. Along the way, he picked a bunch of the finest, juiciest blades of grass for her breakfast.

Back in the goblin brother’s home, it was Mous’s turn to do the washing up. Being the accident prone goblin that he is, almost as soon as the pot of water had boiled on the fire, he managed to tip the lot all over himself as he struggled with its weight. He let out a yell at the top of his voice and ran outside onto the large bough beyond their front door, waiving his hands in the air, frantically trying to cool his injured hands. “It hurtz, it hurtz; takez itz away, it hurtz!” he screamed loudly, as inflamed patches on the skin of his bony goblin hands deepened their colour while the pain intensified. Glob ran to him with a jar of honey and gently applied a generous amount to his severely scalded hands.

“Why don’t yer blows on them thens?” Make suggested between puffs on his pipe, thinking he was being especially helpful to his best friend.

“I’z hatez yer Make!” Mous sobbed, with tears welling up in his eyes, despite the soothing feeling of the honey slowly doing its work as it eased the pain.

“I’s wos only trying ter helps yer brother, sorry’s I’s sure!” Make replied indignantly, puffing furiously on his pipe, sending more smoke signals into the air.

As usual, Byz was totally oblivious to all that was going on. After he had replaced the stale oak leaves in his armpits with freshly picked ones, he found a spider in his bed and began playing with it, completely forgetting to feed Bejuss. “Rarrk, me’th hungry – me needth food!” the old bird lisped angrily from within the witch cage.

Glob kicked Byz in the shins causing him to yelp. “Looking arter Bejuss is yer sponsibility, so yer’d better feeds him, sharpish like – or else me lad!” Glob yelled, above the noise all around him. Byz began crying loudly as he ran outside.

In between sobs he yelled back at Glob. “Yer is a bully Glob, I’s hates yer!”

Feeling totally fed up and decidedly angry, Bejuss opened the door to his cage and flew off to the kitchen. “Can’t get any thleep, n now me can’t get me breakfath neither!” he lisped, while casting his one eye around the kitchen shelves looking for something juicy to eat. Finding nothing, he flew back into the living room in disgust and perched on the back of Glob’s chair beside the window. Byz sulkily returned from outside after a few minutes with some juicy bugs for Bejuss’ breakfast. The old bird made him yelp again when he angrily snatched his breakfast from him with his sharp twisted beak, swallowing them so quickly that he gave himself hiccups. Glob hung his head low and sighed heavily. As if things weren’t bad enough already what with Mous scalding himself, now he had an angry hiccupping raven perched behind him to contend with. The day was not exactly getting off to a good start.

Bejuss hiccupped loudly in his ear before saying, “it’th bad enuff that a bird can’t get any, hic, thleep around here coth of Neo’th thnoring; but forgettin me breakfath, hic, ith the latht thtraw!”

Then a ray of hope shone on the day’s gloomy beginnings when Mica arrived. “Good morning my friends,” Mica shouted to make himself heard over the sobs, yells, hiccups and moans coming from the leafy branches of the ancient oak above his head. Glob leaned out of the window and saw his humin friend below with a heavily pregnant Agnitha sitting on Miranda’s broad back, accompanied by Neo, who was seated between the old mare’s large soft ears, constantly whispering sweet words to her. “We were wondering if you fancied joining us for a picnic beside the stream, and maybe a bit of fishing.” Mica enquired, as Miranda suddenly lowered her head to crop the grass, almost unseating Neo, making him cling on tightly to one of her ears. Quickly forgetting their bickering, the remaining goblin brothers hastily put together a supply of their favourite foods, plates and mugs as well as an acorn barrel full of Neo’s freshly brewed special mead, all stowed carefully by Mica in a basket slung from Miranda’s back. Despite the pleasant prospect of a picnic, Bejuss could not forget the troubles of the night as he glared angrily at Neo. As for Glob, he was relieved for the welcome distraction. He led his brothers down to the ground and soon they were on their way along the path for a nice day out with their humin friends.

Agnitha’s mothering instincts took over as she tenderly cradled tiny Mous in her arms, kissing his pointed goblin ears and wiping away his tears with her soft blond hair, making him totally forget all about his scalded hands. Byz hobbled along tethered to Make, rubbing the painful bruise on his shin. Bejuss perched on Glob’s shoulder in deathly silence, except for his constant hiccups, while the old goblin walked and talked with Mica.

