The wood troll is an adventurous sort that lives under the canopy of deep green giant oak leaves. The giant oaks never stop growing which has created a landscape of darkness where only the odd glimmer of light touches the forest floor. This rarity of light nourishes the rarest of all medicinal flowers that grow in this boreal landscape. This particular flower can be used to instantly heal deep gashes from a sword, cure most ailments, make a human twenty years younger and even, if mixed with the blood of a siren, be used as a love potion. Why eating just one petal of this flower could sustain a human for two days. It is known as the Lumine flower and of course is constantly sought after. It seems to grow nowhere but in the trolls’ forest. Trolls of course care nothing for flowers and if they saw one would delight in smashing it.
If you were brave enough to make your way into the dark forest, you would notice huge holes besides the giant oak trees. This is because the staple diet of the forest troll is oak roots. The forest troll eats these day after day. Of course eating raw tree roots for a troll is like a person eating plain rice every day. Although tree roots make up their staple diet trolls also love “meat treats”, as they call them. Contrary to popular belief trolls do not smell and they move remarkably silently for a twelve and a half foot creature with slimy greenish black skin. Their hushed movements and excellent owl-like night vision ensures that they are able to sneak up behind their prey for a tasty and fulfilling snack that just makes life as a troll worth living. The allure of the Lumine flower in their area also insures that there is no lack of meat treats to go around in the trolls’ deep forest den.
The troll den is an encirclement of pine trees and shrubs, which they forage for on the edge of the oak grove. To the untrained eye it merely looks like a curious overgrowth of greenery, out of place because there is no light in the forest to keep it alive. One of the mysteries of the forest troll is the by-product of their diet of oak roots. This compost, which is the polite term, has special properties that keep the troll’s den of shrubbery alive. It is a sort of living house. Quite fresh to live in even for an elf or a human, were it not for the giant brutes that would snatch you up, take a bite and pass you on to their friends. Pleasant living quarters indeed! The den has no roof as trolls enjoy the rain leaking in as much as sunshine on a humans’ skin. The trolls do not possess a word for happiness, the closest translation they have is “not misery”. They are not very creative creatures. For example all troll names include the word troll. Trolley, Troller and Trollger are the most popular names in the town of Trollden. They call this den a town but only eight trolls inhabit it. In their minds this is a bustling metropolis. The forest troll is not quick of wit at all. They do however think rather highly of themselves and whoever catches a meat treat is recognized as king for that day. So in some ways their community is fairer than many human or elf lands.
Trolley, the biggest troll from Trollden, was out one night digging up some oak roots. He had a rather large hole dug, about 5ft deep, and his hands were covered with thick brown dirt. He had a gigantic head, normal for a troll but huge by human standards. His mouth and jaw were so huge that Trolley could fit a person’s head in it and crunch the whole thing with just one bite. In troll terms this is the finest delicacy a troll can have. Trolls mutter “not misery” in their rudimentary language to each other during these types of feasts. While digging up the twisted oak roots Trolley failed to notice the small luminescent blue flower beside him. He did however notice the two humans who were making their way through the forest. The intoxicating smell of meat wafted towards him and Trolley’s keen senses told him they were a mere five hundred meters away. His face lit up with a sort of joy in anticipation for the meat treat to come. He immediately stopped digging and started to quietly stalk the humans.
Trolls are so deceptively silent that they could pluck a squirrel from a tree if they wanted to. The forest squirrels are safe though as every troll knows it’s a nuisance to get squirrel bones out of your teeth. A troll would usually find this out a child and would never eat one again, since trolls don’t have floss. A human child is what led the two doomed humans into the forest that night. The boy had snuck into the forest and spotted the Lumine flower. His parents did not even scold him when he told them about his exscursion. They were overcome with a desire for the rare flower with all its magical properties. The Lumine flower glows in the dark and is easy to see for humans. Trolley didn’t know this because trolls have a sort of colour blindness when it comes to these flowers. Even if he could see the flower he would probably stomp on it for sheer delight, that’s the way Trolls are you know. Of course it wouldn’t be a delight as trolls don’t have a word for delight either, the closest anyone has been able to translate would be “not dreary”. The meat treats were coming ever closer and Trolley had deftly circled behind them. His big mouth was salivating for the nutlike meat treat that would fit perfectly in his mouth. The human head to a troll is like an avocado to a human. It would fit perfectly in Trolley’s mouth and have that delightful crunch and squirt. It didn’t stick in his teeth and everything about the meal to come was the closest to pure bliss a troll could think of.
