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A HISTORY OF THE TROLL WARS

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A History of the Troll Wars

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Available in ebook (£2.99) or in paperback (£10.99). 281 Pages.

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A HISTORY OF THE TROLL WARS

1. Lies, Damned Lies And Perfidy
(A twelve-minute read)

Imagine a landscape of rolling hills and gently rising slopes that tumble over steep and leafy escarpments. Picture the view of open fields golden and brilliant in the afternoon sun as it continues its unending path towards the western horizon. Consider the peace and tranquillity of lazy farmsteads where children play in the new mown grass and dogs gambol and chase after rabbits in the fields.

The birds sing as though it is the first day of creation and they have everything to live for. Underlying their chorus, the cicadas incessant stridulations celebrate their emergence from years entombed in the hard earth.

Here and there across the plains, smoke rises from isolated homesteads where more dogs can be heard barking and picture book fields complete with hay ricks appear to give off a luminous inner sheen. It is a landscape of yellows and ochres and browns with bold slashes of upright poplars in green and dark blue, all set beneath a vibrant azure sky. It was one of those scenes that artists dream of and like the artist’s dream, it is a lie.

As the first brush strokes of dawn began to appear in the crisp mauve sky a small light appeared in a window of one of the upper rooms of the Mayoral Palace in Florencetown. The lamp had been lit by the Chief Prosecutor of that town. He wasn’t looking out on the bucolic mirage that lay beyond the town and was slowly fading into existence. Instead he was holding up a document to the yellow and smoky lamplight so that his aging eyes could attempt to read the text that it contained.

In truth, the world beyond his window was invisible to him as his eyes followed the words and his incisive mind picked out the intended meaning in the arguments set out in the grubby looking document that he held. Indeed, the world of his study was, at that moment, simply a construct in which to frame as series of thoughts. Then something seemed to shift in the air about him. He mumbled a couple of times and looked intently at a point where his steel grey eyes had arrested as if by peering closer at the neatly written script, some hidden meaning would be  made clear.

“Not even cunning,” he mumbled to the growing light that had started to insinuate itself through the open window with the persistence of a domestic cat.

Somewhere outside, a bird took the opportunity to start a song and then a while later another piped up in a tree in a small copse nearby. The sounds were inaudible to the Chief Prosecutor as indeed was the sound of a child crying somewhere nearby in the town. Involuntarily, he stepped back into the gloom of this new office.

He had moved into the Mayoral Palace with all its grandeur and opulence following the recent death of the mayor and after his assumption of that role in the vacuum that had emerged. He wasn’t comfortable with the luxury of the place. He preferred the austerity and quiet power of the offices of the Chief Justice but the relocation was a necessity in order to enforce in the popular mind the change in government.

It had been a dangerous move, he knew, to take up the reins of government in the town whilst at the same time holding on to those of the Judiciary. He would have  his work cut out, not to mention the need to employ all his powers of persuasion (and ruthlessness) to take this bold step to the next and obvious step.

Technically, the Social Contract forbade such an event, although it was sufficiently vague as to allow some latitude of opportunity, he had made certain of that fact before he had arranged for his reluctant offer to take on the mantle to be presented to the parliament. The Constitution of Cronos, a document of greater antiquity and drafted at a time when the concept of the City State had only just arisen from the ashes of despotism, was completely silent about such matters. That, it had to be said, was of significant value to the Chief Prosecutor’s case. Despotism, he had to admit, had had its virtues.

When he reached the lightweight slightly foppish desk that now represented his place of private work, he flung the document down on to it. It was a report on the disposal of waste from the town. In it he had just read an argument about the sustainability of dumping large quantities of what was termed ‘foul water’ into the local river. Admittedly it was downstream of the inlets used to obtain the town’s drinking water but he knew also that upstream there lay other towns with similar problems.

“The practice is perfectly adequate with minimal risk to the populace.”

These were the words that had arrested him.

“Lies, damned lies,” he muttered to himself.

In another part of Xandria, although not technically one of the City States as its prince would be at pains to point out, a young man was lying on a bed. He was good looking, fair hair cut in a sort of page boy style, blue eyes and square jaw. Perhaps a little too full in figure for his frame to be considered muscular but everything was there. If not a six-pack then perhaps four tinnies instead.

He was lying to one side leaning on his left hand and looking at the figure of a young woman on the bed beside him. She was naked, pale white skin and dark brown hair that fell about the pillow. She had her back to him and he was running his other hand lightly from the delicate square shoulders and down part of an arm to the dip of a waist and the abrupt curve of her hips. Here the hand rested, becoming at once a little heavier, perhaps a little insistent.

