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,

😉

Forget about movies…

bigstock_Words_2921811

…they rarely if ever stimulate you in the same way a book can, and does. If you want to conjure up a mental picture of a fictional character or landscape, always rely on the words on the pages of a book, and your unique mental interpretation of them. In other words, use your imagination!

To illustrate my point, the following is a description of just one of the many characters I employ in Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales, which I’m currently re-writing. If it doesn’t give you a clear vision of him in your mind’s eye, then I feel extremely sorry for you…

~~~

     Grimsdyke Mugwurzle, the purveyor of seeds, had begun his annual trading trip south to the humin settlements dotted throughout the southern woods from his home at the northernmost edge of Goblindom, much earlier than normal this year. All winter long, Mug had carefully tended his vast stocks of seeds in preparation for the coming spring. No matter what kind you may seek, he was sure to have a selection to please you for a modest cost.

Of all the goblins you were ever likely to meet within the confines of Goblindom’s magic barrier, he was the dourest and a firm believer in retribution. Like all northerners he spoke with a strong accent. His black eyes were typical of the goblins who settled the northern parts. Set deep in their sockets, they shone darkly like pure polished Jet. His nose which half hid beneath his thick highly animated protruding bushy eyebrows had an unfortunate growth on its pointed end. Anyone meeting Mug for the first time, could hardly fail to notice the prominent orange coloured wart sprouting five black hairs, which waved gaily in the breeze like tall marsh reed stalks. From time to time, folk made jokes about it behind his back. If he heard them he’d hit the offending joker on the head with his club. He failed to appreciate any kind of remark about his unfortunate nasal addition.

~~~

If a description is perfect, what else do you need? Nothing! Not every character in every story needs such a detailed description, except when writing something like a fantasy anthology about Goblins in Goblindom…

🙂

In This Business, It Always Pays To Have Highly Talented Friends

As many of you will know, I had to temporarily put aside working on the new version of my one and only fantasy anthology ‘Goblin Tales’, until the artwork I had commissioned was completed.

Well, it was finally sent to me on Sunday afternoon via email by its artist Duncan Nial Boswell. Not only did he produce the family portrait of the five goblin brothers – Glob, Neo, Byz, Make, Mous and Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven that I asked him for, but he also threw in a revitalised map of Goblindom and a whole new cover. Take a look for yourselves.

I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that his work is absolutely faultless. It was definitely worth waiting for…

GoblinTales(Portrait)

Top Left – Make, Top Centre – Neo, Top Right – Mous, Lower Right – Byz, Lower Left – Glob with Bejuss on his shoulder.

GoblinTales(Map)

GoblinTales(Cover)

~~~

With the artwork safely in my possession, I’ll get back to completing ‘Goblin Tales’ for publication after I’ve published the new version of my archaeological adventure ‘The Seventh Age’.

PS – Duncan will probably kill me for saying this, but if you are impressed by his work and would like to ask him to do the same for you at some time in the future, contact me by message on Facebook at Jack Eason and I’ll pass your request along to him. After all, he can only say no.

😉

A writer’s lot is never an easy one

7th age

Since 1995 I’ve written ten books of which only one was truly inspired – Onet’s Tale. Lacking further inspiration I then entered the American Ebook market giving it what it wanted – dime novels.

Despite errors due to the haste in which I wrote and published it, one of my ebooks became an instant best seller. The Seventh Age concerned the end of days prediction believed by the New Agers domiciled in the United States, who had convinced themselves that because the Mayan calendar ended in 2012, that somehow the world would end in December of that year.

Purely because of its subject, not its literary quality, the Ebook sold slightly over a quarter of a million copies. As to be expected whenever a book by an Indie shows any sign of becoming popular, the Amazon trolls rubbished it mercilessly in an attempt to dissuade those who had not yet read it from actually doing so. But so long as it appeals, even a hastily written story, will always prevail.

To this day I am yet to write another truly inspiring work of fiction, even though I spend my time endlessly searching through my reference library. Currently I am reading both Esmond Seward’s work on Caravaggio and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Something may yet lie in either book that sparks an idea. Then again it may not. After all Onet’s Tale took a decade of reading and research to form itself clearly in my mind…

~~~

The Seventh AgeAmazon.com

The Seventh AgeAmazon.co.uk

Here is what one of my fellow authors had to say on the subject:

Jack Eason’s “The Seventh Age”

This book is not for light readers. It is heavily couched with geography, history, archeology, science, science-fiction, knowledge of machines and items of destruction as well as…heck, let’s just throw in the kitchen sink…an alien and love story.

