|Long Live Insanity #2: Housebreaking Trollocs
Once again the curtain rises on darkness - but not the black rocks of Shayol Ghul. The sky is overcast, but a few stars manage to gleam through, faintly illuminating the shape of a looming manor house.
All around the house are open fields and the road running past. The nearest house is miles away down the road. In all directions, not a soul can be seen. Of course, a Soulless couldn’t be seen either, if one happened to be around, which it doesn’t. So all in all, no one is in sight.
Not far away, however, grunts and guttural half-words can be heard, interspersed with the clink of weapons. “Now?” “Yes.” “Why?” “Because.” The dialogue is not on a particularly high conversational level. The owners of the voices would seem to be of rather diminutive brain capacity. They don’t smell very good, either.
And now they are in sight, ten-foot, hulking shapes trooping up the road to the manor house. Trollocs, of course.
They break down the gate and stomp through the garden to the front door, squashing the flowers and generally turning the once stately garden into a mess. The leading Trolloc raises his axe.
“You!” A woman’s voice cuts through the air, making the Trollocs jump and stand up straight. “Wipe your feet before you come into my house!”
It is the voice of command, the voice that turns any male creature into a guilty little boy wondering whether he remembered to clean his nails or, as the case may be, horns, the voice of She Who Must Be Obeyed. Carefully, the leading Trolloc wipes his feet on the mat provided, then raises his axe again and smashes the door open.
“And be careful of the walls!” The woman disappears from the upstairs window, and quick footsteps are heard from within the house, hurrying down a staircase, as the Trollocs push through the doorway.
One Trolloc looks thoughtfully - or what passes for thought in a Trolloc mind - at the delicate carvings on the mantel, and lifts a mail-clad fist.
“Don’t you dare!” The woman with the commanding voice stands at the top of the stairs, hands on hips. She has copper-coloured skin, long dark hair, and is wearing a dress of near-transparent scarlet. A Great Serpent ring gleams on her finger. Yes, people - it’s Shani. The Trolloc puts his hands behind his back quickly.
The slim Domani shakes her head irritably. “Look what you’ve done to my garden! It’ll take weeks to fix now. And the door!” She sighs and strides down the stairs. The Trollocs automatically make way and then look sheepish at doing so.
“Snarg smart,” one growls. “Human not bluff Snarg. Snarg kill!”
“Go play somewhere else, Snarg. I’m busy.” Shani walks past the astonished Snarg to the kitchen. “At least you’ve broken nothing here - put down that pot, you!” The Trolloc addressed obeys immediately, looking as embarassed as the average Trolloc can manage. Shani takes a baking tin from the stove. “And you needn’t think you’re getting any cake! This is for my friends and I. You lot are cleaning up the mess you’ve made, and then you’re leaving.” Balancing the cake tin in one arm, she picks up a red-fringed shawl and pulls it across her shoulders. A gateway appears before her, and she steps through. “And don’t dare go until you’ve tidied up!” The gateway snaps shut behind Shani.
The Trollocs look at each other, scratching their heads and wondering what just happened. Then they traipse out into the garden - wiping their feet on the mat - and start tidying up. The broken gate and door are carefully propped up, the ruined flowers piled neatly in a heap, and the sky beginning to grow light before they finally troop, still scratching their heads and looking sheepish, down the road.
“Trollocs,” Shani sighs, “are so hard to housetrain.” She cuts the cake and passes a slice over to Shadar. “Another piece for you, Sycho?”
“I take it that means ‘yes’” Shani cuts another slice, and then one for herself. “I know that expression, Shadar. Penny for your thoughts?”
The lean Asha’man grins. “Just an idea I had.” He takes a bite of the cake. “This is good, by the way. Congratulations.”
“Thank you - and what idea?”
“If you really can housebreak Trollocs, I can think of a use for one...”