By mid-morning they had finally arrived in a lush meadow beside the stream. Mica helped Agnitha down, and between them they spread a large flax sheet on the grass. Glob and Make carried the picnic baskets between them and helped Agnitha set out the wooden bowls, mugs, and the pots and parcels of carefully wrapped foods. By now, Mous was completely head over heels in love with his surrogate humin mother, the fair Agnitha. He fussed around her, fetching and carrying for her despite his tiny size, dragging a humin sized mug over to her, so she didn’t have to stretch too far for anything in her delicate condition. Whatever she desired from the delicious repast, Mous delivered. Each time, no matter how large or small the request from her, she rewarded him with a gentle kiss on the top of his leathery head, making him blush deeply, much to everyone’s amusement. Mica nudged Glob, pointing at the spectacle of the tiny love struck goblin and grinned. Perhaps the day would turn out far better than Glob could have hoped for after all. Neo sat on Miranda’s neck combing her main, making it shine. Make sat back to back with Glob, while he packed his pipe once more, lit it and closed his eyes, puffing contentedly. Byz, still tethered to him, played with a butterfly.

~~~

     All seemed well with the world. But high above the happy scene, Bejuss was already plotting and planning. “Me can’t take another night of Neo’th noith,” the old bird muttered to himself. And then a solution occurred to him. Of course, why hadn’t he thought of it before? Plug the hole; that way there would be no more noise! The germ of a plan slowly formed in his tiny bird brain. He would need an assortment of items necessary to complete the task, so he flew off in search of the things on his list, unnoticed by his friends below.

By mid-afternoon they were all mostly asleep. Mica and Agnitha were curled up in each other’s arms with Mous snuggling blissfully between them. Byz and Make lay back to back on their sides on a bed of soft grass, bathed in the warmth of the sun. Glob sat with his back to the trunk of a tree beside the stream, holding his willow wand fishing pole and its spider silk line, baited with a caddis fly, watching it drift on the surface of the stream. His hat was pulled low over his eyes while he drifted contentedly between awake and asleep. Miranda had laid down in the shade of a willow with Neo fast asleep beside her soft muzzle. Inevitably the time came when he lay on his back with his mouth open.

Bejuss returned from his trip and landed on one of the willow’s branches. At long last his hiccups had gone. On the way back he had found a fat juicy worm, a snail and a slug for his own picnic lunch, which he now deposited in a knot hole on the branch. He had hidden his secret weapon elsewhere for the moment. As the afternoon drew on, Bejuss slowly devoured the worm, before he pecked the snail carefully out of its shell with his twisted beak and swallowed it whole. Next he ate the slug. The peaceful scene was finally broken as Neo began to snore loudly. “Right – it’th time!” the old raven lisped determinedly to himself. He picked up the empty snail shell and flew down to where Neo lay. Carefully positioning himself above the snoring goblin from a lower branch of the willow, he dropped it neatly into Neo’s mouth. Instantly the old goblin began choking and coughing. Everyone was immediately aroused by the sound of the violent coughing fit. Mica picked Neo up by the scruff of his neck and slapped his back hard. With one or two more slaps, he coughed up the snail shell. Bejuss’ one eye focused on the scene below him with growing satisfaction. Phase one of his plan was successful. Phase two would have to wait until nightfall.  “That’ll teach him,” he chuckled and flew off home unnoticed.

~~~

     On their return, the goblin brothers entered their home to find the old raven sitting on his perch in the witch cage. He had his back to them lisping angrily to himself, clearly in no mood for friendly conversation. Simpleminded Byz was about to say something when Glob stopped him, shook his head and gestured to his brothers to leave Bejuss alone. By now Make and Mous had made up and were best friends once again. Thanks to Glob, they all had a nice fish for their supper. Glob took it upon himself to feed Bejuss his supper of worms, taking great care not to induce hiccups in the old bird once again. Very soon night took over, and the five goblins turned in.

Bejuss didn’t have to wait long to complete his revenge. Within a few minutes, Neo began snoring, quietly at first. But inevitably, each fresh snore grew louder than its predecessor. The old raven carefully opened the door to his cage. Next, he silently flew to where he had hidden a balled up spider web he had collected earlier that day. With a couple of deft hops along the rafters, he positioned himself above Neo’s bed. Slowly he lowered the ball of spider web on a single thread of silk, until it was just above the goblin’s mouth. The next two snores threatened to dislodge the old raven as the vibrations built up, but he hung on with grim determination. In an ‘it’s now or never’ moment, he lowered the ball of web till it tickled Neo’s tonsils, before rapidly retrieving it. Neo woke, saw nothing, and quickly returned to sleep. As soon as the snoring resumed, Bejuss did it again, with the same result. The old bird kept it up, until eventually Neo turned on his side and peace reigned in the household.