It is obvious the amount of time and research that went into this novel, yes I said “NOVEL” showing us the type of knowledge of a real teacher as well as author. Using the Mayan clock as his basis, Jack Eason weaves a tale of globe trotting, intrigue and mayhem. (I can easily see a movie similar in style to The Da Vinci Code here). His style is descriptive, even if a bit too verbose at times, slowing down the pace of the plot, but well worth sticking it through, as he delivers: wit, humor, the foibles of us humans and the satisfying conclusion of a race against time itself.

G.D. Steel
Author Jersey Daze

Oh what might have been…

Project2a

Back in 2003 while I was briefly back in New Zealand, I stayed with my best friend Graeme Norgren and his family. Each day while they were both at work, I decided to write a sequel to the first book I ever wrote back in 1995 – Turning Point. And so the two-part space opera Onet’s Tale was born. Here are some of it’s reviews:

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Imagine slaving in a mine on a distant planet, where each swing of your pick throws poisonous dust into the air that will kill you in a few months time from breathing it. This is where “Onet’s Tale” opens, but it doesn’t stay there long. This epic sci-fi tale from Jack Eason includes a large cast of characters from various planets, including the human/nephile Akhen and Khan, who is a Drana. Once enemies, the two band together to escape the mine and start a rebellion that eventually leads to a war that spans years and galaxies.

The story itself is narrated by Onet, who happens to be a Khaz. Think little gray alien guy that might land in Area 51. Except Onet is albino and has red eyes. He’s watching all this unfold, waiting for his chance to stop the evil that his own kind started, which spread through a goddess-type being called Shu, and continued through her horrible creations of berserker warriors.

Murder, war, and mayhem reign throughout this book, while the main characters try very hard to live normal lives. Their efforts are always ripped out from under them, and I sympathized with the tortuous events they lived through. On the other hand, I kept wishing for more character depth. I’m really partial to character-driven novels, and this one seems mostly plot-driven. For me, I would have liked to have been inside the characters’ heads more, really feeling what they feel.

If you like sci-fi packed with battles, futuristic weapons and modes of transport, you’ll like “Onet’s Tale”.

 

Format: Paperback

To say that this epic saga / odyssey contained in just one book is breathtaking in its scope would be an understatement! It could easily have been done in two parts, which, combined with a previous book, would have made a fine Trilogy.

Beginning 800 years after the events of the authors earlier book, ‘Turning Point’, the story starts with an ancient Dranaa escape pod arriving in the Dranaa Empire territorial space.

The reader soon discovers that even after 800 years, descendants of the victorious human/nephile survivors of the battles with the Dranaa on Earth, are still engaged in war with the Dranaa – and things are not going too well for them.

Although labelled as Science Fiction, the story also contains some Conan the Barbarian / Xena the Warrior Princess type characters whose technology / evolution is so advanced it seems like they have magical powers.

For those who like Action, there are battles aplenty, in space and hand to hand. Did I enjoy it? Emphatically Yes!

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Wow! Hang on tight for a roller coaster ride. This novel moves at such a fast pace it’s like you’re on one of the spaceships. There is so much in it, it could easily have been expanded to three trilogies! The story line is great, and the characters good though lacking a bit in definition. As always in these types of stories I find it hard to remember who everyone is from the unusual names. Where there is detail, it is fantastic, but I would have liked a lot lot more.

