Just to remind you that the £0.99p offer on the above fantasy anthology ends tomorrow. After that if you want a copy it will have to be at the full price £2.99 from then on…
Just to remind you that the £0.99p offer on the above fantasy anthology ends tomorrow. After that if you want a copy it will have to be at the full price £2.99 from then on…
For lovers of lighthearted British fantasy, in this case an anthology of thirty linked tales about a family of friendly Southern Woods goblins, from today Thursday the third of May, you can get your discounted copy of Goblin Tales from Amazon.co.uk for just £0.99 per copy. The offer extends until May the tenth.
…from my much heralded but rarely bought anthology of Goblin Tales
Obadiah Fingletook – Grand High Goblin
In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), set out on a quest to rescue the grand high goblin, Obadiah Fingletook.
A loud knock on the goblin brother’s front door an hour before dawn, one day in early spring, woke Glob from a deep sleep. He leapt out of his bed in such a panic that he stubbed his big toe on the chamber pot beside his bed, sending it clattering across the floor, spilling its contents.
He limped painfully towards the front door muttering and cursing under his breath, unbolted it and angrily flung it open. Leaning heavily on the old oak’s trunk, totally out of breath, was a purple faced plains goblin wearing the Fingletook family crest on his courtier’s jerkin, clutching a rolled up piece of parchment sealed with the beeswax facsimile of the grand high goblin’s face.
“Wot’s it yer wonts at this hour? The world’s still sleepin!” Glob growled as his bruised toe began throbbing terribly.
“Begs pardons master Glob sir, but I’s comes wiv a message from her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook,” the messenger began, briefly bowing low before handing the message over. “She requires yer helps. She asks that yer all travel ter the ancestor oak for a confid – private discushun of the greatest import if yer please sir.”
Although being hugely annoyed at being woken at such an hour, Glob calmed down just a little. He thanked the messenger through gritted teeth and sent him on his way to tell Hermione that they would soon join her.
He tried hard to ignore his painful throbbing toe when he sat down on his chair beside the window. The first weak light of dawn began to break through the gloom as he settled himself, lit a rush-light to illuminate the missive, and broke the seal. He looked at it for a moment marvelling at the fine quality of the batwing parchment, the neatness of Hermione’s writing, and the rich purple ink she used. Then he began to read.
Dearest Globular Van der Graff, my most cherished son,
I have the gravest of news to impart. My Obadiah has been taken prisoner. Yesterday I found the need to scold him for his arrogance and stupidity once again. As a result, he ran away from home. Ordinarily he normally slinks back when he gets hungry, and goes to his room to sulk. But my dear when he did not return last night I began to fret as only a mother can.
I dispatched scouts to find him. Eventually one of them did locate the cave where he had sheltered from a terrible storm during the night, just beyond our borders to the north. But the scout in question, Grassnit Thimblefoot, found nought but Obadiah’s fine clothes and boots. Pinned to his best jerkin dear Globular was a note.
It simply said that if I wished to see him alive and well, I must deliver a ransom of one thousand rubies to the mountain top abode of Baron Cragwit Grimbledoff before the next moon begins.
Cragwit thoroughly despises my first born for his petulance and weaknesses, which I can entirely understand; I don’t like him much myself. Obadiah does tend to upset everyone with his arrogance and childish outbursts.
Cragwit believes he should be grand high goblin. After the wise council decreed that only I could rightfully be called the mother of all, his mother, my sister Sherazid, undertook to create a rival dynasty when he was born.
The wise council decreed that Sherazid be put to death immediately for her highly treasonous act, charging her with bringing a usurper into the world. Since her death, Cragwit has made it his mission in life to undermine the house of Fingletook.
Please help me dearest Globular. I am beside myself with worry.
Your affectionate mother,
Glob quickly roused his brothers. After breakfast they all set out on the long journey to the ancestor oak riding on the backs of Yathle and two of her sister wyverns – Maeve and Iolanthe.
Glob led the way through the vast expanse of rooms within the great tree to Hermione’s royal apartments and knocked courteously on the door. Hermione dried her reddened eyes, delicately blew her nose and then opened the door. “Oh my dears, I’m so glad you are here,” she said as tears of happiness flowed, when her face lit up at the sight of her five wood goblin sons.
