Original fiction by Dr. Lindsey Scholl, Logic School Academic Director
Part 10 (note: this installment is longer than the others, as it has so many fascinating events that must be told):
Thrill had rarely been scared in his life, but he was scared now. Hauled roughly and wildly through town, he kept thinking: Guy will be expecting me in the morning. What do I do? Guy will be expecting me. Now I’ll never see the Declaration. Never see the Declaration! The injustice of it made him howl, which earned him a rough clap on the head.
“Quiet, traitor!” Sistig snapped. The blow, though unpleasant, stirred Thrill out of his terrified stupor.
“Help!” He began to bellow at the top of his lungs. And then, upon greater inspiration, and before they could clap something over his mouth, “Goblins! Goblins are attacking!”
But if the inhabitants of the town heard him, they gave no sign. He drew breath for another big effort, but by then a rag had been shoved into his open mouth. To be silenced and to be bound cut of all his escape options. His ears drooped. His shoulders sagged. He walked quietly with his captors. Even in his despair, he did wonder why Owlich and Sistig were taking him down the main street of town. Arrogance, perhaps? Or to show him the remains of the children’s house? But the town was not up in alarm, as it should have been in the house were on fire. All was quiet, and yes, the house was still standing.
His spirits leapt. They leapt even higher when he noticed that a light was on. Higher still when he heard a man’s voice speaking inside. Their father!
The unexpected presence of their father gave him fresh strength. He lunged forward with sufficient violence to knock over a bundle of rods near their front door. The attempt earned him several painful cuffs, but it was worth it: the rods caused an enormous clatter. The father’s voice stopped. Thrill held his breath. Three seconds later, the door opened a crack.
The street was so dark that the man could not see the owners of the shadows outside his door. But he could hear the scuffling.
“Guy! Fritz! Get some torches!”
Thrill continued to make as much noise as he possibly could, even managing to bite Owlich’s hand, which caused a noise of its own.
“Guy! Over here!” he hollered before a hand clapped over his mouth again.
The children’s father raced towards the sounds, at which point Sistig, Owlich, and the others decided to yield their prey. With a vicious shove, they sent Thrill barreling towards the dark form, which received him with a grunt. Candles were starting to be lit through the town now. In their soft glow, the father held Thrill at arm’s length to look at him.
“A goblin!” he exclaimed. “We had better get you inside.”
Once inside, the children introduced Thrill to their father with many excited gestures. Raymond de Hubert heard them out, introduced himself to Thrill, and sent the children to bed. Then Thrill told his entire tale to him, during which he frequently shook his head and said, “A goblin! Well, I never!”
At one point, Thrill was so exasperated with his exclamations that he interrupted his own story. “Why do you keep saying ‘a goblin!’ as if you’ve never heard of us or seen us before?”
“Oh I’ve seen and heard of you, no doubt about that. I just returned from some dwarves on the other side of the mountain who would kill a goblin just as soon as look at him.”
“That’s no surprise. They’re a nasty lot, the dwarves.”
“Nastier than you?”
“No, I suppose not. Excuse me for asking, but what is it exactly that you do again? The children said you were some sort of priest.”
“That’s exactly what I am. As a priest, I build bridges between the races and also between them and their creator.”
“Our creator! What do you know about our legends? Goblins are as old as the mountains. Older, perhaps.”
“But there is one older still. The one who created the mountains.”
“Bah! No one created the mountains. They… They have always been.”
Raymond winked. “Then how could the goblins be older?”
Thrill flushed and changed the subject. “So I’ve told you about the Declaration. I don’t want to betray a trust, but Guy mentioned that he –”
“I know. He has a bit of it tucked under his bed. He may not have told many people about it, but he has told me. In the morning, we will have a look at it. But now it’s time for bed. I have journeyed many hours today, and a few hours’ rest would do me good.”
Raymond slept late the next day, much to Thrill’s impatience. The children would scarcely move without him, nor would they even speak of getting the Declaration out. Thrill therefore spent a restless morning. He was too excited to get more sleep. He didn’t dare go outside because of last night’s fiasco. The children talked only in low whispers, and to make matters worse, Thrill’s over-sized ears picked up every one of Raymond’s gentle snores.