A New Journey on June 29, 2010
Onet’s tale truly takes you into a new journey of adventure new characters and keeps you wanting to read more and more. I recommend this novel to any Sci-Fi reader who enjoys good story telling and wants to get lost in new worlds and exploration. The Author did an amazing job in creating a new adventure for all of us to enjoy.
”A triumph of modern science fiction. A wonderful story of Fantasy anchored by Science”.
This is the first work by Jack Eason to be published and yet this book has the feel of a seasoned Author. The consideration and detail in which Onet’s tale is written never allows the reader to wonder about anything for too long. Every plot twist, each character and every action they take is just one small brush stroke of a much larger painting. All actions have consequences and all consequences are vital to the story. The web of intrigue, spun so subtly by the Author, unravels with each turn of the page. The bigger picture only begins to come into focus when all the other pieces are in place.
I find it very difficult to say exactly what Onet’s Tale is about, because it isn’t solely about one thing. The story has many leading characters and many different reasons why each would be where they are and why they are a part of the story. I could condense the entire story to just a few words..”A tale about the struggle for survival against all odds”..but this doesn’t do it justice.
The battle for survival isn’t confined to just one person, nor even to an entire species. It encompasses all life in both this world and in many others that wish to live without fear and oppression. A species that come from further away than most can imagine are hell bent on the complete annihilation of all others, forsaking none. The ensuing struggle spans the face of our galaxy and the lives of each and every living being within it.
The fate of future history is in the hands of a reluctant few. Out numbered and out gunned, the battle begins.
This is grand tale. The tone is that of a storyteller recounting the past. There are a host of characters caught up in intrigue, action and a fascinating story that spans worlds. A struggle against all odds in an epic battle for survival. An excellent read.

~~~

Once I had returned here to the UK at the end of 2003, my personal circumstances took a turn for the worse when I had a complete mental breakdown, resulting in me sleeping rough on the streets for a few months. After getting the psychological help I needed, I was eventually placed in a homeless hostel in Lowestoft, nine miles to the east of where I now live in my home town of Beccles in the English county of Suffolk.

It was to be seven years of searching and constantly being turned down before I eventually found a publisher.

Thereby hangs a tale. The small publisher I dealt with is a one man band, who fancies he is an editor. Had he been any damned good, I’d still be with him. In reality he is, or was, a senior executive for a large computer company. Like many in our game who set themselves up as a small press owner, after failing as a writer, he is on an ego trip.

My good friend and fellow writer Derek Haines knew and warned me about him. But in my still fragile mental state, I was desperate for Onet to be published and signed the contract. It was the worst decision I ever made!

I won’t go into any details, except to say that after putting up with being constantly dictated to by a martinet, we eventually parted company. To be rid of him once and for all, as part of the deal to leave I agreed that Onet’s Tale be immediately withdrawn from the market. Judging by the above reviews, chances are it might have been a best seller. But my sanity came first!

The problem was that in his capacity as my then editor he always insisted he knew best. Going against my express wishes he added a ‘curriculum vitae’ of all the characters for both parts of the space opera. It was as if he considered the readers could not possibly work out who is who for goodness sake.

Then to add insult to injury, on the e-book version he added his and his former business partner’s names as co-authors. That was the last straw as far as I was concerned!

So a hard lesson was learned. Never allow any editor to dictate to you or control your story, especially a wannabe editor!

~~~

While I’m not about to try to republish it in the market place, for the simple reason that I have no doubt whatosever that he would sue me. Instead, what I intend to do is to serialise it here on my blog, once I’ve finished working on the third edition of Goblin Tales that is.

Which reminds me, I’ve seen the rough sketch Duncan Boswell is using as a basis for the finished family portrait. Here it is:

index

Well I’d better get back to Glob and co. Otherwise two ladies I know, Adele and Kate, will have my hide. I’m working as fast as I can ladies, really I am…

😉

An Early Timeless Tale

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The mountain gremlin Lungwort

~~~

Evils shadow grows longer

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo) seek out the truth about a stranger, assisted by Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven.

~~~

As the long freezing days of winter gave way to the first signs of spring, an enigmatic stranger arrived in the humin village. He was an itinerant by the name of Eodor who made his living napping the finest flint tools, spearheads and knives in exchange for food and lodging. At first the villagers were wary of him. But he soon charmed them all, turning the heads of the women with his handsome appearance and pleasant nature, especially Mica’s intended, Agnitha, the daughter of the village shaman Yestin. But not all females fell under his spell. Eodor had been given the hay loft in Miranda’s stable for his temporary abode. Miranda, like all animals living in Goblindom, has the ability to judge any being by its shadow, unlike humins and goblins that see nothing out of the ordinary. Only one other kind living in Goblindom shares this ability – the members of the white sisterhood like Brilith. Sensing foreboding, Miranda communicated the fact to her beloved goblin friend Neo when he next came to comb her luxuriant mane.

That night after the goblin brothers had eaten their fill, Neo sat at his customary position on his stool beside the fire in their living room, unusually quiet in deep thought. Not once did he grumble about anything his brothers said or did. Sensing something was clearly troubling him, Glob sat beside him. “Wot’s wrongs brother?” he asked as he put another handful of sticks on the fire.

Neo stared at the dancing flames through his crossed eyes for a few moments before answering. “Evil’s shadow grows longer in these parts. Miranda says she seed Eodor’s true shadows n she’s frighted by it. She believes he means harms ter someones in the humin village I’s afraids ter say Glob.” Neo slumped back against the fireplace with his head in his hands. For the first time in his long life he was very afraid. Glob had never seen him so shaken and concerned for anyone other than his beloved Miranda before.

“Wot shadows dids she seed then?” Glob quietly enquired, not wishing to alarm Make, Mous and Byz by speaking out aloud. Neo leaned closer, so close that his long pointed nose almost bent double against Glob’s leathery ears. “She seed the shadows on a terribles mountain gremlin, where a humin’s one should have beens,” Neo whispered as quietly as he could, shaking his head at the prospect.

Glob visibly shivered. Mountain gremlins terrified all non humins. They were feared by all other living creatures and where usually employed by black wizards or witches to carry out vicious assassinations. “Truly, tis evils Miranda saw Neo. At first light, goes ter her n rides east. We’s needs Brilith here. Her powerful white magic is sorely needed once more,” Glob whispered, while throwing his arm around Neo’s shoulders to reassure him.

