Tag Archives: fairy

Dang Trolls

“Okay, so why do trolls like to live under bridges anyway?” Kevin asked as the squad car drove them away from the homeless shelter.  Brigitte, the person in charge of the shelter, had told them that Fraaphknot lived under the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Honestly,” Atheara said, unwrapping another chocolate bar, “I never gave it any thought.”  Twisting up her face, the fairy lost herself in deep thought, “They aren’t that sharp, maybe they like it under there.”

“It’s not just a stereotype?” Kevin asked.

Taking a bite of her chocolate bar, the fairy shook her head, “Mmm … nope.  Every one I’ve known lived under a bridge.”  She was glowing green that day and shaking her head cast off a scattering of golden, glittering mystical particles.

Blowing off some of the particles that landed on him, Kevin switched mental gears, “Are these things like fairy dandruff or something?”

The car came to a stop by the bridge and the doors opened for them as Atheara answered, “Uh nooo!  But if you mix them with fruit juice they’ll turn you into a frog … or is it a giraffe?”

Her face twisted up again, “Manatee?”

Shaking his head, Kevin climbed out and cast a look around the underside of the bridge.  Fraaphknot wasn’t hard to find among the homeless.  At over eight feet tall, as broad as a house and with ashen skin, he stood out worse than a manatee at a masquerade party.

Sitting against one of the Brooklyn Bridge supports in a flannel vest and blue jeans, he was scratching a mongrel dog behind the ears.  He seemed strangely gentle although somewhat disconnected.  The scratching was absent-minded.  Had he been any other race, Kevin would have assumed he was deep in thought.  But trolls didn’t have deep thoughts … did they?

“Fraaphknot?” Kevin asked, approaching the huge beast.

The troll looked up at him with his beady red eyes and blinked.

“We need to ask you a few questions about London if you don’t mind,” Kevin started, but the troll shook his head.

“Look, we just need to …”

The troll shook his head again, “Am I under arrest?”

“No, but are you aware ..?” Kevin started, but the troll cut him off.

“I don’t talk to cops without a lawyer,” Fraaphknot said through his tusks  and continued scratching the dog.

“Look,” Atheara stepped in, “You’re not a suspect, not under suspicion …”

Fraaphknot shook his head again.

“Come on,” Kevin groaned, grabbing Atheara by the shoulder, “Leave him here.”

“Hold on,” Atheara tapped the PC on her wrist.  Quickly she began scanning the holographic text that appeared in front of her.

“Honorable discharge huh?” she nodded.

The troll just blinked.

“But they wouldn’t let you re-sign huh?  Section Eight?” she smiled.

“You can drag up whatever you want …” Fraaphknot started to say, but the young detective cut him off.

“So you were kicked out for mental issues, your boss and a guy you fought came up dead,” she noted, raising one eyebrow.   “But why would you kill the dwarf?”

Fraaphknot likewise raised one eyebrow, “What dwarf?”

Kevin stepped forward, “That has your attention?  Why would Dwaldin Vtharth get your attention?”

“The jeweler right?” the massive troll pulled himself up.

“So you do know something,” Kevin smiled.

“Aye,” the beast swatted at Atheara’s hologram, causing it to warble and distort.  “You detectives suck.  Come on.”

The big troll pushed past as Atheara spoke up, “Wait, what …”

Stopping, he looked over his shoulder at the police, “A jeweler is killed.  A lost key is stolen.  A security company owner is killed.”

“How do you know about the key?” Kevin started, but quickly knew it was a stupid question.

“The news jackass,” Fraaphknot groaned.  “Now come on, we don’t have long.”

“Before what?  Where are we going?” Atheara asked, quickly gliding to the troll’s side.

“The House of Lords,” the troll explained.

