The Curse of Cheldric Ch. 05byhorrorotica©
Introduction: The quest has stalled at Tywyn, the dominance of the Elves has once again been brought home to the group causing tensions to rise amongst them. But a chance encounter with a troll has created an unexpected opportunity that may enable them to proceed to Snowdonia. The old proverb that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' has never been more true. However will the Trolls help the group or will desperate self interest drive them to try and take Tom so they can breed? There is so much at stake and the failure of this quest could be the final straw that leads to the ultimate extinction of Trolls and the other races. So the group decide to face the Trolls in the hope that the Troll King has the courage to do what must be done.
I had to wonder why Trolls always hung out in swamps and marshes. I mean maybe that's why they smelled so bad? The ground was wet under foot and a cool wind blew across us making me shiver as it touched me, no went through me more like it. There was a large rock in front of us which I thought might be big enough for a Troll to hide behind but as yet nobody had appeared. I looked back to find the door to my hotel room at The Arthur, but to my surprise it had disappeared. "Look, the door's gone," I said loud enough to make the others turn and look as well.
"What does it mean?" Mel asked frowning at the empty space.
"Maybe the Trolls plan to attack us and take Tom?" Dad said moving closer to me and drawing the pistol I had given him and looking around.
Walt looked around as well but said, "Nay... I can't smell Trolls here. Something be afoot." Then he stepped forward a few steps and shouted to the breeze, "Show thyself or suffer the wrath of Merlin!"
A small stump in front of the large rock began to shake and suddenly morphed into Tawnie Wobblecog. Mel gasped in delight and ran to her yelling, "Tawnie! Tawnie! Thank god I thought you were dead."
Mel fell to her knees and kissed Tawnie on the cheek affectionately. Tawnie looked pleased to see her too saying, "Sorry Mel but I had to go into hiding as the Elves be hunting me."
I walked up to her and looked down with a big smile, "It's good to see you Tawnie. I was worried about you."
"The Elves nearly bested me to be frank, be it not for Trolls who let me hide amongst them." Tawnie said with a smile.
"Still I have to wonder where are we and why are you here?" I asked.
"Why you be at Snowdonia Park laddy, and the Trolls sent me to guide thee to the Elves city. Thy bravery in offering an alliance with the Trolls be credit to thee. For Trolls be poorly regarded for their ugly countenance, so thy offer was well met," Tawnie said.
That actually stopped me in my tracks. That Troll had tried to get me right here in Snowdonia National Park. That indicated a level of desperation that worried me deeply. Even though I spawned for them recently, their numbers must be getting really low to try and take right under the Elves noses.
Walt guffawed, "Speak thee not in such reverence of those foul creatures that tried to kill my King! The evil of Trolls be knowledge common!"
Tawnie looked over at Walt taking in his appearance and then bowed saying, "It be an honour to speak with thee, Merlin. Thou wrath for Trolls seems just to thee, I know. However, as noble as King Uther was, he still be in league with Elves during his reign. That maketh him mortal enemy of Trolls."
Merlin rolled his eyes, "So thou thinks if Uther had not been friend to Elves, he would be friend to Trolls?" He laughed.
Tawnie considered his comment for a moment and said, "It be my experience that humans doth prefer to keep close those that appear beautiful to their eye, and shun those that seem misshapen. Such is the folly of man, for virtue and beauty seldom walk the same path. While Trolls have their faults like any, they do have honour and a sense of justice. Something which no Elf has ever known."
The exchange was fascinating and I couldn't help myself, "But I thought Trolls aligned themselves to Cheldric because he offered them the right to hunt humans for prey if he beat King Arthur?"
Tawnie shook her head, "The Ogenbach had decreed that Fae races should never harm humans or meddle in their affairs, laddy. Trolls would never have broken that decree and hunted humans for prey. The Elves however broke this decree and began to manipulate human affairs in order to find one they could control. One whom would find prominence in the world of men. They hungered for power over all, even humans. They knew the folly of humans and how to allure them into their control. They even gave Uther his mighty sword Caledfwlch in order to seduce him into trusting them."
"Caledfawla... what?" I asked remembering how Welsh words annoy me.
"Excalibur. She's talking about the sword we call Excalibur," Mel said.
Oh cool, but I thought it was stuck in a rock or something and he pulled it out to become King," I said trying to remember the Arthurian legend.
