“Hey there Marty.” Derrick said as I walked into the café, and Jon and Phoebe gave much more subdued greetings than usual.
“Hey guys.” I said, then awkwardly sat down. I really wanted to ask how everyone’s day had gone, but had to bite my tongue when I remembered what Derrick told me yesterday. So there was the terrible few seconds that seemed like an eternity as I stood there with my mouth open, before finally sitting down.
“It’s ok.” Phoebe said, finally noticing my discomfort. “Derrick told us he told you. Thanks for being circumspect, but we will be fine. How are things in your new city?”
“Not too bad. I’ve been scouting the local wildlife looking for things that are edible. Lot of mouths to feed, and drakelings and kobolds were never much for farming.”
“Heh, I’ll bet they weren’t.” Jon said with a halfhearted chuckle.
“So how about you guys? Any big plans?”
“Heading towards your city after Phoebe finishes up her quest line.”
“Yep.” Phoebe said. “It seems like a lovely meeting spot for monsters. It’ll be nice to finally have a city to go to. Well, one that isn’t full of Drow. I’m never going into one of those cities again if I can help it. Damned elitist bastards.”
“Afraid they won’t respect you because your magic is limited Phoebe?” Derrick asked.
“Damn straight! Never mind the fact that I could literally rip them limb from limb, and that’s even before I transform.”
“Yeah, but go ahead and try and point it out to them. They’ll just deflect and say you’ll never get close enough to do it, their magic will put you down.” I pointed out. “I hate those types of arguments, because none of them are willing to step into a ring and prove it.”
“I know right? And as soon as you do it in the arena, they come back with, ‘but it was in an arena with limited space. In real life you would never get close to a true drow.’ Bah, as if that would ever matter. If they didn’t know they were being hunted, I could kill them before they could even form a magic shield.”
“We’ll just have to show them that overwhelming physical might can trump magic on occasion.” Derrick said, grinning.
“Is there anything as satisfying as finally getting your hands on a squishy mage in battle?” I smiled as I asked.
“Epic loot.” Jon replied, to which we all nodded and saluted with whatever we had for drinks.
“Finally getting that awesome evolution.” Derrick said, and we all froze to look at his grin. “Yep! I finally managed to evolve, and God, does it feel good.”
“Tell us, tell us everything!” Phoebe hissed the last part, and Derrick started in on his tale.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Damnable troll race. Why in the ever loving hell did I decide to pick a race with such a huge experience penalty? The health regen barely made it all worth it. I was basically unstoppable in a fight unless swarmed, vastly out-leveled, or the enemy had a fire based attack. I wondered if Phoebe would be proud of my magic armor though. Using basic stone manipulation, I had given myself stone plate mail in certain locations. Chest, thigh, shin, and forearm, it wasn’t a complete set but it got the job done for blocking most fire attacks. And the intimidation factor was through the roof. My left forearm had basically a stone disc with wicked spikes sticking out at different angles. Who needs a pimp slap when you have a spiked shield? Not this guy!
Sneaking through the forest, I knew I was nearing a middling sized town when I heard voices up ahead. I still had no idea how a troll manages to earn the sneak skill, but it was incredibly helpful.
“We got the town surrounded, why does the boss want us out here as scouts? Ain’t nobody getting out, and we cut off all contact days ago.”
“He just does, so we do! Now stop asking questions.” A curt voice answered, and I saw two bandits standing at the edge of a clearing. Town surrounded by bandits? This outta be good. Sneaking up to the two “scouts,” I grabbed the sides of their heads and pulped them together. Bending down to the ground, I wiped my hands clean and left the bodies. Heading toward the town, I was slightly shocked at what I found.
The walls around the town were simple wooden palisades, though it was a fairly widely spaced out town judging by the length of the walls. Standing in the road was a massive group of bandits, with two absolutely massive ballistae behind them. Tall enough to shoot over the bandits in front of them, the bolts would be enough to give even me problems should they hit. I’m sure they would absolutely demolish the town’s walls in fairly short order.
“Last chance Dorian!” One of the bandits shouted. Considerably better armored than the rest, it was obvious who was in charge.
“Like we would ever surrender to a bunch of cowardly deserters like you!” Came the answering reply from town. Interesting, looks like Mr. Bandit Leader might have some army training. Smiling, I reached into my backpack and pulled out a discus.
I was rather proud of that pack. Trolls don’t have access to the inventory, and most of what we find as loot isn’t really sized appropriately. When you are large enough that a greatsword looks like a knife, borrowing armor isn’t a possibility. To get around this, I had taken a massive net I found in one of the bandit camps I had cleaned out and fashioned it into a pack. It currently had three treasure chests and two of the stone discus.
“I really want the town with walls intact, but you leave me no choice here. I’m gonna have to smash ‘em and kill everyone inside. Unless one of you opens the gate and lets us in. Then everyone can go peaceful like.”
