Damn I'm not even making sense anymore. LOL.
Here you go:
A Tale of Unlikely Magic and Wonderful Adventures
Chapter 3: In Which Nearly Everybody Gets Killed
Now that they’re all out of the way, I have time to tell you about the troll. As you can no doubt guess by his blubbering, he was really a very well-natured, sensitive creature who just so happened to look like a tree and have the spirit of a rock. Actually, those things usually work in his favor. He was very sturdy, a stable, responsible sort of fellow, slow to anger and change, despite his windblown hair (it was apparently some kind of moss), his thick tree legs or his chipped teeth that let his voice sound full of gravel and mud.
But there was one thing above all others at which he was most certainly not slow: luck. He had the quickest luck of anyone anybody had ever met. When it struck, it struck like lightning, and it was the sort of thing most around him figured they’d never witness twice.
But with Pete the Troll, his luck was a proverbial endless lightning streak. A lightning storm. A lightning ... errr … enough with the lightning. He’s got really good luck. And yes, his name really is Pete.
Pete the Troll—and mind you, I’m not blaming him one bit—was a bit of a gambler. Well, more than a bit. He was a enough of a gambler that it caused some problems, problems even bigger than him, and he’d been the size of a small car (not an American car of course, a European one, but a car one and the same) since he was born, and now he was full grown. So his gambling problems were pretty darn big.
That’s how he came to live in the Land of Pain and Suffering. One night, there he was in the capitol city of Promethia, playing game after game after game of high stakes black jack at the best casino in town. The table he played at was edged in gold and studded with rubies. The carpet under his feet was hand crafted from the wool of tiny little sheep-like animals only native to one corner of Early Realm, whose ultra-specific diet made their fur feel like the stuff of which clouds are made, and it in fact looked exactly like clouds; so white that it at once held all the colors of the rainbows in its ply, and so puffy and luxurious that it gave one the very disorienting impression of floating. The lights were shining bright, the coins flashed across the table, the cards flipped expertly from hand to hand. And so on, and so on.
He, Pete the Troll, was hobnobbing with Promethian nobility, the movers and the shakers of all the Early Realm, and he was winning. Winning game after game after game, pile after pile of coins from every country he’d ever heard of and even a few he didn’t.
Soon he had so much money that, were he a greedy sort, he could have bought the bank and filled it with his coins just so he could swim through them every morning. But he wasn’t a greedy troll. Spirit like a rock, remember (rocks don’t go to banks, you see). Slow to change. He looked at his piles of money spilling over every gold-and-ruby encrusted table in the casino, cascading down the cloud-carpeted stairs, pouring out the golden revolving doors, and he saw that his luck had quite run away with him.
Much to the consternation of his relatives (among whom were several of the greedy sorts), he donated all his winnings to the Promethian Academy of Music, which now runs a scholarship program for up-and-coming trolls far and wide in his honor. Then he packed all his belongings and moved out of his penthouse, searching for a place far from any kind of temptation, and even further from his relatives. Somehow he found himself a nice, extremely large hole in the ground of the Land of Pain and Suffering, and without another moment’s thought, in he moved.
But if there’s one thing casinos don’t like, it’s losing their shirts to a troll—or rather, their coins. So the CEO (a very, very greedy sort) of the casino searched far and wide for someone, anyone, who might be able to dispense of a troll with endless luck. He searched first among the assassins, of course. Too fond of guns and gas bombs and such which would not be of any use in the Land of Pain and Suffering. Someone more hardy, he thought; more hands-on.
So he looked among the pirates. Of course they were very put off once they found out they were his second choice, and would have nothing to do with him. Good thing too, because the Captain of captains was secretly planning to double cross him with a casino heist the whole time they were negotiating. Then, since he was already at sea, the CEO checked among the vicious creatures of the deep underworld, but none had the limbs or the lungs required for navigating the Land of Pain and Suffering.
After those failures and the mounting fear of filing for Chapter 13, he travelled north. Far, far north. Farther north than any other Promethian had ever travelled before. He travelled first by boat, then by wheel, then by horse, and then by foot, until he finally came upon a peaceful glade of yet unnamed fruit trees in blossom at the foot of a towering mountain. The mountain was white in its entirety, and its snow reached even to where the CEO stood, at its base. The snow carpeted the ground so white that the orchard blossoms, once fallen, looked to be such a bright pinky red they almost looked like blood. In fact, many years later, these trees would come to be known as Blood Blossom trees, for that very reason.
The blossoms indeed did fall, right before him, and they formed a path, which the greedy CEO followed. It led him to the top of the mountain. Around the back of the highest peak, where the dying sun bid the earth a long and sad goodnight, there was quiet temple, and in the temple sat a man—a ninja—dressed in head-to-toe in red. And the CEO knew he’d found the right guy, because he could tell that the ninja’s suit was dyed with the blood of all those he’d killed.
The Red Ninja was commissioned on the spot, and he’s been after Pete ever since.
The chase had been on for three days and three nights when Pete saw the four wolves and the ugly girl climbing down to the Land of Pain and Suffering; for this long he’d evaded the Red Ninja’s attacks by a mixture of cunning, desperation and natural troll camouflage. In a word; luck. But even the luckiest person— err, troll —knows that nothing can last forever. He was just about to try and signal the group for help when the Red Ninja sprang from a hidey hole in the sand and attacked. The whole time he was on the run, Pete had not eaten nor drank nor slept, and well, had Adele not saved him, he would have been done for.
And now you’re pretty much caught up.