In the year 2019, a musician and actress who went by the name of Traci Lords had gained prominence by becoming the Senator for the state of California.  At the age of fifty-eight, she had become President.  The former pornographic star turned trance musician was voted into two terms before popular vote put her back in office for two additional terms.  In an unprecedented move, she turned down a fifth vote so she could focus on peace in the Middle East.  In what became known as the Middle East Unification Treaty, she had managed to bring all the feuding countries together under an umbrella of mutual assistance.  The Middle East Unification Treaty was the start of what later became known as the Century of Peace; one-hundred-fifty years with no territorial wars, police actions or skirmishes.  She had died at the ripe age of ninety-seven, a legendary world leader and humanitarian.

Then started the worship.  Her media quotes were used as gospels, the club music she had written was used in churches devoted to her and her effigy became a symbol of peace.  Even the pornographic videos she had been in when she was underage were re-released as holy objects.  By the year 3000, the House of Lords was the most prominent religion in the world.

“That place weirds me out,” Kevin mumbled.

Fraaphknot stopped by the car, an amused look on his dull face.  There wasn’t a shoe-horn big enough to pry him into the little vehicle.

“Why?” he asked.

“It always seemed like I was just going to a dance club,” Kevin explained, catching up to the big troll, “Just with prayers.”

Snorting, the troll chuckled, “You might want to say one now … it’s about to get real ugly.”

 

I’ve been listening to way to much Traci Lords on my “I Heart Radio” stations.  It’s weird how much of her music has found its way into popular culture without people knowing she even did music … thus the idea for the House of Lords.

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Dang Cameo Appearances

Kevin looked up at the power plant.  Soaring hundreds of feet above the city, the floating island provided power for the entire state of New York.  It was an amazing site.  Waterfalls of pure green energy fell from the island, splashing down into the reactors on the ground, generating power from both the kinetic and mystical energies of the rivers.

“Uh, Kevin,” Atheara mumbled next to him.

No.  There was no more chocolate.  She had eaten it all.  All of it.  Every bit of freakin’ chocolate in the whole state of New York!

“Yeah,” the detective replied.

“You know our ogre?”

“Yeah,” Kevin chuckled, “The one that got his butt whooped by the troll?  Man that was one hell of a fight.”

“He’s dead,” the fairy responded matter-of-factly.

The platform on which they were standing began to lift them up to the power plant, “Dead!?  How?  That troll didn’t beat him that bad.”

“Well, see … same as our dwarf,” Atheara moved the reports around on the holographic image in front of her.  “The gore-bots found that our dwarf died of loss of blood to the brain.  His heart stopped for no reason.  Curse scans have come up empty.  Our ogre is the same.  He just kicked over in the jail.”

The platform stopped and they stepped off in front of a skinny young man with nervous hair, “Hello detectives,” he said while handing Kevin a pair of headphones.

“You’ll be needing those sir,” the young man tapped his own set, “Matching pair.”

“Okay, so let’s see the victim here,” Kevin nodded.

“Yeah, sure,” the young man nodded, leading them toward the interior of the power plant.

As they passed several uniformed police officers directing gore-bots and talking with workers, Kevin had to pause momentarily to look at the heart of the plant.  There, in the center, were four blue columns of gleaming mystical energy.  Drifting happily around the columns were the most beautiful women Kevin had ever seen.  They sang into golden cones toward the columns and as their voices struck the energy, glowing gold and silver symbols appeared in the viscous ether.  The symbols would then dissolve, leaving the energy green and ready for processing.

It was amazing.

The music their voices created was enchanting, enticing and more lovely than any sound Kevin had ever heard … even with the earmuffs.  It was no wonder sailors would sail to their deaths hearing their songs.  Leaning on the rail, watching the enchantresses sing to the energy, the detective noticed something just down the rail from him.

“Oh that’s soooo cute!” Atheara gasped.

Two miniature dragons sat on the railing, watching the sirens.  One was purple with golden antler-like horns and the other was pink with silvery horns.  Their tails were intertwined and they were watching the women with the same interest people would watch opera singers.

“Leave ’em alone Atheara,” Kevin snickered.  He felt a case of diabetes developing from how sweet the sight was.

“So our victim ..?” Kevin asked.