The following morning just as the sun rose in the east, no one noticed that Miranda had gone from her stable, especially Eodor who was still sleeping in the arms of a young maiden, physically exhausted from having satiated his carnal needs after charming his way into her bed the evening before.

After Neo left, Glob called together the remainder of his brothers. He charged Make and Mous to find, and shadow Eodor’s every movement. He sent Byz to find Mica and stay with him, asking Bejuss to accompany him to keep his mind on the important task, knowing full well how easily distracted simple minded Byz can be at times. Mica had risen early and was busy in the southern meadow picking the prettiest dew covered wild flowers to take to Agnitha when the pair arrived. He had decided that today he would ask her father for her hand. Both Byz and Bejuss did their level best to totally divert their humin friend Mica in friendly conversation, until the time for action drew near.

By noon Miranda was back in her stable. Neo left Brilith on the southern edge of the humin village and quickly sought out Glob, who was watching all that went on in the humin village from the confines of the old cave above the village, where a few months earlier the black witch Cazophen had briefly made it her own.

Neo eventually arrived. Wheezing breathlessly after the hard climb up the steep wooded north-east side of the valley, and still unable to speak, he pointed back to where a comely blond haired maiden carrying a basket of flowers, slowly walked towards the centre of the village. Brilith positively revelled in the looks of physical desire her attractive form generated among the humin men while she deliberately sought out Eodor. “Flowers, pretty flowers,” she cried, continuing to seduce the humin men by way she swung her shapely hips as she walked among them. “Who will buy my pretty flowers?”

“What will it cost me for a posy my lovely?”

Brilith smiled sweetly at the handsome stranger, despite the evil shadow he cast. “You may have a posy for a gentle kiss handsome sir,” she giggled, as she fluttered her eyelashes at him while brushing her hair to one side, exposing her perfect facial features, completely entrancing him. Eodor eagerly seized her slim waste and roughly drew her towards him. As his lips met hers, Brilith delved deep into his malevolent mind. Despite the loathing she felt for this abomination, she never once alerted it to her true purpose as she sought the answers she needed. After her encounter with Eodor she disappeared from view behind one of the village roundhouses and soon joined Glob and Neo in the cave above the village. “You did right to fetch me here my dears,” Brilith announced gravely as she once more took on her natural plump white witch form. “Eodor is indeed a mountain gremlin and he is here to take revenge on the humin shaman Yestin by murdering his daughter Agnitha.”

“But why does it wants ter?” Neo enquired, fighting fit once more and ready for anything.

“It has been sent by Geraint, brother of the dead black witch Cazophen. Twas Yestin who first called her witch so long ago my dear Neo,” Brilith replied, frowning deeply as her mind began to churn and boil searching for an answer to their problem.

“Wots ter do, oh wots ter do?” Glob said, frantically pacing back and forth in the cave mouth. In his old bones he felt that this time maybe they were all out of their depth.

Brilith thought for a few more moments before hitting upon a strategy. “We need to distract it my dear friends. Glob, go and tell Mica that he has a rival for the hand of Agnitha. See to it that he challenges Eodor to a fight in the southern meadow. Neo, gather up your brothers and join Glob and Byz at the meadow. But stay hidden from view until you hear me cry the gremlin’s true name. For when I do, it will begin to change back to its real appearance. It is at its weakest as it transforms. That is when the five of you along with young Mica must strike, overcome and kill it. Though beware my dears; a mountain gremlin is a tricky foe. It may cause you grievous wounds. Go quickly now!” she concluded, giving both goblins a gentle shove towards the cave mouth.

Mica needed no urging as anger took over when Glob lied to him. He soon found Eodor talking to Agnitha outside the door to her home. “Leave my Agnitha’s house you cur!” Mica shouted, seething with anger. Eodor turned, and for a brief moment took in every detail of the tall, powerfully built, young warrior closing with him. Agnitha screamed and ran inside the house. “Fight me you dog, fight me! Agnitha is promised to me. None but I have the right to her hand,” Mica yelled.

Eodor stood square on to Mica. In his humin form he was Mica’s equal in strength and size. “Very well pup, choose the place of your death – here and now if you like.” He deliberately spat the words out to goad the young humin warrior into making a foolish move. He was going to enjoy this brief distraction before he fulfilled his contract for Geraint.

“Meet me at the south meadow as dusk falls!” Mica spluttered angrily, fighting back his immediate desire to strike at his rival right here and now in the village.

“So be it young fool,” Eodor’s handsome face twisted into a cruel mask. He added one last mocking insult as Mica departed. “Don’t forget to pray to your gods boy. For soon you will join them!”

