Monday, June 7, 2010

STORY TIME: The Goblin Queen

The following is an EXCERPT from Who's Who in the Realms Outside the Windowpane, which is itself a distillation of the unfinished work A Complete Listing and Description Of the Courtesans Most Strange In Both Their Beauty and Fearsomeness, That Humanity and Friends to Her May Better Avoid Any Trespass Against the Former, With The Intent to Educate and By No Means Offend by the human scholar Horciel Pentrefibber in the year (covers hand with mouth and coughs) oh two.

Like all of them, she has many names and titles. Whichever may have been the true one hardly matters - if Truth is a concept which applies to them, when much of what may have been called Truth (the pull of the Earth or the need to eat food) does not. It will suffice to call her the Queen of Goblins.

Upon beginning this work, I expected her entry to be mercifully brief. Little description of her exists beyond the children's skipping songs we all knew as children. No formal texts mention her, none of history's most storied wielders of magic sought her out. I had no desire to break with tradition.

Why should I, when we live daily with her sons and daughters? What farmer hasn't lost an entire coop, herd or flock in a single night? What child of the pastoral lands didn't carry sling and dagger as they went about their chores, in fear of them? What city-dweller hasn't discovered their refuse in an attic, or paid a half-year's salary or more to some adventurer to clear out an infestation?

Who among us doesn't know of, or suffer the loss of, a child to the foul, charming darlings? How their black eyes glisten in the candlelight! How exquisite the screams of the false mother, when her babies have been freed from their intestinal prisons! How sweet the tears of the womb-thieves! A miscarriage, and her palaces thunder with tiny bells of ecstasy; a still-birth and the harmonious twinkling of war-drums mixes in. All else, all who are born are rightfully my Queen's, to raise and to slay, to suckle and consume.

We can conjecture much about the Goblin Queen from our encounters with her brood. They are the most common of the Fey, clearly, and also the least magical. While insatiable and ever-violent, they are less bestial than the brownie or the dreadful redcap. They don armor, craft weapons and seem to either train or form an alliance with the evil wolf-race that knows speech. The queer wooden masks they are fond of wearing show they have a culture, at least in the terms of constructing crude and impractical craft items. Some goblins seem to employee magic similar in appearance to Gnome spells. Still, they are but low savages next to the Faerie Superior, with the latter's vast intelligence, love of artifice and deep incomprehensibility.

I have seen her, though. I waited on her in my dreams. She knows I wrote of her. I was afraid but with a soft, sharp finger at my lip she held my apology in my mouth. It tasted of brine and peaches as it flowed back down my throat, viscous and oily. Into my lungs it crept, but the Queen forgave me. My words were not my own and she had already corrected them, the moment I put them down, though I could not see it through my ignorance.

My eyes swam in tears. My head lolled backwards, and my oxygen deprived body shuddered, but her caressing finger wouldn't let me spit out my words, no matter that I was drowning in them. She was excited to be written about, in truth, and she was quite certain her brothers and sisters of the Strange Court would feel the same. Of course, I had saved her for last, which was wise for there was more to write of her than any other. Her crown agreed, a thousand times, and offered five hundred chapter titles in the space of seconds.

She stepped to one side, deftly pulled her finger away and blushed as I ejaculated my regret across the stone floor. When the last of it dribbled from my mouth, I collapsed, spent and shivering and mindless. This morning I woke up and started writing.

Unlike most Fey, we cannot simply avoid the goblinkind and their lands, for they seem to seek us out. In the distant past great wars were fought against unimaginable hoards of the things, occasionally allied with other Fey. While there is no record of such a thing in recent times, it is my sincere belief that we should never cease to consider them a threat but rather grab our children by the legs and bash their heads against the stones of our churches, consecrating them to the Queen of the Gibbering Crown, The Only Mother, The Wombless Bride of None, The Void's Delighted Whore.

I am rude! I am mean!
I am short and I am lean!
If I disappear and am never seen,
I belong to the Goblin Queen!

After this excerpt the author repeated variations of the mentioned children's song, over and over. When he ran out of ink it appears he used his own bodily fluids - when his quill broke he used his finger and when he ran out of paper he scratched into any and all nearby surfaces. When a servant realized he hadn't called for morning breakfast, it was discovered he climbed out the window and continued his bloody scrawl for five miles into the woods before the trail vanished. He was never found and no explanation is offered as to how one sick man could create such an amount of script in one night, regardless of how it could be done with one's own blood without exsanguination.

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