One more Goblin Tale

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Thicker Than Sap

     In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss the lisping one eyed raven with the twisted beak, hide a fugitive.

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

More later

😉

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Another Goblin Tale

goblin_by_davidrapozaart

Beware on Crellan’s Mine!

Part 1

The Pressgang

     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…

More later

😉

An Early Timeless Tale

gremlin

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 Ultimate Timeless Tale

Minotaur-Vs-Doctor

Giath the Minotaur

~~~

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…

Want to read more tales like this? click on the following: Goblin Tales by [Eason, Jack]

😉

One More Timeless Tale

Schnoz-Goblin-NC-LP-2

The Goblin Seer Snailwort Dewthorn (Dew)

~~~

Snailworts Bunion

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), and curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), seek advice, while Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, seeks revenge.

~~~

It had been nearly half a moon since Mica’s portly friend Cantor finally extracted himself from the goblin brother’s home. Despite his pathetic pleading to be fed, both Mica and Glob refused to bring him any food. Cantor had no choice but to wait until he was slim enough to squeeze his humin sized frame out through the goblin brother’s tiny front door.

Glob’s twig cousin Lim had been taken to the ancestor oak where her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, employed him to look after her petulant first born son Obadiah. Should Lim feel tempted to steal from either of them in the future, he would instantly be thrown into the dungeons beneath the ancestor oak.

Magical Goblindom was once again clothed in its finest colours. Best of all, it was at peace. Summer was fast approaching. The trees of the southern wood were in full leaf. Wild flowers swayed in the gentle breezes. Birds sung their beautiful songs. The plains were covered in verdant grasses, and the many crags of the mountains that marked the west and east boundaries of Goblindom, were richly decorated with flowering alpine plants. All the kinds that lived alongside the three tribes of goblins were busy caring for their new-born.

Snailwort Dewthorn sat on a three legged wooden stool outside his stout double skinned oak door, smoking his clay pipe while basking in the warm sunshine. Unlike all other plains goblins, Dew lived alone. All of the countless wars that were inflicted upon Goblindom, over the thousands of summers of its existence, started by petty squabbles between the three goblin tribes, which inevitably drew in the other kinds living alongside them, had simply passed him by. He loved his snug little abode. He had excavated it in the side of a middle sized mound in the vast western plains, a thousand summers ago when he was a younger. Beyond the front door was a short passageway with doors leading off it, both right and left. At the end of the passageway was the door to his bedroom. The second door on the left led into his extremely tidy living room, dominated by a large fireplace. On either side of the fireplace he had placed high backed carved oak settles, furnished with cobweb cushions for comfort. The other doors accessed from the passageway led variously to his kitchen, a scullery and pantry, his brewing room and a guest bedroom, which, because he normally had no guests to stay, doubled as his store room. Goblins of all kinds came from far and wide to trade for an acorn shaped barrel or two of his most excellent clover mead. More importantly, all within Goblindom no matter what kind they may be, sought out his advice from time to time. Dew’s gift of second sight, thanks to his bunion, was legendary.

He had just nodded off with his pipe wedged firmly between two of his teeth in the sun’s warmth, when he was suddenly woken up in a blind panic when Miranda snorted and her foal neighed loudly. “Arternoon Dew, we’s comes ter seeks yer advice,” Glob announced as he and his brothers climbed down from the old mare’s back. Neo hobbled her before he put the straps of her nose bag full of fresh hay, over her head and gently guided the foal’s mouth to her teat, before following the rest inside.

Bejuss was about to enter, perched in his customary position on Glob’s shoulder, when Dew held up his hand and declared solemnly, “no raven’s is allowed insides me home. Yer kind is cursed in these here parts – be gone black messenger on evil!”

Quite naturally, the old bird took umbrage and began spluttering indignantly. To say Bejuss was incensed, would be an understatement. Glob temporarily silenced him with a juicy slug and sat him between Miranda’s ears, asking him to keep watch. After he had swallowed the delicious morsel he began complaining bitterly at the top of his voice. “Curthed, meththenger on evil indeed – how dare he thay thuch a thing! Rarrk – who doeth he think he ith?”

Simpleminded Byz’s eyes grew wide with amazement as he looked at all of the treasures old Dew had gathered together over his long life. All around them on countless shelves, nooks and ledges sat pieces of wood the old goblin had carved to represent magical beasts, together with beautiful jewels, polished snail shells, intricately carved acorns and a few wooden puzzles that Dew liked to solve during the long evenings beside his fire. It was one of these that Byz picked up and began to play with while the rest talked.

“Sit yerselves down lads – mead anyone?”

After several welcome mugs of the finest mead any of them had ever tasted, Glob explained the reason for their visit. “We’s gots us a problem wiv a plains goblin on yer acquaintance wot is terrorizin folk where we live in the southern woods Dew,” Glob began, while relaxing by the fire in the settle opposite their host.

Despite the thickness of his door, Dew and his guests could still hear Bejuss ranting outside. Dew puffed on his pipe for a few moments, thinking to himself, bringin that bird ter me home is unlucky. Turning his mind back to the immediate problem, he emptied the ash in his pipe into the fireplace and asked Glob, “Wot’s this plains goblin’s name?”

