DP Gregoire Fiction - An Adventure Lost - Chapter 1: Denderin and the Troll
Friday October 16th 2020
The sun glistened upon his face, sweat beading on his brow. His breathing started to pickup. He turned around to see he had barely made it past the town's borders.
'I must be out of shape,' he thought to himself as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He stopped for a moment to sit upon a rock, undoing the stopper from his waterskin.
glug, glug, glug
The sun beat down as he chugged the water from its container. Rustling in his pocket he pulled out a piece of parchment, a checklist of items he would need for his long journey:
- Blanket ✔
- Bedroll ✔
- Backpack ✔
- Waterskin ✔
- Food ✔
- Fishing pole ✔
- Bait & tackle ✔
- Flint & steel ✔
- Skinning knife ✔
- Hatchet ✔
- Machete ✔
- Pickaxe ✔
- Shovel ✔
- Lantern ✔
- Oil ✔
- Compass ✔
- Book ✔
- Map ✔
- Inkwell ✔
- Pen ✔
- Sling ✔
- Bullets ✔
- Soap ✔
- Extra clothes ✔
- Tent ✔
- Rope ✔
- Cooking utensils ✔
- Gold ✔
'What I have must weigh 100 pounds,' he thought as he regrettably stood up while letting out a loud grunt.
It is early summer, the days long, hot, and sticky. Not a wise day for travel, as Denderin will soon find out. But alas, his determination will drive him forward, despite the asinine decision making.
Denderin was your average fellow. Not too tall, not too short, average in height. His build too would be average, if he wasn't lazy for so long. But he had put on some weight, and wasn't in ideal shape, not for this journey.
He's traveled from home before, often taking vacation with his family during the summer months, they would visit the southern cities. But never has he been on a journey of this magnitude, this journey shall take him far and wide. A journey to foreign lands. A journey from coast to coast, across mountain ranges, deserts, and even the sea.
In case you're wondering, Denderin wont be alone on this journey, no. He will be accompanied by his troll slave. You thought he'd be carrying all of that gear by himself? Of course not! The troll slave will carry half the burden. Despite its small frame, its quite strong, don't let it fool you.
Actually, this might be a good time to tell you of Denderin's troll slave, *You see, it was about 15 years ago, Denderin was 6 years of age, playing in the fields. As Denderin carelessly played with the neighboring children, their family's animals were being stalked from the cornfields.
A small band of garden trolls stalked silently through the corn stalks, not moving even one. They followed the scent for miles, they came from the forest beyond the fields, and from caves before that, and from another barren wasteland before that.
They had no luck in recent times catching animals of the wild, they were no good at it. So instead, they prey on domesticated animals. More trusting, easier to catch, and most of the time penned up with limited space to run to. Hence, why they are called garden trolls, they lack an ability to catch wild game.
The cattle had smelled real good to them, nice, fat, juicy! The three of them could feast on one of those animals for days, maybe even weeks! They wanted it, they need it.
The trolls eyed the cattle, watching their movements, their patterns. One of them was left alone grazing, while the rest of the herd moved off. The trolls licked their lips in anticipation. They could sense dinner was going to be good tonight!
The three of them slowly slithered over to the lone beast. And just as it was too late for it to react, they struck with fierce animosity. Clawing and biting at its legs, the cow had nowhere to run. It screamed out in pain but was quickly put to silence as the trolls descended upon it, making sure it never knew life again.
The cow's brief scream was enough to alert the children to the horror that was happening so very close to them. Frightened some scattered and screamed, while a few went to investigate. Among them was Denderin. The trolls too ravenous with hunger, too engorged in their feast didn't notice the approaching children.
With the realization that something horrible has happened, Denderin ran to get his parents. A few of the bigger kids went in at the trolls, trying to shoo them away. It all seemed to happen so fast, as Denderin remembers. His parents ran to pasture, along with some of the other townsfolk who had been previously alerted by the screams of the other children.
Armed with farming equipment they move in toward the trolls who are now alerted to the presence of people. A couple of the children had been attacked, wounded in a scuffle with the trolls. The attacks could have been fatal if it weren't for the adults' arrival.
Chaos erupted for several moments, as trolls ran around frantically, trying to escape. Though it was of no use, townsfolk surrounded the vile creatures, brandishing their tools of trade as weapons.
To cut the story short, one troll wound up dead, tossed in a pyre and lit ablaze. A second troll managed to escape the crazed mob. While a third troll lay wounded, looking scared, its eyes wide with fear. This troll was taken in by Denderin's family, and turned into a servant because of its crimes against the village.*
You're probably wondering why one of them was left alive, and honestly, I couldn't tell you. All's I know is that fast forward 15 years later, it still faithfully, but reluctantly serves Denderin and his family. And as a present for graduating university, Denderin's parents had given him the troll to keep as his own.
