Goblin Diaries Vol. 8 : I Hate Boats

From the February 16th, 2024 newsletter:

 1st Day of Witches Moon, 1218th year, Human Age of Magic …

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the foot of a goblin is a shining example of the gods’ design. Wide, flat, and thick-soled, it distributes weight perfectly throughout a stride. No matter the surface, nor the weather, we goblins have no need for cumbersome footwear. We can carry many times our weight over long distances. Give us a road, a path, rocky terrain, or shifting sand, we will walk upon it and revel in the sheer joy of movement.

Notice I said walk—the mode of travel the gods of Urgule intended.

There are no roads, no paths, nor even maps of the terrain between Azurith and the Forest of Baeth that I can find. There is only the River Wiste, winding its way south through the Enchanted Forest on its way to Ozua.

I hate boats.

Yet, if I wish to investigate the two faeries, Fauche and Floreze—to verify they are flooding the black market here in Azurith with neleh berry wine, and to see if they might be hiding Ka’il Idreth (The Sword That Sings)—it’s the way I must travel.

The quickest way into the Forest of Baeth is to take one of the famous Ozuan river canoes. They are long and sleek, carrying as many as twenty paddlers. Going downriver, we could reach Holly’s Landing (a trading post midway through the Enchanted Forest) in a day. But have you ever ridden in one? They are terribly unbalanced—I watched a human trying to climb into one at the docks, and he tipped it over while it was tied to its moorings! Imagine sitting in one of those, flying over the surface of a treacherous river at breakneck speed, for a whole day!

No, thank you.

So, I am writing this from the relative safety of the deck of one of the wide, flat, and slow-moving cargo barges that regularly ply the waters between Azurith and Zemburith, the city that guards the Falls of Ozua.

The deck of the barge is stacked so high with cargo to be traded along the route that I can sit here amidships and not ever see the water, which is fine with me. The vessel is powered by two crews of sturdy humans who plant long poles into the shallows along the left or right bank of the river, endlessly walking from bow to stern, where they withdraw their poles from the water to return to the bow and begin again.

        It’s slow going, but I can sleep relatively well at night. The captain says we should reach Holly’s Landing sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’m already looking forward to having these perfect goblin feet back on the ground where they belong.

Progress Notes:

This morning I crossed the 94k word mark on A Verse for Witches. (I don’t want to drop any spoilers but …) the warlock Mazuom has found the Sword That Sings—not a good thing—and the demon Graff sits waiting to be summoned for an attempt at snatching Erin from the protection of the Guild of Dream Walkers. I pray to the gods that doesn’t happen, but … you never know.

Featured Recommendation:

Over the last few years, I’ve become a big fan of Australian fantasy writer Jenny Schwartz. I just finished her Delphic Dame trilogy spinoff from the Adventures of a Xeno-Archaeologist series. A five-star read. Highly recommended!

Book One: Salvage

Captain Cherry Pendit is a very improper oracle. A proper seer warns the hero, then retires to the luxury of her temple while the hero saves the day.

Pfft. Boring.

Cherry doesn’t need a hero to defy Fate. In fact, she intends to rescue the hero.

There might be a few bumps along the way—like an entire alien species her oracular talent didn’t warn her about—but Captain Cherry Pendit of the Delphic Dame is prepared to adapt and overcome.

If only the pirates, the good guys—who might be bad guys—and her allies would just stop freaking interfering by pushing their own stupid agendas.

Don’t they realize that if Cherry fails, humanity is doomed?

Book Two: Scarper

Fate is a tricky witch.

On the run across federation space, Cherry has stuffed far too many dangerous secrets into her scout ship. Now the Delphic Dame is the most hunted spaceship in the universe.

It may also be the only force in the universe capable of saving humanity.

Cherry just has to stay one step ahead of her enemies - and, maybe, of her allies.

Book Three: Shield

If Cherry was a selfish witch, she’d keep running. She’s an oracle. She KNOWS that trouble is closing in. However, there’s an instant in which she could escape, and so could those she loves.

Too bad she’s surrounded herself with ridiculously noble allies. The kind of self-sacrificing, kind, clever, and resolute people who force you to love them…then go off to risk their lives for the greater good. Of course Cherry has to rescue them.

And if she’s rescuing those she loves, maybe she could save everyone else along the way?

Categories: Science Fiction, Galactic Empire, Space Exploration

<Check Out the Series on Amazon>

That's it for now. See you next time.

Happy Reading!

-Red Wolf John

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