“Oliphant Wiseblat.”

“Ah, hmm – so that’s where he’s bin n gorn ter is it – the southern woods. He’s a baddun n no mistake Glob. Hows cans I’s help?”

Glob put down his mug and though for a while. “Cans yer tells us his weakness? Wot cans we do ter catch him?” Dew’s legendary bunion immediately began to throb. He carefully removed the extra-large willow bark boot housing his left foot and the huge bunion, before crossing his left leg over his right. Deathly silence ensued while Dew began closely studying his bunion. Apart from Bejuss who was still complaining bitterly outside, and the crackling of the flames in the fireplace, no sound could be heard inside the confines of Dew’s home. Neo started to fidget on the uncomfortable stool he sat on. Make, who was seated beside Glob, packed his bestest briar pipe with a plug of fresh honeysuckle baccy, lent over Glob’s lap to the fire, lit a taper and applied it to his pipe. Mous, who had sat next to Dew, began humming quietly to himself. Glob stared into the fire, idly drumming his long bony fingers on the armrest of the settle.

Dew continued to study his bunion in silence. Divining the signs and omens was not to be rushed. He looked closely at the lines that crisscrossed the surface of the throbbing growth, and its many colours. He even took note of the amount of pain the bunion caused him at specific moments, along with the frequency of its throbbing. Sometimes he cocked his head from side to side to study it from different angles. Occasionally he uttered things like, “Hmm,” or, “Well? No, that can’t be right. Maybe that’s it. Oh dear no, that’s nots it either!” While Dew concentrated intently, with the exception of simpleminded Byz who was happily playing, his guests all eventually fell asleep, bored out of their minds. Outside, even old Bejuss’ anger had finally dissipated for the moment. “I’s gots it!” the old plains goblin suddenly shouted, waking the slumbering goblin brothers when he leapt victoriously to his feet, briefly throwing them into panic.

Neo fell off his stool, crashing to the floor in a heap. He had been dreaming that he and Miranda were picking flowers in the meadow behind her stable. Mous soiled himself, turned bright purple with embarrassment at the resultant stench, apologised profusely and quickly ran outside. Byz burst into tears and began furiously sucking his thumbs. Make got such a shock that he dropped his still smouldering pipe on his lap, scorching his second best jerkin. Glob violently broke wind and began furiously fanning the air around him. “Wot has yer gots Dew?” he asked, after he had regained his composure.

Dew began dancing a merry jig on his right leg, waving his left foot and its bunion in the air in triumph, “Why, the answer yer cames ter me for, wot else?”

“Well that wos a complete wastes on time,” Neo snarled, when they all began the long return journey home, sitting on Miranda’s broad back. Simpleminded Byz rode on Miranda’s foal, who trotted happily beside her mother. “Puts out a barrel on mead, n a pile on honeycomb in a glade indeed; even I’s cud have thoughts on that!” Neo grumbled, becoming more irritated by the second. Clearly like its owner, after a thousand summers, Dew’s bunion was feeling its age. either that or it was losing its powers of divination.

Glob, with Bejuss perched on his shoulder, sat on Miranda’s broad haunches talking quietly. “Rarrk – me’ll fly over ter athk Morweth wot ter do,” the old bird lisped in Glob’s ear. Glob sighed and nodded his head in agreement. “I’sll summon Yathle old friend, n we’ll goes tergether. I’s sorry I’s suggested seekin out Dew’s advice, n I’s really sorry he said wot he dids bout yer Bejuss lad. Can’s yer ever forgives me?”

Bejuss briefly stopped preening his feathers. “Rarrk – he’th a rude old grotkin Glob, twerent yer fault,” the old raven replied with a black look on his face, not that anyone looking at him at the time could tell because of his black plumage. First he would help his friends deal with the immediate problem of Oliphant Wiseblat and then…

“So, wots we’s goin ter do bout Oli thens?” Make sighed, after they had all got home, tired and totally disillusioned by Dew’s completely useless advice. He knocked the ash out of his pipe into the fire, idly watching tiny sparks snake their way through the fireplace’s thick layer of soot.

Oliphant himself solved the problem for them soon after dawn the following day, when he attacked Verig’s young son Barron, at the edge of the humin village. The child had been running an errand for his mother Megan, when the plains goblin seized him from behind and began choking him. Young Barron was no match for Oli in strength. Instead he sunk his teeth into the goblin’s powerful forearm, drawing blood. The combined terrified cries of the child, and the angry grunts of the goblin, brought everyone out of their roundhouses, armed to the teeth.Verig flew at Oli with his flint bladed knife, determined to rescue his son from the evil goblin, closely followed by Mica, Cantor, Jasper and Manx. Realising his grave error, Oli quickly released the humin child and ran for his worthless life, heading north towards the woods.

Glob and his brothers had heard the commotion and quickly armed themselves. By the time they reached the ground beneath their oak tree home, the blood curdling war cries of the humin warriors heading their way in hot pursuit, plus the sound of their pounding feet, made their green goblin blood run cold. The next moment Oli crashed headlong into Neo. In his desperation to get away from the angry humins, he had been looking over his shoulder at his pursuers instead of where he was going. Make, Mous and Glob leapt upon him as he fought to free himself from Neo’s strong grip. Byz joined in the tussle beneath their home, biting Oli’s gnarled leathery nose, drawing blood. Mica and Verig with Cantor, Jasper and Manx close on their heels arrived a few moments later. Verig seized Oli by his ragged ears and lifted him bodily into the air with Glob and his brothers still clinging on, biting and gouging the plains goblin’s face, arms, legs and body with their sharp teeth and talon-like nails.