“Mornins mother on all,” Make said, bowing low in her presence.
Hermione beckoned them all to sit.
Bejuss flew to her and sat on her outstretched hand. “Rarrk – we’th all here ter therve yer in any way we’th can majethy,” he lisped as he bowed low, almost falling off her hand in the process. Hermione smiled and kissed the old raven on his head. “Thank you all for coming so promptly my dears.”
“Begz pardonz majezty,” Mous began, “I’z wuzz juzz wonderin why Cragwit callz hizzelf baron if yer pleaze?” Glob, Make, Byz and Neo nodded, all equally curious to hear the answer to the question. Bejuss was too.
Hermione sat for a moment in silence, composed herself as best she could under the sad circumstances, cleared her throat, delicately blew her nose once more and then replied. “Even though Cragwit is illegitimate dear Eponymous, he still has a modicum of noble green goblin blood flowing through his rebellious veins. The wise council decreed that because Sherazid was my sister, Cragwit was to be entitled to the lowest possible title.”
“Pity he weren’t strangled at births,” Neo muttered under his breath as he crossed the room to where Hermione sat on the side of her bed. His eyes frantically crossed themselves as his leathery old face took on a look of total puzzlement. “So, if he’s a Fingletooks majesty, whys he callings hisself Grimbledoff?”
Hermione’s sweet smile broke out once more, gladdening the hearts of all. “Dearest Neopol, Grimbledoff is the family name of Sherazid’s old wet nurse. No one but a legitimate member of the house of Fingletook may take the name, not even you my dear son,” she explained as she gently stroked his leathery ears, making old Neo blush deeply.
Glob sat for a few moments, like all of his brothers, trying hard to digest what their mother had just revealed. “We needs ter gets started then if we’s goin ter finds Cragwit’s lair afore dark. I’s heard tell on terrible creatures wot inhabits the lands beyonds our northern borders. We don’t wants ter be out after dark!”
Hermione smiled at her favourite wood goblin son. “A fresh start at first light tomorrow morning will suffice Globular dearest. It won’t hurt Obadiah to be out all night long. It may just be the making of him. Besides, it will take time for my court scribe and his assistants to gather the ransom of a thousand rubies together. Meantime you should speak with my chief scout, Grassnit Thimblefoot. I have instructed him to lead you to the cave and to point out the best route to take. From there my dears it is up to your courage, eyes, wits and noses to follow the trail.”
The next morning after eating a hearty breakfast, the five goblins and Bejuss bid farewell to their mother Hermione, and ably led by Grassnit, they set out on the first leg of their journey.
Because Make and Mous were the strongest, they had been entrusted with carrying the heavy acorn chest containing the ruby ransom with its beeswax Fingletook seal. Byz with Bejuss perched on his shoulder was tethered to Neo, much to the old curmudgeon’s great annoyance. Glob walked a pace behind Grassnit as the scout’s keen eye followed the fast vanishing trail of footprints.
By noon they reached the north western border of goblin held territory within Goblindom. From now on the rest of their journey was into relatively unknown lands. Soon Grassnit saw the cave mouth in the distance. As the sun disappeared behind the mountains to the west, the brave party of goblins made themselves at home in the cave for the night.
Glob and Make first hid the chest containing the ransom and then built a fire at the back of the cave. Neo dragged Byz behind him, complaining bitterly about being bounced from rock to rock. Between them they made a communal bed for all to share out of bracken and moss.
“Me’th hungry,” Bejuss declared.
“I’s is ter,” Make added as his stomach grumbled.
“N me,” Byz chipped in, reaching inside his pocket to give Bejuss a juicy slug.
“I’z gotz lotz on honeycomb,” Mous announced, offering a large leaf packet for all to share.
After they had eaten, Glob sat at the cave mouth in the moonlight talking to Grassnit. Make got out his bestest briar pipe, filled and lit it, before relaxing with Mous while Byz played a merry tune on his pipes. Bejuss hopped up and down on Byz’ shoulder, doing a raven jig as the sound of the pipes entranced him. Even Neo tapped his foot in time to the tune.
“Wot’s this ere Cragwit like thens Nit, ever seed im afore?” Glob casually enquired.
