I Am Not the Goddaughter
Table of Contents|
Part 2 and part 3
appear in this issue.
|part 1 of 5|
Princess Rhiannon of New Fairy was a prodigal daughter of a king, forced by circumstance into a life of prostitution before returning to her father. Though freed from her servitude, Rhiannon has suffered a terrible curse and must appear naked at all times, vulnerable and cold. As she resumes her rightful place in the world, she encounters dark sorcery, the evil of men, the intrigue of enemies and her own inner conflicts.
“You are such a baby, Rhiannon.”
“Rosalyn, you tread on feces barefooted, then tell me I am a baby.”
She smirked. She is insufferable at times. We were in the Cave of the Goblins, and she was in thick green, leather pantaloons, red cowhide boots, a pink jerkin, and a chain mail vest. No wimple to hide her brown hair; she was short enough to be a small mother bear.
It was not she who had to tread, without boots, on gray, befouled dust with disgusting liquid trails in it. Not she who had to scrape her bare shoulders on narrow openings or had to squeeze past stalactites and stalagmites without clothing. That was me. I am the one who had laughed at Graymulkin, the witch second only to Hecate herself. I am, to my shame, Rhiannon the Nude.
I had seen Graymulkin dancing naked in her sacred and private space. And I was amused at her hideousness — at the tufts of hair sprouting from her nipples, at the flatness of her breasts, which resembled deflated children’s balloons, and at the thick wattles of flesh hanging down from her to her waist. I had whispered loud enough that I knew it would be heard and be as an arrow to the heart of such a creature.
“If I were that hideous, you would not see me dancing naked — ever!”
Graymulkin immediately seized me, and made me subject to a terrible vengeance.
“Woman — if I were as beautiful as thou obviously thinkest thou art, I would never wear clothing.”
And thus she cursed me. If I do not display myself for all to see, a horrible, suffocating apnea happens to all I love. I am now high queen which means if I am ever modest, thousands will die.
So I endure the stares of men, the sneers of women, the open mouths of the world, and, going through this cavern, scrapes upon my skin, and the snickers of my truest companion.
Rosalyn’s laughter stopped when we saw them.
We had climbed through an aperture and dropped down to a grotto, filled with slimy green moss and a musty smell which made my nose stop up.
We were encircled by hunched over, green-skinned men, if you want to call them men, with elephantine ears, no hair except that which comes out of moles, and fingernails curled but not so long as to interfere with their sword grips.
“By the swelling of my gland, something lovely is at hand,” said one who looked rabid, foam dripping from his cleft lower lip.
“Verily, elf, if I had my druthers, I would lick her nice big udders,” said another, who blew me kisses.
“Verily, elf, they are as big as dragon’s eggs, but I prefer those nice, long legs,” said a third.
“Craven, I have given it ample tho’t and I prefer what’s totally hot.” From that one’s gaze, I knew what he thought was totally hot. Oh, how I wished I could cover up.
“Lummox, I too prefer what is shaven, but I wish to nuzzle that nice, flat stomach,” a fourth opined. His words fell like the crashing of a titan from the sky.
“Stomach? Stomach? What kind of rhyme scheme is that?” his follows belched. “We’re using ‘AA,’ didn’t you know?”
“AA? But it was ‘AA’. I rhymed lummox and stomach.”
“That doesn’t count — it’s only an approximate rhyme, and it’s the first and last word of the sentence,” said the first to have spoken, and he placed his bodkin at the others throat. “Rascal, today, we are to rhyme the last words of our couplets.”
“It does too count, as long as it is iambic pentameter,” returned the other bizarrely. “And besides, your first utterance was not, technically speaking, a couplet.”
“Oh, surely you jest,” said the bodkin wielder in a wine-deepened voice brimmed with mockery. “Besides, you used no kind of pentameter at all, iambic or otherwise, varlet.”
“Let’s ask Rhiannon. She knows everything. She’s the high queen. She’ll resolve these matters.”
I cringed as these gross little maniacs surrounded Rosalyn and me, drooling and grabbing themselves obscenely. Instead of asking me a question about the aesthetics of poetry, one clutched my hips, took his tongue, as long as Daearu’s girdle, and began to lick the cheeks of my buttocks.
As I whimpered, the homunculi chanted:
“Up and Down. Up and Down, Goblin, lick her up and down! We are feared in field and town. Goblin, lick her up and down!”