“Let go of him Glob, call off your brothers. We’ll deal with him,” Mica yelled, to make himself heard over the angry snarls and growls of the goblin brothers, and the screams of their victim.

After tempers had cooled somewhat, Glob asked that Oli be taken before the wise council. Verig quite naturally wanted to execute him on the spot, backed up by Cantor and the rest of the angry humin warriors and Glob’s brothers, who were all howling for his blood. Mica held up his hand. “No, Glob is right my friends. This monster has been plaguing far more folk than just us. There will be many across Goblindom who will want to see justice done. Cantor, bind him and take him back to the village for now and throw him in the cage. “Neo, will you take Miranda please and bring back Figblaster Cornshuffle to arrest him? His fate must be placed in the hands of the wise council.” Turning to Verig, he said,” Don’t worry friend, his days of terrorising Goblindom are over now. Go home and take care of young Barron.”

As the goblin brothers watched Cantor carry Oli away under his arm, surrounded by the rest of the humin warriors, all eager to do him harm, Glob looked all about him. “Anybody seed Bejuss?” On seeing there was no need for him to join in with the apprehension of Oli, the old raven had flown off on a mission of his own.

Slyth the griffin was dozing outside the cave he shared with his brother Garr, after finishing his meal. They had managed to take a party of mountain goblins by complete surprise, seizing and carrying off the fattest two. “It’th me Thlyth, me needth yer help ter take me revenge – rarrk.”

The fierce griffin opened his jet black eyes when his good friend announced his presence, glad to see him. “How can I’s help Bejuss? Need someone killed perhaps?” Bejuss hopped onto Slyth’s head and whispered his problem into his ear. If it were possible for a griffin to grin, he would have. Bejuss’ plan for revenge appealed greatly. Between them they talked over their strategy. At Slyth’s suggestion, Bejuss flew off to a particular location close by to gather an ingredient the griffin deemed was necessary. Within the hour the old bird successfully returned.

Dew was dozing beside his fireplace. A loud knock on his door woke him from a deep sleep. His bunion throbbed violently. The old plains goblin hobbled out of his living room and down the passageway to his stout front door. “H-h-who is it?” he nervously enquired from behind the stout oak door. His bunion did its best to warn him of impending danger. The next thing he heard were spine chilling screams and the sound of vicious claws tearing at the outer surface of his door. He hobbled back up the passageway to his bedroom as fast as he could. Rapidly bolting the door behind him, he gathered his bed and all of the furniture in the room to form a barricade which he cowered behind, trembling with fear for the rest of the night.

The next morning all was quiet. Dew plucked up his courage and began removing his hastily erected barricade. Grabbing his club he unbolted his bedroom door and crept down the passageway to his front door. He carefully placed his ear against it. Hearing nothing unusual he nervously removed the stout oak beam that barred it and opened the door. The whole outer skin of the door was torn to shreds. Splinters of oak lay on the ground. Clearly a monster had tried to enter. Then something caught his eye. Someone had left him a gift on the three legged stool he normally used to snooze in the sunshine, just to one side of the door.

When Glob opened his eyes, his old friend Bejuss was roosting in his normal place in the rafters of their home. The brothers ate their breakfast in silence. Glob fed Bejuss his favourites, fat juicy slugs, snails and worms. After breakfast, Neo left to visit Miranda and her foal while Make and Mous did the washing up. Byz played with his pets beneath his bed as usual. Glob sat beside the window digesting his breakfast, with old Bejuss perched on his shoulder. Once again, all seemed well in the southern woods.

Two days later dreadful news reached the brothers. Snailwort Dewthorn had been found dead. A plains goblin of his acquaintance, one Gordline Mountview, had journeyed from his home on the westernmost edge of the vast plains, just below Dragontooth Mountain, to trade buttercup flavoured tobacco for a barrel of Dew’s clover mead. On arrival he saw that the severely damaged door stood wide open. He called out before entering, thinking Dew was busy somewhere inside. To his horror he found the old goblin seer’s body lying in a foetal position in a pool of vomit on the floor of his living room. The tortured look on his blackened face signalled to anyone who saw it, the extreme agony he had suffered in his last moments before death. Beside him was a bowl containing the remnants of his last meal and his wooden spoon.

Mount quickly travelled to the wise council with his terrible news. They duly sent the bounty hunter Figblaster Cornshuffle to investigate and report back. Fig gathered all the evidence he could find and returned by nightfall after burying Dew. The wise council concluded after two long days and nights of deliberation that Dew had committed suicide by deliberately eating a bowl full of Destroying Angel, a highly poisonous form of mushroom, while the balance of his mind was disturbed. The effects of eating the deadly mushroom were well known by most living in Goblindom. It takes a whole day and night before any symptoms appear. But by then it is too late.

Whether Glob suspected Bejuss’ involvement in Dew’s death or not, he kept silent. Never once did he broach the subject with his old friend, or mentioning it to another living soul. For his part, all Bejuss ever wanted was to make Dew sorry for insulting him. His plan was simply to give the old goblin seer a nasty scare. When Slyth sent him to gather the mushrooms, and later on his instructions, leave them on the stool while he issued his terrible cry and tore at the door with his sharp talons, the old raven honestly had no idea just how lethal the mushrooms were. Either way, he never again took revenge on another living soul for the rest of his days. Plus it would be some time before he asked Slyth for help of a personal nature in the future.

The Time Before Map