“Security contractor,” the nervous man answered.  “We hired him to make sure our security was up to snuff.  Then he just … died.”

Stopping by the crime scene, Kevin knelt by the body of a tall, white-haired man, “Got anything Atheara?”

Looking at the hologram projecting from the PC on her wrist, she shuffled a few files around, “London McCray.  Owner of Immovable Wall Security.  They provide security systems and personnel to …”

“Personnel?” Kevin asked, blinking.  Like rent-a-cops?

“Already on it …” the fairy said smiling.

Grabbing a gore-bot that drifted by, Kevin checked its preliminary findings.  Same as before, no sign of injury.  London had simply died.

“Fraaphknot works for Immovable Wall Security,” Atheara noted.

Kevin stood up, dusting himself off, “But I can’t believe that troll is smart enough to figure out how to kill someone without pounding them into goo.”  The singing of the women in the back was distracting.

“No, but he knew this victim,” Atheara said, shaking a scattering of pink particles out of her hair.

Singing … singing …

That was it!

“Atheara,” Kevin grabbed her, “Check if the ogre had a PC.  Then have them check the records, but warn them not to listen to anything.”

“Why?” the fairy closed her holograms with a confused look.

“I need to know where all the registered banshees are in the city,” Kevin responded, quickly heading back to the lift.  “But I’m still missing a motive …”

Why would someone kill a dwarven jeweler, a security business owner and a big ogre with a long rap sheet?  The only connection was the troll who worked for the security company and who beat up the ogre.  But that didn’t explain the jeweler … how did it all fit together?

“Hey, let’s stop at the Stop-and-Rob on the way back,” Atheara said as they climbed into the squad car.  “I need some chocolate.”

Dang fairies.


Dang Ogres

Who would have thought that fairies were candy fiends?  Atheara sat next to Kevin in the squad car, happily enjoying her crunchy chocolate bars, as the vehicle drove them to their next murder site.

… All twelve chocolate bars.

The worst part was the munching.  Munch, munch, crunch.  Crackle, crumple, tear.  Munch, munch …

She was insatiable!  It was like she hadn’t eaten in months.

Atheara swallowed as the PC on her wrist went off.  She was glowing purple that day and a flood of pink, glowing particles scattered off of her as she tapped the personal computer.

As a holographic report appeared in front of her she said, “So I got to thinking about our dwarf.  Dwarves don’t get allergic reactions, so I had the gore-bots run another toxicology report.”

Gore-bots was the affectionate name for the robots that scanned murder sites.  They had to record all of the gore for the detectives, thus the name Gore-bots.

Kevin rolled his eyes, “But if he was infected with lycanthropy, he would react to silver.”

Pointing at the report, she nodded, “Yep, but according to the curse scan … no lycanthropy AND … look at this.”

Pointing at some bone scans she smiled, “His middle fingers were cut short and then healed.  There’s the scar tissue.”

Kevin leaned in, “Hmm … good work.  I was wrong.  So we’re looking at a mage killer?”

Looking closely at the report, he saw that Dwaldin Vtharth was a jeweler from Times Square.  Before he could read any more, the front wall to the bank they were passing exploded.

Something huge slammed into the squad car, throwing it sideways and causing the safety foam to erupt inside.

“Holy fuck!” Kevin barked as the car came to a stop on its roof.

Wet and frazzled, he staggered out of the damaged vehicle to find that his fairy partner was sitting on one of the tires on top of the overturned car.  Dang fairies.  Dragging himself to the front of the car, he saw what had hit them.  A massive ogre was picking itself up off the asphalt.  Broad and powerful with green skin and a bald head, the beast roared, focusing back on something at the bank.

Turning his head to the building, Kevin watched a huge troll burst through the hole in the wall and return the roar.  Dressed in a rent-a-cop uniform, the monster’s grey skin glinted in the sunlight.  Easily as broad as the ogre, the troll’s arms hung to his knees and were as big around as his waist.  He had huge tusks and his hair was shaved on the sides and braided in the back.