Nit puffed on his own clay pipe blowing a large perfumed smoke ring. “Aye, I’s seed him once when he raided for supplies, two summers back Glob. Not sure he’s a goblin though,” Nit replied, knocking the spent makings out of his pipe into the palm of his hand, before blowing through its stem to clean it.
“Wot makes yer says he ain’t a goblin?”
“Yer shud seed the size on him. Taint natural. No goblin is that big!”
“Whaddaya mean, is he fat?”
Nit shook his head. “Nah – Obadiah’s fat. Cragwit is tall as a humin n heavier built than an ogre’s mother.” Glob sat for a moment and then asked Nit to describe the baron to him as best he could.
Nit thought for a long time as he filled his pipe once more with a plug of his violet flavoured tobacco, lit it, and drew deep on the pipe’s stem, tasting the sweet smoke before replying. “Cragwit has a fat belly wot hangs over his belt see. He wears a long chainmail skirt wot drags on the ground, held up by a strap across one shoulder. His arms n his chest is always exposed. Heavy muscled he is. He carries a war club topped wiv a carved skull, n a sharp mountain goblin war axe. He wears his favourite weapon for fightin goblins on his bonce. It’s a blue metal hat wiv two griffin teeths stickin out on it. When he charges at yer, he always lowers his head ter spike yer. So wotch out, cos them teeths is fierce sharp! On his arms he wears blue metal plates for protecshun gainst blades n the like.”
Glob sat quiet for a few moments, yawned, and then asked one last question of Nit. “How many goblins have he gots in his army then?”
Nit burst out laughing. “Why bless yer Glob. He may fancy hisself a fierce baron n leader on a terribles army ter fright those as don’t knows him, but he’s only gots one goblin wiv him, if yer can calls Snidely Grossbundle a goblin. He’s his servant n general factotum. At the moment he’s likely Obadiah’s gaoler. Yer name it n Snide does it for Cragwit. Yer’ll know when Snide is about believes me.” Nit held his nose at the thought of being downwind of Snide. “The smelly little grotkin do stink so foul cos he’s covered in greasy hair froms the top on his pointed bonce ter the filthy black toenails on his feets. Plus he only eats bats. So his breath do stink sumink awful.” Nit shivered in disgust; even merely talking about Snide, made him feel ill. Glob thanked Nit, and turned in for the night alongside his brothers.
Obadiah was a pitiful sight to behold. Stark naked and shivering uncontrollably, sitting in a mixture of his own filth and discarded bones from his meagre daily meal of one small dried bat, he was feeling decidedly sorry for himself.
The only source of light for his dank cell came from a missing stone in the ceiling above. Water constantly dripped on him through it. Obadiah blubbered uncontrollably in his nakedness. His only item of clothing was a moth-eaten short and damp wool scarf, which he had found in one dark corner, and wound round his thick neck. Cragwit had taken great delight in humiliating his royal cousin by removing the grand high goblin’s clothing before leading him in chains back here to his lair.
Cragwit charged his smelly servant Snide, who he forced to live in the dungeon of his lair because he couldn’t stand his foul smell, with guarding and feeding his prisoner. Compared to Snide, the stench in Obadiah’s cell was so unbelievably bad, that even when the hairy goblin gaoler unlocked the heavy door each day to throw his prisoner’s daily meal on the cell floor, the grand high goblin didn’t notice Snide’s foul odour at all.
Obadiah heaved a heavy sigh and continued to sob pitifully; to think that he had come to this. A hungry beetle bit one flabby cheek of his large, fat, naked backside, making him yelp in pain. “Oh mother, please send someone to rescue me, please!” he bleated in between floods of tears.
The perilously steep path to the summit of Dragon Tooth Mountain, which Nit had pointed them towards before returning home, was constantly subjected to dangerous rock falls.
As the goblin brothers and Bejuss steadily climbed towards Cragwit’s lair, none dare peek over the edge of the path. For a tiny wood goblin to fall down the sheer mountainside would mean only one thing – certain death. Eventually they saw their objective looming out of the clouds that hung permanently over the mountain top.