~~~

Revenge is always a dish best served cold…

😉

Here’s another Timeless Tale

mountains-clouds

Beyond lies the hidden world of Goblindom

~~~

What Are They Glob?

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, encounter a threat to Goblindom’s very existence.

Mica and his father-in-law Yestin, the village shaman, had stopped briefly to take a rest on their journey to visit the white wizard Morweth, and the white witch Brilith. They were sitting on the brow of a low hill when they caught sight of some strangers in the distance. Quickly lying flat in the lush grass so as not to be observed, they peered cautiously at the group temporarily camped on the opposite side of the stream that formed Goblindom’s south-eastern boundary. While they looked vaguely humin they were shorter, barely five feet tall, thickset and darker in complexion. Yathle had told Glob a few days earlier that she had seen a small armed group travelling north towards Goblindom’s southern border. Thanks to Yathle’s timely information all of the humin settlements were now on full alert. If this was a scouting party for a much larger army, were they warlike or peaceful? Who were they, what were they, where had they come from?

Mica asked Yestin to return with reinforcements and watched him disappear from view heading back to the village. By noon several heavily armed humin warriors along with Glob, Make, Mous and Neo brandishing their clubs, lay in the thick grass on the ridge after Glob had tethered simpleminded Byz to Miranda’s back leg in the pasture below and behind them. “What are they Glob? They look like us and yet…” Mica’s voice trailed off as they all struggled to identify the strangers in the distance.

Bejuss perched on Glob’s shoulder cocking his head left and right. “Rarrk – me fly over n thee wot they ith,” the old bird volunteered, and quickly took to the air. Within a few minutes he had perched once again on Glob’s shoulder. “They lookth a bit like yer doeth Mica, but they ith tho ugly n have different weaponth,” the old bird lisped, as he recovered from his short flight.

“Wot kind on weapons does they have Bejuss?” Glob asked, staring down towards the strangers.

“They’th got thhiny weaponth like mountain goblinth hath, made out on metal,” Bejuss replied, stabbing a butterfly that had flown within reach, before quickly swallowing it. “Pluth they don’t talk like uth. They thpeak in a thrange tongue, a bit like the one Morweth n Crellan uthed when they dethroyed Kilycke’th netht. They aint got no trading goodth, juth weaponth. They hath broad beakth thticking out on their face n black eyeth thhaded by thick featherth.”

Bejuss’ description of metal weapons, broad noses and bushy eyebrows made Glob’s blood run cold. If his suspicions proved correct, their magically protected land was in deep trouble. “We’s need ter calls another meetin on all who lives in Goblindom; we have no time ter waste!” Glob declared, indicating to the rest to follow. Bejuss volunteered to stay behind to keep his one eye on the strangers while the rest retired to the base of the hill where Glob summoned Yathle with his emerald topped staff, first asking her to collect Morweth and Brilith, then return to pick them up to carry everyone to the emergency meeting.

Within the hour Glob had informed her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother of all, of the impending threat. Word rapidly spread via Hermione’s finest elven runners to all interested parties to meet at the ancestor oak. Bingle and his fellow council member Peesmold Grifflemew sat listening to Mica describing the strangers. “Hmm, it’s as we feared Mew. The humans have finally found Goblindom’s border.”

Peesmold’s ancient leathery face grew glum as he reluctantly nodded his head. “I’s afraids I’s have ter agree wiv yer Bingle. We always knew that they wud returns someday.”

“Begging yer pardons master Grifflemew, but wots are humans?” Neo enquired, nervously crossing his eyes, clearly puzzled and disturbed by this possibly dangerous new threat.

Bingle stood and walked to the centre of the room to deliver his considered answer. “Humans is the evil ugly stunted distant cousins on Mica’s own kind young Neo. They is thoroughly nasty creatures. Their kind wos sent ter the desert lands on the south, thousands on summers ago in the time afore, when we’s fought a terrible war against them n drove them away, soon after the world wos born. Theys caused truble from the outset. Theys is greedy, destructive n warlike. If theys is movin north, then theys is up ter no good. When theys wos banished, theys soon became even more savage n barbaric, cos we’s injured their minds when we’s removed all knowledge on Goblindom n its whereabouts. Some on them even took a liking ter eatin their own kind! We’s all thought theys wud die out in the harsh barren lands theys wos banished ter. Peers theys has survived n grown in number.” Bingle sat back down as Mew nodded in sombre agreement at Bingle’s accurate assessment of the situation.

Crellan 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 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 Goblindom. How many of them now 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 believe Morweth.” Morweth and Brilith both nodded their heads in agreement. 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 practitioners in the form of healers,” Crellan continued. “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 make slaves of 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.”

Using his recent accidentally acquired magical power of invisibility, Bejuss perched in the branches of the willow tree the humans sat beneath beside the stream, having passed freely through the magic barrier; not realising for one moment that it was something which should not have been possible. The barrier’s apparent weakness would be tested by another in a few moons from now.

