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 packs up her backpack, and calls for the King Under the Mountain–a goblin appears in the circle and asks what her claim is (on Stephanie), and when she tells him they exchanged a blood oath, he says “that’s most unfortunate.”

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“The path to return your cousin to your world is perilous,” the goblin continued. “Many who try fail, and some perish in the attempt. I would prefer to keep you here, and safe. But if I cannot talk you out of it…” he trailed off invitingly, then taking in the thunderous scowl on Alix’s face, shook his head.

Behind him, two new goblins appeared in the mushroom circle. A kind Alix had never seen before, surrounded by a halo of pale blue flames, they both bowed to the king under the mountain and stepped out of the circle.

“Be warned, human,” he said, drawing her attention back to him, “that you have a fortnight to bring your loved one home. If you fail in your task, she will become a goblin forever.”

Then he vanished without another word.

*    *    *

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.

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

28 responses »

  1. Lyn Perry says:

    The quest is clear. I like the set up and stakes. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Nice job.

  2. daryldevore says:

    A goblin forever – then she can’t fail. Tweeted.

  3. Ooh, now the fun really starts!

  4. SO cool. I’m like the others – eager to see what will happen next and how she proceeds with her quest. Great snippet!

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    Interesting that the goblin king seems to care about her welfare, or is that just an act? Loving this story.

  6. Yikes, that’s ominous!

  7. Botanist says:

    Oops! Sounds like she’s in it up to the eyeballs 🙂 Mind you, it seemed there was an implied alternative of a lifetime’s captivity (“keep you here and safe”) so I’m not sure that was much of an option.

  8. Sorry, I couldn’t sign in because I broke my rib. See you next week.

  9. Ed Hoornaert says:

    And what does she think and feel about this ominous warning? I guess I’ll have to wait to find out.

  10. Diane Burton says:

    The quest begins. Great setup. She has a goal and a deadline. The old ticking clock is a great device to heighten the tension.

  11. elainecsc2013 says:

    That’s certainly enough motivation.

  12. Carrie-Anne says:

    I’d think anyone would feel under a lot of pressure not to fail with that condition!

  13. Eden says:

    A fortnight… well, that’s setting the bar pretty high for action! And failure turns the captive into a goblin forever? Does that mean these goblins were once human?

    • The time frame was chosen mostly because I like the word fortnight. 🙂 There’s a list of ways humans can become goblins, and Stephanie stumbled on one.
      Some of the goblins were human once, yep!

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