Chapter Five: Conclusion
Listen, and I shall tell you more of the tale of Noggin and the vampire.
I have told you how Thor Nogson, Captain of the Guard, found Spike the vampire washed up on the beach and took the stranger to Noggin, King of the Nogs. I have told you how Graculus, the great green bird, arrived and reported that one of the Nogs was dead at the edge of the forest, the blood drained from his body, and two holes in his neck. You have heard how Noggin had Spike the vampire imprisoned in a cell, and how Knut, Prince of the Nogs, set Spike free from imprisonment and led him out of the palace, and how Thor Nogson discovered the escape and led the townsfolk in pursuit of the vampire. You have heard how Spike made his way to the castle of Nogbad the Bad, wicked uncle of Noggin the Nog, and how he found there Nogbad together with Harmony Kendall, the former Personal Assistant to Angel at Wolfram and Hart, now Personal Assistant to Nogbad. You have also heard how Spike fought Olaf the Troll God, and was struck from behind by Nogbad, and was defeated and cast into Nogbad’s dungeon.
Gather round and I shall tell you more of the saga.- - - - -
Spike hung by his wrists from chains in Nogbad’s deepest dungeon. His head was sore, and his arms were exceedingly sore because of the position, and he very much needed a cigarette but couldn’t reach his pockets. The dungeon of Noggin, King of the Nogs, had been much more pleasant. He had tested the strength of the chains, and had been unable to make any impression on them whatsoever; even if he were to free his hands, the cell door looked solid enough to be a formidable obstacle.
It opened. Harmony crept in, wobbling a little as she tried to walk on tiptoe in four-inch heels. She put her finger to her lips and pushed the door closed behind her, and then adopted a normal walking position and went over to Spike. She reached into one sleeve and pulled out an eight-inch iron bar as thick as her thumb. “I’ll get you out of here, Blondie Bear,” she whispered, and stretched up to try to insert the bar into the shackles at his wrists. They were too high for her to reach. She looked around for something on which to stand, saw nothing, and clicked her tongue with frustration.
“Where’s Nogbad?” Spike whispered.
“In the highest tower,” Harmony whispered back.
“Where’s Olaf?” Spike asked.
“Out in the forest fighting the Nogs,” Harmony answered.
“Does Nogbad have any other henchmen?”
“Not since I ate that Leif guy,” Harmony whispered.
“Then why the bleeding hell are we whispering?”
“Umm, tradition?” Harmony slipped off her shoes and climbed up Spike, slid her legs over his shoulders, and sat with her crotch jammed up against his face while she worked on his shackles with the iron bar. By the time she had freed his hands there was more than one rigid eight-inch bar in the room, although the second one was considerably thicker than Harmony’s thumb.
Spike put his hands to Harmony’s armpits and supported her as she slid down his body to the floor. “Thanks, Harm,” he said sincerely. “Dunno why you did it, after the way I’ve treated you in the past, but thanks.”
“I love you, dumbass,” Harmony told him. “Plus, I totally hate this job. You know he hasn’t got a computer? I have to use a quill pen! And there are no launderettes in this place. People wash their clothes in an actual river, and dry cleaning? Forget it. I mean, when I found out what they use for bleach that was just the end. Ewww.”- - - - -
The Nogs fled hither and thither through the woods, pursued by Olaf. The troll was laughing uproariously at their panic-stricken flight.
Thor Nogson, Captain of the Guard, lay stunned under a bush. Little Ronf from the Hot Water Valley found him there and shook him until he returned to consciousness.
“Come on, ye daft useless Nog,” Ronf urged, “Wake up! Your men are getting a kicking from yon great ugly troll. Stir yourself!”
“What’s that?” Thor Nogson mumbled, and then his senses returned and he sat up. “What happened?”
“Nogbad’s got a troll on his side,” Ronf explained. “He threw ye into this bush and knocked ye out. Now your men are getting chased through the forest by the troll.”
“Oh dear!” said Thor Nogson. “I must save them.” He came shakily to his feet and drew his sword. “I hate trolls.”
“Good,” Ronf said approvingly. “Give him a good kicking!”
Thor Nogson swallowed. He was scared of trolls but as the brave Captain of the Guard he couldn’t admit it. “To me, Nogs!” he called. “Everyone to me, and bring your long pointy wooden poles! To me!”- - - - -
Spike and Harmony ascended the stairs of Nogbad’s castle cautiously, looking into each room as they passed it in case it held something that would give away the secret of Nogbad’s dimensional portals, but also wary of disturbing the crows. Harmony peered into one room, saw that it held no crows, and entered. She looked about, saw that it was merely a food store, and was about to leave when she happened to glance out of the window and saw that Olaf had a couple of Nogs cornered.
“Spike!” Harmony hissed. “Olaf’s going to splat a couple of the locals.”
Spike was in a room on the other side of the stairwell, examining a device that he hoped might relate to the portals. “Distract him!” he urged her quietly. “Throw something at him!”