A chorus of unkind words met that statement, and the leader turned to face his troops. I let fly with my discus, having perfected the technique from countless hours of Frisbee golf. Silent in flight, the devastation when it smashed the ballistae was phenomenal. The first one disintegrated under the force, and the stone started toppling end over end. It flew mostly over the second one, but just enough caught the drawstring that it snapped, whipping around from the force it had built up and cleaving through several of the bandits. Which all served as a fantastic distraction for my second disc to plow through their ramshackle lines, pulping bodies as it too started flipping end over end.
Screams of agony and terror filled the air as everyone had turned to see me charging out of the forest. “RRRRROOOOOOAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” I bellowed as I got close to their lines, the unexpected sound causing several to freeze in fear.
“Stand together! It’s just a damn troll!” The leader cried out to try and rally his men as I laid into them, but my onslaught was too much for most of them. My initial attack had taken out their ballistae and over half of their number, and between my shield and spiked fist I was gleefully smashing through any defense they tried. It probably didn’t help that there were several severed limbs stuck to my shield. I grabbed one nearby bandit, and purposely impaled him on a spike in a way that wasn’t immediately fatal, and his screams and flailing broke whatever will the remaining bandits had.
“GODS DAMN YOU BASTARD! I’LL HANDLE YOU MYSELF!” The leader bellowed, and a few bandits formed up behind him as he stepped forward, unsheathing his blade. “I’m going to kill you slowly for what you did to my men. Slowly. Letting you almost regenerate as I constantly lop off limbs, before eventually cauterizing them off and leaving you a torso. I wonder how long you’ll last?” As he taunted me, his blade started glowing red. Hmm, some form of heated blade. Not necessarily fire attacks, but I should be wary just in case.
Smiling at him, I beckoned him on. “Come get some.” I couldn’t remember what exact character used that in the past, but I always thought it was badass. There was another one about gum, but I couldn’t quite remember it. I hunkered down behind my shield as the leader charged, and used my stone manipulation to thin out one of the spikes and extend it in his direction. Damn, I barely missed impaling him through the stomach, but did manage to carve a furrow through his hip as he spun. As he stumbled from the blow, I reached out and grabbed his weapon wrist.
“Let go, LET GO LET GO LET GO!” He cried, panicking as I added pressure until I felt a pop and his sword clattered to the ground. “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” His wails were annoying, so I smashed him on the ground a few times to get him quiet. I broke both of his legs with one smack of my shield, then picked him up and flung him into the town.
“Flee.” I said, watching as the rest of the bandits either passed out or fled, depending on how much fight they had left in them. I chuckled watching them go, taking my time to pick up my two discus and repairing any damage before storing them again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Guard Captain Dorian’s POV
Just what the hell was going on out there? I wish I could have put someone up on the wall to take a look, but with the amount of archers Morrigan had out there it would be suicide. After his last set of demands, there were terrified screams and loud crashes. If he was looking to drum up some psychological attack, he was doing a damn fine job of it.
“What’s going on out there sir?” John asked. One of the newer guards, he hadn’t even been here a month.
“I’m not sure kid, but whatever it is, hopefully is taking out those bandits.” Just as I finished, I saw something fly over the wall. “TAKE COVER!” I bellowed at the top of my lungs, shoving the frozen John towards an alleyway as whatever it was crashed to the ground.
“Uuuuuunnnnnnggghhhhh.” A low moaning came from it, and as I looked closer I saw it was a body. Walking up to it, I was stunned to find a mangled Morrigan barely hanging on to life.
“Kkkkiillll. Meeeee.” He begged, as I took stock of his injuries. Broken arm and wrist, shattered legs, dislocated joints. Whoever, no whatever had done this, was absolutely vicious in taking him out.
“Health potion!” I yelled. “Not today Morrigan. You will have to face the King’s Justice for your crimes. You’ll live to see the hangman’s noose. I’ll guarantee you that.” Turning towards the wall, I yelled at my second in command. “Edward! I need you on the wall! What’s going on out there?”
Using a leap skill, he jumped to the walkway rather than take the stairs. At the top, he froze for a second. He whispered something a few times before I finally heard him yell “Troll!”
Fuck. This was a mining town before the mines had to be closed. Since then the crown cut our defenses nearly to nothing, and we definitely didn’t have a mage capable of taking on a troll anymore. With a troll sitting on our only way out, I sure as hell hoped those adventurers we sent for make it here soon. “I’m on my way.” I yelled, before turning to three of our greenest guards. “Strip him, down to everything. Have him shackled hand and foot, I don’t want him getting away.” That task done, I headed to take a look at what was going on.
Sure enough, there was a troll out there, but it wasn’t acting like any troll I had seen before. It was surrounded by dead bodies, but hadn’t started feasting. Instead, it was cleaning some stone discs and putting it. Wait, does it have a strange backpack? No, that’s a damn net. What the hell is going on here? “Edward, I’m heading down there. This isn’t a normal troll.”
“You sure sir? I’ll have a few men go with you. Even if it isn’t acting normally.”
“That’s ok.” I interrupted. “No need to risk them.”