They all stood on the path not far from the heavily armoured door of Cragwit’s home. Glob signalled for Make and Mous to place the acorn chest in plain sight, and then he ordered his brothers to stand behind it in a line while he went to ring the bell. Bejuss flew off to perch above the door. Glob reached up and grabbed the chain, pulling it twice, before rapidly retreating to take his place beside his brothers, standing behind the ransom.
Cragwit was roused from his nap by the sound of his door bell echoing loudly through his home. He went to his front door, opened it and surveyed his tiny visitors.
“Wot’s yer wonts?”
Glob cleared his throat and began. “We’s broughts the ransom for the grand high goblin hisself yer mightiness,” he said, bowing low.
Cragwit’s beady eyes focused on the acorn chest. “Open’s it! Shows me quick now, else it’ll be the worse for yer,” he growled. Make broke the seal and opened the lid.
Cragwit’s eyes glistened with tears of joy at the sight. He began drooling uncontrollably. “Brings it ter me NOW!” he commanded.
Glob crossed his fingers behind his back. “Sorry’s but we’s cant’s does that I’s afriads yer worship. We’s all tired after carryin it up here. Yer’ll jus have ter come here n gets it yerself!”
Cragwit erupted in anger. “WHY YER STINKIN GOBLIN POTSCRAPES, I’SLL TEACH YER TER ANSWERS ME BACK, SEE IF I’S DONTS!” Totally enraged and losing all sense of reason, he charged head down directly at Glob and his brothers.
Gathering all his strength at the last possible moment, Glob snatched the chest away as all five goblins rapidly stood aside, removing themselves from the path of the angry charging humin sized goblin. Cragwit tripped over the hem of his chainmail skirt and disappeared from view, plummeting to his death. What he had forgotten in his blind rage was that the brothers had been standing with their backs perilously close to the edge of the path.
After they had all recovered from their near death experience, they began to make a plan to rescue Obadiah from his cell. “Right Byz me lad, yer stays here guardin the chest, here me! Bejuss make sure he does stay. No wanderin orf now Byz, else yer’ll wind up alongsides Cragwit downs below,” Glob began, “the res on yer, comes wiv me. Neo gets yer club ready, n don’ts forgets ter hold yer noses cos Snide stinks terrible fierce.”
They entered through the large door and found the staircase leading down to the dungeon. The passage leading to Obadiah’s cell was easy to locate. All they had to do was follow the stink. Neo led the way holding his nose, ready to do battle with his war club at the ready.
Snide was busy picking his nose looking for a snack. He carefully examined each disgusting bogey stuck on the end of his finger, before eating it. Neo crept up on him with tears flowing from his eyes from the foul stench of the hairy goblin, and quickly bashed him on the head. He removed the key to the cell from Snide’s unconscious body and led the way followed by Glob, Make and Mous to unlock Obadiah’s door.
They all fell about laughing at the spectacle of Obadiah’s wobbly fat naked flesh, despite the foul smell that greeted them. Back to his old arrogant self once more, he stood up with a look of deep indignation on his face, failing to see anything to laugh at. After the rescuers had locked Snide in the cell and thrown away the key, they emerged once more into daylight and sweet fresh air.
With Obadiah forced to lead the way back down the mountain path, constantly prodded in his fleshy backside with Neo’s club and Bejuss’ razor sharp beak, to keep him down wind of them, and also for their great amusement at the sight of his fat body wobbling as he walked, they eventually returned him and the ransom safely back to Hermione.
She immediately demanded that Obadiah scrub himself clean with a large prickly thistle stem in a tub of ice cold water, well beyond the confines of the ancestor oak, much to the amusement of all the courtiers, Glob, his brothers, Bejuss, and Hermione herself. It would be a very long time before Obadiah Fingletook flounced off in a huff again.
As they all flew home courtesy of Yathle and her two sisters, Maeve and Iolanthe, peals of goblin laughter, combined with raucous raven caws filled the air above Goblindom.
… although I have to say I’m not expecting anything positive to happen.
For the last five days my fantasy anthology of thirty interlinked tales (above) has been on offer for free. It wasn’t selling. So to give it any chance of being read, I did what I said I’d never do – give it away!!!
It says a hell of a lot about people, when fifty-one of you who didn’t want to support all my hard work by paying for it, got yourselves a free copy. Unfortunately this scenario is fast becoming the norm when it comes to ebooks.