“It’s a food store,” Harmony replied. “There’s nothing here but fruit and various meats.”
“Then throw those,” Spike ordered. He clenched his fist around the short iron bar. “Get him to head in this direction. I want a rematch.”- - - - -
Olaf’s triumphant laughter turned into a roar of fury as a leg of mutton hit him on the back of the head and bounced off. He whirled around, saw the blonde figure at one of the castle windows, and shook his fist at her. He ducked as an apple hurtled towards him, followed closely by a smoked ham. “Foolish woman!” he shouted. “Why do you pelt me with fruit and various meats? Are you not the servant of Nogbad, rightful King of the Nogs?”
“That’s Personal Assistant, not servant, you big lug,” Harmony yelled back. “Take that!” She threw a pear out of the window, hitting a tree a few feet away from Olaf and splattering the troll with juice.
“I shall punish you for your insolence,” Olaf boomed. “I shall spank you on your pert buttocks, and then ravish you until you can neither stand nor sit!”
“Promises, promises,” Harmony taunted. “Come up here and say that.”
“Ignore her,” Nogbad ordered from the highest tower. “I shall deal with her. Finish off the Nogs, Olaf, my Captain of the Guard.”
However, while Olaf was distracted, Thor Nogson had gathered the Nogs into a fighting formation. They were bunched together, their long sharp wooden poles pointing out like the spikes of a hedgehog, and they advanced menacingly towards the troll.
Olaf turned to face them and growled. The Nogs trembled. “Fear not, Nogs,” Thor Nogson called out encouragingly from the middle of the phalanx. “He cannot reach us while we are behind our long poles. Forward!”
“Aye, proggle yon great lummox,” Ronf urged, waving his little broadsword ferociously.
Olaf backed away, covering the back of his head with his hands against the rain of haunches of venison, pigs’ trotters, dried reindeer steaks, and lemons that Harmony was still hurling from the castle window. Nogbad had left the tower but there was no sign of him arriving at the food store to deal with his rebellious PA. Finally Olaf could bear it no more, and he turned from the Nogs and charged back to the castle through a barrage of foodstuffs.
Olaf ran in through the open door. “Woman, you shall suffer greatly,” he bellowed, as he headed for the staircase.
Then Spike stepped from behind a pillar and rabbit-punched the troll on the back of the neck. The iron bar in his fist lent force to the blow. Olaf went down as if pole-axed and lay still.- - - - -
Graculus, the great green bird, flew back to the palace of Noggin, King of the Nogs, to bear the news of what had transpired. Because Spike and Harmony were trapped within the castle of Nogbad the Bad by the sunlight, Noggin travelled to the castle to talk to the vampires, accompanied by Nooka, Queen of the Nogs, and their son Prince Knut.
Nogbad sat in his chair, his arms and legs bound with ropes, and his helmet askew. A large bruise on his jaw showed where Spike had got his revenge for the blow of Nogbad’s mace. Nogbad the Bad glared at his lovely Personal Assistant. “You have betrayed me, woman,” he said accusingly.
“Well, duh,” Harmony replied. “Didn’t Angel mention that little fault of mine in the résumé? I did it to him, and he was a thousand times better as a boss than you are. And you don’t even have a 401k scheme. I resign.”
“Spike, I humbly beg forgiveness for wrongfully accusing you,” said Noggin, King of the Nogs. “You have frustrated the plans of my wicked uncle Nogbad the Bad, and you have my great gratitude.”
“Thank you, oh King of the – sod it, I mean ta, King Noggin. Couldn’t have done it without Harm here. Hope you’re not going to hold her eating that bloke against her. Turns out he was one of the bad guys anyway.”
Noggin thought for a moment, his brow furrowed.
“She did help us a lot with the troll, Noggin,” Thor Nogson pointed out.
“I shall give her a royal pardon,” decreed Noggin, King of the Nogs. “Both of you have done a great service to the Northlands, and you deserve a reward.”
“Just want to get back home, King,” Spike replied, “and to find out what happened to my friends.”
“Yeah, I wanna get back to LA too, your majesty,” Harmony agreed. “Although, wouldn’t say no to a few jewels and gold pieces as well. A girl’s gotta make a living. Well, an unliving.”
Nooka, Queen of the Nogs, presented Harmony with a golden torc in token of her deeds in saving the Nogs from Olaf.
“Squee!” Harmony exclaimed in delight. “You are just totally the best Queen. Elizabeth the Second eat your heart out.”
Noggin, King of the Nogs, presented Spike with a fine broadsword, and Spike thanked the King most civilly. “Ta, King, this is sodding brilliant!” he exclaimed joyfully.
Ronf, the mightiest warrior among the little people of the Hot Water Valley, prodded Nogbad the Bad with a sharp wooden pole until he agreed to show Olaf the Lofty how his portal machine operated.
“You set this dial, and this pointer, and pull this lever,” Nogbad explained. “This magic mirror shows what is being transported. I shut it off the first time when I saw that I had snatched up from Los Angeles a blond vampire instead of a blonde vampire.”
