This is the seventh installment of the Troll Serial. To read from the beginning, or to find past and future installments, click here.
"Release the Lady right away you wicked beasts!" shouted the knight in shiny silver armor mounting the puffing white horse, waving his sword above his head.
Kratan and Kutril shrieked and hugged each other, pressing their cheeks together.
Aimee raised an eyebrow -- or tried to since both went up -- spread her arms, palms facing her 'savior' and said, "As you see, I'm not constrained in any way. Please lower your sword my Lord."
"Oh, good," said the knight. Attentive for the troll's movements he lifted his helmet's visor, allowing Aimee to gaze at his grey eyes, so light that they were almost white. They stared at each other until Kutril expelled a long and loud fart.
Aimee and the knight scowled in his direction, provoking a puzzled look on both trolls. They looked at each other and rose their shoulders rigidly in their embrace. Aimee gaped, the knight blinked a few times as if waking from a spell, and dismounted tying the horse to the nearest tree. In the mean time she busied herself smoothing her irrevocably wrinkled dress. He took his helmet off and bowed."Let me introduce myself my Lady, I'm Count Honoré de Faumont at your service."
Aimee turned pale; she had never met such high ranked nobleman before. She curtsied as graciously as she could and extended her hand, which he kissed gingerly. She wondered why was he calling her 'my Lady' since it was clear that she was a peasant, and a filthy one for that matter.
While she considered this, he gallantly passed by her and sat by the fire, examining the puppy eyed trolls.
"These are the most intriguing trolls I've met," he said wish his chin propped in his hand.
"Indeed my Lord," she said composing herself, "they have saved my life."
"They have?" he said turning to her and shifting position. "How so?"
She sat beside him, figging with her dress, "They've built me this fire and brought me food."
"Ah yes, the baby goat. But it escaped, didn't it?."
Kratan and Kutril sighed at the mention of their lost dessert; De Faumont watched them sideways; Aimee looked intently at him.
"I meant real food my Lord. They've brought me pie, I have seen no goat here."
"Pie?" His eyebrows shot up, and Aimee noticed his smooth black hair.
"They took it from my mother's window." She paused, uncertain whether to take the liberty to ask questions. Seeing that he remained silent she went on, "My Lord, might I ask if you have been in the village below? I'm worried about what Kratan and Kutril told me."
"Oh, they have names, don't they?" He smiled at the trolls, who squinted.
"They were most kind to me, although sometimes they don't make much sense. You won't hurt them, will you?" she pleaded.
"I have no intention to, my Lady," he said with reassuring smile, which made her heart skip a beat. "I'm only curious."
"You seem to know a great deal about trolls my Lord."
"In fact I do, hence my interest in these ones."
Kutril looked significantly at Katran, who was in the verge of tears.
"Why are they so scared of you?"
"Well, they know they wouldn't survive a fight with me," he replied, wearing an innocent face. Turning to the trolls he asked, "Why did you take the girl if you had no intention of eating her?"
Kratan and Kutril shook their heads manically, unable to summon words. There were tears rolling down their flushed cheeks.
Aimee, explained in their behalf, "They didn't take me, my Lord. I found them turned into stone and fell asleep at Kratan's feet. Or was it Kutril's?"
Kutril pointed to his own chest, poking himself painfully.
"Ah, yes, it was Kutril. It was just this afternoon; when I woke up I saw what they have brought me. We were just getting to know each other." She twisted her mouth at the strangeness of what she had been saying.
"So, you say they were turned into stone and when nightfall came they went back to normal?"
Aimee, Kratan and Kutril nodded in unison.
De Faumont hummed, lost in thought. Aimee noticed a grin forming behind his knuckles, the masculine yet delicate line of his jaw, his strong arms and the exquisite work on his armor. She hoped she wasn't drooling, which reminded her of Kratan. She shuddered and settled to watch the fire.
Kutril's fart woke all of them from their reverie.
"I think that goat was spoiled Katran," said Kutril in his friend's ears. "I don't feel too good."
"Spoiled how? I just killed it!" replied the offended friend.
"I don't understand, it tasted good, very good, but why is my stomach so weird?"
"That's because you ate too slow," said the knight and the trolls awed. "You tried to be polite in front of the lady, didn't you?"
"Err, we tried not to wake her up," said Kratan.
"I see." De Faumont stood, giving his hand to the bewildered Aimee and turning to the trolls, "You both must leave. The villagers are following my tracks so this place is no longer safe to you."
"No buts, if you want to live you must go. Now."
The command in his voice was so effective that the trolls remembered only to take their clubs and their minor possessions before lurching into the woods.
Aimee was left with a knot of disappointment for the lack of greetings on their parting. A light touch on her arm brought her attention back.
"We should get you back to the village, my Lady. You were very much missed."
Note: I've won, yay! Despite the mild goal I had defined -- six episodes instead of the usual three or four - it wasn't as easy to do this WeSeWrimo thing as I thought. The first two weeks of august were filled with RL stuff that made it impossible for me to write. On the third week I wrote only one episode, so I had to run and catch up in the last week. If it was hard to write less than 6k words in a month, what to say 50k? I'm dreading NaNo... O.o
In the mean time something came to mind. The troll serial is my first attempt of real pantsing, so I don't know what's going to happen with these guys anymore than you do. I don't know either how long it'll take to happen, whatever it is that is going to happen. I got the feeling that the story might be moving on a slow pace because of my focus on dialogue. What do you guys think? Are you impatient to see more or are you enjoying the interaction despite of the speed in which things happen?
Finally, I have up to the episode #9 written for WeSeWrimo, so you'll see the bragging badged only for a few more weeks, heh. ;)