This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)
Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!
Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back, going through a gate into the other world. On the second day, she is woken by an angry bird, and realizing it’s nest will be swamped by the tide, she moves it to a safe place, and then walks for a time. The king under the mountain appears and offers her some food, and a change of clothes, and she washes up in a river before returning to speak to him.
Previously: She scurried toward the nest, hunched over to protect her face, and scooped up the nest in her free hand with hurried caution. Her approach set the sea bird off again, its cries echoing harshly as it dove at her, scoring a few more pecks on her shoulders, and painful blows from its gray wings.
“Dang it, stop! I’m helping you!” She set the nest down well clear of the highest piece of seaweed and faintly rippled sand, and beat a hasty retreat.
When she glanced over her shoulder, the ungrateful bird had returned to the nest, frantically rearranging the pieces of dried grass and twigs with its beak. “You’re welcome!”
The bird swiveled its black capped head toward her, and let out another piercing whistle.
“Talking to birds,” Alix muttered, “I’m gross and dirty, and talking to animals. This is like a terrible children’s movie.”
“You have the tools to survive another day in my kingdom, but I am here to ask if you’re sure you wish to do so,” the king said.
“I can’t give up and go home, I’ve just started!” Alix protested, even though her feet ached, the bird attack injuries throbbed, and her stomach cramped around the unexpected meal.
“In just a few hours you will have been here for two full days,” he said, offering an insincere smile, “a valiant effort, and the area is not without its dangers, as I am sure you have noticed.”
“What is in the water, anyway?” she asked, remembering the surge of a large shape from the waves, and the flash of long, curved teeth.
“Many things, much like your oceans,” he shrugged, “Though you likely saw a serpent. Our other large shore predator… well, let us simply say that sea dragons are extremely aggressive when it comes to unprepared beach-goers.”
“What—what qualifies as unprepared?”
“Small groups and a lack of ranged weaponry, if you’re dealing with dragons, usually.”
“So I could have gotten eaten by a dragon yesterday?” Alix squeaked, and he shrugged in response.
* * *
I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.