"Nay that sword be not Caledfwlch," Walt said. "Uther received Caledfwlch from a water nymph but I didn't know the Elves be behind it," Walt said looking troubled.
Tawnie nodded, "Elves used the water nymph to seduce Uther's pride, and maketh him feel that he be the greatest of all men. That his reign be ordained by high powers and be of great import."
"The lady in the lake? Fuckin' hell they pulled a fast one on Arthur," I said amazed.
"Not just him but his subjects too. They played into the superstitions that humans held at the time," Mel said.
"Aye but it not end there. The Elves then bade King Uther to send Llenlleawg the Irishman to kill the Irish king Diwrnach to steal his magical cauldron. This is why Trolls and Goblins fought with Cheldric, and why the other three races would not side with King Uther in the battle." Tawnie said.
"So you knew of the plans of the Elves by the time of the battle?" dad asked.
"We didn't know of the curse and how they planned to use it against us. Nor of their plans to use the magical cauldron Llenlleawg stole to make the curse on Cheldric last beyond his death. We did not foresee their treachery," she said sadly.
"Lies! All be damn lies!" Walt said his fists clenching at his side and his face red with rage.
Tawnie stiffened in her resolve and said, "Merlin, these words be hard for thee to impute I know. King Uther was a noble man and thee also was known as friend to Fae, which credit thee. Uther's nature made him easily fooled and used by Elves. Just like Cheldric and thyself. For Elves live long and see beyond the generations of men. They be patient and move their plots when time be right. They have kraft which helps them to achieve their plots. Be not angry at me great Merlin, direct thy wrath at Elves for they be the creator of this betrayal."
Walt looked like he was about to blow his stack and then turned and walked off in a huff with Mel getting up and following him. I thought about going after him too as I really liked Walt and what we just heard was absolutely shocking. The mythology of Merlin, King Arthur and the knights of the round table reduced to some Machiavellian plot that spanned many generations of humans hit us all hard. It made me wonder if they did that back in the 6th Century what are they doing now in the 21st? Are they controlling my world now as we stand here in this barren marshland? It made me feel dizzy.
I found myself sitting on the ground with Dad looking down on me concerned. Tawnie walked over to me with an apologetic look on her weathered old face and I said, "That was harsh Tawnie. Very harsh."
"Merlin needs to do something difficult and thus he needs to understand the depth of Olandrea's betrayal. Otherwise his resolve may falter at the last," she said patting my knee.
"So do Elves still control humans? Do they meddle in our world?" I asked not sure I wanted to know the answer.
"Aye, they be in it up to their pointy ears, laddy. For Elves desire power more than anything else," Tawnie replied.
"Then what we have to do is going to be harder than I thought," I said in frustration and Tawnie nodded sadly.
Suddenly dad said, "Er Tawnie... Hi I'm Miles, Toms Father... where are the trolls?"
"They be gathering as we speak to help Tom and his purpose," she said to him. Then she turned to me and said, "The Goblins also be with them even though they be enraged by the massacre thou unleashed on them."
I shook my head feeling my head was about to explode. I had thought I was so cool killing all those Goblins at the time, now I felt sick about it. Made a pawn by the Elves through my own ignorance and fear. Still the memory of that Goblin and his dick in my face did blunt the edge of my guilt a little. I looked at Tawnie and said, "I regret the action too, Tawnie. But if any of these creatures stick their dicks in my face or anywhere else for that matter, I wont hesitate to put a bullet in their brains. Let me make that clear."
Tawnie nodded but said, "Then thy refusal should extend to all creatures. Not just Trolls or Goblins because you find the act with them objectionable to thy tastes."
She had a point there. It wasn't really fair to have sex with Faeries or Brownies just because they were more attractive to me. However I know that I hadn't really had that much sex with Fae creatures compared to some of the previous Itteelum's as I discovered in the diaries. Some of the past Itteelum's actually loved the sexual encounters afforded them as a result of the curse. Initially I was disgusted by the behaviour that I read in the diaries, but I realised after a while that these races were still here today mostly because of those kinky Itteelum's of times gone by.