By the time the patriarch awoke, Thrill had retreated into a corner to bang his head on the wall. Much to Thrill’s disgust, the children fawned on their father when he awoke. Heloise made him breakfast while Guy and Fritz monopolized conversation with him. The sun was almost at its zenith when Raymond turned his knowing gaze on Thrill.
“Well, Thrill, son of Werva? You have waited patiently for me to get my rest and talk with my children. Shall we go see what is under Guy’s bed?”
“Dust and mud, I expect,” Heloise offered.
Guy did not say anything. Instead, he led them all up to the loft. Thrill’s heart was pounding. Would it be the whole thing? No, surely not. A large fragment, perhaps. He couldn’t bear it if it were the same fragment he could see under the mountain.
“I found this several years ago,” Guy declared as he pulled out a large, wrapped bundle. “It was barely legible when I discovered it. It took a lot of hours to scrape off the moss and the lichen. I had to be careful not to carve into the original letters. I call the technique is ‘escraping,’ which is more like erasing than scraping.”
Out of the mercy of his great heart, Raymond cut him short. “I think we will be more interested in your story after we see the item, Guy.” Guy stopped talking, placed a bundle on the bed, and uncovered it.
Thrill almost fainted. It was a slab as large as Guy’s torso, covered in small letters. The top of it read, “THE DECLARATION OF GOBLIN RIGHTS.” Underneath those blessed words was the entire text. It read as follows:
The Declaration of Goblin Rights, drafted by the Goblin Senatorial Committee (hereafter named GSC) and approved by the International Goblin Congress, in which Goblin rights and feelings are addressed. The drafters of this Declaration are of the belief that certain negative views toward Goblins have shaped the majority of presentations concerning our kind. Consequently, Goblin-kind has been maliciously attacked, libeled, and humiliated in the eyes of the public.
In the interest of this same public and for the preservation of world order, this Declaration will withhold specifics regarding the offending parties. It is sufficient to say that certain publications concerning Hobbit-kind have debased Goblin-kind by characterizing it as terrifying, cruel, and foul-smelling. Such characterizations have been the cause of multiple anti-Goblin protests and attacks. Other certain publications, while pretending to present a more honest view of Goblin-kind, have nevertheless classed Goblins as avaricious, unkind, and attached to the banking profession to an unhealthy degree.
This Declaration asserts that such negative treatment is inaccurate, unnecessary, and detrimental to the cause of a diverse yet peaceful global population. We the GSC and with the approval of the International Goblin Congress, therefore propose that the following articles be honored by all races as essential to proper and sensitive Goblin relations…
Article One: That dwelling inside of mountains and other dark places is a simple dwelling choice, rather than a character trait reflecting evil intentions.
Article Two: That if any Goblin be considered in a negative fashion, it be made known that such a consideration is a testimony of the subject’s individual character, rather than on Goblin-kind as a whole.
Article Three: That Goblins be allowed equal participation in heroic actions, comparable to the participation enjoyed by Humans, Fairies, Elves, Dwarves, etc.
Article Four: That physical characteristics of any race, Goblin or otherwise, not be equated with or considered indicative of the vices or virtues of said race; likewise, personal odor is a right of all species and should not be identified with moral propensity.
Article Five: That Goblin-kind’s past alliances with what might be considered ‘evil powers’ be addressed in light of exceptional circumstances. Goblin-kind as a whole should not be judged on the basis of possibly ill-advised cooperative enterprises.
Article Six: That Goblins are a unique and noble race, born with all due rights, and not a perversion of any other race, such as Elves or Dwarves. The Committee nevertheless acknowledges the possibility that both Elves and Dwarves could be products of corrupted genetic material. T
The GSC hereby declares that the above articles are true and inviolate. Should amendments become necessary, said amendments must be approved by the Committee itself, the International Goblin Congress, and a unanimous vote of the international Goblin population. If any race or sub-race fails to honor the above articles, the Committee and relevant affiliates approve the use of beneficial force in order to ensure Goblin equality and freedom. Such force is likely to include violent attacks, alliances with appropriate evil powers, and the necessary destruction of civilization.
Thrak – President of Goblin Senatorial Committee, Lead Resident of the Caverns of Doom
Unghgar – Chief of International Goblin Banking Association Orif – Ambassador to Evil
Powers Alliance, Head Gardener
Nukdar – First Geneticist of Goblin Research and Vivisection Laboratories, Inc.
