This Live Write Challenge was issued by Kay Davis
Items given: A goblin, an old well, someone has lost their way, rusty toy
Please note: Live writes are not edited other than simple spell and grammar checks.
Desrelle sat with her back against the old well. She had been lost for over an hour, and so far she had only found this well. Twice! She was not sure how she managed to lose herself. Wanderers did not get lost. She would deny it to any that dared to accuse her of such a thing. No, not lost, she decided. She had just found two different ways that she did not wish to travel.
The young wanderer pushed a few rogue strays of red hair from her dusty face. The worst part is that she kept finding this old well which had no bucket. It was a complete waste of building effort to build a well and leave no bucket. She had not found a bucket on her last two attempts to wanderer elsewhere. She was very thirsty.
She had finished the last of her water on her last foray into the thick forest. She was going to be late for dinner at this rate. That was far more of a crime, her stomach reminded her, than any admission of having misplaced one's way. She fetched out an apple she had found in an orchard before heading down the path that had led her to this old well. Odd that, she thought, a path that leads one in should really lead one out. Poor designing, she decided as she munched one her apple. If she ever found the path maker, she would give him or her a solid piece of her mind.
Having finished her apple, Desrelle began to dig through her bag for things that might help her find her way to the caravan or pull water from the well. She pulled out a shoestring. Well, that was hardly long enough to be of any use. She set ait side and reached in again. She pulled out a little sack with her flint and steel and some fishhooks. She doubted there was fish in the well, besides the shoe string was hardly long enough if she could not see the bottom. Letting out a soft sigh, she kept digging and squealed when something bit her. Grabbing the soft fur quickly she pulled out a squirrel.
"Oh hi Gypsum. I forgot I shoved you in there." She gave the indignant squirrel the core of her apple before she continued digging into her mismatched compilation of belongings in her backpack.
Her mother always told her a proper wanderer organized their bag. Desrelle found it was far more fun when one forgot what was in it. Well, until today when she needed something specific. She was sure she had not traded her rope. She pulled out a beautiful feather of purple and orange she had found not long ago. She smiled having picked that up a couple of weeks ago on a wander into an old chicken house. It was not a chicken feather, but she had loved it. She had yet to find a bird which it belonged to.
Desrelle carefully laid the feather next to the small bag and shoestring. She looked about for Gypsum and saw the squirrel sniffing around the top of the well. Gypsum was probably thirsty as well. It just was not right that the well had no bucket. She pulled out an old rusty toy cart. It had broken a wheel, and she had thought about fixing it for trading. Giving a sigh of exasperation, she tossed the toy behind her and delved into the bag again.
Desrelle froze. The sound had come from behind her. She was sure of it. She slowly pulled her sling close as she stood and turned around. Gypsum had scurried over to a tree and was wandering its trunk. Desrelle frowned as she saw nothing in the small clearing.
"Hey, who is there." She cast back and forth for any movement of brush on the outside of the small area.
A very gruff voice echoed up out of the well. "Dar daagaan o duul dec"
Desrelle's eyes grew very large. It must be a magic well. Excited, she leaned over the edge and called down. "I'm so sorry. I don't speak well. Do you speak the common tongue."
"No speak. No well," the gruff voice called back. "Gobblin. You hit head."
The toy came flying back up and Desrelle caught it. "Gobblin... gobblin..." Desrelle had heard stories around the campfire about nasty old men who lived in the dark for so long that they were bent and twisted. Their eyes grew large, and they were mean-spirited. She had found that such tales were often exaggerated. She just had to see.
"I'm lost. Can you show me the way out of the forest. I can give you a feather for your help." The gobblin did not need to know that being lost was a very unwanderer thing to do. If she could lure it out, she would know for certain if the tales were true or not.
There was a long pause. Desrelle did not push for in a trade patience was a very important thing, the first one to speak often ended up on the poor end of the trade. She squirmed and leaned over a bit further, but she could not see the bottom.
"Lost?" The gruff voice came back.
"Oh yes, I am very lost," She reassured the gobblin.
"Come down." The voice demanded.
"That'll hardly get me out of the forest. Well, I mean it will, but I'll be underground. You should come up and lead me out. I can trade for your help. Oh, I suppose if you are down in the well, there is no water?" Desrelle sighed. "I could really use some water too."
"Trade?" the voice asked with a clear edge of uncertainty.
"Oh yes, why I even have a pet squirrel you can have." She looked around for Gypsum. He was up the tree now. She frowned. She hoped the gobblin would trade for a pet squirrel that was up in a tree.