“Relax, I’ll be fine.” I said, jumping over the wall and carefully walking towards the troll. Gods, I hoped my intuition was right about this.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was just finishing up with my weapons, and removing the body parts from my shield when I heard a commotion from the wall. Turning, I saw someone in full plate walking my way slowly. I turned and sat down, hoping to be non-threatening.
“You aren’t a normal troll, are you?” He calmly asked. Impressive, considering the carnage around. I looked around before pointing at myself, just to mess with him a bit. Seeing his confusion, I smiled and smacked my knee a few times.
“I adventurer.” I spoke, just to relieve the confusion on his face. Seeing the tension leave his body, I chuckled a bit.
“Why did you save us? You had no reason to.”
“Bandits. Bad.” Though I was speaking normally, it was annoying that my words were translated into a three-year old’s vocabulary. “I kill.”
“Well, either way you have our thanks adventurer. I didn’t realize that the guild was taking in monster races, though in this case your strength is impressive.” At that point, we heard a commotion coming down the road, and we both turned to look as four horses came running down the lane at top speed.
“Hang in there sir! We’ll save you from the troll!” Someone shouted, and I scratched my head in confusion. “Gina! Light ‘em up!” The lead knight shouted, and the mage in the group pulled out her staff and pointed it in my direction.
“[Fireball]!” She yelled, not using the chant in order to get off a quick spell.
“[Intercept][Shield wall]!” The captain cried from behind me, stepping in front and taking the hit from the mage on his shield, to everyone’s surprise. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” He yelled as the adventurers pulled up.
“Saving you from a troll? Though I thought your request to the guild was for a bandit siege?” The leader answered. Something about him seemed vaguely familiar.
“And that was what the request was for. Unfortunately for you, the troll here broke the siege for us. I will let that first attack go, as you obviously had my health in mind. But if you attack us again I will mark you for breaking the law.”
“Dart. San.” I finally placed where I saw him. This was the knight I used as a dart to kill his friends! As I said those words, I saw him freeze in panic as the captain looked at me.
“You, uh, you guys know each other?” The captain asked.
“No way.” The leader whispered. “How could you?”
“Hahaha.” I gave a rumbling laugh. “Throw dart san. Go splat.”
“I’ll just take that as a yes.” The captain said uncomfortably. “Anyway, the troll finished off the bandits. I was just going to offer him a reward, you can consider your quest cancelled. I will give you half the promised gold though, as you would have been here in time to help out, but they would have at least breached the walls before you arrived.” At the news the adventurers looked crestfallen, but too bad for them. The captain tossed a bag at them, and then dismissed them as he turned to me. They took their leave, and it was just me and the captain.
“So, would you be willing to help us out with another problem?” He asked, and I shrugged my shoulders and nodded my head. Why not? This could be the first system quest I got. “Do you know the history of the town you just saved?” Shaking my head no, he continued with a story.
“Long ago, we used to be the prime producer of orichalcum ore for the kingdom. Unfortunately for us, two incredibly powerful beasts took their battle into the mines. Nobody can withstand the aura, and there are much easier places for the mines to reopen. The kingdom decided against clearing the mine and left us to our fate.”
“Me. Clear?” I asked.
“Yes. We do have something I think you would like. Come with me.” He said, turning and leading into the town. I followed, though tried to do it as casually as I could. “A while ago, we had an adventurer come to us with a commission. Idiot had plenty of money and the ego to go along with it, so we went ahead and made it. Fool forgot to figure in just how much a greatsword made of orichalcum would actually weigh, and had to leave it. I figure it might just be big enough for you to actually use, and the ability to cut through spells is something that should appeal to you.”
As we walked through the town, people were openly staring at me as I followed the captain. Or maybe they were staring at the captain who was talking to a troll like they were friends. Who knows? Opening up a storage shed, I followed him in and gawked as he flipped the cover off the sword with a flourish. The blade itself was nearly six and a half feet long, and the oversized handle fit my hand perfectly. Picking it up, I was shocked that I actually got a notification.
Oversized orichalcum greatsword (unique)
Commissioned by an adventurer that overestimated his abilities by an incredible margin, this beautiful orichalcum sword has been gathering dust as it awaits one who can actually wield it. May it serve you well.
Damage: 1200 – 1500
Orichalcum blade: made of pure orichalcum, the edge may be used to slice through spell forms and the flat of the blade may be used to block incoming spells.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” I started laughing maniacally. Oh, this sword was fantastic! “I clear mountain.” I rumbled between laughs, walking past the captain to take a few practice swings with my new sword out in the city square. Who needs to fear magical fire when you can block it with a sword? Not this troll! Another bonus from slaughtering those bandits, I had finally achieved max level! The only thing I was lacking was an evolution material, but hopefully this mine would have something for me. Looking at my sword, I couldn’t help but fantasize about becoming an orichalcum giant. If they could make a fire or ice giant, surely there would be a metal one? Good luck blasting me with spells then!
Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.