Bejuss listened intently to their conversation. He understood the odd word here and there. From what he could make out, they were trying to work out a safe route up a sheer rock wall. Unlike them, Bejuss only saw the meadow and the low hill beyond where Glob, Mica and the rest had lain a few hours earlier within Goblindom’s borders, beyond the stream. When Mica, Crellan, Morweth, Brilith, Yathle, Glob, Make, Mous and Neo returned back to the hill overlooking the humans, Bejuss was waiting for them with his news. “Rarrk – they’th only thee high mountainth in front on them Mica, not our home,” the old bird happily lisped his report, as he munched contentedly on the juicy slug Glob had just given him.

The humans sat contemplating the long climb ahead of them. “By the gods how are we ever going to climb that?” Daffid asked of his companions, craning his neck as he looked up.

“More to the point, why do we even want to? I can’t even see its top for the heavy cloud covering it, can you?” Owen grumbled, balking at the terrifying thought of such a long and dangerous climb. Daffid nodded his head in agreement.

Gyred, leader of the scouting party, glared at his two companions before spitting out his curt reply. “Because our chief, prince Olin, son of queen Morag, believes the ancient folk tales told in our halls of a hidden land full of riches somewhere beyond the great mountains, that’s why. Now stop grumbling and get ready to climb you scum!”

As he watched the humans prepare, an idea began to form in Glob’s mind. “Why don’t we’s lets em climb up a ways? Once they is aboves ground they is easy targets. Bejuss cud pecks em unseen.”

Crellan’s eyes lit up as a cruel grin broke out across his face. “If Yathle, Morweth and Brilith will agree I have an idea to assist Bejuss. Whatever we do, the humans must not realise that magic is being used against them, or that what they see and climb is created by it. What happens to them must appear wholly natural.”

Daffid climbed steadily with Owen and Gyred roped to him, following behind. Each human carried their spear, shield and sword securely tied across their backs with strong leather thongs. “How much further do we have to go?” Owen muttered as he gasped for air. None of them had ever climbed so high before because in their former desert homeland, no high mountains like these existed.

“Ow! Watch it, that hurt! Mind where you’re pointing that spear,” Daffid yelled swinging round suddenly, accusing Owen of wounding him. Bejuss flew a few feet away unseen and unheard. The old bird was enjoying himself as he looked at the bleeding wound he had just inflicted on the leading climber’s exposed calf.

Next he flew above them picked up a pebble and returned to where Gyred was busy searching for hand holds with his fingers. Carefully taking aim, he dropped the pebble on the human’s bare head. “Watch it you scum, you’ll have the whole mountain down on us blast you!” Bejuss then grabbed the leather thong holding Daffid’s weapons, pulled hard at its slip knot and watched them fall, crashing and clattering against the rock face towards Owen and Gyred, who desperately flattened themselves in order to avoid being skewered or sliced.

In the meantime, Yathle carried the two wizards and Brilith to the topmost peak of the magic barrier, while they clung on to her, ready to cast spells. At Crellan’s whispered command, Yathle flew back down through the apparently solid sheer rock face of the magic barrier at breakneck speed. She deliberately aimed her headlong dive at Daffid. Before any of the humans realized what was happening Yathle struck the unfortunate man with such force that he was sent flying, falling to his death. Owen and Gyred screamed as they too were wrenched free, still secured together by the rope. Fortunately for them, the rope parted when Daffid’s fall was temporarily halted by a jagged spine of rock, and caught itself, suspending them both as their now dead companion lay on the ground far below. Yathle continued on down through the barrier and incinerated the dead human, turning him to ash while Bejuss flew to the rock ledge and began pecking furiously at the taught rope, parting it strand by strand.

From where they stood, far below the action, Mica, Glob, Neo, Mous and Mica’s fellow humin warriors watched the frantic efforts of the two remaining humans, seemingly hanging in mid-air. Once more Yathle flew above the humans unseen and unheard by them. Crellan, Morweth and Brilith quickly released wave upon wave of spells designed to loosen rocks. Gyred had managed to wedge his feet firmly into a narrow crack while he desperately held on to the rope. Owen was too far away from the rock face to help himself. All he could do was hang on hoping and praying that his leader would soon rescue him. While Bejuss tore at the rope with his razor sharp twisted beak, high above, thanks to the combined spells, the rocks began to drop. At first it was just a few pebbles that bounced their way down the apparent sheer rock face. But soon much heavier boulders crashed and bounced their way down. Bejuss’ seventh sense told him it was time to leave. By the time he had re-joined Glob and the rest, a full scale avalanche was underway.

“I doubt they even knew what hit them,” Mica said later, after they all had watched the combined magic of Crellan, Morweth and Brilith repair and strengthen the magic barrier once more, while Yathle incinerated the broken bodies, turning them to ash that drifted on the wind. What they had all witnessed that day was an unwelcome glimpse of a possible future. The days of Goblindom as they all knew it may yet be numbered unless the magic barrier continued to hold the human hoard at bay.

