Friday, January 29

Clash of giants… (Original Fiction by Xan)

As Beasley cautiously unlatched the next door, he slowly pushed it open. This hallway was very similar to the last, though the hallway was a bit longer, they could not see the end in the dim torchlight. The musty smell rotting vegetation filled the air, though thicker and more acrid than the last. “Smells as though this room has had its share of waste a little longer.”

“SHHHHH!” Zander stopped them in their tracks, and then he moved in front of them. Like a hunting dog tracking its quarry, he pricked his ears. “Beasley, cover your light, can you hear that?” Zander whispered to the group.

“I hear nothing.” Solcloud stoutly mumbles.

“You don’t speak Giantish, do you?” Beasley snickered as though everyone should know the several languages he spoke. “I thought you were an educated man.” Beasley laughed quietly as Solcloud glared at him. “What is he saying Zander?”

“He is complaining about… trash.” Zander got a confused look on his face. “Something about being upset that he has been given trash duty. And he’d rather be defending the keep.” Zander slowly drew his hammer and shield as he slowly advanced. “Let us proceed with caution.”

The others drew their weapons; Beasley pulled his hood over his head and backed against the wall as they advanced toward the mumbling creature. When they approached in the dark Zander made out their quarry, a creature more than a foot taller than Zander with gray rubbery skin. The creature was carrying a large basket or barrel over its hunched back; it spilled over with refuse and half decomposed plants and vegetables. The creature did not hear their approach because it was too busy talking to itself.

“Why do we get stuck with trash duty? A troll like us, strong and limber, deserves to be defending the tower. Protecting our fiery god, not stuck down here taking care of the rubbish. We should be dealing with intruders and feeding on their remains, but instead we end up here.” The troll dropped the basket and wiped its brow, it turned towards the approaching party. “We see INTRUDERS!!!” Without a second of hesitation, the creature lumbered in a frontal attack.

Beasley gasped as the creature swiftly closed the gap between them. He leveled his crossbow and loosed a bolt that went high and wide. This seemed to only provoke the creature to a greater act of rage. Zander took this opportunity to run at the troll and the two giants collided and locked arms in a dance of death. Both frothed at the mouth, muscles flexed, and sinews tightened. Neither would give ground to the other.

“What are we waiting for?” Beasley ran to the aid of his friend.

Solcloud drew his mighty sword and let out a stout battle cry as he too charged into battle. Zander occupied the beast while the other two slashed and poked at its thick hide. Nevertheless, as every gash and every wound spouted blood, it immediately closed off.

“FIRE!” Solcloud shouted as though it was an order, but it was more of a request.

“Beasley, ignite your torch, they cannot regenerate that which is burned!” The mighty giants twisted and turned in the small hallway. Smashing into the walls, dirt falling to the ground from the ceiling, Solcloud narrowly avoiding being crushed between them and the stone walls. “Hurry little one! Zander is fading.”
It was true. Even though he was holding the monster off, Zander was tiring. Every smash into the walls that seemed to break to shoulders of the troll, it immediately restored itself. Zander also was taking similar abuse, and thanks to his troll ring, he was holding his own, but his magical healing could not match the speed of the natural healing of the troll. Every smash, every twist seemed to grind him further down.

Beasley relight his torch and as Solcloud slashed at the troll, Beasley pushed the flame of the torch into the open wound.

“AAHHHH!” The troll shrieked in agony as the wound sizzled but did not heal. “It burns us!” The troll shrieked in Giantish, “You filthy monster burned us!”
With a renewed flow of strength, the troll threw Zander to the wall, knocking him unconscious. The troll then reached for the halfling. Beasley ducked between the giants’ legs and pushed the head of the torch into the back of its bare leg, right at its knee. The troll cursed at the halfling and reached between its legs to grasp hopelessly at the small halfling. This fraction of a second gave the paladin the opening he needed to slash at the monsters head. He caught it clean between its shoulders and head. The head of the beast, separated now from the body, fell to the ground with a hollow thump. The body also fell in a grotesque slump. Solcloud held his hand out to Beasley to silently ask for the torch. Beasley threw him the torch, Solcloud pushed the torch into the open neck, the troll ignited within, and bursts into flames, as its half-living body thrashed on the ground then smoldered into ash. He threw the torch back to the halfling who was crouched over looking at the still living head. Beasley took the nod from Solcloud as an order to ignite the head. He did as he was signaled to do, the head rolled to the side and burned to ash.

“Nasty things, trolls.” Solcloud said in a disgusted tone. “Luckily I had run across them before and I knew their weakness, fire. We would have been here for days in a stalemate, with our rings and his natural ability. Beasley, you want to check down the hallway in the refuse room?”

“Not with what you told me.” Beasley shuddered at the mere thought of running into one of those garbage monsters. “I am not going in there alone.”

“I’ll go with you.” Zander hefted himself up against the wall then slumped into a sitting position propped against the wall. He rubbed his head and checked his hands for blood. “What did I miss?” He rolled his neck to check everything was still attached.

“You wait here and let the ring do its thing, Beasley and I will check down the hall.” Solcloud pointed down the hallway in the direction the troll was walking. “We will yell to you if we…” Beasley coughed, showing his apprehension. “If we see, or run into something.”

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