A short story I wrote for a small Ezine started by my fiancee and myself.
| THE THREE TROLLS
Jearon passed through the trees quickly and quietly, stooping now and again to check for tracks in the dark. The trail was fresh; at least two Trolls had gone this way not an hour past. He had to find out what they were up to, and warn anyone that might be in danger. He came suddenly to a large stand of leather leaf and fern set close together. He stopped long enough to peer carefully through the branches, and then pushed his way through. He was in a clear space around a small pool. A stream flowing down out of the nearby mountains fed it. He knelt on the bank and tasted the water. It was cool and fresh. He pulled out his water bottle and quickly refilled it from the pool. As he was replacing the bottle in his pack he heard a long wail from up ahead, like that of some animal in torment. He sprang to his feet and dashed through the trees and towards the sound. He drew his sword as he moved closer and stopped now and again to listen. His ears picked up another sound now. He could hear the tramping of heavy feet and harsh words not far off. He slowed his pace so he could move more quietly. As he went the voices became louder and clearer.
He was almost into the clearing before he realized it was there. He stopped and ducked behind the bole of a huge oak tree and listened. The voices were coming from the clearing, and there was a sound like something large and heavy struggling in the dirt. As he listened he realized that it was Troll speech. There was no mistaking it, their language was a foul version of the common tongue, yet he could just make out what they were saying.
“Don’ ya even try ta take da credit, it was me as did it I tell ya.” Said one especially deep voice.
“You? I don’ think so, it was my plan.” Said a voice that was a little on the high side for a Troll.
“Stop fighting you two, we don’ have time for it now. We have ta get dis ting back ta him so we can get paid.” Came a third voice that was much like the first.
“I still don’ see why we have ta. I say we eats it, it would make good stew.” Said the high voice.
“No, no, he be paying us too much ta do dat.” Said the First voice. “Lushad’s right. We have ta get movin, dawn comes early in dis part of da year.”
Jearon peered between two branches and could see three large trolls with thick scaly hides in the clearing. Lying on the ground between them, it’s legs tied, was a solid white horse. No, not a horse, a Unicorn Jearon realized, for as it moved it’s head in the dirt he could see the moon light shine on it’s nearly foot long, single horn sprouting from the middle of it’s forehead. He had to do something, he couldn’t just let them take it, but how was he going to stop three trolls alone.
Then he had an idea, it was a risk, but if it worked, he might just be able to save the Unicorn. He waited till two of the Trolls were bent over the Unicorn, making sure that the ropes around its legs were good and tight. Then he dashed out into the clearing, and raising his sword above his head, brought it down with a loud clang against one Troll’s stony backside, and at the same time yelled at the top of his lungs. His sword bounced off the scaly hide and sent a jolt up through his arm. The Troll turned towards him, and he took off at a dead run out of the clearing. The enraged Troll crashed after him snarling.
“Gralthor, No! Stop!” Cried Lushad.
Jearon went only a dozen yards, and then dropped to the ground in the middle of a patch of tall grass and brush. He held completely still while the Troll charged on passed him at top speed and kept on going. It would take him a while to realize that he was chasing nothing.
Jearon got to his feet and crept back to the edge of the clearing. The other two Trolls were standing around looking into the trees all around them, seeming to think that at any moment they could be attacked from every angle at once. This was working better than he thought; thank the Powers for slow-witted Trolls.
He cautiously crept around the clearing and then pulled out his hunting horn. He put it too his lips and blew a loud call upon it. The note was high and clear, and would carry for a great distance. The Trolls picked up their heavy clubs and stood back to back.
As soon as Jearon blew the call he was moving again, this time he crept around to the opposite side of the clearing and then started rustling the trees and bushes. “Their over here!” He yelled, facing away from the clearing. “Only two, they should pose us no problem.” Then he was on the move again. The two Trolls turned to where he had been and moved closer to the foliage with their clubs ready.
He circled around behind the Trolls and then quickly skittered into the clearing and knelt by the Unicorn. He looked up at the Trolls and then saw the bushes were moving again, someone else was out there. Suddenly the two Trolls started in on a dim shape in among the branches and the brush, clubs swinging wildly. Jearon took the opportunity to untie the Unicorn’s legs. “Come on, you can do it.” He whispered. The animal then struggled to its feet and, neighing loudly, charged out of the clearing and into the trees. Jearon lunged back into the deep foliage also and then peered back cautiously.
There on the other edge of the clearing Lushad and the other Troll turned from what they had been clubbing and yelled as they saw the Unicorn plunge into the trees. Just then Gralthor struggled to his feet. “What are ya two doin hittin me like dat?” He snarled.
Smiling to himself Jearon quietly moved away from the clearing. Dawn would be coming soon, and the Trolls would have no time to cause any more trouble before having to return to their caves to hide from the sunlight.