Impacting each other like angry buffalo, the giant-kin rained punches into each other.  The detective could almost feel the impact from the blows.  Both beasts were insanely powerful and their kinds were known for being dangerously short-fused.

Looking at the holographic map of the city from her PC, Atheara commented, “Getting in the middle of that would be hazardous to our health.  We’ve got containment on the way.  And it seems someone is running out of the Museum of Natural History with something.”

The ogre ducked under a punch from the troll and picked it up.  It turned and drove the troll through the bottom of the squad car sending metal pieces flying and a dazed detective rolling to the ground.

Looking up Kevin noticed that the fairy had popped up next to him, still studying her PC, “That was close.  Boy those guys are strong,” she noted distractedly.

While the troll tore into the car, bending the metal out of the way so it could get up, the ogre rushed to a street sign and ripped it out of the ground.  Just as the first beast freed itself, the green behemoth charged it, brandishing its new weapon.  Like a linebacker tackling a running back, the troll put his shoulder into the ogre’s gut, stopping the assailant in mid stride.  He lifted the monster into the air and slammed it into the street with such force that the ground shook under Kevin and the asphalt fractured around the ogre.

“Our troll friend there is Fraaphknot and I I.D.’d our ogre as Grolf Skullsmasher,” the fairy continued.  “Grolf has a pretty long rap sheet, mostly assault charges.”

“And Fraaphknot there is a former Marine, Force Recon,” Kevin noted, standing up and dusting himself off as the troll staggered back a few steps.

“How did you know!?” Atheara gasped, pulling up the troll’s records.  “You don’t even …”

“Look at the tattoo on his neck,” Kevin pointed, “That’s the Force Reconnaissance emblem.”

“Oh,” the fairy sighed, closing her holographic pad.  “Here come the people in the bank.”

A flood swarmed around the big troll as he straightened his uniform amid the calls of the containment squad vehicles arriving.  With claps on his broad back and cheers and thanks, the monster lumbered back to his post, seemingly unconcerned with the previous events.

“Let the containment squad handle the clean up,” Kevin offered, tapping his own PC to get a ride back to the station, “We’re gonna be late getting to the power plant.”

*  *  *

Leaving the Brooklyn West Family Center with a can of beans, Fraaphknot tucked his uniform into a plastic bag.  He would need to get it cleaned.  Damn ogre.  That meant another few weeks living under the Brooklyn Bridge until he could afford an apartment.  Stopping next to a man who sat with his back against the wall of an alley, the troll took a moment to look at the can of beans in his hand.  Handing it to the man, he continued toward the bridge.

Rats again for dinner.


Dang Fairies

Buckminster Fullerene was probably the laziest Basset hound on planet Earth.  He didn’t do walks, he went for a drag.  He didn’t fetch sticks, he imitated them.  Buckminster, or Buck, had made sleeping into an art form, napping into a athletic endeavor and snoozing into a profession.

And he was perfecting it in the seat next to Kevin.

Kevin Warren pulled his squad car into the parking garage and poked the tri-colored hound, “Okay Buck, time to wake up.”

The power source on the car shut down and the manual steering mechanism retracted.  Kevin was a bit of a dinosaur, he still liked to steer the vehicle when it wasn’t an emergency.  The doors opened and Buck sighed.

“Oh come on,” Kevin groaned.

Reaching across the car, he grabbed the snoring hound dog and hoisted Buck into his arms.  Lugging the dog into the police headquarters, the detective carried his hound to the lift that would take him to the ninety-seventh floor.  A few seconds later, he was laying Buck down in the doggy bed next to Kevin’s desk.

“Hey Kevin,” a light, feathery voice said over his shoulder.

Standing up, Kevin sighed before turning around, “Yes Etheara, what do you want?”

Sitting on his desk was the new detective, a fairy named Etheara.  Her hair, the color of quicksilver, flowed in the air like a human woman’s hair flowed under water.  She was glowing blue that day and blue glistening particles were drifting off of her like pollen.  The old stories had always depicted fairies as being small and having wings, but they were just as tall as humans and didn’t need wings.

