Dear readers, tonight with me is a little sprite, from a faraway fantasy world.

He is here to tell us about the dangers that afflict his world, about the return of dragons, and about the other wonderful and wondrous creatures that inhabit it. 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I am a Dragonwolder sprite called a Lobli, about 18 inches high. I see the world from the height of your knee cap. Dragonwolder is my world, a broad and varied land mass surrounded by seas. I was born in dark times, and I don’t mean at night. A destructive force, the Malevir, was burning farms and towns and killing people’s herds. I left my family of house sprites early on to apprentice with the magician giant Rocànonom who was planning to rescue Dragonwolder from the Malevir by reviving its exiled dragons.

Do you have cherished memories from your childhood?

Before I left home, my parents, sister, and I lived in the wall behind a cottage hearth in the village of Anonom. We helped clean, cook, and care for the indwellers. Secretly, of course, but they always left savory porridge and milk out at night. We all liked that very much. I remember those calm and cozy times with pleasure.  I also remember my father’s saying as I parted for Rocánonom’s tower, “Someday, they’ll all be talking about you and how you made peace between the people of Dragonwolder and its long-hidden dragons.” Imagine how my two hearts leaped at the thought.  

What do you do now?

What don’t I do? I am on Rocánonom’s team, helping him restore order and safety to Dragonwolder. I am small, but loyal and adventurous. You should have seen me bite into the Malevir’s shin—ah, I shiver at the thought, how the beast poisoned me the first time. Anyway, I wanted to protect my giant friend and fellow Loblin from the Malevir’s attack after the beast discovered our secret refuge under a town. Everyone thought the poison killed me, but I came back to life in the dragons’ lair.  All that is in our scribe’s account, Malevir: Dragons Return.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

In the second account, Where Dragons Follow, the scribe recorded how I joined a long trek across Dragonwolder’s lands. We sought Kurnan, a young man trapped by the Malevir’s dark magic power. The beast’s poison wounded him deeply, (terrifying section of Malevir: Dragons Return) and left him with nightmares, delusions, and overpowering anger. We had to rescue him.

What did you first think when the young man eluded you?

I thought we would never catch up with Kurnan, but strange things happened, and stranger creatures popped up as we tracked him into the mountains.  Oh, and on the way, I made friends with another large fellow, a rock giant.

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

Fainting. I just hate when that happens.

What is the worst thing about being a Lobli?

The worst part of being so small was traveling on my own little legs, until I rediscovered my wings.

What is the best thing about it?

The beauty of my size is the ability to hitch a ride on a rock giant’s shoulder—and to hide behind walls, of course.

Tell us a little about your friends.

Other Loblin are like me, some taller, some shorter. Most have splotchy green skin. We wear loose trousers or leggings, and tunics; and we carry sacks with our tools and supplies. My closest human friends are dragonriders. I met Kurnan’s sister, Alana, when she was a girl. Later, as a young woman, she included me in the team searching for her brother. Her fierce dragon, Isabella, has copper-tinted scales. Both are quite brave; they faced down monsters and hairy beasts that would stop both my hearts from fear. Nnylf rides Draako, a young Silver-Blue dragon and Isabella’s cousin. I am also fond of an elder golden dragon Aurykk, whose near-death and renewed strength are in the second account. I can’t imagine my life without my heroic giant friends, Rocánonom and Enderfon, the rock giant. Both saved me from great unpleasantness more than once.

Any romantic involvement?

I am too young for that (blushing deep green).

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

I don’t hate, but I am angry with the Malevir and would like to see the end of his cruel and destructive deeds.

What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

Loblin generally prefer cakes, fruits, and vegetables. Hence, barley and honey cakes, berries, and nectar pods are treats. I like a bit of mead now and then.

What does the future hold for you?

When I am not working with Rocánonom or helping other friends, I live in the great lodge at the foot of Dragonwolder’s Sunriseside Mountains. There, I revert to tradition and hide behind the big hearth until everyone is asleep. Then, I help with the chores and secure the dragonriders’ defenses. Something tells me a new and surprising bout with the Malevir is in my future. Just a hunch.

Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

We Loblin greatly fear the Malevir’s spells that use to enslave us. He turned our ancestors into smelly, beasts covered with grime and long, matted fur. Many World-Turns later, he trapped us in the bodies of goblins, but we broke the spell and became our true selves. The Malevir could do worse and that worries us.  I am not the only Lobli in Dragonwolder, you know. We do talk to each other; and the rumors are scary.

Former museum education professional and puppetry artist, Susan Bass Marcus writes fiction and essays for her WordPress blog ‘AboutSusanMarcus’.

Where Dragons Follow, out 2018, is a sequel to her fantasy genre novel, Malevir: Dragons Return. Short stories in print and online, including “Kitchen Magic,” in Cloaked Press’ 2017 Fall into Fantasy anthology and ‘Just a Note Before I Go’ in Masques from Medusa’s Laugh Press.

You can find Sweetnettle on the pages of Malevir: Dragons Return.

Join us next week to meet a young man, hunting the things that go bump in the night. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.