All That Glisters…
In which four goblins – Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), and Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo) together with their humin friend Mica and the old mare Miranda set off on a rescue mission to save their simple-minded friend and fellow goblin Byzantine Du Lac (Byz).
“I hates the cold I do’s,” Neo grumbled angrily. He carefully dried his long bony feet with his kerchief before stuffing them back into his wet willow bark boots wrapped in fresh dry grass for warmth from his stash behind the cupboard.
“Me corns is throbbing something terrible they is. Why did Byz have to go a run orf again?”
Simple-minded Byz had been told of a hoard of gold and failed to return yet again.
Glob sighed, resigned to the fact that Byz should never ever be allowed out on his own ever again. In fact, he decided that the troublesome simple-minded goblin would be securely tethered to his bed in the future for his own good.
“Brothers its times to go and gets im back,” he said, resigned to the task ahead as he began to make preparations.
“But firsts we’d better asks Mica to helps us. And we’re going to need Miranda’s help again Neo cos the snow is too deeps for us goblins to travels easy like,” Glob concluded grumpily, hoisting his pack on his back. He picked up his best ash staff topped with its inset magic emerald. Something in his aged mind told him to expect real trouble this time, so the emerald would be needed when trouble reared its ugly head.
Mica was totally lost in thought, busy splitting firewood at the back of his family’s roundhouse in the village beside the forest when his goblin friends suddenly appeared beside his steadily growing pile of logs for the fire.
“Mornings young Mica me lad, fines day,” Glob said as cheerily as he could considering the serious circumstances of their visit. He was glad to see his young humin friend again despite the bone-chilling cold of the bright winter’s day.
Make looked glum and totally fed up as he slapped his skinny arms across his bony frame to get his green goblin blood moving again in his long bony frozen fingers. He had been in such a rush to catch up with Glob, Neo and Mous that he had completely forgotten about his squirrel fur snow mittens. He hoped that Glob wouldn’t mind if they took a detour to fetch them on the way to rescue Byz.
Mous hobbled to a standstill supported by the crutch that Glob had carved for him yesterday, out of a prized and precious piece of willow wand. Since the winter had finally covered the world in its icy grip once more, poor Mous had become seriously accident prone much to Glob’s great annoyance.
Why just last week he had almost chopped his leathery long pointed nose off with his sharp goblin blade while he was busy trying to extract a hungry weevil from his last piece of delicious acorn cake. He had hidden it especially beneath his goose feather mattress, tucked away for a midnight treat.
“Weevilz az no buzinezz eating a bodyz foodz they aint!” he had declared tearfully as Glob applied some soothing honey to the painful cut on Mous’ nose.
And then just yesterday morning as he still lay in his warm bed dozing and feeling decidedly sorry for himself, he had lashed out at a spider that tickled his foot as it crawled beneath his eiderdown seeking warmth. The spider bit his big toe in revenge. So bad was the bite that it was now bright purple and throbbing with pain, swelled to three times its normal size.
“Didn ought to be allowed,” he yelped when the spider struck in anger after being kicked.
“I hate piderzz I duzz, nazty hairy crawly thingz with greatz bigz fangz!”
Neo had made him an extra large willow bark boot to wear until his toe healed. He stuffed it with dried sphagnum moss and some of his precious stash of dry straw.
It’s a wonder Neo made it at all when you consider what happened. Several times he succeeded in stabbing his thumb with his sharp bodkin as his eyes crossed even more than usual in the semi dark of their shared home, while he sewed the bark pieces together.
Mica almost jumped out of his skin when Glob greeted him. He had been totally preoccupied, happily day dreaming about his new found love from across the village square – Agnitha, the daughter of the village shaman.
“Morning Glob, morning Neo, morning Mous, morning Make, what brings you here on such a cold day my friends?”
“Tis Byz we’s afraids young Mica,” Make began, “appears he’s gorn orf n forgots to comes back again.” he continued, fretting and wringing his hands with the worry of it all.
“The silly ol fool as forgots is promise to never leave home,” Neo muttered as he absentmindedly picked at a piece of dried toadstool stuck fast in a gap between two of his long pointed sharp teeth with the hazel twig he kept for just such emergencies. The thought of what he was going to do to Byz when they found him totally occupied his mind, making his eyes cross even faster than usual.
Mous raised his painful foot above the wet snow and leaned heavily on his crutch.
“We needz your help again I’m afraidz Mica me lad,” Mous began. “We needz you and Miranda to help uz find him before the next snow storm do come and cover hiz trackz so to speak.”
“We’s sorry to disturbs you Mica,” Glob apologised. “But withouts you and Miranda to helps us, I fears that the snow will stops us from travelling north to finds Byz. We is fearful that he has gone and gots isself into real trouble this time.”