"Move away," the voice said.
Desrelle was fine with moving away. She did not want to be to close unless the campfire stories were true. She shifted from foot to foot waiting excitedly. She had her sling in case the gobblin was as mean as the stories told.
After a few moments, the first tuffs of hair and some fairly large ears appeared. She waited, her breath caught in the excitement. She was fairly certain that no one in the caravan had actually seen a gobblin despite the stories. The eyes came up; they were barely open as the poor creature had to squint against the sun. After that, piece by piece the goblin became visible as it finally scrambled up over the edge. It stood crouched on the wall of the well, as if ready to spring down at the first hint of danger.
Desrelle had a moment to look it over before the goblin finally was able to open its eyes enough to do the same with her. It was dirty so she could not tell what color its skin was. Stories said it was green but what little skin she could see through ragged clothing and dirt was pale gray. The gobblin's head was so round that it sort of appeared as if someone just plopped some hair and ears on a fruit. The eyes were bulbous, protruding forward and its nose was practically nonexistent. It was really quite a homely thing. It probably was taller than her, but Desrelle could not tell with it all folded up like that.
The gobblin's face showed its disapproval when it finished its own appraisal of her. "You child." it said, spittle splattered the ground and unfortunately her pack as it did so.
"Oh no! I am a fully grown wanderer. I am on my third wander and I am free to leave if I wish," she said quickly. Other races often mistook younger adult wanderers for the young.
She did not understand why, after all the young were much smaller. She smoothed down her jerkin of red. She loved the gold buttons on it. The red was such a perfect match to the brown leggings and the green shirt that she wore. She had no hat today. She should have worn one. If she had known she was going to meet a gobblin, she most certaintly would have grabbed her hat. The purpose one would probably have made sure the gobblin saw her as a proper wanderer.
"Wanderer?" the goblin questioned. It frowned.
Desrelle could not decide if it did not know what a wanderer was, or if it did not believe she was an adult one. She decided to explain the first though the gods knew how such was possible. She was pretty sure everyone knew of wanderers. She nodded and offered a bright smile.
"Yes, we follow the dragons on their migrations and such. They leave the most marvelous things lying about for us. It is quite a blessed life, it is." She pointed to the sky. "Why just last month this green dragon dropped a strange creature with a hard shell. It had six legs and the shell was spiky. It ate the insides for the most part. We took all kinds of things from it. Useful things, fun things. Yes, following dragons is a wondrous life."
The gobblin blinked a few times. It tipped its head as it looked down at the backpack. "What trade for no lost."
Desrelle decided gobblins were really not social creatures. She considered then moved carefully toward the gobblin. It watched her closely, but it did not move. She reached down and found the feather. She held it up. "This is quite beautiful," she said.
"No beauty! No need beauty in dark. Need supply." The gobblin's spittle hit her face.
It took everything Desrelle had not to grow offended. She was sure the thing had not meant to spit on her. She stepped out of its speaking range. "I don't have supplies other than an apple. Would that do?" She hoped so, as she was not sure what else she could give a gobblin that was useful as supplies.
"Apple and buttons," the goblin demanded.
Apple and buttons, she thought, what kind of food was that. It was then she realized what the gobblin meant for it was staring at her vest. Her hand flew to her beautiful gold buttons. "NO, not the buttons," she gasped.
"Buttons or lost." The goblin shrugged.
Oh, he was a shrewd trader, she decided. She did not dare be lost because a wanderer did not get lost, and they would make great fun of her back at the caravan if they had to come find her. She considered what she could give instead. "I have some slips," she offered.
"No need slips. Buttons or lost." The thing had the indecency to grin at her discomfort.
"Fine!" She did not like agreeing, but if Beuomont found her than he would give her no end of misery.
She gathered up her things and then called for Gypsum. The little squirrel hurried down the tree, and as she held the bag open, he dived into it. She turned to the goblin who was watching her. She did not like that strange hungry look it was giving her backpack.
"Here, I will give you the apple in good faith." She pulled out the apple and tossed it to the gobblin which caught it deftly. Better to give him an apple than have him decide to eat Gypsum.
The gobblin hopped down off the well and led the way into the thick woods. He was taller than her as she expected, though he was still sort of bent over. His arms almost touched the ground as he shuffled before her. The woods were darker now as the sun was beginning to lower in the sky. Determined to make the best of her soon to be lost buttons, Desrelle decided she had best learn what she could.
"What's your name?" She had to hurry a bit to keep up with him despite his strange shuffle-like walk.