So, if your conscience is bothering you now, do two things – read it from cover to cover. Then write a review and post it on the Amazon outlet you got it from. Don’t just file and forget it!!!
I have one hundred and eighty ebooks currently sitting in my Kindle for PC app on this laptop. I’ve read every one of them. Many of them several times. Guess what, I’ve reviewed them as well.This is how you should behave when it comes to ebooks in particular!
With the exception of eight that were given to me by their authors I’ve bought every one of them. If you haven’t figured it out yet – unlike fifty-one of you, I’m not a cheapskate…
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:
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!!!
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.
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…
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:
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,
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? 🙂
Beware on Crellan’s Mine!
In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), along with Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, Morweth, Nit, Fig, Mica and a party of his humin friends, set out on a dangerous mission.
Disturbing news from the far eastern reaches of Goblindom arrived at the ancestor oak. It was revealed that the black wizard Crellan has a secret jewel mine. The whole area surrounding the mine is watched over and protected by hundreds of mercenaries in Crellan’s employ. None of the slaves working it know what it is they are mining, or why. When they are dragged into its reception camp outside the mine’s entrance, they are immediately chained together, in groups of five. The guards then put out their eyes and cut out their tongues, before sending them into its murky depths. In the mine, the slaves barely exist. They work in the cloying darkness under the cruel whips of their mountain ogre gang masters, who are unaffected by its poisonous environment. The slaves barely exist on a diet of watery acorn broth. They sleep at the seam face and breath in the vapours escaping from the rocks all around them that they have to pick their way through in their search for the rich jewel seams. As a consequence of the harsh beatings they endure, the poisonous environment, and their lack of proper food, they die in their hundreds. Crellan’s many pressgangs made up from a mix of plains and mountain ogres, mountain gremlins and trolls, easily replace the dead with freshly ‘pressed’ volunteers from across Goblindom. For the moment, no one apart from Crellan himself knows why he wants the precious jewels, or what kind they are.
The slave responsible for revealing the mine’s location and its horrors, died before he could tell exactly how he had escaped. His name was Pigwort Minkclaw (Mink), an educated plains goblin, who worked occasionally as a junior scribe for the wise council. For many moons Mink had headed west, hiding by day, crawling, feeling and smelling his way by night, eating whatever his fingers or nose told him was edible. Quite by accident Bejuss had found him when he was on his way to visit a distant cousin on his mother’s side to the east of the valley. His eye focused on a skeletal creature lying in a hollow, perilously close to death. By nightfall, Mink was being looked after by her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, and Brilith the white witch. But even their best efforts were not enough to save him. Because he had been made blind and dumb at the cruel hands of the guards he could not communicate normally. Before he died he managed to scrawl a few words, naming who had pressed him into service along with their descriptions. He also drew a map from memory of the part of Goblindom known as the Widow Spires, a range of brooding mountains shrouded in a permanent cloud of mist, seldom visited because of its close proximity to Crellan’s new lair at Goblindom’s easternmost border. In particular, he drew the safest route to the entrance of the mine to bypass the vigilant eyes of the lookouts. The very last words Mink wrote in his shaky hand were – ‘Whatever yer does beware on Crellan’s mine! Don’t…’ Before he could finish his warning, the wren feathered quill pen slowly fell from his dead hand to the floor…
Glob sat at the window with Bejuss perched on his shoulder; both of them were silently fuming. Like the rest of the household, thanks to Mous’ aptitude for clumsiness, they were starving. Today’s breakfast had been an utter disaster. They had all gone hungry yet again, because of him. On the way to the table he had managed to drop all of the breakfast bowls, smashing them to pieces and covering the floor with their delicious contents. Both Neo and Make angrily chased him around the kitchen intent on doing physical harm to their accident prone brother. Mous barely escaped their wrath when he ran outside fearing for his life, before quickly climbing to the old oak’s topmost branches. Simpleminded Byz hid under his bed, not daring to show the point of his nose just in case his brothers decided to take out their frustrated anger on him instead.
