Two long boards made a very comfortable walk, and Tom appreciated the space to turn around, even though the boards were bendier than he liked. This was the moment he made his grand speech to the evil pirates before plunging into the watery depths of the sea.
It was on a cliff of stone and ice where they met, the goblin chieftain and the human king. So the goblins called the cliff and the field itself Sang-Col, which in their tongue means “Blood-Call.”
The goblin chieftain was Scrape, known to her people as a fair but unyielding ruler. In the days before goblin lords and the self-named goblin king, a goblin chieftain recognized no path but their own, and Scrape acknowledged no master of her actions but herself and the God whom the goblins named Ovallen. For this reason, against the advice of her kin, she had seen the human king’s youngest son Patrick and dared to love him.
Scoral was a handsome mer, graceful and strong, his long hair the color of ripe kelp and his scales the same fiery orange-gold. He was chosen by Lune for his fearlessness and wildness. All mer have that wild edge to their personality, but Scoral was known to test his elders almost to the limit. More than once he was threatened with banishment from the chorus. Although lone mer were not unheard of, in dangerous ocean waters these solitary-minded mer only rarely survived.
Scoral himself was not concerned. He swam alone frequently, relishing the freedom of his own path.
Lune was his own age, the daughter of a chieftain. She was quieter and more thoughtful in her ways than Scoral, and she knew he was far too reckless. She better than anyone understood that to say so would be useless. Others had told him and Scoral refused to listen. It was left to him, to decide what his fate would be.
She remembered standing on that ridge overlooking that moorland. It had been a morning like this a little over a year ago. The sky had been that pale, cool pink softening towards a rainy afternoon chill. She remembered huddling under her cloak, trying to keep the rain out as they continued the long road to the false king’s castle.
A silly girl, that’s what she had been. A silly girl with big ideas and a bundle of arguments that meant nothing to an iron tyrant.
It was traditional, not to say required, to be married before the stones. The people of the fields and drops of Little Boulding had kept to this tradition, not at all a requirement, since before anyone could remember. So of course it was expected that if they were to be married, even a goblin and a man ought to be married before the stones.
On this day, the happiest day, Gnarlas was trying to decide why the man wanted to marry her at all.