By Dr. Lindsey Scholl, Logic School Academic Director
Links to previous installments:
Part 1: We meet Thrill the goblin. He is fascinated by the Declaration of Goblin Rights, which stands as a monument to goblin pride, though no one can read all the words carved into the high, dark cavern wall.
Part 2: Thrill admits to his co-worker, Sistig, that he reads books only reserved for the librarians. Before Sistig can work the situation to his advantage, the goblins are called out to attack some wealthy humans travelling through the woods.
Part 3: Thrill is caught in a very un-goblinlike activity by Sistig. He has been watching ducks on a pond while his fellow goblins are having a riotously successful time attacking humans. The incident convinces Thrill that he must leave the inside of the mountain, which means getting himself exiled.
Part 4: In an attempt to get himself exiled, Thrill offers to alphabetize the books in the goblin library. His activity creates quite a stir.
Part 5: Thrill finally finds himself on the outside, but Sistig is exiled, as well. His griping threatens to undo all of Thrill’s well-laid plans.
Part 6: Thrill and Sistig are arrested by the first humans they meet.
Part 7: Sistig is enraged to find out Thrill’s plan, but Thrill finds some unexpected allies.
The passing of goblin armies usually involved a fearful nighttime parade for the townspeople, but as the humans always made sure to have plenty of soldiers on hand, the goblins behaved themselves. The processions therefore caused no more damage than a lost business day—or night, rather. No, these were not the goblins Thrill was interested in. He wanted his goblins. But now that he was out here, it seemed a ridiculous hope that he would be able to find them.
It would have been a simple affair to explain Thrill’s presence in the town by his pretending to be a military scout. It was a more complicated matter to have an explanation for why he was with the de Hubert kids, who had never before been seen in the company of goblins. Suggestions as to how to resolve this problem were varied and colorful.
“Are there such things as circus goblins?”
“We could have him as a pet.”
“Heloise, only you would claim a goblin as a pet.”
“He could be our prisoner.”
“Then why would we be showing him around town?”
“Are there goblin shopkeepers? Maybe he can be a merchant.”
“But everyone knows goblins don’t come out in the daylight. When would he sell stuff?”
“Then he has to be with Dad.”
“Yes, with Dad.”
Thrill was mystified as to why being associated with their father would help, but they seemed convinced that it was the best route. When he asked for more information, they responded with pride.
“Our dad is a priest,” they said. “Of the old order.”
It is true that the de Huberts had had no associations with goblins. But as an old order priest, Raymond de Hubert was in the reconciliation business. He had interceded for all sorts of people and creatures. He had even once interceded successfully for the dwarves.
“If we say you are with him,” Fitz explained, “everyone will figure that he is interceding for the goblins, too.”
As if goblins needed intercession for anything, Thrill thought to himself. But the idea was sound.
“And since you are already sort of a weird goblin,” Heloise added, “it won’t matter much that you are out in the daylight.”
The plan having been at least half-baked, they decided to move forward with it. In the blink of an eye, Thrill, goblin-exile, became Thrill, thoughtful representative for goblin intercession. They stepped boldly out into the afternoon sun.
It was a small town, so word spread quickly. The de Huberts had a goblin staying with them! He was a different sort of a goblin: a thoughtful one. People were eager to talk to Raymond de Hubert’s new associate, so much so that the children began to feel guilty for spreading a lie. Yet it was effective: the townspeople were eager to answer just the sort of questions Thrill wanted to ask.
“Do I know of any other goblins ‘round here? On no, my leathery friend. Humans don’t really know goblins. But occasionally they march through.”
“Aye, I saw that vicious little creature dart out of town. Good riddance to him, I say. But you’re a different sort, aren’t you? You look like a thoughtful little fellow. Here, have one of my fresh-baked rolls. And mind you don’t harm those young people, or I’ll drive you out of town with a sharpened pitchfork.”
“Have I heard of what? A Declaration of Goblin Rights? Mercy, no! That sounds like a piece of fiction if ever there was one. Pardon, I forgot I was talking to one of your kind.”
And finally, “But of course I remember something about goblins in these parts. But they were not the marching ones. They were a different sort, who didn’t mix with us very much. Or at least that’s what my grandfather’s father said.”
Thrill’s ears had fanned with interest. Now they drooped again. “Your grandfather’s father? So they are not still here?”
“Of course not!” chuckled the old man. “That was many, many years ago. The goblins my grandfather’s father knew are long gone. And even they were descendants of other goblins. Different goblins, like you.”
Thrill thought back on the Declaration. How long had those words been etched in stone? Even if the original carvers had made a paper copy, it would probably have disintegrated by now. “And you, sir. Did you know any of these different goblins?”
The man shook his head. “Sadly, no. I think I was but a child when the last one of them died.”
Night-time was coming on, and Thrill was exhausted. He and the children trekked back to the house with many interesting but profitless commentaries ringing in their ears. It had not been all for naught, however. Thrill’s presence had won them all some interesting tours around local shops, some fresh baked bread, and a broken piece of colorful pottery. Thrill held this last item close. It was amazing to actually own a piece of color. Goblins had no colors like the bright blues, reds, and yellows on the little fragment. That was because they had no appreciation for the world of light that made such colors visible.
If Thrill had thought it would be difficult to spend an entire night indoors and asleep, he would have been wrong. The day had been long and wearying. His feet hurt, his skin stung, and his stomach was still sore from being strapped over his suitcase—an act of rudeness for which Fitz had apologized many times. Plus, he had never been in a bed so soft. Guy had let him take his bed and in the taking, Thrill had developed a profound new respect for human ingenuity. The bed was a wooden frame holding up a tight network of ropes, which created a comfortable, shallow sling. Over the sling was a large sack filled with dried corn husks. Thrill’s large nose could easily detect the scent, but his tired body felt as if it were resting on a cloud. He laid down, closed his eyes, and did not move for several hours.
Yet nocturnal habits are hard to break, no matter how tired the nocturnal creature may be. So it was that Thrill woke up a few hours before dawn, when the constellations were still high in the sky and the townspeople were asleep.
To be continued in Part 9, in which Thrill learns Guy’s secret and encounters some other goblins.