“So I dropped into the sea instead of arriving at your sodding heap of a castle,” Spike commented. “What happened to my mates? Dark broody vampire, black bloke with an axe, bird with blue hair wearing leather armour?”
“I don’t know,” Nogbad replied, smirking with satisfaction when he saw Spike’s concerned expression. Ronf prodded him again. “Ow!” Nogbad protested. “I don’t know! They just got sucked along by accident. They could have gone almost anywhere.” No amount of further prodding could get Nogbad to change his story, and so Noggin ordered Ronf to desist.
“Send Spike and Harmony back to their own land,” Noggin, King of the Nogs, bade his Court Inventor Olaf the Lofty. “And send the other Olaf, the troll, to some trollish land far away.”
Olaf the Lofty operated Nogbad’s device, and the bound figure of Olaf the Troll God was urged forward at the spear-point until he jumped into the portal. They watched in the magic mirror as Olaf whirled through space until he landed in a dark forest full of trolls.
“It seems that it does indeed work,” Noggin said, and Spike and Harmony prepared for their journey.
Many and sad were the goodbyes. Prince Knut hugged Spike, and then shook his hand in the manner of a grown-up. Spike shook hands with Thor Nogson, and with Noggin, and kissed the hand of Nooka, Queen of the Nogs. Then Harmony picked up her suitcase, and she and Spike walked hand in hand into the portal, and disappeared from the Land of the Nogs perhaps for ever.- - - - -
They landed in the alley behind the Hyperion Hotel. It was night. In fact it seemed that it was still the night on which they had been snatched up by Nogbad’s portals, for a battle still raged in the alley. A fratricidal battle; deprived of their prey, the demon legions of Wolfram and Hart were fighting amongst themselves, and only a few still stood.
Spike waited patiently until there was only one left and then cut off its head.
“So,” he said to Harmony, “we’re back.”
“Yeah.” Harmony fidgeted and looked down at her shoes. “Wanna come back to my place?”
Spike looked at her and was suddenly consumed by a great wave of affection. “All right,” he said, and slipped his arm around her shoulders. “I don’t deserve you, Harm. Care a lot for you, y’know? Can’t promise you love, but if you want to give this thing between us another shot, I can promise to try.”
“That’ll do to start with,” Harmony said, and rested her head against his shoulder. “Love you, Blondie Bear. I think I always will.”
“Dunno why. I’m a right bastard sometimes,” Spike confessed, “but I’m glad you do.” He kissed Harmony gently on her forehead. “Wonder what happened to Angel, and Charlie, and Blue Thunder?”- - - - -
The little locomotive of the Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited chugged along the tracks. Jones the Steam looked ahead, saw the line was clear, and took a moment to pour out a cup of tea from the pot that hung by the boiler. He passed it to the tall dark figure who was sharing the driver’s cab with him.
“Gave me the shock of my life, it did, when you arrived in the coal bunker, look you,” he said. “So, vampire, is it? Don’t get a lot of them in Wales, you know.”
“I’m not sure I’m actually a vampire any more,” Angel said, brushing coal dust from his hair. “My heart seems to be beating. Hey, this tea’s really good.”
“You get a really good brew from Ivor’s boiler, there’s lovely,” said Jones the Steam. “Killed a dragon, you said? I hope you’re not going to go killing our Idris. It’s friendly that dragons are in Wales.”- - - - -
Charles Gunn lay on the floor of the little shop. Bagpuss, the saggy old cloth cat, looked down at him with worried eyes. The mice from the Mouse Organ scampered over and around the bleeding lawyer, singing “we will fix it, we will stitch it, we will make it new, new, new,” and carrying out emergency trauma surgery with tiny needles and thread.
Professor Yaffle rocked back and forwards and clicked his beak. “Tattered clothes, an axe crudely made from a hubcap, multiple injuries,” he mused. “He seems to be a warrior of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. What we have here,” he decided, “is Mad Max.”- - - - -
“Your voices grate on me,” Illyria complained. “Their wailing notes carry the stench of emotions. Your bodies are too pink and sicken me.”
Tiny Clanger squeaked. Major Clanger hooted at Illyria reproachfully.
Illyria scowled back. “I care not for your vile little planet. The atmosphere is thin and cold. The horizon is too close. The burbling of the Soup Dragon is like the death rattle in the throats of warriors suffering the fate of weaklings, and her soup is like the slime of molluscs.”
Mother Clanger hooted sharply, and proffered a bowl. Illyria took it and ate of the contents.
“I will concede,” the Old One said reluctantly, “that the Blue String Pudding is – acceptable.”THE END
For those not familiar with the crossover environments; Angel has ended up in the world of Ivor the Engine
, Gunn in Bagpuss
, and Illyria in The Clangers
. All are old BBC children's television series produced by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's Smallfilms
, who also produced The Saga of Noggin the Nog.