The sun was almost touching the far western hills when Eodor strode towards where Mica stood at the centre of the southern meadow. Bejuss saw him coming and let out a cry of sheer terror. “Rarrk – the evil come’th – beware!” Then he flew high into the branches of an oak tree at the edge of the meadow and hid from view.

Glob, Make, Mous and Neo lay in wait in the shadows behind a tree stump with their razor sharp goblin blades, ready to come to their humin friend’s aid. True to form, Byz had wandered off. He sat at the southernmost edge of the meadow, happily playing with a butterfly.

Mica stood ready with his flint war axe in his right hand and his best spear dug into the ground beside him, as Eodor approached. His left hand caressed the handle of his flint knife stuck in his belt. Brilith readied herself, wand in hand, behind a large boulder close to where Mica stood. Eodor and Mica began to slowly circle each other, both seeking a weak point in their opponent’s defence. Mica swung his axe with his right hand while stabbing his spear at Eodor with his left. Eodor’s lightning fast agility meant he was easily able to dodge every blow Mica delivered. Both of them soon tired of these preliminary skirmishes and closed with one another, dropping all weapons except for their knives. At first they were evenly matched, but gradually Eodor’s unnatural strength gave him the upper hand. Despite his youth and strength, Mica was beginning to tire. Eodor finally grew weary of the game and sliced into the young humin’s thigh with his knife. Mica fell on his back, clutching the wound in great pain. Blood flowed freely between his fingers.

Eodor straddled his foe. At the point where he was ready to end Mica’s life by plunging his cruel knife into the young humin’s heart, Brilith strode forth and called out his true name, ending the fight. “Behold foul beast, thy name is Lungwort. I command ye to reveal thy true self!” Unable to disguise itself any longer the mountain gremlin stood up and began slowly transforming; instantly forgetting the young humin it had been so intent on killing moments before. Lungwort remained motionless as he slowly and painfully transformed, reverting back to his natural appearance. He stood half the height of a humin, yet twice the height of a goblin, with folded bat wings protruding from his back. His foul head was adorned with yellow bat ears and a bat muzzle of the same colouring. His cruel mouth was filled with needle sharp teeth capable of ripping flesh with ease. A long thin blue tongue hung limply out of one side of his cruel mouth. His heavily muscled torso, legs and arms were grey in colour. Both of his hands were armed with viciously sharp slashing claws. His four toed feet supported his powerful legs. Each foot had three toes facing forward, one back, each armed with a vicious talon.

“Now my friends, strike now while he is at his weakest,” Brilith cried as she stood with powerful spells at the ready. Glob, Neo, Make and Mous dashed from their hiding place and attacked the mountain gremlin with such fury, stabbing, ripping, gouging, biting – each of them seeking that mortal wound.

Lungwort was almost fully transformed, but he was sorely wounded. He lashed his head and arms from side to side trying to catch or bite one or other of the goblin brothers as they clung to him, still stabbing him furiously. Make had made Lungwort’s still not fully formed wings useless. His goblin blade shredded them, rendering the mountain gremlin incapable of flight. Neo had finally managed to hamstring one of the brute’s ankles, causing all to fall in a tangled heap on the ground. Lungwort seized Mous in one powerful hand, squeezing the tiny unfortunate goblin, breaking some bones. He was about to bite off his head, when suddenly he relaxed his grip as his cruel black eyes glazed over. His foul existence ended when simple minded Byz joined the fight. He had finally remembered why he was in the meadow. With one swift movement he had succeeded in finding the gremlin’s heart with his own razor sharp goblin blade.

The aftermath of the battle was a truly horrible sight to behold. Mica lay in agony, bruised and battered, still clutching the bloody wound on his thigh. Glob, Make, Mous and Neo were utterly exhausted and equally bruised and wounded. As for Byz, he sat down distracted once again, this time by a pretty wild flower. Bejuss, his courage returned, stood on the gremlin’s head pecking out its dead eyes with his twisted beak. It would take many months before the goblin brothers would ever speak about the day they all truly fought for their lives with their deadliest foe – Lungwort the mountain gremlin.

What of Mica and Agnitha I hear you cry? They were joined according to the humin custom. Their hands were bound with garlands of flowers on mid summer’s day beneath the ancient oak where Glob, Make, Mous, Byz, Neo and Bejuss lived. By the following summer the goblin brothers would have another young humin to look out for.