A fairy detective was definitely something new.  They tended to be a little to mischievous for something as serious as police work.  They always had been since they came out of their fae mounds in the later part of the twenty-sixth century.  The fairies and their kin had brought back magic and a whole host of other problems.

The young fairy gasped, “Why would I have to want something?  Maybe I just want to say hi to my friend!”

Kevin blinked.  She wanted something.  She always wanted something.

Drifting on magical currents to Buck’s bed, she petted him on the head and smiled up at Kevin, “See? I just wanted to pet Bucky.”

Kevin blinked again.  The easiest way to catch Etheara in a lie was to wait.  Eventually the awkward silence would be too much for her and she would spill the beans.  Her blue glow brightened, illuminating Kevin’s mocha skin and making it seem to glow as well.

“See!?” she patted Buck, “Petting … pet … okay!  Can you take a look at something for me?”

Leading Kevin into the holo-scene simulator, Etheara drifted to the center of the crime scene depicted inside.  A dwarf was lying face down in the middle of an alley.  A first glance, Kevin didn’t see any sign of injury.

Kneeling down next to the dwarf, he studied the body, “No obvious signs of injury.  Toxicology?”

The holographic toxicology report popped up next to Kevin.  High levels of histamines in his system.

“Interesting,” Kevin commented.  “Take a look at his lips.”

The fairy drifted to the holographic corpse and lifted his head, “What am I looking for?  Oh, he’s got a little sore on his lip.”

Kevin nodded, “Did you find out where he’d been?”

“Yeah,” Atheara nodded, pulling up the holographic report she had made.  “He ate at Chez Misard about twenty minutes before time of death.  You think he was poisoned?”

She was quick, Kevin had to admit that.  But for a fairy, she thought from an awfully human perspective.

“Take a look at his hands,” Kevin said, nodding to the short fairy-kin on the ground.

Atheara furrowed her brown in confusion, but picked up the hand of the victim.  Looking at it for a moment, she sighed and then sat it back down.

“His index finger is longer than his middle finger,” she frowned, “So he’s a werewolf.”

“But fae …” Kevin started to say, but the fairy in front of him caught on.

“Are immune to lycanthropy.  Sooo ..?” she groaned in confusion.  “He couldn’t be a werewolf.”

“But he could be a carrier,” Kevin added.

“So?” Atheara raised one eyebrow over her violet eyes that were devoid of pupils.

“Okay,” Kevin said, standing up and dusting himself off, “Put it together here.  He has a sore on his lip, ate at a fancy French restaurant and is infected with lycanthropy.”

Gasping, the fairy’s eyes widened, “Silverware!”

“End simulation,” Kevin commanded.  “You’re dwarf was infected with lycanthropy, ate off real silverware and died from an allergic reaction.”

The alley disappeared and Kevin and the fairy were standing in a round, black room.  Forensics in 3246 was so much more simple than in the two thousands.

“I’m guessing he didn’t know he was infected,” Kevin thought out loud.

“Thank you!” the young fairy squealed, hugging Kevin roughly.

Shortly, Kevin was sitting down next to Buck, “Hey dude,” he said, scratching the sleeping hound dog behind his floppy ears.  “You hold down the fort?”

Buck groaned.

The communicator on his desk chirped, “Hey Kevin?” his captain’s voice said.

“Yeah?” Kevin responded.

“Hey, you need to meet Atheara in my office, she’s going to be your partner on this next one,” he explained.

Great.  A partner.  A fairy partner.

“Yes sir,” Kevin groaned.  He didn’t want a partner.  Much less someone as ornery as Atheara.

Dang fairies.


Of Gnomes and Trolls – Enter Fraaphknot

A princess was not supposed to be wallowing in the mud!  No.  A princess was supposed to be riding in a carriage.

A princess was not supposed to be accosted by brigands!  No.  A princess was supposed to escorted by soldiers.

But there she was, Caoilinn Mag Uidhir, wading through the mud of a lake without her escort, without her carriage.  She wanted to scream!  She was even without clean clothes!