Glob sighed, briefly looked his old friend Bejuss in the eye, and shook his head before calling for calm. “Right’s brothers, we’s needs ter hunt down the three goblins wot is capturin folk for Crellan’s mine in these parts. Now we’s has their names n wots theys look like. Morweth, Fig n Nit shud be here soon; Mica, Miranda n his war party as well.” Then he went to the door and demanded Mous come back inside before angrily telling him, “Now brother, let’s see if yer can makes us sum food ter takes wiv us, preferably wivout spillin it on the floor if yer don’t mind!”
Mous warily slunk back inside, quickly making for the kitchen, not daring to look anyone in the eye, “I’z zorry brotherz,” he sheepishly began, ducking a well-aimed cuff from Neo, “I’z knowz I’z a clumzy numpkin; I’z won’tz do it agin, I’z promize.”
“Yer’d better not, else yer’ll feels me club kiss yer bonce,” Neo grumbled, glaring angrily at his brother through his highly animated crossed eyes. Mous did his best to ignore the threat and began to prepare leaf parcels of food as well as collecting their mugs and a full acorn shaped barrel of Neo’s special mead for the journey. Within the hour everyone was assembled beneath the old oak, ready for the hunt.
Mordern Bigsnook, or Dern as he was known, was a frightening figure. Condemned for five brutal murders and suspected of at least a thousand unsolved ones, he had languished in a stinking dark cell, waiting to be executed for his crimes. Seizing his opportunity one night, he killed a guard when his food was brought to him and stole his keys, escaping into the night from the dungeons below the ancestor oak two summers ago. Heading east where he knew he would never be followed, he eventually found employment with Crellan. Now he led the pressgang working the southern woods. At four foot, he was unusually tall for a plains goblin. He shaved his head, apart from a thick wiry black line of hair on its crown, which looked like the bristle ridge on a boar’s back. Two large fangs stuck up from his bottom jaw, almost disappearing into the equally large nostrils of his broken nose whenever he closed his mouth.
Crellan had ordered Dern to pick his own team for a special assignment, to capture Glob and his brothers. Not trusting any other kind than his own, Dern chose his two companions, Grythle Snickweed (Snick), and Broglik Cantfurgle (Brog), from the ranks of the plains goblin lookouts.
Dern only cared for one thing, the jewels his master Crellan paid him; one emerald for each new slave delivered alive. Crellan had promised him five hundred emeralds for each of the five brothers. Capturing a few more goblins before they took Glob and his brothers was perfectly fine in his eyes. It meant more emeralds for him. If either of his companions proved to be a threat, he would kill them without a moment’s hesitation.
“Which ways is we headin terday boss,” Snick yawned as he began to pick his nose, “norf, souf, west or east?”
Dern scowled at his two companions, “south blast yer. Now gets yerself forward yer scum afor I’s slit yer throats! I’s can always does this alone. More profit for me if yer’s both dies.” A chill ran up their spines. They both knew that their leader’s notoriously short temper meant that they were constantly in danger. Neither one had willingly volunteered for this assignment. Both preferred their relatively cushy jobs as lookouts high above the approaches to the mine, rather than accompanying this homicidal maniac. But, to refuse would have meant being thrown into the mine. On the other hand, the pay was good… Snick shrugged his shoulders and swung his war axe and his pack onto his back, while Brog checked his blade’s edge before slinging it over his shoulder. Then the pair set off with one eye on the woods ahead and the other, nervously on Dern bringing up the rear. By noon they made temporary camp in a tiny glade several leagues inside the vast southern wood.
With Grassnit Thimblefoot (Nit), Hermione’s chief scout, leading the way, Mica walked beside Miranda who was loaded down with their provisions. At first she had been reluctant to leave her foal. But when Agnitha and Ylesse said they would take care of her, Miranda agreed. To make her journey as pleasant as he could, and to take her mind off her foal, Neo sat between her large velvet soft ears whispering to her. Following close behind were Mica’s fellow humin warriors Verig, Cantor, Jasper and Manx together with Morweth, the white wizard, Figblaster Cornshuffle (Fig), the bounty hunter, and the four other goblin brothers while Bejuss flew above, always on the lookout for trouble.