Shaking, I cried out, “Rosalyn — ge-ge-get me out of here!”
“But you have just arrived, lovely Rhiannon.” Thus spoke a subterranean elf with horribly lopsided ears and drool that could replenish the Don River.
I wanted to scream, “Get away, oh, hideous one!” But I had learned my lesson. I did not wish to be cursed again. I clutched Rosalyn’s hand.
He swaggered up, stepped on top of one of the hunched creatures that had Rosalyn and me encircled, reached over and planted a wet one on my lips.
“Patooie, patooie, patooie,” I spat out his slobber.
“I would pat that lovely tooie of yours, but I am afraid I would fall down. And that would be no good. Allow me to introduce myself to you, lovely Rhiannon. I am Raoul, the King of the Goblins. This is my abode that you are in, and I am glad you have come into it.”
He moved his painted-on eyebrows up and down for effect.
“You have the jewels of which you spoke?” I asked, trying not to shake off imaginary slime from his proximity and still cringing from the antics of my reception committee.
“The jewels that can cover your lovely person, even when clothes cannot?”
“The very same.”
“No, I do not.”
“Then you brought me here under false pretenses, sirrah.”
“No, I brought you here to admire your tits.” He closed his eyes and a shudder of ecstasy quivered through him. His myrmidons hit tongs and bones at that in a staccato beat. “But if you are willing, and able, Princess Rhiannon, I will lead you to those jewels. And your days of nakedness will be over.”
“For that I would endure anything.” He got off his minion, and I had to slap him away. “Except that.”
He grinned — and I will never forget that grin.
“You have hardly touched your leviathan testicles, lovely Rhiannon.”
“I had leviathan testicles for breakfast.” I stuck my tongue out at the very thought of them. Raoul reached out to pinch it. I was too quick for him.
It was a fabulous feast, by goblin standards. There were steaming hot moldy rolls, rotting fruit, maggoty flesh, the aforementioned leviathan testicles, and the male members of rogue behemoths. I averted my eyes as the legs of live desert spiders still wriggled from the mouths of some of Raoul’s guards, who were now more intent of feasting than in couplets. In their earth-toned girdles and doublets, one could almost account them normal if not for their stature and culinary habits.
I surreptitiously scraped some of the black fungus off of my bread, while squirming to make my butt feel more comfortable on the slime-covered, stone chair. Raoul had offered me a chair with a glass bottom to it. The glass had been enchanted and felt like a cushion. It was tempting, and had it not been for the obvious problem, what with goblin soldiers crawling beneath and around the dining table, and already, in anticipation, planting their lips on the underside of the chair like sucker fish in aquariums, I might have taken it.
When I refused it, he gave me the choice of a slime-covered stone chair, another slime-covered stone chair, and yet another slime-covered stone chair. It was to be the glass-bottomed chair or a stone, slimy one.
Rosalyn returned from the privy, which was really a sand pit behind a mossy rock. It was her second, no, her third trip. She accuses me of being a baby, but she vomited at the very sight of the goblin feast.
“Is that Eligor I see on her side?” Raoul’s lips narrowed into slits.
“Yes. She bears my death sword when I cannot.”
“Odd. I meant it for only you.”
“You!? You’re the one who forged my sword?” That meant that I was beholden to this demon.
“Of course, lovely Rhiannon. You are my goddaughter, and it was the least I could do. It was I who convinced Heveydd to forgive you and send it as a token of his love. Of my love too.” His tone had changed from lascivious to serious.
“You are my godfather, and you insult my person the way you do?” I was angry, horrified, and incredulous. Not to mention full of hateful bile.
“I’d be less than goblin if I did not. Fire spirits, you are beautiful. I may be your godfather, but I am not dead. No man on this Side can be impervious to your nakedness, unless he be unnatural.”
A goblin is not unnatural? My stomach started churning, loudly enough to earn me not a few toothy glances my way. But I held my gas firm and queried pointedly.
“Did you know of my plight then?”
When I had been ensorcelled, I had been thrown out by Ferrell, my fiancé and the king of New Dyved, and had been forced to become a whore. As you know, it was that dishonor which had been the basis of the war, the war which defeated our historic enemies and finally cast their allies, the offworlders, back into their starry void.
