The Slime Goblin, страница 1
This book is a work of fantasy fiction set in a parallel universe. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Jacqui Cooper has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
First published in Great Britain in 2018 by Aspect Digital Marketing
Many thanks to my editor
James Savery for his hard work with all my grammatical errors!
Copyright 2018 by Jacqui Cooper
This book is dedicated to The Great Northern Frost Giant and The Mighty Rune Warrior, advice and support is priceless when you’re trying to create something.
My husband deserves the thanks I offer as he always gives me time and space for all my ‘hobbies’ and supplies tea and biscuits just when they’re needed.
Did you know that there are parallel universes? Places very similar but not quite the same as the one we live in. This story takes place in one of those parallel universes, where bits and bytes abound, wet and dry kode runs on different frameworks and Koders reign supreme (well, in their opinion).
This parallel universe is called Coinophia and it’s populated by humans, koders, trolls, goblins, kobolds, gnomes, unicorns and a host of other fantasy types like frost giants, sorcerers, witches and fairy godmothers.
Some are good, some bad and some, well, let’s just say you can never be sure of some.
There is a particularly nasty type of goblin, slime goblins; they’re weak and lazy, not overly intelligent but do have one powerful talent. They have the ‘gift of the gab’, or GOTG, a spell that seems to be part of their very limited and weak magic.
The problem is, sometimes a slime goblin has a naturally strong ‘GOTG’ spell, and when that happens, trouble follows. If a slime goblin has a particularly strong GOTG spell, it creates - because it’s magic after all - a secondary spell, one that encourages people to trust. That slime goblin would therefore have two spells working in their favour.
People would have trusted them because their GOTG spell was so strong. Thankfully, slime goblin magic generally only worked on small groups of people. If a slime goblin tried to keep too many people under their spell, it would begin to weaken.
Our story starts with a particularly nasty slime goblin; we’ll call him Queeze because well, that’s his name. Slime goblins are basically very ugly, although they do come in all shapes and sizes but, because of their GOTG spell, they can, should they choose, appear quite pleasant looking - and let’s face it, most do. At the very least they keep their ugliness suppressed.
Queeze was a slime goblin with a very strong gift of the gab spell which he’d used for many years to fool people into believing he knew more than he did. He even convinced some he was a fairy godmother and could help them get people to follow them in Cara Libre, a market place to buy and sell things, a place to meet people and make announcements, and one of the largest countries in Coinophia.
Queeze was always looking for ways to make money, yet he didn’t want to do any work himself; he was after all a slime goblin, so he was always on the lookout for people he could be-spell. That way, he could get them to do the work and he could take the profit.
For many years he sat atop a pyramid, dripping slime down over it like a veil, which is how he’d managed to fool so many people. The slime seeped into their ears and stopped them hearing things like truth and robbing them of common sense. All these people earned him tiny amounts of cash, but he was a slime goblin, so it was never enough. He was also always so envious of others and spent a lot of time trying to make them feel bad about themselves.
His main and very favourite topic of conversation was himself; how clever he was, and how much he helped others. His ‘gift of the gab’ magic meant that many people believed him. If he kept his sphere of influence small, he could manage to keep people quiet, although of course some people saw through him. Unfortunately, his slime and his magic meant that too many didn’t.
One day he met a young Koder; Heronomous by name but called Hero by his friends. Hero was innocent in the way most Koders were, he lived for bits, bytes and lines of hieroglyphs. He trusted people, and sadly he trusted Queeze.
Hero was a creator of dry kode, kode that ran on magical machines, machines that could convert the kode into wondrous things like art, music, words and, as this was Coinophia, coins. Queeze was better at ‘wet’ kode, kode that runs in the brains of all living beings. That was what his gift of the gab spell was all about, running wet kode in people’s brains.
Queeze was very good at his spell, he just kept talking and slowly, so slowly no alarms were set off, his ‘wet’ kode would start to run in the brains of the people he spoke to. Hero was not proof against this and Queeze knew he’d found a ‘golden goose’.
Very slowly, Queeze began to take over Hero’s life, so slowly that Hero didn’t notice. Then Queeze persuaded Hero to move in with him. After that of course, Hero was lost. Queeze knew that Hero was one of the premier Koders in Coinophia, one of the few who could make coins on the magical machines. Not only could he make coins, he could make golden coins, which, as everyone knows, are absolutely the best.
For many months, all went well. Queeze started to talk about his ‘golden coins’ to others, including the Great Northern Frost Giant who too had succumbed to Queeze’s spell and began to help spread the word. Then Queeze met and be-spelled a childhood friend of Hero’s, the Rune Warrior, he was also a Koder, but his speciality was in bringing justice to others.
