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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 with two guard goblins who then vanish. She has spent an uneventful day wandering the beach, fallen asleep, and woken the next day by an angry bird protecting a nest.
She stumbled farther away, backing up to keep an eye on the bird, which wheeled above her, still crying out in anger at her intrusion. Water splashed over her feet, cold against her ankles, and soaking into her shoes. Puzzled, she looked down, and realized rising waves nearly swallowed the long stretch of dry sand she’d slept on.
“How much higher does it go?”
The bird landed on the nest instead of attacking her further, though its dark eyes were fixed on her, red-orange bill parted, ready to scold her again.
She rubbed the mark it had left on her arm, studying the area, and finding a few pieces dried seaweed strewn around, a sign that the water would continue to rise at least several inches more.
Enough to swamp the nest, and wash away the eggs nestled in it.
“Not my problem,” Alix reminded herself, turning her body a little so she could watch where she was going, but still keep an eye on the protective, nesting bird.
Behind her, the bird’s rolling whistle wavered out, rising and falling mournfully.
“Not my problem,” Alix repeated, trying to convince herself, but she was already shrugging off her backpack, and hoisting it over her head one-handed as an impromptu shield.
* * *
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.