Without a word Mica put down his stone splitting mallet and flint cleaver, hoisted Neo effortlessly onto his back and strode off through the deep snow towards the paddock where Miranda lived in her comfy warm stable.
The old mare’s eyes light up and her nose quivered in sheer delight. She smelt her dear friend Neo somewhere close by on the still morning air. Her large soft ears twitched excitedly as she honed in on the tiny goblin’s whereabouts.
As she poked her head out over the wooden bar across the entrance to her stable, Miranda let out a neigh of pure ecstatic joy. Oh how she missed the daily visits by him once winter had taken hold. Her luxuriant tail swished from side to side in total happiness as she fluttered her large soft eyelashes at the love of her life, her Neo. How she loved the curmudgeonly old goblin.
As Mica stopped beside her, he hoisted Neo onto her neck where the old goblin quickly covered his legs in the thick soft hair of her mane to keep out the cold, totally forgetting just how angry he was with Byz as he whispered tenderly to her.
Mica later swore he had seen Miranda blush.
“Glob and the lads need our help again old girl. Byz has gone off north once more. Time to find him,” Mica said, gently patting her neck as he put on her halter.
Soon the company of friends were trekking through the snow-covered forest heading north.
The snow lay thick on the path through the thickly wooded forest. Miranda with Mica at her head struggled belly deep through the drift snow. On her broad back Glob sat back to back with Mous while Make sat behind Neo astride Miranda’s neck, clasping his hands around Neo’s middle.
By the morning of the following day they were all weary after finally clearing the northern border of the forest and crossing the great river.
While taking a much needed rest in an old hollow tree, they ate dried fish and mushroom, washed down with Neo’s special mead, warming themselves by their small fire.
Neo fussed over Miranda, tenderly combing her mane with his bony fingers until it shone. And while she ate the sweet hay he had brought for her, he carefully dried her legs with fresh straw and polished her hooves with his kerchief.
Glob laughed good-naturedly at the spectacle.
“E’ll be wanting to marry er next brothers, you marks my words. Cor, can you imagine what their youngers will look like? Never seen a goblin with four legs n hooves afore, av you?
Neo threw him a cross-eyed angry black look.
“Shuddup can’t ya. Jus cos I likes lookin after er, no needs to takes liberty’s blast yer eyes!” he retorted angrily as the colour of his face took on a bright red hue.
“Our friendship is sacred see!” Neo now seethed. Miranda let out a soft approving neigh in agreement with her friend, while happily swishing her tail gently to and fro.
Glob loved taunting his oldest and dearest friend. Everybody who knew the curmudgeonly old cross-eyed goblin also realised how much he loved Miranda with all his heart and soul, but not even Mica would say it out loud in Neo’s presence.
“Whatever possessed Byz to go north again anyway, especially as his brain is fogged up most of the time?” Mica asked, anxious to change the subject and restore calm.
“Twas this ere weasel see; it tolds him about a hoard of gold,” Make began. “We’d spied it creeping furtive like through the branches of our home, but thought nought of it until Byz up an disappeared soon after like.”
“Didn’t know weasels could talk Make; at least I’ve never heard of it before,” Mica replied, distracted by the itchiness of the day’s growth of blond whiskers sprouting from his chin.
“Theyz don’t never talkz to huminz Mica. Theyz only speakz to the likz of uz, on account their language iz so complic, comple – difikle, pluz itz too high pitched for huminz to hear,” Mous chipped in, while reaching gingerly into the boot housing his injured toe to scratch his ankle.
Glob, Mous and Neo all nodded in silent agreement.
“Times we wus gettin on the move agains brothers,” Glob declared, standing up and stamping his feet to get his green goblin blood circulating in his frozen feet, while stretching his limbs.
They soon began to find telltale signs in the snow as they journeyed further north. The road bore confused lines of footprints in the snow, both goblin and rodent, often turning back on themselves.
Piles of totally forgotten warm winter clothing and little piles of discarded oak leaves, which the simple goblin always used to make his armpits smell fresh, lay along the roadside in tiny goblin bottom-sized depressions in the snow. At least they knew he had often rested and clearly while he was walking north along the road he was in no immediate danger. But all these clues pointed to one disturbing fact. Byz was heading towards the great Stone Mountain, the age old dwelling place of mountain trolls.
From time to time along the way the rescuers came across a fellow traveller as they journeyed further north. Eventually they got the news they were all dreading.
Lox, a friendly wood elf, told them that Byz was the prisoner of a very wicked near sighted one eyed mountain troll named Boggis, who was fattening him up for the pot.
The promise of gold was a ruse created by him to lure a goblin into captivity for his dinner. Lox warned them that while Boggis was away visiting his cousin in the next mountain range, his home was protected by a fearsome beast. Glob asked her if she would show them where Boggis’ home was and she agreed.