Queeze wanted these two in his power for distinct reasons. The Frost Giant was very powerful, much more powerful than Queeze, although to begin with, the Frost Giant didn’t understand this. Frost Giants are, in general, protectors of the weak and defenders of truth. The Great Northern Frost Giant was not a clan leader, but a leader of all clans. Legend has it that his rage can block the sun, sometimes for months. Thankfully it didn’t happen very often.
His power came from his followers, those who looked to him for advice and help. His deep knowledge was well-known and much respected. His power, unlike Queeze’s, was real and enduring. No magic involved.
The Rune Warrior had the ability to see patterns and, once he saw an evil pattern, he and the Frost Giant worked together to bring justice to those who needed it and punishment to those who’d created the evil. The Rune Warrior was tall, not as tall as the Frost Giant of course, but taller than most. His hair was dark and long, it was part of his magic; he was an athlete, fleet of foot when required and well-versed in battle. He travelled in a magic chariot. The chariot could carry him in battle or follow him around and could record images and words, and it could even allow the Rune Warrior to be in two places at once.
As you can see, while Queeze wasn’t that intelligent, he was very cunning, always looking out for himself and looking for ways to use people to his own advantage. As Hero worked in darkened rooms, Queeze slowly spread his poison and drew more people into his power.
He started to have town criers spread the word about his golden coins, telling people that if they gave him silver, he would give them golden coins worth much more. He used the announcement system in Cara Libre to further spread the word. To his delight the silver began to pour in, and he grew richer by the minute. Unfortunately for Queeze, he’d put a lot of stuff in Hero’s strong room. He did this because he thought that Hero was totally under his control and, as a slime goblin, he was always looking out for his own skin. Besides, he knew he had no intentions of giving anyone golden coins if he could avoid it, so being able to show his own strong room as empty seemed to him to be a good idea.
Queeze had creat
His spell working at full throttle, he convinced people, like the Rune Warrior and the Great Northern Frost Giant, to come to Tolpa and help build it and spread the word. They did, bringing in others along the way.
Most people walked through a seemingly beautiful forest, not seeing that every tree had grown from a lie. When they got to the centre, they found what appeared to be a beautiful lake. There were magic boats with little blue birds to pull them to the island at the centre of the lake.
Everyone who gathered there was so excited as this was so exhilarating, and they thanked the slime goblin, time and time again, for allowing them to be part of the dream.
For a while, everything seemed wonderful, then some of the travellers began to wonder. To start with it was petty things. Promises made by the slime goblin weren't kept. Of course, he said it wasn't his fault, someone had broken in and stolen things from him, or hadn't delivered on their promises to him.
Queeze had told Hero that some of the silver coming in was to keep Tolpa in good repair so everyone who was there could enjoy themselves. Hero understood that, as he too enjoyed time in Tolpa, and knew it needed some work. Then, Queeze began to take more and more silver, telling Hero he needed it for Tolpa.
Unbeknownst to Queeze, Hero had a brother, a Burgomaster who began to be suspicious of Queeze. However, it was difficult for him to be certain as he lived far away from where Queeze and Hero were living. Queeze kept moving them around Coinophia, but they never lived close enough to the Burgomaster.
Still, the Burgomaster was worried and started to ask his brother questions. He decided he had to try and somehow discover what was happening to his brother. He employed a sorcerer to cast a spell, a spell of clarity to help his brother to see truth and break Queeze’s spell. It started to take effect and Hero began to struggle against Queeze and question what he was saying.
At first, Hero said nothing, as he couldn’t really believe that Queeze would do anything wrong with all the silver, but then, Queeze demanded even more silver, silver he’d put in Hero’s strong room. This meant of course that he couldn’t get it without Hero’s permission.
Hero decided that the best thing for him to do was to ask Queeze to show him where the silver was going. Tolpa hadn’t changed and no repairs or improvements had taken place, so where was all the silver going? Hero didn’t know, but he knew that if it were going towards improvements to Tolpa, then Queeze should be able to show him exactly where it had gone.
Queeze received this simple request and went totally insane, rampaging about his temporary abode, slime dripping off him and tentacles of it reaching out to slither and creep down walls and across furniture.
He tried, we think, to calm down and think things through but he was after all a slime goblin and as everyone knows in Coinophia, they’re not good at rational thinking; their default setting is to lie and blame everyone else for their own mistakes.
However, they do possess a low cunning that, coupled with their gift of the gab magic, allows them to construct an alternative reality, one that seems believable and, if they can get enough people to believe in it, takes on a life of its own.
Queeze employed the town crier function that was part of Cara Libre and told everyone that Hero had become gravely ill. So ill in fact that he needed help because he was trying to take all the work that Queeze had done, all the magical machines and claim everything as his own. Queeze then went on to ask everyone to help persuade Hero to give back what he’d ‘stolen’ because no one wanted to see Hero in trouble, least of all himself.
Hero saw this and quickly answered these accusations. Explaining that he was the one who’d done the work and telling people that Queeze refused to say what was happening to all the silver they were sending in. This of course sent Queeze into yet another fury. In his rage, he forgot some of the things he’d said before and so his story became a little confused.