Pete scratched the moss on his head and looked at the four knocked-out wolves, the bled-dry girl and the unconscious, ripped-up ninja. Then he sighed, and stomped on a very well-hidden thatched door in the ground, the door of his neighbor, a retired wicked old witch. She’d retired because she became … tired … of her wicked ways, and so fled to the Land of Pain and Suffering in order to repent. Pete was hoping she could help; she was very good with this sort of thing. But there was no answer. He stomped again, and tried to strain his mossy ears to listen for sounds under the earth.
Creak. Ahh, so she was home. He’d been afraid she’d gone to town for groceries or some other errand.
“Eeeeehh? Eeeehhh?” she cackled as thatch swung open and she bobbed her frizzy head through the hidey hole in the earth, “Ehhh? Pete? Is that you?” Her glasses were thick as her knotty fingers and had a good layer of dirt on both sides, and the eyes behind them had long since went towards the milky blue of blindness, no matter how much she claimed the opposite. Frankly, it was no wonder she couldn’t see Pete hulking there in her ceiling doorway as she swayed her head around and around.
“Yes… Mrs… Olwitch… May… I… come… down?” Pete paused; trolls always took a very long time to say anything, as it takes such a lot out of a person (troll) to speak when they’re that big and rock-like. “It’s….an…emergency.”
Mrs. Olwitch really rather liked Pete, but she wouldn’t admit that even if you had a poison apple held at her mouth. Anyway, she motioned him down, and somehow Pete managed to get himself and his quarry down the narrow, old-lady sized ladder that hung from the hidey hole opening. In no time at all, he’d explained the situation to Mrs. Olwitch.
“So, ehhh,” she cackled at him, raising her bony, veiney hand into the air as she thought it out “you darned near killed each one of these here … ehhhh,” she used her other hand to poke her cane doubtfully at the still conked-out Red Ninja, “creatures, and now you want me to un-darn-near-kill them?”
“Well…” Pete said, “yes….ma’am….please.”
Mrs. Olwitch sighed and leaned back in her rocking chair, beginning to whack her cane on the floor of her home in a repetitious manner as she rocked.
“Ehhhh. Can’t do it.”
“Eehhhh, can’t be done, sonny Pete, can’t be done.” She thumped her cane some more.
“Not’t’all.” A single thump.
“Hmmm….ehhhh….If they were dead, I could reanimate them, ehhh, make them into zombies, eeehh.” This brought out a rain of excited-sounding cane thumps. “The Necromancer might try and have my skin for it, but what’s that little whipper snapper really going to do about it, now that I’m an old retired witch now…close to my death watch anyhow…” Mrs. Olwitch had taken to muttering, now hobbling around the chair where Pete now sat, uncomfortable. She looked up to the moss covered troll, and by some kind twist of fate, her sight came back to her just long enough to discern the tear stains dried onto Pete’s rock-like skin. She grunted. “Ehh. Worth it, for a bit of fun, I’d say, taking up reanimating again. Not to mention the killing the innocent part; I haven’t had a good and appetizing slaughter in ages. But I gather you don’t want that, do you sonny Pete?”
“Hmmm…” Pete said. Slow to change, he’d just gotten himself reconciled to the group living, and now here she was talking about them being dead, and then alive again … he cleared his throat. “See,” he said, with a pause, “that’s…why…I…came…to…you…You…do… …. …. what…you…think…best,” he added.
In a flash, Mrs. Olwitch was propelling herself here and there with the help of her cane, careening around corners, propping herself up on one leg to reach certain dust-encrusted shelves and generally performing physical feats people in their twenties struggle to do. In three shakes she was over her cauldron, and in three more shakes she was brewing.
Then, as Pete blinked at her, she drew a long, curving dagger from her cruddy skirts, and one by one she sliced the blade into the throats of the wolf pups, Rahhh, the Red Ninja, and even our beloved, noble, ugly Adele. As the last drops of their blood mingled with one another in dark, muddy puddles on the floor, Mrs. Olwitch let out a long cackle, and Pete began to cry again.
While Pete sobbed, Mrs. Olwitch swooped around her hovel, snatching this, snatching that. Once all was gathered and the six were good and dead, she used six roughly-hewn pewter bowls to scoop each individual’s blood from her floor. She was sure to mark on the side of each bowl to whom the blood within belonged. Then, drawing yet more howling sobs from Pete, she plucked a bone from each, aiming for the hands (where there are so many bones there are some to spare) and paws. These went into their respective bowls. Pete howled and sobbed, then sobbed and howled some more.
Many hours later, under shining slivered light of the three Early Realm moons, the retired witch laid the bodies of the deceased on the plain in the valley of the Land of Pain and Suffering. The moons were just on the point of retiring, but a bit of good reanimation magic is not a thing to be missed, so they decided to stay up, and light the way for Mrs. Olwitch.
Casting the circle wide about the dead and herself, Mrs. Olwitch did the unthinkable: she ground the bowls of bone and blood into one another until they made a paste. But this wasn’t really that unthinkable. What’s unthinkable is what she did with that paste. She tipped her massively-wrinkled head back to the sky, opened her saggy mouth, and ate the contents of each and every bowl, down to the last grainy bite.
The moons nearly shuddered in anticipation. Lightning cracked outward from the circle. Fires sprang from the circle edge. The swamps of the valley boiled, and the quicksand pits began to roll. The earth itself shuddered.
And then, in a great explosion of magic, the five bodies sat up, and Mrs. Olwitch collapsed.