~~~

😉

A Timeless Tale

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The Wrong Medicine

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 raven with the twisted beak, encounter an unwelcome side effect of goblin medicine.

The goblin brother’s household were all feeling the effects of winter as chill winds from the north signalled that its icy fingers were taking hold. Neo was laid up in bed, shivering and sneezing with a heavy cold. Make’s nose was all bunged up. Mous’s eyes and nose were streaming constantly. Glob had chronic earache and Bejuss’ feathers had lost their sheen as he coughed and sneezed constantly. The worst afflicted was simpleminded Byz. He had all the symptoms of the dreaded hack, a potentially fatal winter affliction peculiar to goblins.

The hack is not a simple coughing fit brought on by a sore throat or common cold, it is far, far worse. Depending on the health of the sufferer, if the patient is given the wrong kind of medicine, severe, sometimes fatal, complications can occur.

Poor Byz lay in his bed in great discomfort. Glob sat beside him feeding him weak mushroom soup by the spoonful.

Bejuss was perched on Glob’s shoulder, sneezing loudly. “Achoo! Rarrk – me nearly thneezed me brain’th out, beg’th pardon Glob,” the old bird apologised, after spraying his friend’s ear with birdy snot, which he tried to wipe clean with his wing. He watched Glob feed Byz. He wasn’t going to admit it, but he actually felt sorry for the youngest goblin brother.

Neo sneezed, cursed, broke wind violently, and threw off his thick cobweb blankets as his temperature rose, making him sweat profusely. Despite shivering from his high fever, Mous sat so close to the fire that his jerkin started to singe. Make’s dry hacking cough made his face change colour and his eyes bulge. The honeysuckle flavoured smoke from his bestest briar pipe burned his already inflamed throat, making him feel worse.

Byz in his severely weakened state tried desperately to sit up. Each time Glob offered him another spoonful of soup, the hack caused him to shake so violently that several times he had knocked the spoon from Glob’s hand spilling it all over himself, Glob, and his bed.

A loud knock on the door interrupted their misery. Make went to see who it was. When he opened the door, no one was there. He began muttering under his breath about, “Subwun’s dakin diabolical liberdies wiv sick folk!” when he saw a small package had been left beside the doorstep. He picked it up before rapidly shutting the door to keep out the cold.

“Who was it?” Glob casually enquired as he wiped spilled mushroom soup from his lap.

“Tweren’t nobody dere,” Make replied grumpily, sniffing loudly to clear his nose while looking at the package. “Foud dis by de door,” he added as his blocked nose continued to affect his speech. Sneezing loudly he handed the package to Glob, before joining Mous beside the fire. Both goblins shivered constantly, even though wisps of steam rose from their fevered bodies.

Glob stopped trying to feed Byz and took the package over to his chair by the window to examine it. Despite feeling terrible, Bejuss perched on the back of Glob’s chair, curious to know what it contained. “Rarrk, ith yer goin ter open it then – achoo?” the old bird sneezed his question, wiping his beak with his wing. Glob turned the package over to see if it had anything written on it. He carefully opened it and peered nervously inside. There was a small sealed bottle along with a note. Glob studied the note very carefully.

“Ter whom it may concern,

Here is sum medicine ter relieve yer winter ailments. Add no more than wun drop ter a mug on mulled mead ter relieve all the symptoms on goblin hack, colds, coughs, sore throats n blocked noses at this time on year.

Get well soon.”

Glob put down the note and carefully uncorked the mysterious jar. The foul odour made his eyes water as he gingerly sniffed it. He dipped his finger into the jar’s neck and licked the concoction with the tip of his tongue, grimacing at its foul taste. Then his old face lit up when he finally recognised what it was. “Some kind soul has jus gorn n left us a jars on snifflebain jelly. Make go n gets the mugs n the barrel on mead. Mous sticks the poker in the fire – quick sharp now.” As Mous plunged the red hot poker into each mug of mead, Glob carefully put one drop of the runny jelly into each hot drink, then passed them to his brothers.

