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 after she states her claim on her cousin, vanishes. I skipped over the goblin guards escorting her to the gate.

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Alix hesitated a moment, staring at the gate, then she clutched the straps of her backpack, and stepped forward. One step, and the stones loomed around her, the dark forest pressing in above, and then the next step she stood in completely different, sun-drenched area, sky stretching hotly blue from horizon to horizon, broken by the branches of an enormous cedar tree piercing the sky.

Behind her, the woman stepped from thin air, onto the beach. The man, Zimmah, stood a few feet away, arms folded, scowling in her general direction.

Suddenly too warm, she tugged off her sweater, folded it haphazardly, and stuffed it into her backpack.

Next to Alix, the woman cleared her throat, “Are you paying attention to me, human?”

“I’m listening,” Alix tore her gaze away from the improbable sea.

“There will be dangers on your path, and obstacles you must pass. Three obstacles, and three opportunities for help to get through these obstacles. You must keep your eyes open, for assistance does not always appear in a form that is easy to recognize, and if you pass it by, and you will likely fail in your rescue attempt.”

*    *    *

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.

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. She’s not paying attention at all, is she?

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Sounds like Alix has quite the journey ahead of her. Kind of reminds me a bit of Labyrinth, but that’s a good thing. 🙂

  3. daryldevore says:

    Intriguing advice given – except is she or isn’t she paying attention. Tweeted.

  4. Ooh, I love these mysterious not-always-too-helpful warnings! This is a great story so far, quite engrossing, enjoyed the snippet!

  5. I’m into the mysterious snippets and you write them so well. Thanks, Caitlin

  6. Oh boy, looks like someone has an adventure ahead of them! 😉

  7. nancygideon says:

    I love a quest! Your descriptions are beautifully detailed, a pleasure to read.

  8. Ed Hoornaert says:

    His warning sounds like the directions for a video game. Cool.

  9. Well, this is both helpful, and not. But at least it has all the makings of a mythic quest!

  10. Hywela Lyn says:

    This has a real epic feel, I enjoyed this snippet very much!

  11. elainecsc2013 says:

    Sounds like a perilous journey to me. Enjoyed the snippet.

  12. Carrie-Anne says:

    It’s so true that sometimes assistance comes in a form we least expect. Alix has a lot ahead of her!

  13. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Interesting quest. I look forward to reading about her trials.

  14. Alexis Duran says:

    Classic beginning to an adventure. Love it!

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