Stopping momentarily, she shook the mud off the bottom of her dress.  How completely … uncivilized!  To be attacked by highwaymen.  For all her guards to be killed.  What was the world coming too?

“Well, well, there you are Your Highness,” a voice said to her out of the bushes.

Looking up slowly, she saw a tall man with long smooth hair sitting on a horse above her.  He wasn’t one of the lowly brigands, that was obvious.  His armor gleamed in the daylight and his sword sheath was well oiled.  He was someone of importance.

And usefulness!

Quickly pushing her ruby hair out of her eyes, the princess straightened her back, “Yes, we were attacked by robbers.  You will take me back to my home now.”

“Oh, you’re quite right about that Your Highness,” the man smiled widely.  “You’re going back … with me.”

There was a sparkle in his eyes.  A … gleam.  Caoilinn’s breath left her chest.

“You’re a fae!” she gasped.

*  *  *

The first dwarf out of the tunnels was Ruadhrí Mac Giolla Eoin.  The bramble berries would only be ripe for one day, the very first day of Spring and he had to be there first.  His pony rumbled through the underbrush while he searched intently for a bramble bush.

The dwarves would be the first to get to the bushes.  The fairies and pixies would be sleeping late … as usual.  But to be able to make his bramble berry pie, he would have to get two full baskets.  The other dwarves would just sit around eating the bramble berries … they didn’t appreciate the delicacy of making bramble berry pie.  But they certainly appreciated his pie when he sold it for two copper coins for each slice.

The forest was nice that morning.  The birds were signing, the breeze was rustling through the new leaves and the women were screaming.

Wait … screaming women?

Ruadhrí groaned and reined his pony forward.  A fairy maiden had probably gotten lost again.  Now his berries would have to wait.

*  *  *

The screaming grew louder and Ruadhrí peeked through some bushes next to Sapphire Lake.  There, on the shore, were ten fairies and one of them was roughly pushing a young human woman onto his horse.

A gentleman would rush out and help her.  A gentleman would fight to protect her.

Groaning, Ruadhrí kicked a rock.  It sucked being a gentleman.

Grabbing his hand axe, the old dwarf stepped out of the bushes, “All right lads, you’ve ‘ad yer fun.  Let the lassie go now.”

The dark haired fae paused without looking back, “A hero?”

Turning, he faced Ruadhrí and smiled, “Well.  I know you,” he sneered while pulling his sword from its sheath.  “You fought in the Northern Border Skirmish didn’t you?”

“Aye lad,” Ruadhrí nodded, carefully watching the other fae as they backed up, forming a circle around the old dwarf.  “Now you just let that lass go and we won’t have ta relive that.”

The fae moved toward him, brandishing the gleaming sword, “Oh, but that’s not where it ended did it?  You’re a … what?” he turned his head quizzically, “A baker now?”

“Aye,” the dwarf nodded.

Ruadhrí was worried.  Being surrounded by a group of aggressive fae had not been his plan.  He was supposed to be gathering berries, not fighting.  He was too old for that heroic garbage.

“Well then,” the fae took a fighting stance, “Defend yourse …”

The forest exploded with a deafening roar.  A beast nearly eight feet tall ripped through the lower branches and crushed the bushes.  It was unnaturally broad and its biceps were as big as its waist.

Exuding power and violence, the ashen-skinned monster tore into the fae soldiers, scattering them like insects.  Its huge claymore cut through the surrounding fairies like a sickle mowing down shocks of wheat.

Roaring past its long tusks, the monster grabbed a fairy and tossed him into the lake like child throwing a ragdoll.  With all but the leader dead or running, it lowered its long arms where his hands hung below his knees and turned slowly toward the dark-haired man.

“Ah ha!” the man laughed, “I know you!”

Caoilinn gasped.  The creature’s face was scarred with ritualistic swirling brands.  Its armor was forged from blackened steel and its claymore bore the most recognizable runes in the kingdgom.

