~~~~ Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! ~~~~

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. Day 3, Alix has seen a cart approaching her on a road, with a male and female goblin, who stop and offer her help–that evening, Nissa and Aengus talk about the tradition of the humans who become the tithe/teind. (There are three races of goblins: hobs, erlkings, and kibi)

Previously“The punishment for harming a tam is… severe,” Aengus said, after Nissa had been sitting in silence for a while, her knuckles white on the clay tea cup.

“We will not speak of those things,” she said, her tone like slamming shut a door, “The punishment for aiding a tam is less severe, however.”

“And I’m supposed to believe you’d risk it? For a stranger?”

“Now that we have seen you, we have to choose whether to help or not. If we turn our faces away… there are two hearts that we have failed, two deaths on our souls,” Nissa’s eyes glittered, though no tears fell.

Aengus reached over to squeeze her hand, and she clung to him for a moment, before swallowing hard, “On our word of honor, we offer no tricks.”

“On our honor,” Aengus murmured solemnly.

“If I don’t trust that your word matters, I don’t see how I can find my cousin in time,” Alix said, “I accept.”

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“You seem not to like the tithe, but are you alone in that opinion?” Alix asked.

“No, we are not,” Nissa said, “though I believe more support the teind than do not. Like many customs that carry with them a mix of shame and relief, it’s difficult to discuss.”

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Yes, I imagine you do not,” Nissa said, though not unkindly. “Goblins live a very long time compared to humans, but we do die from accidents, illness, and other reasons now and then. And our birth rates… we do not easily bear children.”

 

Nissa paused, and Aengus touched her hand, before she continued, “You may have noticed that this is a world of empty spaces.  Humans have filled your world to the bursting, but we have always been a drop in the ocean. And as time passes, we dwindle instead of grow.”

*    *    *

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 left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and while biking back to the dorms, Stephanie steps into a fairy circle and is taken to the kingdom under the mountain, where she will stay forever as a goblin unless rescued.

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.

12 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I suppose this might be one reason they’re so grouchy.

  2. Really liking where these snippets are going!

  3. Carrie-Anne says:

    That’s a powerful last paragraph!

  4. daryldevore says:

    Suddenly I feel sorry for the grouchy goblins. Great snippet. Tweeted.

  5. elainecsc2013 says:

    I too felt sorry for the goblins.

  6. Alexis Duran says:

    Interesting view of the goblins world. Maybe they have a reason to lure/welcome humans into it?

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