Not far ahead of the party was the home of Smikewhistle Pontigle (Pont), who made his living sewing the finest jerkins in all Goblindom. Unbeknown to Pont or our plucky band, Dern and his pressgang were already studying the comings and goings of Pont’s customers. Dern’s cruel fanged smile spread across his face. It looked like today would be a highly profitable one for him. Signalling to Snick and Brog to conceal themselves on either side of the path, to knock out each of Pont’s customers as they appeared, he crawled forward through the lush grass, heading for the unsuspecting tailor’s home. Within a matter of minutes he had entered silently, hit Pont on the head with his club, and bound him securely before hiding him in a cupboard. Then disguising himself and taking Pont’s place at the workbench, he prepared to bash any unsuspecting goblins that his companions missed when they entered Pont’s home.
High above, Bejuss’ one eye focused on Dern’s two companions. For a few moments he circled while he studied them closely before flying back to Glob to deliver his report. “Rarrk – they’th ith not far ahead on uth; me can’t thee Dern anywhere. He mutht be inthide Pon’th houthe.”
“Where are they exactly Bejuss – show us,” Mica commanded of the old bird as they all temporarily halted.
“They’th on the path juth outthide Pont’th place, waiting ter capture hith cuthtomerth; they’th already got thix tho far, all truththed up like chickenth for the pot,” the old bird replied, after he had carefully drawn a map in the dust with his wing, indicating where Snick and Brog had concealed themselves in proximity to Pont’s oak tree home.
Between them, Mica and Glob worked out a plan of attack. “Right Make, you take Byz with you along the path to get Snick’s attention. Verig and I will shadow you for a while before we seek out Brog. Jasper, you take Fig and circle round to the right behind Pont’s home, to watch Dern’s every move. Manx, Cantor, Glob, Neo, and you Mous, protect Morweth and be ready to do whatever he commands. By all accounts Dern is our real concern. Morweth this is the time for your magic my old friend. Verig and I will try to capture Brog alive. We need a guide to get us past the mine lookouts undetected.” Everyone grimly nodded when Mica issued his orders.
“N what’s bout me if yer don’t minds me askin?” Nit grumpily enquired, feeling decidedly left out.
“Sorry Nit, yer mus stay here wiv Miranda. We’ll signal yer whens we’s done. Yer nose for trackin is vital. We’s daresn’t risks yer being caught or injured,” Glob told him as gently as he could, not wishing to insult Goblindom’s most illustrious scout. Nit glumly nodded. While he knew what Glob said, made perfect sense…
Bejuss lightly pecked Glob’s earlobe. “Rarrk – what d’yer want me ter does Glob?”
Glob turned to look at his old friend, winked and replied, “I’s wants yer ter does wot yer does best Bejuss lad – vanish, n keeps yer eye peeled for truble.” In a trice the old bird did as he was bid and vanished into thin air.
Make set off along the path holding Byz’ hand, walking like two sacrificial goats towards where Snick lay in wait to distract him, while Morweth under the protection of Manx and Cantor, assisted by Glob and Mous, crept up behind the unsuspecting mercenary. Mica and Verig carefully shadowed Make and Byz before circling through the thick woods to the left of the path heading for their appointment with Brog, some way past Pont’s home. Jasper and Fig silently crept round to the right until they finally positioned themselves with an excellent view of Pont’s door, waiting for Dern to burst forth. At Morweth’s silent command his protection squad halted not far from where Snick hid. With his wand at the ready he froze the unsuspecting goblin mercenary to the spot, turning him to stone. Morweth signalled that his protection squad should move forward and smash the frozen figure to pieces. On seeing this Make, still holding Byz’ hand, joined Morweth’s group.
Brog was getting bored lying in wait for fresh ‘volunteers’ despite the fact that he now had eight goblins bound and gagged behind him, each nursing a blinding headache. He stretched his limbs and started to yawn when suddenly the lights went out. “Got him! Verig, bind and gag him quick so I can release our friends from their bonds,” Mica whispered, handing over the tiny unconscious goblin mercenary. Verig grinned and nodded, setting about his task with relish while Mica quickly cut the captive’s bonds, asking for their cooperation to gain Dern’s attention. To a goblin, and despite their pounding heads, the eight willingly agreed.
