A tale from the Victoria Line – There and Back again (a Hobbits story)

New for 2017 – Tales from the Underground. A vivid and dramatic retelling of all the epic journeys the Narwhals take for their games. This week we learn of Nick “gammy eye” Shute’s momentous traverse of the Victoria Line…

Apologies for the length… (wheeeeeyyyyy)

There and Back again (a Hobbits story)

Sitting at home, enjoying my pipe weed and a rather large glass of scotch, a message from Finchy the Multicoloured arrived, an invitation to an adventure to a not so travelled land, somewhere deep in the Forest of Waltham. I got out my map and traced my finger up the old and fading parchment to the destination given. It is only then I realised what was being asked of me, a truly daunting and dangerous, but at the same time exciting and exhilarating journey awaited. The opportunity to travel the route so many have attempted in the history of the Underground, the opportunity to tunnel the length of the Victoria line in search of adventure, an opportunity for glory!! The quest? To destroy the evil horde of Eastern Otters, who had infected those northern lands for too long.

It was January 24th, two thousand and seventeen years since Grand Masters Bowen and Mann first ranged into those wild lands. I knew I would need my speedos, and a towel for a shower after the battle – assuming I survived of course!! So into my knapsack these items went, along with a mountain jacket, hat, scarf and my trusty seeing lenses.  I left the Hill of St Reatham in an anxious mood, not knowing what the night would bring, though luckily the journey to the start of the tunnel system was quiet and uneventful.

Approaching the entrance to the southern gate of Brixton I noticed little difference to the normal atmosphere. I’d been here many times before, and bar a few wondering souls who’d lost their minds to pipe weed, and a follower of the Lord of Limoncello preaching away, it was quiet at this time. I descended into the darkness, and so my quest began.

Now I have travelled through the lands of peace and prosperity south of the river many times, and so the I was unconcerned as I travelled deeper into the cave network. Arriving at Stockwell I had a slight rest while I waited for my travelling companion Bronn Weasley, my ginger gardener. It is well known that no journey is complete without a ginger gardener companion, no matter how grumpy they are. Together we passed through the boarder lands of Vauxhall and Pimlico, quiet places where few venture, and onto the first main station, Victoria.

Victoria was once a beautiful place, full of splendour and the bustle of life. These days it is a desolate land, the Southern Rail virus having swept through hundreds of years ago, starving the area of trade from the fertile realms of Surrey and Sussex. These days a few travellers from foreign lands pass through, it’s a sad sight, however it did not pose any threat and we had to move on.

Passing through Green Park we arrived at Oxford Circus without fuss, and despite the numerous inns and bawdy houses and women of the night, we were not moved from our course and continued our journey onwards. We were starting to enjoy the adventure, and we relaxed and discussed property prices and travelling to other distant lands, but little did we know we’d been followed. On the Northern fringes, between Warren Street and Euston, we were ambushed by Northerners who had travelled down on the mighty Pendalinos. I was hit in the eye and went down, and if it wasn’t for Bronn I wouldn’t be here today, as he slew many foemen, even after taking a nasty club to the wrist. Eventually they broke and ran – even these villains dared not venture as far north as we intended to go. Bronn carried me into hiding, and there we stayed whilst we passed the mighty terminal of Kings Cross.

I was in and out of consciousness for a long time, and only have the faintest memories of passing Highbury and Islington. These desolate northern reaches of marshland are sparsely populated, and we managed to navigate without being seen. I came around during the long stretch between Highbury and Finsbury Park, to a musing Bronn. “Whatever is the matter my dear friend Bronn?” I asked. “This is the furthest north I have ever been on the Victoria Line” was his reply. “Well Bronn” I said, “I’m glad I’m here to share this moment with you”. “I’m not” replied Bronn… It was then we heard a horrible screech in the distance, and we knew we had passed beyond the realms of the free world.

We hid from the impending danger, and as we stopped at Finsbury Park all sorts of evil creatures emerged. I built the courage to sneak a glance and the beasts were most foul, Arsenal Fans… As we continued further north, we did our best to stay out of sight of these whinging, whining creatures. A long time ago I had travelled to these lands, however that was in lighter days. The route I knew. How to avoid the evil that now resided here I did not. Despite our best efforts we were eventually caught by the Seven Sisters. We were dragged and tortured all the way to the fortress of Tottenham Hale, dumped in cells and left to die. Little did they know I had once fought in these lands before, and knew the design of the cells. I broke us free and to escape we choked the guards silently (which Bronn seemed to enjoy a little too much), stole their armour and slipped through the back door.

The Blackhorse Road has fallen into disrepair, and many parts are now impossible to distinguish from the barren waste that surrounds it. Many times we got lost in the jagged peaks, only saved by the occasional glimpse of the distant forest. It was here we’d arranged to meet two fellow companions for the final part of our journey. On the outskirts of Walthamstow, we stopped, and peering over the final ridge all we could see were hordes of Northern Otters, the foul brothers of the our Eastern Foes.

All of a sudden a horn blared out from the station, ‘Bedeeeer! Bedeeeer, Bedeeeer!’. “The horn of the Narhwal Lord!” Bronn exclaimed, “Lord Oggy must be nearby!!”. We ran with a renewed vigour, but before we could reach the East side we ran into what seemed an infinite number of foes. We fought hard, but sheer numbers meant we were quickly surrounded. As they closed in, I closed my eyes and prayed to the Lord of Limoncello, the whole journey flashed before me. Out of nowhere a hand grabbed me by the shoulder, “Get on!”, it was Dr Loveless on his big black 5 seater stallion, just in time. We jumped on, “Lord Oggy is on the other side!” we shouted to him. Finishing his funnel and laying aside his woodwork tools, Loveless rode hard and fast, and in the distance Oggy became visible, smashing and wresting foes aside. “He learnt that of Punchy Holah” muttered Bronn. Oggy saw us just as we rode past, and on our second pass he jumped onto the front of Loveless’ black stallion and we rode into the safety of the forest.

As we travelled further into the forest we only had my old map to guide us. Initially we missed the secret entrance, however on returning we found the gate, tethered the horse and ascended the mighty steps of the College. This was where Finchy the Multicoloured had promised us he’d be waiting what felt like an age ago. There, waiting, was Grand Master Bowen and the dwarf Gimli, Destroyer of Rings. “We thought Poobaka was with you?” I asked, “Shitting” replied Gimli, “Fair”. “What of Finchy?”, “No sign”, “Oh well, fuck him.” We descended into the depths of the fortress to where the Eastern Otters lay waiting.

We lined up across the battlefield, ready to take on the Otters with a hardy 7. It was suicidal, but what choice did we have? We had fought against worse odds, the memory of the Skirmish of Stratford against the Orca Tribe came to mind.  Then, from nowhere, “Waheeeeey!”. It was Finchy the Multicoloured, mincing onto poolside, late as always (although a wizard always arrives precisely when they need to), with the Lord of Limoncello himself!! Alongside them came the two padwans Zach and Charles. The battle raged around us, but with extra numbers and superior skills we demolished the Otters where they stood. After the battle, no one could find Zach or Gimli.

To celebrate our great victory, we went for a pint. Bronn, Lord Oggy and I jumped back on Loveless’ stallion for a lift back to Walthamstow. News of the Otters defeat had routed all evil in the northern wastes, and our journey home was without incident. Half way back Lord Oggy left us to fly across the sea to the West, and myself and Bronn had a leisurely journey back down to Stockwell where we parted ways. Getting home, I thanked the Lord of Limoncello I’d made it back in one piece, a worthy trip of the full Victoria line to vanquish the Otters with ease.