The beast was a troll from the Wyrmreaver tribe.

Vicious and brutal warriors, they were known for being more intelligent than their usual barbaric brethren.  Being capable of metalsmithing and literature, the Wyrmreaver tribe was notoriously neutral, never taking sides in any conflict, but unceasingly hunting their most hated enemies … dragons.

The troll looked at Ruadhrí, its beard was braided and its black hair, shaved on the sides, was likewise braided in the style of the dwarven knights.  It blinked dully and then turned back to the fae knight.

“We’ve been graced by the presence of the mighty Fraaphknot,” the fae laughed.  “The Scourge of the Southern Barbarians, slayer of the Western Daggerwyrm, blah, blah, blah …”

Ripping up his blade, he brandished it before the huge troll, “So its your decision.  Die here or hunt your dragons somewhere else?”

Fraaphknot circled the soldier and stopped in front of the still mounted young woman.  Unceremoniously, he roughly grabbed her with his left hand and lifted her off the horse while keeping his eyes fixed on the soldier.

“What!?” the young princess kicked and thrashed.  “How dare you!  You filthy beast!  Unhand …”

Caoilinn landed roughly on her butt as the beast dropped her.

The dark-haired fae fainted and the lunged, driving his blade toward the gut of the troll.  Fraaphknot, without a flinch, backhanded the soldier like a drunken wife backhands a willful husband, sending his sword whirling into the lake and dropping the fae to the ground.

Without saying a word, the huge troll grabbed the smaller man off the ground and threw him over its shoulder.

Ruadhrí laughed as he watched the armored man fly into the bushes, “Well lad, guess ya bit off a bit more’n ya could …”

The troll turned toward him just as a monstrous mountain-boar emerged from bushes.  Dressed in a riding saddle and saddle bags, the boar appeared to be Fraaphknot’s mount.

“Ya … don’t wanna do this lad,” the old dwarf explained, adjusting his grip on his axe, “I don’t want’cha to do this,” he chuckled.

Fraaphknot blinked again and then reached back, grabbing the red-headed princess.  With complete disregard for her social station he lifted her to her feet and pushed her toward the dwarf.

“Hey!” Caoilinn barked, “Get you’re hands off of me beast.”

“And just what would ya have me do with this lass?” Ruadhrí asked, stroking his own mahogany beard.

“You, dwarf,” Caoilinn ordered, trying in vain to straighten her dress, “Take me home.”

The mighty troll climbed onto his own boar and nodded to the dwarf.

Chuckling, Ruadhrí turned to the young princess, “Well lass, ya see I only have a wee pony.  If ya’ll be ridin’ with me we’ll be gettin’ real personal.”

Caoilinn looked back at the troll who was sitting patiently, “I’m not riding on a pig.  I’ll ride your pony and you can guide me.”

“Oh no lass,” Ruadhrí laughed loudly, “Took a mace to the knee.  We ride together or ya walk home alone.”

Following after the dwarf as he went after his pony, the young woman huffed, “How dare you!”

“You say that a lot don’t ya lass?” Ruadhrí snickered.

“You!” Caoilinn gasped.  “You would … I am your princess!!  You will show me the proper resp …”

Just as they reached the pony, she felt the familiar rough hands grab her from behind.  Lacking delicacy and proper manners, she was dumped on the little horse behind the saddle.

“You were sayin’ Your Highness?” Ruadhrí couldn’t stop laughing.  The troll certainly didn’t care for her breeding or station.

Climbing into the saddle in front of the princess, Ruadhrí noted that the troll was still next to him.  He was coming with them.  Why?  Ruadhrí didn’t know or care why, but the brute force of Fraaphknot would be helpful if they ran into more fae.

Caoilinn could only huff, crossing her arms over her chest.

“You should probably hold on Your Highness,” Ruadhrí smiled, “Having him with us, it’s gonna be a ride!” he nodded to Fraaphknot.

Urging his pony forward, Ruadhrí cast a longing glance at a nearby bramble bush.  So much for his bramble berry pie.


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