“Naturally, I knew of it. But I had already risked an imbalance in the ancient harmonies forging you a death sword without your fathers permission. It was not I who had abandoned you; it was the sword. Which I do not understand. The sword and you should be inseparable.”
“I did not know I had it, until I used it to kill Farrell.”
“Ah, that explains it. Try it now, lovely Rhiannon.”
“Try what now?”
“Try throwing it away.”
“It’s some kind of trick, Rhiannon. He wants you — burp! Oh, God, that’s a horrible taste — helpless.”
“We are at his mercy, Rosalyn. He could have us killed if he wished. No, hand me the sword.”
She unsheathed Eligor, passed it to me as Raoul’s chest was heaving in anticipation. I threw it to the far corner of the grotto. It reached the cavern wall, plunged in. But instead of hanging there, it pulled out and headed back to me. I opened my hand, and it nestled in my palm. I stared at Raoul.
“I could do no other than to give you a Goblin Ice sword which will penetrate any metal, kill anything living, even a shifter, even, for that matter, a god; allow you to command the dead, and never leave you. You can see why I could do no more, can you not?”
I nodded. It is written that such powerful magics could upset the harmony of the ages. Anything more on my behalf would have risked the very fabric of not only our world but the worlds around the stars as well.
“But what I cannot understand is why your bodyguard can handle it.” Raoul slobbered as he said this.
“I obviously have no place to put it.” I sneered back, wrinkling my nose, as he smacked his bloated lips. “She holds it for me.”
“But only someone who loves the intended possessor without question, regardless of his or her faults, can hold a person’s death sword.”
“That’s me, all right,” Rosalyn burped again, befouling the air for furlongs. “I truly love Rhiannon, and believe me, I know all her faults.” She pressed her left hand on my shoulder, and placed her face next to mine. “Don’t I, lovely Rhiannon?” She shook my shoulder as her eyes unfocused in a soft glaze; a plume of indigestion wafted from her mouth as she began singing. “I dream of Rhiannon with the raven-like hair.”
Goblin grin — just a little swallow will do you. At least she was not pouring the intoxicant over herself, as some of the goblins were.
I was frowning. What Raoul had said of the death sword sounded like something Graymulkin had said, as a condition to end the curse. But my thoughts on this, already unfocused by my outré surroundings, were interrupted as Rosalyn stopped singing and slid, face down, into my lap. Raoul bit his palm at the sight.
“Well, now to the reason I called you here.”
Raoul took out some gems from his pocket. Flipped them like coins and caught them.
“These are Goblin Ice. They are mine and mine alone. I can wear them, and they will protect me from harm. No ensorcellment can stop them.”
“How nice for you. What does this have to do with the jewelry I can wear when I cannot wear clothes? You don’t expect me to wear those.” Two little gems were hardly what I was counting on.
“Of course not. They are mine,” Raoul said, squeezing them in his hand; then opening his palm, showing that they had vanished. “These are yours.”
He pulled out a scroll, and unrolled it. There were drawings of a jeweled, triangular shaped bauble, two circular gems, and ear rings that would hang on your ears like winter celebration trees. There was also a tiara. Stamped across the picture was the strange glyph, “Clearance.”
“Yes, I am afraid they will only cover your aureoles, your nipples, your ears and your-”
“It will set you apart from the whores. Better than nothing, Rhiannon,” Rosalyn said, obviously stunned. She had picked herself up by pressing against my thighs and heaving upright. She steadied herself by hugging me.
Even the pictures made the jewels seem to glisten. Rosalyn stopped hugging me and stared wild-eyed at the drawings. She began touching the parts of her person wherein would hang the jewels, if they were hers. She rolled her lips and made nods of approval at some inner thoughts.
I took up the scrolls. “Yes, they are more than I have now. But where, sirrah, can I find these?”
“That’s the problem, Rhiannon. You see, they were stolen two days ago.”
“Stolen!?” I attempted to ignore one of the goblins, whose tongue darted out and rolled around a flying tick, then withdrew into his gullet.
“Yes, Rhiannon. Find the thief before he dispenses with the gems, and they will be yours. Otherwise...” He raised his hands in a gesture of futility. “Otherwise, you will forever be Rhiannon the Nude. Not that I would mind that one little bit.” The way he said this redoubled my desire to get those jewels.
Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Parsons