Geraint sat in his lair scowling at the happy scene reflected in his witch bowl. Time was on his side. He would send no more agents to do his bidding. One day he would personally take revenge on Yestin and his accursed family for the murder of his beloved sister Cazophen. And as for those accursed goblins, their time would come soon enough.

~~~

😉

The Penultimate Timeless Tale

Minotaur-Vs-Doctor

The Minotaur Giath

~~~

An Unlikely Alliance

In which terrible events threaten Goblindom’s very existence.

~~~

Winter fast approached. In the valley, freezing cold winds accompanied by rain and sleet signalled the change of seasons. The weather drove most of its inhabitants indoors to seek shelter and warmth. Inside the goblin brother’s home, all were suffering from cabin fever after spending almost a whole moon trapped by the foul conditions.

Beyond Goblindom’s borders, Morag, the warrior queen of the largest human tribe and her son prince Olin sat in the feasting hall of her royal long house, talking with the chiefs of the recently arrived tribes. They were finding it hard to keep the peace among the growing numbers migrating north from their former homes in the hot deserts far to the south. Each new tribe arriving here in the north fought those who had already settled down, to claim land for themselves. Morag struggled to persuade most to travel east or west. Land hungry eyes focussed on the seemingly impenetrable mountains further to the north, surrounding the hidden world of the goblins.

The antics of a particularly troublesome goblin caused sleepless nights for two individuals who cherished Goblindom’s peaceful isolation from the savage humans beyond its borders. His mindless deeds were about to be brought to the notice of all, whether inside Goblindom, or the world beyond.

Artemus Wainpin (Mus), a venerable mountain goblin shaman, and his lifelong friend Morweth the white wizard, travelled to speak with Mica’s father-in-law, Yestin, the humin shaman. None living in Goblindom, apart from Mus and Morweth, fully realized or indeed appreciated how the actions of the goblin in question and the events slowly unfolding beyond the barrier, could bring great peril to this relatively peaceful hidden land. Yestin was flattered that they had both sought his counsel. He sat quietly while his visitors warmed their bones beside his fire. When they began to explain the reason for their visit he listened intently. Morweth cleared his throat, before saying, “Mus recently brought to my attention the fact that a rogue mountain goblin by the name of Dillfeather Fairglorn has been raiding the world of the humans for the last two moons. So far the humans have not discovered who or what is causing them trouble. Somehow he has found a way to travel freely back and forth through our magical barrier. There must be another weak point in it somewhere. He must be stopped! Should the bloodthirsty, warlike humans follow him and witness his re-entry into Goblindom, our land and all of its inhabitants will be placed in grave peril.” Having told his terrible news the ancient wizard slumped in the chair he sat in clearly dreading the prospect of an imminent human invasion.

Mus removed his shaman’s badge of office, the horned mountain goat skull cap he wore on his head. He carefully placed it on the floor beside the stool he sat on. Then he rose to stand with his back to the fire before adding his own observations. “Wot Morweth says is true Yestin lad, buts there’s summink far worse wot trubles us more than Dill’s raids beyond our border. He’s founds a way ter open the barrier twixt the world we’s all lives in n the one neath us. Shud he lets all the beasties wot inhabits it loose, none on us, not humin, goblin, elf, troll, ogre, wyvern, griffin, wizard, witch, or human come ter that, wills be safe. We’s mus seek helps from the human queen Morag wivout her knowin who or where we are. Shud Dill takes it inter his head ter join forces wiv all the evil neath our feets, it’ll takes many more than jus us ter fights them. They is magic beasties wot wos driven below at the end of the time afore ter stops them causin truble. Once they is free they wills soon finds us n wipes us all out.”

Yestin sat in silence for many minutes digesting the news. Their hidden world had never before been threatened like this. “We should call a meeting of all the kinds who live here within Goblindom’s borders immediately. I agree that we need to find a solution to this latest danger my friends before it’s too late,” he said with a note of resignation in his voice.

By the end of the moon the leaders of all the kinds living within Goblindom sat around a large table inside the great throne room, deep within the ancestor oak. Her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, had taken charge of the proceedings. Their only topic of debate was an unlikely alliance with the warring human tribes beyond their border. The very idea of working with the much feared humans should Dill release the beasts, naturally made everyone highly nervous. Hermione took a brief moment to look at the familiar faces of all the leaders seated around the table before saying to them, “someone needs to travel to Morag’s settlement – but which one should we send? No matter whom we decide upon, they’re likely to be killed on sight by the murderous humans!”

Lox, the leader of the elves, sowed a seed of hope when she told all assembled, “the humans, besides being killers, are superstitious creatures. They believe in higher beings they call gods. In particular they pray to one they deem to be the lord of all who they call Odin. Perhaps playing on their superstitions may be the way.”

The grand high goblin, Obadiah Fingletook, Hermione’s first born son, shifted his bloated body on his throne and snorted with derision. “Gods, what are gods! Never heard of such a thing; and what does superstitious and pray mean?”