“I think he said it was around here.” said the man to the woman holding a dimmed lantern. The man was ahead of her just at the edge of the oil lantern’s light.
“Are you sure?” said the woman.
“Of course I am,” said the man. “Just think, if we find this flower we will be granted a room in the king’s castle as a reward!”
“There, I see it!” the man exclaimed in glee.
His eyes caught sight of the little glowing, blue flower. It seemed so out of place in the dark forest, possessing a beauty no other flower could compare too. The ethereal glow of the flower illuminated the undergrowth around it.
“I’ve got it, I’ve…aaggg!” the man screamed.
The man’s waist was suddenly in a crushing grip and he was lifted high off the forest floor. Crunch, crunch! Before the unfortunate souls realized what was happening Trolley had the headless woman in his left hand and the man’s body in his right. It would be Trolley’s day to be king. He moved swiftly towards Trollden, his foot just missing the prized flower. He didn’t know what drew the hapless couple to this area and he didn’t care. He was busy chewing the oily brains like a kid chewing bubblegum. He just kept crunching and if Trolls could smile he would be grinning from ear to ear. He couldn’t wait to show the meat treats to his family but for now the heads were all his. They were too tasty a treat to share.
Trolley was content to be king for a day, quite unaware of a very different king that lived not too far away. Everyone agreed that King Harold ruled over a most beautiful kingdom. If you cast an eye from his castle’s parapet wall you would see lush green fields of corn and wheat alongside the hazy white blossoms of fruit orchards. You would see the pine and ash groves that littered the soft rolling hills of grazing fields where shepherds kept their livestock. In the valley between the hills Lake Bastian adorned the emerald landscape like a flawless blue sapphire. A few tributary streams passed through the king’s land and supplied all the water needed for the abundant cultivation of the land. The streams then flow into the wide River Partum, where the lake drained by way of a water fall. These rapids at the water fall divide the realm from the wild, with the dark oaks of the troll’s forest barely visible as a greenish white haze. And so this can all be seen from the vantage point of King Harold’s castle. It is known as High Tower Castle, and is set half way up a small mountain that marks the beginnings of the Summer Mountains. The Summer Mountains are named thusly since it is the only time that these mountains are safe to travel. It is the sole route for trade with the land of East Folk.
It was summer time in King Harold’s kingdom and everywhere you looked there was the hustle and bustle of activity. The day of the annual jousting competition had finally arrived. The arena was set up besides the jewel-like Lake Bastian and presently King Harold had arrived at the grounds with his son. Prince Harold, whom everyone referred to just as the Prince, had come of age and was entering the jousting competition for the first time. He has been rigorously trained in the modern disciplines of jousting, riding, fencing, and all martial arts needed in order to fulfill his destiny as a leader of men. The banners and colors were flying high in the wind decorating the pavilions that were set out for the surrounding solstice festivities. The farmers’ usual keg breaking celebration was on. The sounds of timbrel, lute and flute filled the air. The rhythmic pounding of the drum drew all the best dressed people as well as those not so well dressed to dance. Mead was flowing, and one might say that these were the happiest people in any kingdom, at any time. Good honest folk, led by a fair and well-liked king. In such a happy kingdom the only tragic thought one could even think of was the early death of the queen, just after giving birth to the Prince. Songs were still sung of her beauty and elegance. The king’s disposition had been thoroughly changed by her calming presence and tragic death.
“Ready my Prince?” shouted the crier to Prince Harold. The Prince sat on a large brown stallion, decked with silver armour that shone like the bright diamonds that seemed to sparkle on the crest of every soft ripple in the lake beside him.
“Yes.” comes the retort from the deep yet soft voice of Harold.
“Ready my Lord Evendale?” the crier asked the Prince’s sporting adversary.
Lord Evendale was the Kings much younger brother who had enjoyed jousting every season but so far had never won the event. He was a competent jouster but not the finest.
“Yes.” Lord Evendale shouted back.
The crowd stood up and cheered the competitors on. The nobles stayed silent from their seated position. Among them sat the king as he gazed over the jousting arena. He dropped his royal red handkerchief, which symbolized the beginning of the joust.