Bejuss flew down to where Morweth and his party stood in readiness, perching on the wizard’s shoulder, barely a hundred paces from Pont’s home. “Rarrk – Mica n Verig hath captured Brog; they ith waiting for action when yer ith ready. They freed the goblinth wot Brog captured, n they ith waitin ter walk patht Pont’th houthe ter dithtract Dern n make him come out whenever yer want,” the old bird whispered between gasps, as he got his breath back. On Morweth’s command the whole party quietly positioned themselves around the oak tree.
Dern peered out at the path. For some time he had seen no movement in either direction. He was about to collect the unconscious Pont from the cupboard and call it a day, when he saw a party of eight goblins sauntering along, loudly chatting among themselves, heading south. They passed Brog’s hiding place without being attacked. Dern shook his head, scowling and muttering to himself, seething with anger that his confederate had missed them. When they passed Snick’s hiding place unmolested, Dern completely lost his temper and exploded into action, rushing outside to chase after them. Eight precious emeralds were escaping his purse!
Mica’s battle horn sounded. From all sides’ humin warriors yelling their terrifying battle cry, brandishing their flint tipped spears, closed for battle. Wood goblins, armed with their war clubs and blades, joined by a wizard and an old raven completed the picture; catching Dern completely by surprise. From the shadows elven arrows flew, quickly piercing his chest. The welcome sight of Lox appearing from nowhere at the head of her archers, heartened everyone with the exception of Dern. He fought ferociously like an insane cornered animal. Many of the party were wounded by his razor sharp blade. His murderous life finally ended after Mica’s spear ripped open his throat, just as Jasper’s flint knife found its way through his jerkin, puncturing a lung, while Fig’s blade hamstrung him, sending him crashing to the ground. He lay twitching and writhing as his life force inevitably ebbed away. Bloody green bubbles escaped through his punctured jerkin, from where many elven arrows had pierced his chest. His blood gushed from the severed artery in his neck opened by Mica’s spear, briefly merging with the green grass he lay on before disappearing from view. When his eyes finally glazed over Goblindom was rid of yet another murderous individual forever.
“What now?” Manx asked much later, like the rest, already knowing the answer.
“East, we’s heads east ter Crellan’s mine,” Glob replied while he watched Cantor and Verig bury Dern’s body. Turning to Lox he asked, “Wills yer joins us on our quest friend?”
Lox’s bewitchingly beautiful face broke into a smile, “We elves like the rest of Goblindom, loath Crellan and everything he stands for dear Globular. We were on our way east when Bejuss found us and led us back here. Of course we will join your band.”
From high above three other familiar voices announced in unison, “We too will help you my dears.” Within a blink of the eye, Yathle the wyvern had landed with her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, and the white witch Brilith astride her back, together with a squadron of Yathle’s sisters.
The happy moment was broken when a muffled voice suddenly cried out, “help someones, I’s trapped!” Neo leapt to his feet and went inside the oak to free Pont. Morweth, Hermione and Brilith attended to everyones wounds while Mous assisted Pont who insisted on cooking a meal for his rescuers to show his gratitude.
“The east beckons my friends,” Mica said later after they had all bid Pont farewell.
A terrifying screech from high above made the hairs on everyones necks stand on end. Bejuss materialized on Glob’s shoulder. “We’th got another volunteer Glob; he’th goin ter recruit hith brother along the way.” The griffin Slyth landed at the centre of the group, reducing the eight rescued goblins who had also volunteered, to a quaking grovelling mass. Taking Miranda’s halter in his hand, Mica followed Nit with the rest close behind. They set off on the long journey east into the dangerous unknown territory of the mist shrouded Widow Spires and Crellan’s mine. Above the plucky band, Bejuss flew alongside his friends Slyth and Yathle, with her sisters flying in formation behind them. Along the way, many more willing volunteers would join the quest. Brog grumbled continually from where he lay trussed up tight, roped securely to Miranda’s back. Neo ended his protestations with his club from where he sat astride Miranda’s neck. By the time they would eventually arrive at the Widow Spires, either Brog would have changed his attitude and become cooperative, or he’d be counting the painful lumps on his head, courtesy of Neo’s war club, moments before his life ended in Slyth’s beak.
PS – I’m almost back to where I was with the re-write before my old Vaio died. This time I’m saving to my memory stick – just in case…