My longest chapter so far. It might be unclear in some places. Tell me where and why.
The doors to the throne room swung open with a gasp, and the stale air that wafted out from the interior filled the cavern hallways with the dusty flavor of soot and sweat. Dark firelight shone from inside the room. Myra stepped inside, flanked by Mud and his two lackeys. The room inside was brightly lit, and filled with goblins. At the end of the room, a silver throne was sitting in the middle of a raised dias. The walls were covered in artwork, and the room was filled with goblins. Around the throne, bunches of them were quietly speaking to each other.
They turned to face her as soon as she entered, staring at her with ugly little eyes. The chatter died, and a slow silence fell over the room. The goblins were dressed in the same way as Mud and the two others- in mismatched and improperly worn human clothing. They didn't look very comfortable. It appeared that these goblins had been expecting her, because (unlike the ones in the tunnels) they did not squeal or jump upon seeing that she was a human.
At the back, the throne was occupied, but figure who sat in it was just out of sight. Myra craned her neck, trying to get a glimpse of the man on the throne, but she was interrupted before she could.
"Kneel, you idiot." Mud hissed at her. He grabbed the back of her neck and forced her down on the ground. There, was a tense silence, and then Mud stepped up and cleared his throat. "King Jazan, allow me to present to you her Royal Highness Princess Myra of Estmark!" Mud proclaimed proudly, bowing deeply. "I have brought her, as I was bid."
The King turned around, and Myra realized that something was wrong- but she still couldn't see him well enough to be sure. He stood up, and Myra instantly received the answer to all her questions.
His ears, instead of hanging over his head, were straight up. He was tall. He was muscled. His skin was not grey, but a light white, and his eyes were slender and human.
He looked more human than any goblin she had ever seen. Indeed, the only things 'goblin' about him were his nose, which was still long and hooked, and the tips of his ears, which were still pointed.
"I, my lady, am King Jazan. Welcome to my kingdom."
"Where is the princess?" I demanded. I had a captured a small goblin on the way through the halls, and I now had him pinned up against the wall by his throat. He smelled, and had urinated himself in fear. It was disgusting. Just another reason why goblins are scummy little creatures.
"I don- I don't know- I don't know anything!" The goblin squealed, fat (and probably stinky) tears leaking down the side of his face. "I swear! I swear I don't. Please don't kill me! I have three children!" He pleaded for his life, but I could sense a slight hesitation in his words. I tightened my grip on his neck, and pulled him closer to my face.
"I can tell that you're hiding something from me, you little worm." I whispered, making my voice sound as menacing as it possibly could. I let my hot breath pour over him, in and out- not to scare him, but I didn't want to risk breathing his incredible stench through my nose. "If you tell me where my princess is, I'll let you go." I said. "If you don't, I'll find your children and make you watch while I eat them." I felt the goblin's muscles go very tense. A few minutes of quiet came, but then he spoke.
"If she's human, she was probably brought down here for King Jazan. He's obsessed with humans." He whimpered. "I swear, I swear that's all I know." This time, I sensed the truth. Good.
"Hah. I doubt it, but that'll do." I said, and threw him against the cavern wall. I heard a crack, but I couldn't tell if I had killed him or not. I didn't care. If any goblins tried to run ahead of me, they would die too.
"Did you have any trouble on the way here, princess?" The King asked, breaking the cold silence that had descended over the room after a few moments.
"No, your majesty." Myra replied, standing up and curtsying. "And I must thank you for saving me from that nasty dragon! I would have been lost without your help." She gave him her most thankful smile. The King smiled back.
"That's good, that's good- if my underlings had given you any trouble, I would have had them executed." He told her, glancing at Mud and the other two. They smiled nervously, and bowed. He turned back to Myra. "And, uh- does my kingdom remind you of your own?" He asked.
Myra, caught off guard, replied with the first thing that came to mind. "No- eh, not really your majesty. It's dark and underground, and it's cold with no sunlight." She suddenly realized what she was saying. "But, i-it's very nice and charming, still!" She exclaimed.