Bejuss watched as the goblins miraculously began to get better before his eye. “Me want thome, me want thome!” he loudly demanded, jumping up and down, pecking at the jar to get Glob’s attention.

Glob shook his head. “I’s sorry Bejuss lad, but snifflebain is goblin medicine, taint for birdies. It’s cud be poison ter the likes on yer. I’ll go n gets some hawthorn berries n crab apples soon ter makes yer own special medicine once I’s feelin better.”

Bejuss flew up to the rafters in utter disgust, sulking and muttering loudly that, “all goblinth ith thelfithh – achoo!”

By mid-afternoon, the five goblin brothers were once again hale and hearty and had left their home to gather acorns, honeycomb and toadstools to stock their larder for winter. Relieved that they were feeling much better, they had all completely forgotten that Bejuss was still ailing. Plus, never once did any of them wonder who their mysterious angel of mercy may have been.

When they departed, Bejuss flew down to the table where the medicine bottle sat. He peered and pecked at it while walking around it. He pushed it, tipping it over. The bottle rolled across the table and fell to the floor, smashing to pieces. Its contents settled in a sticky puddle on the floor, giving off a strange green haze.

He flew down to the floor and hopped over to the puddle, cautiously smelling it. “Rarrk – it thmellth dithguthtin!” he lisped, as the foul aroma filled his nostrils. He carefully tasted it with his tongue. “Tatht’th nathty too, but it made Glob n the retht better, tho why not me?”

Covering his nostrils with one wing to keep out the smell, the old bird began to lick greedily at the spilled medicine. Because of the way he hungrily consumed the sticky substance, inevitably he got the hiccups. But these were no ordinary hiccups. Each time they happened, a tiny green cloud escaped from his beak. As his hiccups increased in intensity, the cloud grew larger and darker in colour.

Neo had gone to see Miranda, tired of looking for honeycomb. As he approached the stable, he broke wind violently and vanished from view in a thick green cloud.

Glob sat talking with his humin friends, Mica and Agnitha, while their little girl Ylesse, who by now was toddling on shaky legs, played with a ball of twine. A cry of alarm from somewhere outside made them all quickly run to see what was wrong.

Mica’s fellow villagers stood transfixed. They watched a giant muscular green goblin with a large double-headed axe chase after an equally large half goblin, half rabbit with large furry ears and long whiskers sticking out of its long pointed nose, intent on doing it harm. Then from the southern pasture yet another very large fierce looking mountain goblin warrior with a pig-like snout, carrying a shield across his back and swinging a large spiked mace, closed ready to do battle with the other two. A fourth equally large goblin emerged from the tree line and strode towards where the villagers stood, sat down heavily with such force that he made everyone feel unsteady on their feet, and started furiously sucking his thumb.

Despite being terrified, Glob thought he recognised the monstrous assembly. He walked over to the giant thumb sucking goblin. “Byz lad, wots wrong then?” The giant pouted and looked at him before beginning to cry. He sneezed and burped loudly releasing a green cloud, and reverted back to his normal self.

“What’s going on Glob,” Mica whispered quietly as he carefully approached.

“They is all me brothers Mica. Someone left some medicine by our door this mornin. We wos all sufferin from aches n pains, coughs n colds.  I’s gaves all me brothers some in a mug on mulled mead n theys all gots better. I’s didn’t takes any meself, jus stuck some in me ear, n me earache vanished!”

The giant with the axe was about to behead the goblin rabbit, when he suddenly froze, sneezed a green cloud and shrank back to his normal size, crossing his eyes constantly. The goblin rabbit hopped away terrified, disappearing behind one of the roundhouses.

“Wots wrong wiv us Glob?” Neo asked with a perplexed look on his face, dazed by the transformation, still burping and breaking wind and giving off yet more green clouds as the effects of the medicine slowly dissipated.

The former mountain goblin warrior with the mace answered as he reached inside his jerkin for his bestest briar pipe. “I’s knew there wos summink spicious bout that parcel Glob – achoo!”

“Bless you Make,” Agnitha replied, offering him a rag to wipe his nose. Ylesse suddenly burst into tears behind them. When they all turned round they saw her having a tug of war with the goblin rabbit who was trying hard to steal her ball of twine.

“Eponymous Tringthicky – give it back to my Ylesse this instant do you hear, or else I swear I’ll slap your legs!” Agnitha shouted angrily, scolding the accident prone goblin, while scooping up her tearful baby daughter.

The goblin rabbit hung its head in shame, twitching its nose. “I’z zorry Agnitha, zorry Ylezze, I’z juz wanted ter play wiv it,” he said, quickly handing the twine ball back to Ylesse who pouted angrily at him before sticking out her tongue. Mous began to hop off in the direction of their oak tree home, tripped on a rock and fell over, knocking the wind out of himself. With one loud green burp he was finally back to normal.

Glob rounded up his still sneezing brothers and tied them together before he marched them home in disgrace. Once he had sent them all to their beds, after dosing them up with proper snifflebain jelly, he finally relaxed on his chair by the window.