Steve Jensen – Ambassador to Human-kind, currently under Goblin mind-lock
Werva – Lead Advocate of Goblin Civil Rights Committee, co-chair of World Domination Board.
Thrill’s thirsty eyes read it again. And again. When the family had retired to lunch, he was still reading it. When the children asked him to help with their chores, he read on. After dinner was served, he returned to it like a fish to water.
“What you looking for?” Raymond asked him as he read through it again by the light of the fire, after the children had gone to bed.
“It’s everything I expected it to be. It describes goblins perfectly. Too perfectly. It describes Sitig and Owlich and everyone I’ve ever known. Every goblin would get behind this Declaration and say, ‘That’s what I want from the world.”’
“But somehow I don’t feel any better about being a goblin. We want equal rights, but we don’t want to be any better than we already are. We don’t want to be good. Why don’t we want to be good or kind? Why must we always be defensive, and violent?” He stopped. “I wanted it to say that goblins are good. Or rather that we could be good. Or even that we realize we’re bad.”
Raymond gently took the slab from his lap. “But goblins aren’t good.”
Thrill’s eyes filled with tears. “I know.”
A caterpillar was crawling across the floor. It paid the larger creatures no mind until Raymond picked it up and positioned his fingers to flick it into the fire. Thrill watched him.
“What are you doing?”
“I was going to throw it into the fire.”
Raymond shrugged. “Why not?”
“But it’s unnecessary. I mean, I’ve kill caterpillars before, but you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t seem right, just right now.”
Raymond returned the caterpillar to its road.
“Thrill, do goblins have a sense of right and wrong?”
“Of course. We have laws like everybody.”
“According to goblin law, is it illegal to kill the caterpillar?”
“No. But it doesn’t seem right.”
“So goblins do have a sense of right and wrong—outside the law, that is. Thrill, do goblins always choose what is bad?”
“I suppose not. We build things. That can’t be all bad.”
“But that’s not good enough, is it?”
Thrill shook his head. “I didn’t want to find the Declaration because I wanted an adventure. I wanted it to tell me that goblins were something good. And not just for ourselves. That we can be good for others.”
“The Declaration can’t tell you that.”
“I know!” Thrill’s ears drooped, and he considered consigning the caterpillar to the flames.
“But I can.”
“Thrill, I am a priest. I reconcile and build bridges, like I told you. And not just between races. I build bridges between the bad and the good. Did you know that it was goodness that created the whole world, including goblins?”
“You said it was a creator.”
“A good creator.”
“Then why are we so bad?”
Raymond looked at him.
“You mean it’s our fault that goblins are so bad?”
Raymond nodded. “And if you can choose to be bad. . .”
“I can choose to be good. A good goblin?”
“Sort of. Let’s be frank. Goblins have done a lot of damage to themselves and to others. Humans have, too,” he added as Thrill’s opened his mouth. “We all need help, and the only one who can help us is the one who made us in the first place.”
“Even the goblins need him.”
Thrill looked again at the big slab. “What a horrible Declaration. What rights can we possibly have, since we’re so rotten?”
“Come now! I have just given you hope. Rights are but a means of preserving hope.”
“But I don’t know anything about this creator.”
So Raymond told him. He told him about the maker of goblins, humans, dwarves, elves, ducks, and everything else. He told him about patience and justice and forgiveness and all the things the Declaration left out. He told him the difference between being created and just being. And Thrill had ears large enough to listen.
In the morning, Thrill began to change a little. He began to mimic the children as they did things that were good. He began to think of others before he thought of himself. It was a slow process, but even slow processes need a beginning. And he began to ask Raymond if he could meet this creator fellow, who would continue to instruct him in the difference between rights and what is right.
“I’ve got it!” Thrill exclaimed one day. “I will write ‘The Declaration of Goblin Right.’ And then I’ll carve it in stone so that everyone—goblins, humans, dwarves, and ducks—can see.”
“I believe you will,” Raymond answered. “But first, please help Heloise with the laundry.”
Thrill hurried to obey. As he did so, he glanced at the bright blue sky and wondered if the creator could see him. It was an unnerving thought but not a horrible one. Maybe the creator himself was a bridge-builder. Maybe he, Thrill, could be one too.