She looked for all the world like a picture that he had once seen. It had been a goddess painted in the classical style. She was naked and facing away from the gaze of the observers, a mirror held by some cherub capturing her expression as she looked back challenging the viewer. Viewer perhaps, or maybe it was voyeur?

His various thoughts were interrupted by an abrupt knock on the bedroom door and a loud cough from beyond.

“Ahem!” said the voice, “May I enter, your Grace?”

The young man dropped back onto the pillow with a sigh although a hand, his left hand now, still remained on the hips of the young woman beside him.

“What is it, Softweard?” he called.

“It’s a matter of some importance, your Grace,” came the voice of what was obviously an elderly man.

“Can’t you deal with it?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, your Grace, I cannot.”

“Really?”

“Ahem,” said the elderly voice, “May I enter, your Grace?”

“Really,” said the young man to himself realising that now that his Seneschal had looped back to the start of the convesation, he was not going to avoid an encounter.

“If you must,” he shouted, putting he hoped all the annoyance that he could muster into the last word.

He sat up and pulled a sheet over himself to cover his nakedness. The girl he left as she was. A royal concubine didn’t need modesty, in his opinion. She only needed skill.

The old man stepped timidly into the room although what he was expecting should have been as obvious as it was now unremarkable. He had served the young man for five years, since the death of his father in fact. He knew that he was in the service of a “lecherous little shit” – his words said only to himself in the depths of his very controlled conscious thoughts in the darkest hours of the night.

As Softweard turned to close the door, the Prince slapped the sleeping girl on the rump. She squealed, fearful and startled out of sleep, rolled onto her back and then attempted to sit up. To add to her discomfiture, she seemed to catch one of her feet in the tangle of bed clothes and this threw her off balance. The net effect was that when the Seneschal appeared at the foot of the bed, he was treated to a sight that might have been more appropriate had he been a gynaecologist and not the Seneschal of Highland – not that such professions were recognised in this world.

“Oh dear,” his secret voice muttered.

“Young lady, this might be of some little assistance,” he said smiling politely and throwing to her a robe of some sort that had been discarded at the foot of the bed in haste, some hours before.

In fairness to her, she actually blushed. Not, perhaps at the over exposure of her private parts but rather at the apparant courtesy offered by the old man.

“Your Grace,” the older man continued unphased by the sights presented to him.

“Seneschal,” replied the Prince adding as if an afterthought, “do I detect disapproval?”

“Your Grace?” replied Softweard using his best political tones.

“Oh, never mind,” said the young man, “what is the big crisis, then?”

He intended the tone to be dismissive, after all what ever went wrong in Highland? They paid their duties to the City States and kept the Guilds in line as they were expected to do. They had signed up to and followed (in so far as was humanly possible) the Social Contract. They even found a place for the vampires, though the gods alone knew what real use these creatures were to anyone.

The Seneschal cut through all that with an expression and then followed it up with a thrust of his chin.

“You have a foreign army encamped on your lands,” he said, again using his best political tones.

“Your Grace,” he added in a sweet sickly voice as a deliberate afterthought.

The change that came over the young man was profound and immediate. Striking out with one hand that had only moments before been caressing her soft flanks, he thrust the girl from his bed. The blow had been so violent that there was a resounding crack from her rump as the hand made contact and she flew from the bed in a flurry of fabric and legs.

“Get out!” he yelled at her as she gathered up her meagre possessions and made a desperate bid for the door, walking backwards (as was customary) as best she could.

“Why wasn’t I told sooner!” he demanded, his face about the same colour as it had been only hours before albeit from different extremes of excitement.

“Your Grace,” said the Seneschal patiently, “I came to you as soon as I was aware.”

“Then why weren’t you aware earlier?” demanded the Prince with all the gravitas of a small child.

The Seneschal ignored this question and pressed home the information that he was bound to deliver, regardless of the consequences.

“It is a Xandrian Army, your Grace.”

A pin would have been heard to drop if an explosion had not already erupted from the mouth of the hegemon. There is absolutely no point in trying to explain what he actually said because he was frankly incandescent with rage. In essence however, he was probably asking what a Xandrian Army was doing on his doorstep, by whose rights had it entered his realm (technically it was a principality) and what, if anything, the Seneschal was doing about it.

The older man weathered the storm in much the same way that a granite stack deals with the stormy seas. He stood there and took all that was thrown at him, knowing that little by little something of his would be worn away, that part of him would be lost. That one day he would simply fall in ruin.

That day wasn’t today, though, and so as the young man shrieked and capered about his oversized bed like a child throwing a tantrum, the Seneschal stood quietly by.

When at last the tempest started to ease, Softweard explained that he had sent out envoys and was expecting responses back before noon. That he would update his prince at that time.