The troll, it has no name, at least not one that anyone in Denderin's family cared to learn. Its claws on both hand and foot have been trimmed, kept tidy. Its teeth filed to bluntness. The troll was a shadow of its former self. But you must understand, this wasn't done to be cruel to the creature, it was instead done to ensure the safety of Denderin and his family.
The two traveled all day, each carrying their separate burden. The sun began to set beyond the hills, the sky red. It was time to make haste for camp.
“Troll, begin to setup the tent,” he ordered it.
“Yeeeessssss, right away, masssster,” the troll quickly pulled the tent out without hesitation. It scuttled about, checking the immediate area for the best spot to lay camp.
Within minutes Denderin and the troll had setup camp. 'That wasn't so bad,' he thought to himself. 'We're actually really quick at it.'
“Good job,” Denderin complimented the troll's work as he tossed it a small hunk of meat.
Though trolls are normally ugly, and smelly, this troll was groomed quite well. Its owners have taken great care of it. Aside from its trimmed nails and filed teeth, the troll lacked many of the other features you would think described such a creature.
Its black hair was combed, not knotted, and in quite good condition. It had a natural, healthy shine, mostly from the oils produced from the troll's skin. Of course the troll's hair has seen regular cuts so it wouldn't fray on its ends. Its skin lacked warts, and dirt, a sign of regular bathing.
Its diet was still like a trolls though, it eating mostly meat 6 or more times a day, as a troll hungers more often than a normal person. Their metabolism is so fast that they can burn a regular meal off in a matter of a couple hours.
One difference between this troll's diet and other trolls is this troll had been introduced to the world of vegetables. It fought it at first, refusing to eat them, but eventually gave in. Stomach cramps came for the first few months of eating them, but eventually, they went away, and now this troll can enjoy vegetables with its meals.
I know you're probably sick of hearing about the troll, but I have one more tidbit of information on it. Unlike most slaves, and unlike all other trolls, this troll was literate, educated even. Denderin and his family thought it wise to educate such a creature, and when Denderin went to university, his parents thought it well to send it with him.
“Ssssssso masssssster? Where do you hope to go firsssssst?” the troll asked Denderin.
Denderin sat close to the fire, occasionally stirring some food in a pot, “That's a good question, troll. I'm thinking of having us head north, perhaps check out the fabled ruins of Inthaltûk. See if the legends are true.”
The troll lay on its stomach, feet kicked back dangling from the air, its hands upon its chin, “Whaaaat legendssss are you reffffffering to?”
Denderin turns a quick smirk to his companion, “This book tells of an ancient people long gone from those lands. A people who built magnificent temples, cities, and other such sites. Their temples are supposedly filled with vast wealth, but that isn't the only thing.”
“What elsssssse could there beeee?” the troll asks curiously.
Denderin's face turns to concern, “Well, it is said that their riches are guarded by a giant serpent. A frost snake, or drake, I'm not quite sure. The translation on the book might not be a 100% clear.”
The troll turns its head much like a confused dog, looking at Denderin with befuddlement, “Why chaaaasssse sssssomething that may not be sssssssscertain?”
“Because, I've been sitting idle for too long! I've done nothing great, and the time is now! Just imagine if I discovered a lost temple with its immense riches, and defeated the monster within! I'd be a hero the bards would regale tavern goers about with tales for generations to come!” he yelled excitedly, swinging himself about.
He had bashed his foot into a rock, “Agh! Agh! Ow! Ssssssssttt!”
The troll's large ears lowered. All seemed kind of crazy and hopeless. It never understood the insane dreams of humans. It only understood the simple nature of a troll, wake up, roam for food, eat, sleep, mate, repeat.
But humans, they were a complicated bunch. They always wanted to change the world, make things different, do this, that, and the other thing. Where as trolls just wanted to survive, live, enjoy life, enjoy what was right before them. But humans always wanted to complicate things, they always wanted to strive for more, never accepting what they have.
'Perhaps the troll was dumb, perhaps the human was dumb,' the troll thought to itself.
The troll laid down outside the tent hoping to go to sleep. It would think of mating with the creatures of the forest. Trolls were great at mating, they could breed with any creature! Big; small, mammal; reptile; bird; fish, it didn't matter. A troll could mate with it, and it would yield little troll babies with slight traits from the species it had mated with.
'Trolls are great at mating with everything,' it thought to itself as it laid its head down to sleep for the night.