I wondered what I'd choose if it transpired that we couldn't stop the curse. Would I be willing to help the affected races and continue breeding with them so that maybe an Itteelum in the future could get the job done. If you had the power to stop the extinction of a noble race by doing something you objected too, would you do it? Could you just let them die? I don't think I could. These ancestors who I thought were perverts were actually very brave. They did the only thing they knew how to help the races survive. The ones whom suicided were the real cowards.
"Tawnie, what about the Gnomes? You said your race had chosen celibacy. What will happen to you?" I asked suddenly feeling horrified by a thought.
Tawnie leaned on her walking stick and looked away for a moment closing her eyes in anguish. She then slowly turned to look up at me and said, "It be too late for Gnomes, laddy. I be the last."
"No!" I said as a sob of grief escaped me. Tears ran down my cheeks. I felt such futility. Even if we succeed Gnomes will still be lost. I buried my face in my hands as sadness overwhelmed me. Tawnie in an act of true nobility put her hand on me in order to comfort me. Why she should comfort me in this moment was beyond me. I looked at her with new admiration but feeling this quest had too high a price for her I said, "Then you shouldn't be the one taking us to Snowdonia. I'm sure Mel would agree with me."
"Laddy, this be the last act an old Gnome can do, so that the loss of my kin wont be a meaningless thing. I beseech thee do not tell Mel what I've told thee. We all need to stay fast to the task at hand and that be all," Tawnie said to me and then nodded behind me to dad who grunted he understood and would say nothing.
Mel and Walt returned from their own deep discussion and Mel said, "Alright then, we better get started."
Tawnie looked up at Walt watching him for a reaction but he kept to himself. I stood up too brushing my pants as I did. Then all of a sudden the large rock that had been shielding us from the cold wind abruptly morphed into a troll, making us all back away. Dad had his gun out again and after pushing in front of me he aimed it at the Troll ready to fire. I had to admit his courage was astounding me and I started to regard dad in an entirely different light.
"Be still," Tawnie warned dad, "...this be Olf... and he is my ride." She smiled affectionately looking up at him.
Then the Troll grunted and bowed to us saying in that deep voice characteristic of its race, "Greetings Itteelum... (then turning to Walt and bowing) Greetings Merlin... and to all. I mean thee no harm. I be here to protect Tawnie." Then it stretched out its hand so its fingers touched the ground and Tawnie climbed up it's arm to sit on its broad shoulder
"As long as you keep your dick in your pants, then we'll get along fine. If you try anything on me I'll kill you," I said with a ferocity that made the others look at me worriedly.
The Troll bowed again saying, "You have my word Itteelum and that of my King."
Then Walt said, "I've been told this day that the word of a Troll is something that can be trusted. I be not sure I believe it yet, so the honour of thy kin is in thy hands, Olf."
It just nodded and Tawnie yelled, "Stop this dilly-dallying about now. Let's be along as the day grows old and I do not wish to spend the night in this windswept place."
So we began heading Northwest following the lumbering form of the Troll Olf with a Gnome on its shoulder. Heading towards god knows what. We were silent as we followed, as we all contemplated what we had learnt about the true nature of Elves and Trolls alike. My resolve was hardened as I looked at the back of Tawnie. The last of her kind. We must succeed for her sake.
Snowdonia National Park isn't really one big forest like some parks I have seen in my travels. It had some forests, well kind of, but mostly it's open grasslands with towering mountains, beautiful lakes and lovely little streams of clean water. The odd ancient ruin dotted here and there; inhabited mainly by bird, rabbits, foxes, wild goats, and Elves apparently. It does have a kind of beauty to it though and thankfully many man made tracks which helped make our journey easier. Olf and Tawnie relentlessly trudged along and eventually they brought us to a cave in the late afternoon.
"Thee all rest here for the night in this cave. No fires as the Elves patrol at night," Tawnie said from Olf's shoulder.
"What about thee?" Walt asked suspiciously.
"There be a witch that lives in these parts and I need to go and get some enchantments for us as on the morrow we shalt be in Elvish territory. I need the scroll thy have as it contains the spells we need," Tawnie replied.
"How do you know about the scroll?" dad asked looking at me and then at Tawnie.
"The scroll be given to an Itteelum by the Trolls long past, for this day. I also need the bag of Faerie dust for barter with the witch," Tawnie said.
"Why didn't you tell us this before?" Mel asked.