This confusion of course meant his spell began to weaken, which is where all his lies started to unravel.
Escape through the Forest of Lies and the Lake of Slime.
People began to leave Tolpa, or at least try to, which is when they discovered the trolls living in the Forest of Lies, a natural habitat for trolls. The lake turned out to be goblin slime, where Afanc lived. Afanc were another mythical race found in Coinophia, a cross between a slime goblin and a troll, very ugly, very wet, and very stupid.
The first hurdle to leaving Tolpa was the Lake of Slime as the boats they’d arrived on had disappeared. The little blue birds that had helped pull them across now showed themselves as carnivores, hungry to consume anything that moved.
Dodging them and the Afanc made the journey which was both perilous and painful. Some turned back, preferring to pretend that all was well in Tolpa.
Those who made it to shore now found themselves beset by trolls, it seemed Queeze wasn’t giving up without a fight. He’d sent a message to the trolls and convinced them that people were stealing golden coins and taking them away.
Once again, people had to fight their way through, but not all of them succeeded. The Forest of Lies confused some and slowly they turned into trolls and joined in to fight the people leaving Tolpa.
Hero, being a Koder, was able to get out without much trouble; Koders are magicians and so have abilities the rest of us don’t. His troubles however weren’t over. Queeze had some images of Hero, images he said ‘proved’ that Hero had stolen not only coins, but a precious list of people whom Queeze had under his spell. Queeze wanted it back, he said, along with all his coins, all the magic machines, and, all the silver.
People who’d left Tolpa and those still trying to leave began to doubt, “Could it be true?” they asked each other, worried that maybe Queeze was right (slime goblin magic is nasty stuff). Then, they saw the image, it was just an image of Hero, no golden coins, no magic machines, and certainly no silver.
Phew! They began to realise that Queeze was still trying to fool them, but now, it didn’t work. That’s the other thing about slime goblin magic, once it dissipates totally, it’s very difficult to get it to work again.
Queeze was beside himself with rage. He told as many lies as he could about Hero, always telling bigger and more ridiculous lies as he went. Then, one of his former followers, a Witch known as Battica, repeated the message that Hero had put out. She had no other purpose than to give both sides of the story as she couldn’t stand unfairness.
She hadn’t actually spent much time in Tolpa, being too busy with her magic business. So, she’d not had to escape. Queeze tried to threaten her but of course, he was too far away for his magic to have any effect. In fact, all his anger did was to convince Battica that she should help Hero.
Then Queeze did something so stupid that it’s difficult to understand. He began to attack the Frost Giant and the Rune Warrior. It was stupid because at this point, they had still been listening to him.
They decided that they would join forces and create an army of helpers. They called themselves ‘The Fellowship of the Coin’ and they would oppose Queeze on all fronts. Some would help our hero in his quest to create the coin, some would go out into the world and fight the slime goblin’s trolls, wherever they were found. Others would search high and low for allies, for others who had been damaged by Queeze.
They swore an oath not to lie like Queeze, to always be truthful and to do their best to protect others. They all had magical devices that could record sounds and images, they could even g
Who knows, if he’d not attacked them, the Fellowship of the Coin might not have come into being. At least, not as quickly as it did.
Of course, Queeze didn’t realise this, he was after all a slime goblin and a very stupid slime goblin at that.
Now that most people had left Tolpa, Queeze spent most of his time in Cara Libre where he could use the troll messaging system to try and spread his lies and magic. He tried directly contacting Battica, the Rune Warrior and the Frost Giant, but they had magic shields now and he couldn’t get through.
Still his lies and magic were having an effect, so it was decided that the Fellowship would contact the rulers of Cara Libre to see if they could or would put a stop to Queeze.
It took a while, but eventually they put a gag spell on Queeze and for a short space of time, all was quiet.
An Act of War
Queeze, like most slime goblins, always thought of females (of whatever race or species) as weak, easily intimidated and thus fair game for his machinations. He’d lost most of his trolls, both those that had been be-spelled by him to behave trollishly, and also some real trolls, those that were as self-serving as him. Those trolls left because they could see that he was no longer of use and there was no profit to be had. He still had a few moronii trolls left; unfortunately, moroniis are known for being, shall we say, a little dim. So, his failing magic still worked on them.
He asked them to attack our hero and his friends and even paid some marauding carrion eaters to gang up on one of them, a woman, because he felt she was a weak link. How wrong he was!
He'd picked on an Amazon Princess; however, she was no weakling and so she fought back. She shone light and attention on him and his carrion eaters, and the light hurt their eyes and confused their puny brains. The attention she focused on them alerted Hero and The Fellowship of the Coin and as true friends, they came to her defence. Even though she didn't really need it - being an Amazon Princess, you know! - still they came.