The Midlands Histories
The Goblin Markets
We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.
— From “Goblin Market”
by Christina Rossetti
Of all the connections between Faerie and the Middle World, perhaps none are so (in)famous as the Goblin Markets. Some time after the metaphorical walls between the realms cracked, the most clever and crafty of the goblins (and maybe a hag witch or three) found a way to hide in those cracks. There, they established bazaars, where any sort of goods might be exchanged.
As such, the markets gained in reputation. They became known as places where one might acquire things not readily available in one’s native realm. Poisons from the Unseelie Court, eladrin silks, orc tattoos, even the occasional artifact from the Foundation itself could sometimes be acquired… if the price was right.
Every Market grew to develop its own particular character, depending on the merchants and patrons who frequented each one.
The Markets were undeniably a success, but the goblins also agreed that the Markets were becoming the victims of their own popularity. The crowds were getting larger each year, and more and more often fights would break out among vendor and customer alike.
Quickly, they devised some solutions. First, the Markets would no longer be accessible by just anyone. With a few modifications to their magic, they made it so that only someone who had already been to a Market could find it again. Second, the gateway to any given Market would shift within a certain range in the realms, never staying in one place longer than a half-turn of the moon. Those who had been previously would be able to find a Market by looking for particular signs.
Lastly, to quell some of the growing agitation, the goblins established what became known as The Bloody Circles. The idea quickly grew beyond the confines of the Markets where they began, but remained a popular attraction there nevertheless. Each Circle eventually took on a unique reputation, like the pocket realms that hosted them.
It is said that the idea for the Warforged may have originated in one of the Markets.