Tawnie frowned for a moment and then said, "I didn't think it be important then. Now make haste and hide thyselves in that cave." Dad put down his back pack and reached inside retrieving the scroll and the bag of Faerie dust. Olf held out a hand and he placed them on it and then the Troll turned and headed off into some trees. I watched them leave wondering what else Tawnie wasn't telling us and looking at my companions I realised I wasn't alone in that thought.
The cave opening was small but inside it was quite large and you could stand easily. We had some torches and looked around with little excitement about our accommodations for the night. "It's going to get cold in here," Dad said crossing his arms in a shiver.
"I can fix that Miles. Shine the torch over here..." Walt said and he began looking through some rocks and then uttered, "...Ahhh that one will do." He picked up the small boulder and brought it to the middle of the cave and dropped it. Then he grabbed his walking stick and uttered a few words and it morphed back into his long staff. He took the staff and drew a circle around the rock in the dirt uttering words under his breath. Reaching into his pocket he withdrew and dropped what looked like ash onto the stone.
I wondered why he would be carrying ash in his pocket as he continued to utter strange words under his breath and then he touched the rock with his staff and stopped. Looking around at us all he said, "That should do it. Now what have we got to eat?"
Mel answered, "Ahh... some energy bars, candy bars, beef jerky, or muesli bars."
"The meal of Kings," dad laughed.
"I've never had anything as good as chocolate in my time. If it be around then it would only be something a King would have," Walt said.
"Hey am I imagining it or has it got warmer in here?" I asked.
Walt nodded, "Aye that be the rock heating up." Mel squatted over the rock and put her hand near it prompting Walt to say, "Don't touch it for you will wake it and the spell will be broken."
She looked up at Walt confused, "Wake it?"
"The spell I did rekindled its memory of a time before it was a rock to when it was lafa and flowed like a river of fire," Walt said.
"Rocks have memories?" now it was my turn to be sceptical.
Walt shook his head at my ignorance and said, "Please give me a candy bar and leave me in peace."
As Mel dug into her bag for what Walt craved dad said, "Since it's going to be warm here let's take off our coats and I will use them to cover the cave entrance. That way we don't have to worry about the Elves finding us tonight."
Walt sat in a corner ripping the wrapping off his chocolate bar but said, "Aye and the stone should give us enough light so save thy lamps."
So here we were sitting in a cave around an orange glowing rock in the middle of it that made the cave nice and warm. We had taken positions in the cave with the rock in the centre, Walt was at twelve o'clock at the far end of the cave, I was at three and Mel was at nine. Dad stayed near the entrance at the six o'clock position as he said he wanted to keep watch in case someone or something tries to enter the cave. The various oddments we brought for food didn't really do much for our hunger but food was the least of our worries. Mel asked, "How long until we reach Snowdonia City from here?"
"Tomorrow afternoon I suspect," Walt said.
"Then what? I mean I find it hard to believe we can just walk in there and kidnap Olandrea without any problems," I said.
"Who said we were kidnapping her?" Mel said looking around shocked.
"Well we are... aren't we? To do this ritual?" I asked turning to Walt.
Walt chuckled then said, "Nay Tom, I considered it a plan for a short time but it be too impractical for us. I can perform the rite in any place. So we will do it in her home."
"But I told the Trolls we were kidnapping her," I said.
Walt shrugged, "It matters naught. The diversion thou hast arranged will suit our purposes easily enough."
Maybe he was right. It was probably for the best we do it in her home where hopefully none will disturb us. I laid back onto the wall behind me and felt weariness take me. I could hear Walt and Mel talking but before I knew it I was asleep.
There was a loud clanging of keys and the heavy door was unlocked and in walked a small figure with a black veil over their face. I sat up from the bed I was laying on feeling my anger rise inside me. She pulled her veil aside and there she was: Olandrea. I got up and backed towards the far wall in stunned silence. Her big eyes still as green as the wild grass, her skin translucent and softly glowing, and wisps of golden hair that hung like silk. Olandrea was very beautiful, the most beautiful creature I have ever seen beyond doubt. Even Mel would look plain beside her which amazed me. But her aura was one of sadness, not delight.
We stood looking at each other in silence. I was surprised she would enter my cell alone as I had every right to beat her. Maybe she knew that. "So... hast thou come to gloat over thy prize, Milday?" I asked.