Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess - Chapter 7 Excerpt

Chapter Seven: Wherein my story is interrupted by goblins, thereby explaining why it might not seem as good as it really was.

Goblins are nasty little blighters. They remind me of my cousin Gervil’s friend called Rupert. His name was Sally, which explains why he was called Rupert. But like goblins, he was short and had a big, round head. I don’t know why goblins have such large heads for their little bodies. Of course I don’t know why Rupert did either. There doesn’t seem to be much advantage in it. On the other hand, goblins have excellent night vision, making it very easy to sneak up on people in the dark. And they have abnormally large mouths with an abnormally large number of teeth in them. This was very unlike Rupert, that is to say Sally, who as I recall had only five or six teeth, though he made up for that by having an extra toe. In addition to which I don’t believe his night vision was all that it might have been, for once he kicked me in the head when he was on his way to the outhouse. Of course that could have been on purpose. Rupert was a bit of a nasty blighter too.
“What are you doing?” asked the orphan, as Hysteria took a step back.
“Thinking about a fellow called Rupert,” said I.
“Well stop it, and get us away.”
I said that Hysteria took a step back, but what I should have said is that she took two steps back, one on each side. I could tell she didn’t want the foul little creatures around her feet. She’s very particular about her feet, as most horses are wont to be. As they approached still nearer, she reared up a bit—not enough to bother me, but just enough for the orphan to slip off her haunches and land with a “poof” on his seat in the snow. The goblins cackled grotesquely and I’m sure that they thought they had secured for themselves a snack. They stopped laughing though when I kicked my leg over Hysteria’s shoulder and dropped lightly to the ground.
With a quick motion, I pulled my knife still stained red from crabapple pie, from my boot. It was a small enough weapon to face off six attackers and I would have much rather had a sword, but I had been forced to sell my sword in order to get a fellow out of prison. I didn’t really know him, but he was the beloved of a poor but beautiful farm girl. In retrospect it would have been better if he had not turned out to be a werewolf, but that is another story. If I ever write this down, maybe I’ll say that I sold it to get the poor but beautiful farm girl out of prison and that I slew the werewolf. Yes, that’s a much better story.
“What are you doing?” asked the orphan.
“Recalling the time I slew a werewolf,” said I.
“Finally something useful!” he exclaimed.
The two foremost goblins looked at one another. While six or seven goblins might sneak up on a man when he was asleep, or might chase down a maiden who was alone and defenseless, they would have to be extraordinary members of their species to take on a seasoned warrior with a weapon.
“That’s right potato head!” shouted the orphan, jumping to his feet. “Werewolves, vampires, giants; he’s killed them all.
“Gree yard?” said the first goblin.
“Grock tor,” said the second goblin.
“I don’t think they understand us,” said I.
The first began to skirt around me to the right and the second began to skirt around me to the left. The others were following along. I don’t know whether their intention was to surround me so that they could attack from all sides at once, or to skirt around me to get to the boy, but I wasn’t going to let either of those things happen. I took a quick step to the right and kicked the big round head of the second goblin, which flew almost as far as the kickball I kicked as a child, and of course the rest of the goblin went right along with his head.

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