Hermione glared at him. “Be silent Obadiah! I’m in no mood for your childish outbursts. Go to your room at once!” she declared, with a seldom heard degree of absolute authority in her voice.

Obadiah’s flabby face reddened with embarrassment when his mother chastised him in front of the assembled leaders, who all chuckled quietly to themselves. He opened his mouth to object. But when all the leaders joined his mother in glaring angrily at him, his lips and fat chin quivered as tears welled up in his eyes. He quickly lowered his head and left the throne room in disgrace.

With the distraction over, Hermione encouraged Lox to continue by asking her, “how do you know so much about these human gods my dear?” Lox obliged by relating how before the magic border was installed at the end of the time before, she and her kind had wandered freely among the few surviving humans of the first battle between humanity and Goblindom, relatively unnoticed. She had listened to them invoking their god’s help in their darkest hour. One human she came across, and did her best to make comfortable as his end drew near, told her of Odin and the mythical land of Asgard where he dwelled with all the other human gods. He also told her of Odin’s two winged messengers Huginn and Muninn. Before he breathed his last, he revealed what kind of creature the messengers were. When Hermione suggested who the messenger should be, the leaders were all in total agreement. Carefully dictated by Lox, a missive to the human queen was written down by Morweth in the old human tongue of the west from the time before, still used by Morag’s tribe. Lox was then charged with delivering it to the intended messenger with instructions to seek out queen Morag or her son prince Olin.

Dill approached the barrier to the world beneath. Giath, the murderer of Yathle’s cousin Ariadne, stood on the other side of the barrier impatient for battle. The mountain goblin opened the barrier long enough to let him walk through before closing it quickly behind him. The stench of brimstone filled the air briefly while the barrier remained open. Murderous eyes watched the proceedings from the darkness behind where Giath had stood, impatient for their own release.

A few hours later, reports reached Morag’s ears that a powerful horned beast, along with another strange creature armed to the teeth, was on the rampage killing all humans in the farthest north-eastern settlements. Dill had released the last living Minotaur, intent on using him to create mayhem. Morag was about to send out a decree calling all her warriors to arms, with the intent of sending them off to seek out the invaders when an otherworldly visitor arrived unannounced. Morag, Olin and the assembled chiefs were terrified when one of Odin’s legendary messengers magically appeared in the hall and landed on one arm of her throne. It carried a scroll. “Mighty Huginn, what message do you bring us?” Morag nervously enquired, wide eyed with terror and foreboding. Olin and the assembled chiefs prostrated themselves on the floor of the hall in fear, not daring to look up. The messenger fixed her briefly with its gaze before dropping the scroll in her lap. Morag calmed herself and broke the seal before reading the message out loud for all to hear.

Morag my mortal daughter,

I have seen an intruder on the outer edge of my lands. His name is Dillfeather Fairglorn. He has found a way into the dangerous world beneath that in which you dwell. I know he intends to use the fearsome beasts I banished eons ago to the darkness beneath your feet in his bid to conquer the whole world and rid it of humans and the many other kinds living alongside you.

The beast he has released is the Minotaur Giath. Do not underestimate Dill or his evil companion. Giath is not only strong, but also possesses great magic in his voice. While you may eventually kill Dillfeather with spear, sword, or arrow, Giath is a different matter entirely.

In my own land beyond the mountains to the north of you, dwell many you have never set eyes upon, whom I choose to hide and protect from your kind. They are largely peaceful beings who worship at my feet. They fear what may happen should the magical beasts or you and your kind find them.

Disobey me at your peril Morag. If you try to enter my land, I will wage war upon you. At my command my son Thor protects all who live peacefully here in Asgard. Your kind must never travel any further north on pain of death. A few foolhardy humans have tried in the past to scale Asgards mountain borders and have been killed by my ever watchful Thor and his guards.

I shall send magical beasts of my own design to protect your army and to kill Giath and Dillfeather Fairglorn. If you and your chiefs agree to my demands, merely nod youre heads in my messengers presence. Shake them, and beware my rage. Huginn will return to me with your decision.

I Odin, lord of Asgard, command this.

Morag and Olin, along with the assembled human chiefs all nodded their heads vigorously in stunned silence, before watching wide eyed as Huginn simply vanish into thin air.

“Well, what did they say?” Morweth enquired.

“Morag, her chick Olin, n the other chief’th all nodded their headth Morweth. They’th all agree with yer proposal – rarrk.” Bejuss replied, once he had recovered from his long flight back.

“Glob my dearest son, you know what to do next,” Hermione said quietly to the old southern woods goblin after hearing the welcome news. Without a word he immediately went outside the ancestor oak with his emerald topped staff to summon Yathle, while Bejuss flew off to recruit Slyth, Garr, and as many other griffins as he could muster, along with all the birds of prey he could find.