Then out of the corner of his eye he spied the broken bottle and the puddle of spilled medicine. Glob panicked. He hunted high and low in his search for Bejuss. If the medicine had turned his brothers into gigantic ferocious goblins, what might it have done to a raven?

While everyone had been distracted, a furtive figure made its way from shadow to shadow, silently entering each of the roundhouses, stealing what took its fancy, before disappearing once more.

Fleetwood congratulated himself on his brilliant ruse. He sat inside the cave above the valley checking his loot. His face broke out into a broad grin. “Hee hee – stupid humins is fooled so easy,” he chortled to himself, studying Agnitha’s beautiful Jet necklace. His ‘medicine’ had been a total success. Using snifflebain jelly to disguise his transformation potion was a stroke of pure genius.

Dark descended on the valley. The humins by now realised they had been robbed of their most precious possessions. An angry mob led by Mica went to the goblin brother’s oak tree home. “Glob, get out here now!” Mica demanded loudly, illuminated by the burning torches of his angry fellow villagers.

Glob nervously opened the door. He had never seen his humin friend like this before, clearly ready to do harm. The sight of a dozen armed humins determined for revenge unnerved him. “Wots wrong Mica me lad?” Glob nervously enquired, feeling the mood of the humins in his bones.

“While we were all being distracted by you and your brothers, we were being robbed. My Agnitha has lost her necklace. Brion’s wife has lost her mother’s broach. Everyone has had something of value stolen. We don’t want you and your brothers Glob, we want Bejuss. Everyone knows that next to a thieving magpie, a raven likes collecting shiny things. He’s the guilty party here!”

Glob’s mind spun. He could not believe the old bird was a thief, and yet… “I’s always thought that were only magpie’s like yer says. Tenerate, he aint here Mica lad; truth is I’s don’t know where he is. This mornin we wos all feelin horrible wiv coughs n colds. I’s tolds yer bout someone leavin us some medicine ter cure our winter ills; we’s all tooks some n began feelin better – Bejuss wos ill too. I’s forgots ter makes him some birdy medicine. When we’s got back, I’s saw the broke medicine bottle on the floor. Bejuss mus ave taken some n vanished into thin air!”

From high above the real thief’s every movement was being closely shadowed unseen as he returned home with his spoils. Bejuss silently followed Fleetwood through the woods to his hideaway. The crafty wood goblin sat down and began sorting his loot.

“Give it back, give it all back.” A ghostly voice insisted.

Fleetwood leapt up and looked all around him. “Who saids that, shows yerself,” he demanded, nervously brandishing his goblin blade while turning his head left and right, searching for the voice’s owner.

“Give it all back Fleetwood Cranberry, or me’ll turn yer into a thtone or a frog!” Bejuss replied, trying hard not to laugh. He was thoroughly enjoying being invisible.

“Goes away ghosty, please goes away,” Fleetwood bleated, now completely terrified by his unwelcome ethereal visitor.

“Give it all back now!” Bejuss demanded; causing the dust to rise by silently flapping his wings, unseen by Fleetwood. Next, he flew to the fireplace and blew hard, making the low flames erupt into life. Then he opened the goblin thief’s cupboard and threw all of its contents onto the floor.

Fleetwood’s eyes stared in sheer terror as everything he possessed flew about the room. He screamed and cowered in fear among the debris on the floor. “Donts hurts me ghosty, I’s learned me lesson I’s promises,” the frightened thief squealed.

“Gather everythin tergether n take it back ter the humin’th village now Fleetwood Cranberry afore me turnth yer inter a juicy thlug n eatth yer – now be gone wiv yer!”

Bejuss silently followed him back to the village and watched as he returned each item. “Never ever return ter thith valley Fleetwood Cranberry, on pain on death!” Bejuss said finally from somewhere close to the thief’s ear. Fleetwood ran off terrified into the night, white as a ghost, never to be seen again.

Glob sat at the window unable to sleep, worried sick for Bejuss.  He felt a gentle breeze on his face. “Rarrk – me back Glob, n tho ith the humin’th pretty thtuff,” the old bird lisped, perching on the old goblin’s shoulder. Glob nearly had a heart attack when Bejuss magically reappeared. “W-w-what d’yer mean?” he managed to stammer.

“Rarrk – it woth Fleetwood wot gave yer the medicine ter make yer all inter monthterth n fool the huminth while he thtole from them. Me followed him all day. The medicine made me invithible – look.” Glob’s eyes widened when Bejuss disappeared then reappeared before his eyes. The old bird chuckled at the expression on his friend’s face. “Me thcared him tho much, he thought me wath a ghotht come ter haunt him. Me told him me’d turn him into a thlug n eat him if he didn’t return all he thole n never come back.”

Glob smiled happily to himself, glad that his feathered friend was alive and not the thief after all. He gave Bejuss a well-earned bowl full of juicy slugs before they both turned in for the night.

Unlike the goblin brothers, Bejuss was permanently changed by the medicine. Being invisible would prove to be an added benefit for the lisping one-eyed old raven with the twisted beak in the future.

The Time Before Map