~~~~~~No post next week, April 22nd, I’ll be out of town~~~~~~

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 4: Alix reaches a set of standing stones, and the king of goblins appears to offer her advice.

PreviouslyAlix came upon a standing stone circle, a much larger one than she’d seen so far.

“You’ve arrived here already, human? Well done, I expected it to take you another day at the least,” a male voice said off to her right.

The king under the mountain stood a few feet away, wearing another short cape, this one a deep rich red, a black tunic embroidered in geometric patterns in gold thread, and what looked like a kilt in a black, gray, and red plaid.

“Nice legs,” she said in response.

He blinked at her, amber eyes startled, and she had a moment to wonder if she’d overstepped, and then he laughed. “I am here to warn you, mortal. One of these doorways will take you closer to your cousin, but the rest will take you elsewhere, away from your goal. Some of the doors lead to places most perilous for the unprepared, and one will take you back to your home plane. So think carefully, and choose wisely.”

 

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“Once you step through a door, your options—and your likely difficulties—have shifted drastically,” the king said. “But I can show you the gate that will take home.”

“No,” Alix said, then hastily added, “thanks.”

He smirked, letting her know he’d noticed the pause, but didn’t say anything.

“I’ll rescue Steph in record time,” Alix squared her shoulders, and drew in a deep breath, trying to will the determination and confidence she didn’t quite feel into her face.

“Very well. If you survive your journey, remember that you can call on me, and I may be able to come and fetch you home,” he reminded her, and vanished as soon as the last word left his mouth.

“Yeah, yeah, helpful, your highness,” she groused, staring at the stones and resisting the urge to kick the closest one, as her day would not be improved by a broken toe.

Slowly, she made another circle, staring up at the markings etched into each lintel stone.

*    *    *

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.

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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.

24 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Her indecision and distrust are great ways to keep the subtle tension going.

  2. Nice suspense. I wonder which door she’ll pick–and if it’s the best choice. 🙂

  3. Someone’s going on an adventure!

  4. Laura Hile says:

    “So think carefully, and choose wisely.”

    Such a great line to write, but so frustrating to hear when someone says it to you. No wonder she is irritated … and scared. Well done!

  5. Botanist says:

    Aah, there are markings. Might give some clues. BTW – maybe she should have let him show her which one would take her home, as that would have eliminated one wrong possibility.

  6. Hywela Lyn says:

    Hm, let’s hope she makes the right choice – and Botanist I’m thinking there must be some clue on those stones.

  7. Alexis Duran says:

    Glad she still has a sense of humor! Oh, magical people and their riddles. Hope those markings are helpful in some way.

  8. I like how everyone in this fantasy world is almost helpful LOL. I hope she can figure out the right choice from these mysterious markings. Great snippet!

  9. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I can still feel her determination, but it seems she’s starting to feel the pressure of it all. Great snippet! 🙂

  10. Diane Burton says:

    The Lady or the Tiger. What a decision! You made me feel her dilemma and her angst over what to choose. Good job.

  11. Kind of helpful,but not really. I love how she’s working herself up to appear more confident than she is.

  12. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    I hope she chooses wisely. I’m curious to know if she will 🙂

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