At first light the following morning the skies above Morag’s army were filled with a frightening mixture of flying beasts circling above the humans. Yathle led the aerial armada of over a thousand wyverns and griffins, aided by flights of eagles and hawks, all ready for what was to come. By noon battle was joined on the snow covered open plains to the northwest of Goblindom.

Prince Olin’s battle horn had barely sounded the charge before Giath’s terrible bellow took its toll. The ear splitting sounds emanating from him tore the front ranks of humans asunder. Hundreds died horribly when their minds were turned to mush. The human’s spears and arrows had no effect on him whatsoever, merely bouncing off his impenetrable coat of thick hair. Many warriors were impaled on his massive horns when he lowered his head and charged.

Dill’s sword severed legs, while his dagger put out eyes, or disembowelled stomach’s when the unfortunate human he had just wounded lay helpless at his feet.

Giath picked up the nearest human to him by one leg like a child picks up a rag doll. He whirled his unfortunate victim above his head with ease before effortlessly throwing him into the charging ranks of human warriors. Many were felled in this fashion. Many more were trampled beneath Giath’s massive hooves.

Then Yathle and her armada attacked from on high. On her command, Slyth led his fellow griffins in a headlong dive towards Dill, while she and her sister wyverns, assisted by the eagles and hawks, sought out Giath. Morag’s army retreated when Olin blew his battle horn once again, after he had seen Odin’s many beasts descend from the sky above his head. From their vantage point on a low hill behind the battlefront, the remaining humans watched with a mixture of fear and fascination as the unfolding fight between Odin’s beasts of magic and the two unwelcome intruders began in deadly earnest.

Despite the relentless fiery barrage from the wyverns, Giath continued to bellow while crushing, tearing and trampling the rear ranks of humans when they answered Olin’s command to retreat. He saw something to one side of him out of the corner of his eye. His friend Dill was in grave danger of being beheaded by the vicious razor sharp beaks of the griffins. Forgetting the retreating humans for the moment Giath turned to assist the tiny goblin. Dill desperately slashed his sword wildly above his head, as the griffins snapped at him with each pass made at head height. Luckily for him he ducked at the last possible moment before Slyth’s great beak snapped shut where his head had been mere seconds before. The griffin soared skyward to prepare for his next attack run.

Meanwhile, his brother Garr levelled off behind the goblin ready to attack. He was totally focused on his intended victim when his own life brutally ended. Giath had arrived in the nick of time. He stood legs astride, towering over the tiny mountain goblin. He grabbed the unfortunate griffin in mid-flight with one of his gigantic clawed hands before quickly biting its neck. Garr died instantly. On witnessing the death of his brother, Slyth was overcome with blind rage, revenge and grief. He let out his war cry, calling on his brother griffins to join him in his headlong suicidal attack, completely ignoring Dill for the moment. Yathle, her sisters, and the thousands of eagles and hawks accompanying them, formed into their attack formations and prepared to follow the griffins down to the bloody scene below. Wave after wave of griffins flew at Giath from all directions. Many perished as he seized them when they closed within arm’s reach, ripping their heads or wings off, before trampling them beneath his hooves.

Dill was terrified and powerless to help. He ran away as fast as he could, heading for the safety of Goblindom’s barrier. Yathle and her sisters changed direction and gave chase. Soon there was nothing left of the mischievous goblin but a pile of smoking ash. Now it was time to end Giath’s existence. Yathle sounded her terrible battle cry, signalling the griffin’s withdrawal. Giath was enveloped in wave after wave of fiery blasts delivered by the wyvern sisters, while his mind destroying bellows continued to reduce the humans closest to the battle to gibbering fools.

Covering his ears from Giath’s assault on his very soul, Olin watched the fiery assault completely spellbound. The evil beast’s seemingly impenetrable hairy coat was eventually burnt away revealing his seared flesh. Flights of eagles and hawks now joined in the attack, tearing great lumps of charred flesh from Giath’s back, head and arms, before each fresh wave of wyverns attacked once more. By late afternoon what remained of Giath lay on the blood stained snow of the battleground.

Yathle landed on the hill towering over a now completely terrified Olin, while her sisters and the griffins surrounded the remnants of the human army, viewing them with murderous eyes. Fixing him with her golden hypnotic gaze, she spoke to him in his own tongue, delivering Odin’s last command. “My lord and master mighty Odin has charged me to say this to you – leave these lands forever, you and your kind are not welcome here. Go while you still can. Disobey my wishes and I will send my son Thor at the head of my vast army of beasts to wage war upon you. Return here at your peril – now be gone!” Then with a flap of her powerful wings she rose into the sky and flew north accompanied by the vast armada of her sister wyverns. The grieving Slyth and his remaining griffin brothers, accompanied by the countless flights of eagles and hawks followed close behind.

Olin led the remaining members of the chastened human army back to his mother Morag. Only time would tell if they would heed Odin’s demand to leave this place…

~~~

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