"I see- I see." Jazan turned to his subjects, who were fidgeting nervously, and laughed loudly. A sigh went across the room, and the tension had been released. They started to laugh too- a thoroughly unpleasant sound, like glass breaking underfoot. "Well, we'll have to change that, won't we! I plan to fix this kingdom, until it is perfect." He smiled widely.
"Did you see my new lamps? Things of beauty! Please, admire one." Jazan reached into his billowous robe, and pulled out a small glass sphere- identical to he many lamps that had been installed across his tunnels. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" Myra was taken aback.
"I hope it will one day, become a kingdom like the kingdoms that humans have built above the ground. I love humans." The King stood up. "Humans are the greatest. Hehehe." His tone shifted, and Myra suddenly felt very uncomfortable. His speech was rapid and hard to understand. His eyes were wild.
It's not only his body that is deformed. Myra realized, with a flash of insight. He's crazy.
All around them, the assembled goblin courtiers (all dressed in exceedingly ridiculous clothes) clapped and bowed, making noises of delight. They were playing Jazan's game, hoping to win the favour of their lunatic king. The lamp was slowly handed around and admired by the goblins before it was passed to Myra. She gave it a dutiful but cursory glance and a quick smile.
"It's very pretty." She said slowly, before she passed the lamp back to the guard who had given it to her. He gave her a knowing smirk, and returned the lamp to the king. Myra was bewildered already, but King Jazan was just getting started. "All human things are beautiful." Myra nodded, politely. Jazan chuckled.
"Our people are not so different, you know." Jazan told her. "In the ages before history was written, we were once the same." King Jazan explained raising his arms theatrically. "Did you know this?" He asked.
"I have heard some stories, your majesty..." Myra replied. "I've always thought they were just stories, though."
"What, stories? No! They are history!" Jazan said. "It happened like this." He began. "My people are descended from a man. He was a farmer who worked his fields and grew crops under the sun." Jazan's voice settled in to a rhythm- it was trained, and precise.
"One day the farmer's wife fell sick with fever. His daughter and son, and soon his whole village quickly succumbed to the disease." Jazan went on. "Desperate, the farmer sought the help of the god Morio. He pleaded with him to help the village survive." His audience was dutiful, but not raptly attentive. Myra guessed that they had heard this speech before.
"And so, the god did. He halted the disease, which had turned their skins grey and ugly, before it could do any damage. But- as you can see- it wasn't enough. It had already touched us, and we became, as the god had intended, corrupted."
"The farmer's name was Jazan. He was the first goblin. My name is Jazan, and I will be the last. As you can see when you look at me, I am already something else- something between goblin and human. I am the next step." Jazan stopped, and looked around the room, setting his eyes on each goblin before moving on. We goblins will return to the light!" He declared.
"We goblins will return to the light!" The goblins throughout the room echoed dutifully.
"I will make my kingdom- this filthy, black, ugly little pit into the greatest human kingdom ever conceived!" Jazan was getting excited now, and his voice hitched as he shouted. "And it will be human!"
"And it will be human!" The goblins shouted again. Jazan smiled at his people. "So passionate. They know that they are inferior and disgusting creatures, and that most of them will need to die for my dream to be achieved. They still follow me."
"But, in order to do that princess, in order to achieve my dream- I must have a perfect human wife. And you, princess. Are perfect. Will you marry me?"
Myra was at a loss for words. "I-I-" She stuttered. Jazan raised his hand.
"As my wife, you will of course be granted all the amenities found in a proper human kingdom, as this place will soon become." Jazan said, and laughed. "Don't worry on that account."
There was silence. If crickets could have survived in the goblin caves, they would have been chirping.
"I can't." Myra replied finally. "I'm supposed to marry a wise and handsome knight, and bear his children, and rule the kingdom by his side- the kingdom of Estmark, not the kingdom of Goblin."
Jazan looked down at her. "I see." He replied, his voice losing all happiness. "Then, I won't force you- that wouldn't be kingly. I merely ask that you take the time to think this over." He added. "Mud!"
"Yes, your majesty?" Mud yelped, jumping to attention.
"Put the princess in the pit. If she asks for food, ask her if she's reconsidered my offer." The king commanded. Myra had absolutely no idea what 'the pit' was, but it didn't sound good.