"Du'rek." It answered with a great deal of gravel in its inflection.
Desrelle did her best to match it. "Du'rek, do you have family?" She did not know much about gobblins, obviously they reproduced somehow.
"No," came Du'rek's gruff answer.
"Oh that is so sad. I have seven brother and four sisters. They are all older than me. I think that is why they tried to keep me from wandering so soon. Ma and Da don't like much being alone. There all the grankits now though. So I guess, that is why they let me off." She chattered gaily. She frowned as she realized they were going deeper into the forest.
"Du'rek, my caravan is on the plain. We are going to mountains. I am sure we should be going the other way," she offered politely.
"You lost. Du'rek no lost." The gobblin did not even look back at her when it spoke.
"Well, I suppose that does make sense. I did try two different ways back to the caravan away from the mountains so I suppose that trying a way towards the mountains is a smart thing to do." Desrelle resettled her pack and skipped closer to the gobblin. "Do you live underground or just work there?"
"Live," he said.
"Oh. How do you grow food?" she asked.
"Kill food," Du'rek answered.
So continued the next half hour of their walk, she would ask and he would answer. Despite her efforts, Desrelle could not get the gobblin to share more than his one word answers. If she was really lucky, sometimes she got two. It filled her with excitement when the gobblin stopped and turned to ask her a question.
"You talk lot?" It frowned at her.
"Oh no, I am the quiet one of my family. My Da is always telling me to speak up like a proper wanderer. But I really like to listen, so I don't usually just gabber on. My sister, now she talks and talks. The worst part is." Desrelle took a breath. "She never really says anything. Ma says she just likes her voice. I think she is just a little light in the head and so her words are empty. It is lucky you are taking me home. I'm sure if I stayed loss, she would have come and I would have had to hear it all the way home."
"Your family come if you lost?" The gobblin looked alarmed for some reason.
"Oh yes. I mean not at first because wanderers aren't supposed to get lost. But I didn't leave on a long wander so I am expected back. Why, if I was not back by morning my Ma would have the whole caravan out looking. Dipples, he is my brother, we call him Dipples because he is forever dipping into Da's beer. Anyway, Dipples is good at tracking. He would be sure to find me. I mean, he says I am like a troll in a forest, leaving marks the whole way I go."
The gobblin peered back the way that they had come then back at Desrelle. "We go." He turned at a right angle and started cutting a new trail. Desrelle looked about them. The trail they were on was clearly one that was used. She thought it odd that the gobblin was making a new one.
"Why are we going this way? I thought you said the caravan was the other way." She had to pause as the gobblin forced his way through some brambles.
"Quick." The gobblin snarled.
He clearly was not in a good mood. Maybe she was keeping him from something important. Determined to cheer the poor being up, she chatted on gaily. Desrelle told him of life in a caravan. She asked questions about life underground. Du'rek was not accommodating in answers. Most of the time now he just grunted at her. Finally the trees began to thin. She caught a glimpse of the mountains that were now clearly behind them.
"You go rest self." Du'rek pointed to the edge of the woods.
"Oh, right then. I should give you the buttons. They are my favorite buttons. I hope you will be glad to have them. It took a right proper time to find buttons that were gold. I don't know where I will find them again.' She pulled her knife from her boot.
"No buttons." The gobblin held up his hand.
"Oh no, I agreed to a trade. One never goes back on a trade." She shook her head and pulled the first button farther out to cut it loose.
"New trade. Du'rek give back buttons." The gobblin insisted.
Her eyes came up excitedly. "Oh, for what? Do you want to meet my family. I know they would love to meet a proper gobblin. We could give you food and beer. Why I bet they will talk your ears right off that head of yours. You will see. I am really the quiet one."
The gobblin looked outright alarmed. "No.. No. You trade promise. You promise never go in Du'rek wood again."
Desrelle considered this carefully. She had given him the buttons to lead her out. He was willing to give her the buttons never to come back. The caravan was unlikely to ever go right to this place again. She would get to keep her buttons. "Agreed." She said happily as she slid the knife into her boot.
"Let me at least go get my sister. She will never believe I met a gobblin. You stay here and I will be right back." She started to turn away, but the gobblin went crashing into the bushes as if a beast were behind him.
She stared at the waving fronds of forest vegetation in confusion. "Well, that was just odd. After all that, I wonder what frightened him." She shrugged and shouldered her pack. Turning back towards the plains, she began to whistle as she sauntered off. Things worked out just right. She would be home for dinner. She would have a story of a gobblin and all it had cost her was an apple.