“It’s a disgrace, that’s what it is. Its more than that,” the Prince added, now starting to sound a little petulant, “it’s, it’s … perfidy. That’s what it is.”

Now that the vigour of the prince’s storm was beginning to flap about a bit, the old man saw his opportunity to take his leave. Before any further eruption occurred, he respectfully bowed to his prince. Then, unexpected and in many ways uncharacteristically, a mischievous thought popped into his head. He found it impossible not to act on it, despite his years.

“Your Grace,” he said pointing to the obvious erection that the young man was sporting as he stood above him on the bed, “I trust that is aggression, your Grace, and nothing more…”

He turned at the doorway and went out, a grin of pure pleasure erupting from his stolid features.

“Perfidy. He’s got to be joking, the perfidious little shit,” said the secret voice once more from deep inside his stash of private thoughts.

New York

A History of the Troll Wars

Available in ebook (£2.99) or in paperback (£10.99). 281 Pages.

Something is very wrong in Se Molde. Trolls are out and about in daylight. Not the odd one or two but a whole army of them. How can this be? How is it that they haven't turned to stone?
Available as a paperback from Amazon and Kindle.281 pages of Trollish mayhem.

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OTHER TALES YOU MIGHT LIKE

The Collector of Tales
The Xandrian Quarters
Seagrum the Dwarf

CONTACT

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Frome,Somerset, UK
Email: david@dwarftales.co.uk

BLURB

A History of the Troll Wars

When the troll army landed on the shores of Se Molde it was more than inevitable that there would be a conflict with the humans infesting the place. It was preordained. Rock, the troll boss, knew this because the troll gods had told him when they activated him. His folk didn’t know. For them it was an exciting new adventure, now that they had shaken off the Way of Troll with its brutish imperatives.

The human world wasn’t prepared for this visitation. It offered too many problems for the political machinations of the Xandrian City States. It just simply got in the way of living the human way with its destruction of natural resources and the overpopulation and the blatant lack of regard for any other creatures inhabiting the globe in space where they found themselves. It got in the way of politics. It challenged the human order of things as set out in the Social Contract.

Of course, something had to be done and once again, this was where Seagrum the Dwarf came in. He was despatched with a polyglot army of humans and all those other creatures subject to the Social Contract to sort it. He was a dwarf. Things tended to get done. This time though it isn’t skill but pure luck and happenchance that save him, and the humans, hides. Of course, there is collateral damage.

SYNOPSIS

A History of the Troll Wars

When the troll army landed on the shores of Se Molde it was more than inevitable that there would be a conflict with the humans infesting the place. It was preordained. Rock, the troll boss, knew this because the troll gods had told him when they activated him. His folk didn’t know. For them it was an exciting new adventure, now that they had shaken off the Way of Troll with its brutish imperatives.

The human world wasn’t prepared for this visitation. It offered too many problems for the political machinations of the Xandrian City States. It just simply got in the way of living the human way with its destruction of natural resources and the overpopulation and the blatant lack of regard for any other creatures inhabiting the globe in space where they found themselves. It got in the way of politics. It challenged the human order of things as set out in the Social Contract.

Of course, something had to be done and once again, this was where Seagrum the Dwarf came in. He was despatched with a polyglot army of humans and all those other creatures subject to the Social Contract to sort it. He was a dwarf. Things tended to get done. This time though it isn’t skill but pure luck and happenchance that save him, and the humans, hides. Of course, there is collateral damage.

Whilst it might look like it, this isn’t really fantasy, this is allegory. The trollish visitation is meant to represent the non-living aspects of our planet just doing what they do because that is how it goes. Humans and other living things, whatever they might believe, simply have to go along with it because there is nothing that they can really do in the face of the enormous forces of the planet that we live on. The creatures of the Social Contract are meant to represent various facets of human activity as well as introducing the fact that there are other creatures here that are not human and who are also stakeholders in this world. Admittedly there aren’t many actual ogres or werewolves walking the planet but, like I said, this is allegory.

There are a couple of observations to make about some of the factors in the tale. Firstly, there is the simple fact that in the world of Se Molde, humans are not necessarily the top predators. They are preyed upon by numerous creatures that they share their lives with. There is a certain arrogance in humans that considers it a serious indignity to be eaten by another (dare I say lesser) creature. In this world it happens with about the same regularity that humans die as a consequence of motor accidents or violence. Secondly, there is biology. The approach that I have taken to sex in the tale is a little blunt to say the least. This is because I am not looking at the sexual act as a thing of pleasure nor am I trying to put any eroticism into the tale. I am simply describing an urgent imperative to fulfil a demanding biological programme. This regardless of the sex of the person or creature involved or indeed, the creature itself. If we a governed by meiosis, then we are victims of our biology.

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