"Okay!" Mud yelled enthusiastically. He grabbed her by the arm, and Myra (who was not in a position to resist) allowed him to lead her to the side of the throne room. A lever was pulled, and a thick piece of stone slowly retracted, revealing a deep and dark hole. She could feel the gazes of the courtiers on her, as the sick creatures watched her with maniacal interest. Mud grabbed her waist, and pushed her down into the pit. It was a long fall.
She wished she could say that she hadn't screamed.
I followed the path, I followed her smell. I walked until I found myself at two (huge, ugly) iron doors built into the side of passage. I had left a trail of terrified goblins behind me- some were lucky, some were dead. The two guards, who clearly did not know who or what I was, grabbed their spears and charged at me as soon as they saw me. I caught their two tiny heads in my left and right hands. I squeezed, and their skulls cracked and exploded. I got blood all over my hands. I felt absolutely disgusting.
I threw open the doors, and stepped into the throne room.
"My princess, you little termites!" I threw back my head, and yelled. It was as close as I could come to a roar when I was in the tiny human body. "If you don't return her, I will slaughter every one of you!" The goblins inside scattered and fell around me, and they started to fill the air with their ugly little shrieks,
The goblin on the throne, the one in the centre, looked at me in alarm. He didn't looked very gobliny to me. Still ugly, but taller and humanish.
"What? Calm down!" He shouted at his goblins. "Another human! What's going on?" He demanded, looking at me in bewildered fascination. "Mud, who is this?" He asked the goblin standing in front of him. Mud shook his head dumbly.
I decided to help them out. "I'm not a human." I declared. "I-" I paused for dramatic effect "- am Kirian, the dragon of Estmark- and ruler of the mountain."
"Y-you're a dragon?"
"I just told you that!" I confirmed. "And, I've come for my princess! If you don't return her, I'll kill you." I told him. I was lying, just a little bit. As a dragon, I'd have no difficult with the goblins, but the pinched hallways and cramped rooms would make it impossible for me to transform. I just had to hope that the goblins didn't know that. This difficulty was the only reason I had bothered with diplomacy at all.
I watched the king carefully as I spoke. I thought I saw a flicker of anger pass over his face, but if I did, it was followed too quickly by a calm resignation. He realized that he had lost. Good. I didn't want a damn hassle. I needed to leave the damned ugly tunnels as quickly as possible. I felt naked without my real body.
"You win! I lose!" The king the declared. "Please, please, I beg of you, spare us." The king pleaded, dropping to the floor in hysteria. "I shouldn't have ever gone against you. It was foolish, so foolish."
"Wha-?" I began to ask, but was cut off quickly.
"Mud, show the dragon his princess-" The king said, and sobbed theatrically. "Show him the way you showed her."
"With pleasure, your majesty." The goblin named Mud replied. He turned, and gave me a deep bow, before slowly motioning me over to the side of the room. I was very confused, but I followed him.
Myra sat, lonely and quietly, at the bottom of the pit. She sat still because she had bruised her ankle during the fall, and it hurt her to move it now. She didn't think it was broken, but she would need light to be sure.
As she sat, Myra pondered how it could have come to this. How could her perfect life as the princess of a beautiful and strong kingdom, her endless dreams of knights and wizards, culminated in being kidnapped twice in two weeks by two insane creatures? If this was the revenge of the gods of misfortune for all the good luck she had been given as a child, they had generously overcompensated.
She heard a ruckus from above her, the sound of clattering metal and screams reached her ears. She squinted her eyes and looked up.
"She's just over here, sir." Myra heard Mud say. "If you'd just-" There was a yelp, and the sound of whistling air. A body tumbled down from above and collided with the ground next to where Myra was sitting. What? She looked over at the body. Her new cell-mate.
If she had thought her life was at its worst, she had just been proven wrong. It was Kirian.
He looked at her, she looked at him. Their eyes met. Myra saw bright yellow.
Kirian smiled. Myra screamed.
Again, I'll revise this tomorrow. I'll need your helpful advice. Did I ever repeat myself? Did I move too quickly in some parts? Was something unclear? Review, and tell me.
- The Deal with the Dragon