Based on the enthusiastic feedback on Chapter 3 of The Trolls, I present Chapter 4 for your reading pleasure. If you HAVEN’T read Chapters 1-3 yet, links below. Might as well take advantage before this will cost you 99 cents at all of the finer online outlets.
As always, comments welcomed below.
Chapter 4 Two Against One
Fanell and Coramon were running through the woods, panting in great exertion. Fanell suddenly stopped short, wheezing, “Coramon! Slow a minute! My sides are on fire.”
Coramon scoffed, but stopped, “If we let an ogre get that close to us again, we are likely to feel that way over our whole bodies!”
Fanell nodded, putting his hands on his thighs as he panted, catching his breath. He looked up and started, “And there’s one entering the glade now!”
Coramon grabbed his arm, “See how he stumbles? He looks like you did at Agarath’s wedding feast! He must be tired from the chase. And if I may be so bold, it looks as if the ogres may have had the victory feast BEFORE they attacked. My grandfather said it was always the ogrish way, to celebrate the victory before it happened, since not all present would be alive to celebrate it afterwards. Little do they know that this custom means even fewer are living at the end of the battle.”
“He hasn’t seen us! Let’s hide behind that log and see if the ogre might take a rest!”
They lay still, watching carefully with their eyes slitted, so the whites were barely visible. With the camouflage of mud on their faces and leaves in their hair, they could barely be seen. They watched in awe as the giant ogre came towards them, his footsteps booming as it stumbled their way. It finally sat down about fifty feet away, visibly exhausted, and fortunately with its back nearly towards them. Neither Fanell or Coramon could believe its size. It was more than twice as tall as them, and probably five times as heavy.
“By the bones of the dead, I am weary!” the ogre groused, its voice so deep it was like thunder, “These humans are like fleas, always biting but never to be found!”
The two watched it pant for a few moments, and it continued, “My head hurts, my feet are sore, I have lumps all over from their sling stones. I am famished and have not had a bite to eat since last night. What I would not do for a fat and succulent HUMAN to walk up to me now!”
Corazon and Fanell looked at one another and shrugged, slowly standing up and sneaking up until they were right behind it. As they were just out of its reach, Corazon said, “We are skinny humans, but there are two of us! Will that do?”
The ogre grunted and turned, stunned, trying to rise as the two set on him.
“Hack him behind his knees, Coramon! Get his groin! They say their armpit is an opening to their heart!”
The two set upon him with a flurry of axe strikes and spear-thrusts. Without so much as being able to pick up his club, the ogre fell to the ground, bleeding from many wounds. When it was over, Fanell and Coramon fell to their knees, panting.
As Coramon wiped his spear on a patch of ferns, he laughed, “That was a piece of work!”
Fanell agreed, “It was like stabbing an oak, until he raised his arm and exposed his armpit. The spear went in like it was a cheese!”
“Like a cheese? Have you killed many cheese before?”
“I’ve killed more cheese than you’ve killed jugs of wine!”
“Then you must be a mighty cheese hunter indeed, Fanell!”
The two rested a moment, Coramon sitting up, alert, and Fanell on his back, eyes closed. Finally Fanell said, “So we have finally killed our ogre? Barhaden and his son have each killed one before my very eyes. That boy is but thirteen, or I’m a priest! They say Datrahel took one after it slipped in mud at the riverbank. Fosar and Frerar blinded one with sling-stones, and slit open its belly. Then it gave chase, and it ran until its guts came out!”
The two laughed a bit, thinking of the kill, “That was a good piece of work, Fanell. I think your spear gave it the fatal thrust!”
“Bah! It was hardly moving by time I finished it off. We gave it two-score blows, who can say which one decided the matter?”
Corazon shrugged, “When we are behind the palisades of Askalant, I will say you killed it, but you must likewise say I killed it!”
“It will be done as you say!”
They sat a bit longer, until Corazon slapped Fanell’s leg, “Have you caught your breath?”
Fanell nodded as he stood. “Good! Then follow again the sound of the chase! The sun is low, and Barhaden will soon sound the retreat on his horn. Remember, five blasts mean we slip away, and make with all haste to Askalant! If we are lucky, we will each take another ogre before the call to retreat, and tell the tale to wide-eyed women over a roast goat and a jug of red wine!”
“I tell you, that kill has increased my confidence ten-fold. All the stories of old were of merciless slaughter and a few brave men saving the day at the bitter end. I’m glad to see two who love the easy life can do it as well. But for sure, ogre-baiting is hungry work!”
“Few of the many fine cheeses of Askalant will survive the night!”
Fanell laughed, “Leave me the cheese, and I will leave you the wine!”