At long last Bejuss returned to his cage after hiding the balled up spider web, with a look of deep satisfaction on his face. From now on whenever Neo snored, Bejuss merely had to repeat the process. Just one good night’s sleep was all he had ever asked for, and now he had the instrument to ensure nocturnal raven bliss forever more, safely stowed away in the rafter above Neo’s bed.

~~~

😉

Got to divert myself…

GoblinTales(Cover)

…while waiting for sales of my latest novella – Autumn 1066 to pick up, if they ever do. I’ve decided to go ahead with the third edition of Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales. A task I’ve been putting off for ages…

As you can see I already have the new cover, family portrait and revised map, all created by a good friend of mine here in Beccles, Duncan Niall Boswell, featuring Glob and his brothers Make, Mous, Neo and Byz, not forgetting Glob’s old friend Bejuss, the one eyed lisping Raven with a twisted beak. In fact I’ve had them filed away for months on this laptop with the idea of one day creating a top quality third edition.

I’m in no hurry with the task ahead. Where before I would work to a deadline, often sacrificing quality merely to get another ebook out for the hungry market, as I did with the first two versions. Not this time round…

GoblinTales(Portrait)

     From left to right – Glob with Bejuss on his shoulder – lower left, Make –  left, Neo – centre, Mous –  right, and Byz – lower right.

GoblinTales(Map).png

Reworking the anthology will take most of the rest of this year, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, tale by tale.

More later

😉

Announcing the release of Autumn 1066

Autumn2

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of  Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066.

~~~

At long last my historical novella Autumn 1066 (paperback only) is now available for purchase.

Please take note of the following number:- ISBN-13: 978-1546685302.

First of all, may I suggest that you order your copy directly from CreateSpace by inserting the above ISBN number when looking for it. Ordering directly from the printer is by far the cheapest purchasing option.

I ordered six copies to give to my friends at US$2.15 each as opposed to US$5.38 each on Amazon US, and UK£4.17 on Amazon UK. The CreateSpace price for my latest book works out at roughly what you pay for the average ebook these days. Which makes it value for money, I’m sure you will agree…

Buying from CreateSpace is a no-brainer in my book!!!

Of course if money is no object, you can always order it from your nearest Amazon outlet. Here are the links for Amazon’s two main outlets:-

AmazonUS

AmazonUK

Unfortunately, the one thing you cannot do on CreateSpace is post a review. That can only be done at Amazon sites. Here’s hoping that you enjoy reading the novella. If that is the case, do please post a review on Amazon.

PS – Are you one of those strange individuals who do not believe in ordering anything online? In that case, write down the title and the above ISBN number together with CreateSpace’s link – https://www.createspace.com/. Then head off to your local bookshop armed with all the information, and tell them (don’t ask) to order a copy for you…

Enjoy…

😉

I just had to share this with you…

battle2

Autumn 1066 isn’t even ready for publishing quite yet. But that didn’t stop one of its beta-readers Martin Bradley from feeling he had to not only write the pre-publication 10 – 12 word advertising review I asked for, but also a full length one.

Here is what he said:-

In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamours with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more.
~~~
If Martin’s reaction is any indication of how history buffs in general will hopefully receive it once its published. then maybe Autumn 1066 will become my magnum opus. Who knows?
~~~
Here are all three of the pre-publication advertising reviews that will appear on the rear cover:-

The events are insightfully brought to life. Prepare to enter Dark Ages Britain . Andrew French, author of the Michael Prentiss series

A new look at a series of battles that changed Britain forever. Colin Noel-Johnson

Great sense of ‘place’. The reader is ‘there’, in that poignant year. Martin Bradley

 

I’ve just added the final elements to my historical novella before I sent it off to be professionally formatted, prior to publishing. Hopefully by the time the bill for the service arrives, PayPal will have stopped playing silly beggars. Some moron in Djakarta tried to gain entry into my account with them. Because I no longer have a telephone I had to email them. Nothing ever goes to plan does it? If it’s not one damned thing, it’s another.

PS – Grrr! It’s the following day and I’ve still heard nothing back from PayPal!!!

More later

😉