As Miranda reached the summit of the road, they saw the entrance to the troll’s home on a high ledge, half a league away.
“We’d better leave Miranda here my friends,” Mica said as he began helping Neo, Glob, Make and Mous down from her back.
“I ain’t leavins er on er own an that’s final! Who knows what kinds of monsters is lurking here abouts?” Neo declared defiantly.
Miranda lowered her head and tenderly nuzzled Neo’s scrawny neck, with her love for him clear for all to see.
Mous leaned heavily on his willow wand crutch.
“Not to fret Neo, I’ll takz good care of er I promiz,” he announced. “Sidz, I aint able to fight a monzter,” he added cheerily, waiving his crutch in temporary farewell as he hobbled off the side of the road, leading Miranda to safety by the rope of her halter, out of sight beneath some trees.
Lox, having fulfilled her obligation, bid them farewell and continued on her journey south.
Mica crawled gingerly forward with Glob, Make and Neo close behind. From behind a small boulder close to the troll’s cave they nervously peered out.
The fearsome beast that stood guard was a Griffin, the bane of all goblin kind.
Countless goblin elders told stories down the centuries of Griffin’s that took great pleasure in tearing the legs off whichever goblin they swooped down on with one quick bite of their sharp hooked beaks.
Somehow they either had to distract it, or fight their way past it. But what could one young humin and three small goblins do against such a formidable fearsome foe? That was the question.
Mica beckoned them to follow as he retreated back to take cover behind an even bigger boulder a little way back down the path.
Once they were safely hidden from view, he spoke.
“We need to come up with a plan my friends. Anyone got any suggestions?”
For what seemed like an age, silence reigned. Then Glob began.
“We needs magic. We needs us a Wyvern!”
Make and Neo nodded their agreement.
“A Wyvern, but I thought they had died out long ago?” Mica replied.
“No lad. Theys just retreated froms the world since the last great battle twixt their kind an the Griffins over a thousand summers since,” Neo said, anxiously tightening his grip on his goblin blade in anticipation of the battle to come.
“Waits ere while I goes n conjures up a request,” Glob said, quickly taking up his staff.
They all watched as he rapidly disappeared from view over the brow of the road behind.
What happened next was truly amazing to behold. Glob stood purposefully at the centre of the road and with one swift deliberate action, he struck his staff heavily on the rocky ground. The emerald instantly began to glow while silently vibrating, sending out its message.
In answer, a great and terrible cry split the silence of the mountain air. Soon the sound of great wings could be heard in the distance. Mica, Neo and Make saw a terrible creature appear in the sky from the west.
The Wyvern, friend to all goblins, circled overhead before landing beside tiny Glob. It gently lifted him up with its front paw and the old goblin whispered his instructions. Then placing him back down on the ground, the Wyvern rose effortlessly into the sky and flew over the heads of Mica, Make and Neo to do battle.
The Griffin screeched in fury and flew to meet its bitterest enemy in mortal combat high above the mountain.
Now the way was clear for the rescue party to enter the troll’s cave.
Quickly Mica led the way and soon they found Byz naked and trussed up with an apple jammed in his mouth on Boggis’ kitchen table, ready for the pot.
High above, a terrible aerial battle was taking place between the two most feared winged creatures the world had ever seen.
The Wyvern swooped down with talons at the ready as the Griffin twisted and turned, desperately trying to avoid being skewered. The Griffin’s swift agility looked for the moment to be the equal of the much bigger Wyvern. But in a brief moment of inattention, it eventually made a fatal error. The Wyvern’s great talons seized the Griffin’s wings and with one swift fiery blast from its mouth, it dispatched its mortal enemy.
In the confusion Miranda galloped up, fearing for her precious Neo’s life, whinnying loudly with Mous hanging on in sheer terror, flailing violently in the wind from the end of the halter’s rope.
The pair arrived just as the Wyvern landed beside the entrance to Boggis’ cave.
Mica quickly hoisted the still trussed Byz onto her back. No one was taking any more chances with him ever again. He would stay trussed up till they got back home. And if Glob had anything to do with it, Byz would never leave the house again.
Glob thanked the Wyvern and asked it for one more favour. And so Mica led Miranda by her halter along the road south once again with Neo on her neck tenderly whispering in her ear and Mous sat securely behind him.
Byz’s complaints fell on deaf ears as he begged and pleaded to be released, from where he lay wedged firmly between Glob and Make while the obliging Wyvern flew overhead for the journey home.
And so dear friends here ends the latest adventure of Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo) and their humin friend Mica. Oh, and of course not forgetting Neo’s greatest love Miranda, the old mare.