Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day Two-Sixty-Eight: Your Benevolency

Harold's been interviewed.

Edmund's been interviewed.

And, now, so have I. I've officially spoken to two kings in my life. I like this one a lot better than the last.

I was the last person to be ushered into King Gok's presence out of everyone from the castle. Edmund went before me, and he returned with a less-than-favourable opinion of Gok. Apparently the king is a fan of neither bards nor dark-skinned humans. I'm not sure why a goblin would be racist against a particular breed of human, and I don't really care, either.

After Edmund was safely back in our three-room enclosure, the goblin guards motioned for me to follow them. I'd been inspecting a table and wondering how I could disassemble it using only a toothbrush and a comb, and I think the goblins were uncomfortable with my close scrutiny of the furniture.

Also, more sneers. I held myself back from lashing out this time. I don't need more lectures from housekeeping. They have no imaginations.

The soldiers led me through the low-ceiling corridors of King Gok's tower, guiding me up spiralling staircases to the very top, where Gok's throne room sits. It's an opulent space: the whole room is encased in glass, allowing Gok to look out on his city from every angle, and the plush carpet leading up to his throne is lined with an assortment of antique knickknacks that are probably from all over the world. I spotted a globe, a telescope, a harp, a free-standing abacus, a bronzed sculpture of a cheetah, and, flanking the cat, a stuffed sloth. Among many other things.

Gok sheepishly confessed that the sloth is fake. I'm not surprised. There are no recorded sloth kills, and if anyone has performed the deed, they're probably not a goblin.

Gok was speaking to Grylock and several other advisors when I entered, and he waved them all away to speak with me in private. Grylock mumbled something cheeky at me as he walked down the steps and out of the throne room, though I'm not sure what he said. It was his tone of voice that caught me more than anything.

The king motioned me to sit at a table beside his spiky throne, and he joined me after a quick handshake. It's strange to get that kind of treatment from a noble - only one who's ever been polite to me before is The Baron, rest his soul - but goblin society could be flip-floppy enough to allow for more equality. Or something.

"Well!" King Gok began, stroking his beard. "Glad 'n well met, young lady, glad 'n well met. I've heard a lot about ye from yer contemporaries, 'n I've been much anxious te sit down 'n make yer acquaintance. Save the best fer last, as they mumble, eh? Eh?"

I didn't bother to laugh. It was a dumb joke, if it was even a joke at all. "Okay. You, uh, wanted to ask me questions? Or something? Your majesty?"

"I did! But first." Brushing back his eyebrows, Gok removed the crown from his head and tossed it onto his throne. "T'ain't no royalty here. Just us wee folk, talkin' 'bout important matters. How's that sound, lass? Think ye can call me Gok, 'n treat me like ye'd treat onea yer own?"

I smiled. Half-hearted and sarcastic, sure, but it was a smile. "Sure. I can handle that. Whaddya want, ya little bastard?"

Gok beamed.

The conversation went much as it had for everyone else. Gok asked me a lot of questions about who I was, where I'd been born, how I'd come to the castle, how I made a living, what I thought of Goblinoster, that sorta thing. He ever peppered me with questions about the baby, and made a bunch of suggestions that I never woulda considered. I'm still in a funk about everything that happened, but Gok's upbeat attitude made me feel a hell of a lot better.

Not positive, of course. I'm far from positive. But… better.

Conversation wasn't the only order of the day. Turns out Gok's a cook as well as a king, and he's got his own kitchen in his throne room. When my stomach started to growl, he stepped right up and prepared a nice meal of ostrich eggs and bacon, with pancakes and buttermilk on the side. The goblins haven't been starving us, but Gok's food made our other servings look like puke on a plate.

Throughout it all, Gok didn't press me much on details of what happened back home. He dropped a few subtle queries, but that was all. That's fine - I'm not that ready to talk about it yet.

Except in here, I guess.

Yeah. I… I suppose I did that already.

Three hours after our first meeting, Gok patted me on the back, wished me a good day, and sent me back to my room with the guards. Before I left, he assured me that we wouldn't be there much longer - and he further assured me that the pain of losing a loved one gets easier with time.

When I asked how he knew that, he pointed at a portrait leaning up against the freestanding abacus. It was of a stately goblin woman, dressed in furs and smiling. That was all I needed.



  1. :D This is a worthy entry for my birthday...

  2. Woot! Cool beans. Care for a birthday sketch? It's on the house, if you can think up a topic for this auspicious day.

    1. Hmmm...would it be any trouble to draw Dragomir holding a cake?

  3. It would not.

    A happy day marred by my gruesome sense of humour.

    1. Nah. I happen to have a dark sense of humor myself..

  4. Happy B-day Ember!

    Though in my opinion, the Dragomir picture only needs one"needs more cowbell" (Hooray for internet jokes!)