The beginning of a conflict. Plot in Magmoia | World Anvil

The beginning of a conflict.

"Nightfall is upon us, we should find shelter before the stars show." Robert Grundo growled under his breath as he peered through the canopy in the trees. The group of three men had been riding since first light, and their horses were beginning to falter. As the shadows in the forest grew longer, and the sun started to slip away behind the eastern horizon, the men could feel the exhaustion hitting them. The failing light of the sunset had painted the few clouds in the sky, a bright pink while a light fog had pushed its way into the forest. "The woods seem to be sst...sst...stirring more of late, and with all the sst...sst...strange tales, I wouldn't want to be sstu..sstu..stuck out here in the dark." Stammered the young trader Jakub. " I overheard a farmer from Braa..Braa ..Braakenfort talking to the barkeep at the Druu...Druu..Drunken Stool, he found all of his cows buu..buu..butchered in the woods. He told the man a brr..brr..bright flash had woken him up, and by the time he had drr..drr...dressed to check on his heard, they were all gg..ggone. He went into the woods that next mmo..mmo..morning to search for them and found them in pieces around a ggi..giant hole, mutilated beyond belief. He hobbled home as fast as he could, but by the time he rre..rre..returned with the sheriff everything was gone."   The tale didn't phase old Captain Retlaire, he was near past 45, at this point in his life he had heard numerous drunken stories and cared not for this nonsense. The captain was a short, stocky man with a roughly chopped beard peppered with grey. His Charcol hair greased back and unkempt, his ruddy clothes that looked to be 20 years too old and the crooked mouth, you would never have guessed that the captain was the younger brother to king Titus. Captain Retlaire peered over to Jakub with a disgusted look in his crooked smile. "A mere drunken story from an old farmer, when will you learn that stories are made up just to get a reaction." He stated, " That old farmer was just trying to get a free beer out of the barkeep for such a story."   "What if it was real, though?" asked Robert as the group rode their way through the woods. "This wouldn't be the first strange tale I have heard from small folk in the West woods either. I've heard more than once of disappearances and strange sightings in the woods."   "We don't bother with the tales of old men and small folk, we are here for one reason and one reason only." Barked captain Retlaire. The group had been sent on a 12-day ride to the kingdom of Wendyle, they were to deliver a marriage proposal from King Titus. King Titus was attempting to rebuild the relationship between the Kingdom of Feergo and Wendyle by uniting the two with a marriage between his daughter Princess Eve and the Prince of Wendyl, Prince Galvan.   As the group rode their horses down the dirt path, the trees began to thin until the branches opened up into a clearing. The clearing revealed a small waterfall and a cottage near the stream. By the time the group had crossed the small stream and had reached the cabin, the sun had set, and the stars were glistening across the night sky. You could hear faint sounds of the water hitting the rocks behind the cottage, crickets were chirping near the edge of the stream and the noticeable noise of a large Garder Troll crunching the trunk of a dead tree. Garder Trolls are the old caretakers of the forest surrounding Wendyle. Giant four armed beasts they roam the forest floor looking for fallen trees, and with their massive arms, they rip the trees from the ground slowly devouring the trees throughout the night.   Robert was the first member to speak up when they had reached the front door of the cabin. " I don't like the looks of this captain, the house seems to be abandoned and not in a good way. The chimney doesn't have any smoke, I see no signs of livestock or anything else living for that matter, plus that window there looks to be busted out from the inside like someone was trying to escape."   "Who would try to escape from their own home?" The captain asked, "You are both grown men, start acting like it. Jakub gets inside that house so we can get a fire started and Robert check the perimeter."   "Yye...Yes Sir." Stammered Jakub.   "You got it, captain." came from Robert as he circled around the house to check the waterfall.   As Jakub walked closer to the front door of the cottage, he could feel his heart beat faster and faster. He had a feeling about this cottage, and it wasn't right. He got to the front door and knocked, hoping that someone would call out. Nothing happened just more silence from the little cottage. The captain had begun unpacking his horse when he noticed that Jakub was standing at the door of the cottage stiff as a board.   "Kick down the door already no one is home." Ordered captain Retlaire in a grumpy tone.   Jakub walked back a few steps and ran at the door, kicking it with all of his strength, a loud thud, and the door swung open, hitting the wall on the other side.   *SLAM*   Jakub walked into the old dusty cabin cautiously followed by Captin Retlaire whos hands were full with his saddle. Just as they had expected, the cottage was deserted for at least a fortnight. The small, simple furniture was strewn about the living quarters, pieces of hay and utensils littered the floor with dusty cobwebs lining the kitchen cabinets. Jakub looked to the window he noticed outside and walked towards it. As he moved closer, he could see old blood stains around the window and leading out the window. Jakub knew deep down that something terrible had happened here. Jakub turned back towards the Captain, who was attempting to start a fire in the hearth out of old pieces of paper.   "Ww...we shouldn't stay here captain, I have a really bad ff...feeling about this cottage you can see all the old blood stains ee..everywhere," mumbled Jakub.   "People die every day, death is normal now we have a long ride tomorrow if we ever want to get to Wendyle," stated Retlaire. "Stop over thinking everything, we have already checked the cottage, and no one is here, help me get this fire started and shut up."   Jakub walked over to the captain and began blowing at the small fire he had started trying to help it grow. As Jakub worked on the fire captain, Retlaire found himself a chair, sat down and pulled out his pipe. Retlaire had just lit his long winding pipe when Jakub sat down next to him and began to stare into the fire. As Jakub was taking a few moments to collect himself, the captain was busy blowing smoke rings in his corner chair. The smoke from the pipe had bothered Jakub's nose and caused him to sneeze heavily into the fireplace. Just then, the door flew open and standing in the doorway was Robert. He was holding a small wooden knight that was covered in blood and dirt. Robert walked into the cottage and sat down on the nearest seat, eyes wide as he put the bloody toy on the table in front of him.   "What did you find?...........Are we alone?" asked the captain.   "I found the family that used to live here, about a half mile downstream from the waterfall. Noticed blood stains leading towards the stream from the back of the cabin. I followed the trail until I reached a large tree in the center of the grove. As I approached the fir tree, you could see the bodies strewn about, or what was left of them. They have been torn to shreds; bones and pieces of clothing were everywhere. I walked up to the body's and nearly hurled, they were so badly decomposed you couldn't tell one body from the next." explained Robert.   "Ww..what do you think happened to tt...them Robert?" Jakub choked out.   Robert shrugged his shoulders and kept on staring at the floor, you could tell the whole interaction had left him uneasy.   "Ww...ww...well whatever got that family started here and chased them out that ww...window," mumbled Jakub as he pointed to the window behind them.   "As far as I know something tragic happened to this family a long time ago that doesn't concern us. We must reach Wendyle by tomorrow." said the Captain. "Let's eat some food and get some rest we have another long ride tomorrow."   The group of four sat around the small fire waiting for their food to warm, Robert was silent with a bow and had taken down a deer 3 days ago, they still had some meat left over. Jakub and Robert were splitting the deer heart tonight they had been saving it until they were able to stop and have a decent meal. The captain being older than the two young men had already dozed off and was snoring in a corner.   Jakub leaned over and whispered to Robert, " I rr...really think we should have kept there is something off with this place, a dark feeling like we shouldn't be here."   "It's not our choice as much as I hate being here, the captain is right; we have a mission to complete, and if we don't rest well never reach Wendyle in time. If we fail the king we will have a lot more to worry -"   Just as Robert was finishing his sentence, a bright green flash lit up the night sky. The two men looked at each other in utter disbelief. Shortly after a tremendous crashing noise could be heard through the trees as whatever made the light barreled through the tree canopy. It landed with a great crashing sound. No more than a mile off from where the cottage sat. The last crash had woken up the captain from his sleep.   "Fuck was that?" questioned the captain. "You know we need our rest and both of you should be sleeping not banging shit around."   "Captain it wasn't us, a bright green light just went past the window and then a large crash happened outside like something hit the ground." Stated Robert.   "Ww..what he said." choked Jakub.   "You both have been listening in on too many stories, and they have clouded your mind. There is no such thing as flashing lights and mysterious monsters in the woods. Put out that fire and get some sleep before I flog the both of you for keeping me up with your nonsense." said captain Retlaire as he closed his eyes and began to doze off.   Robert had never seen such a sight before, and even if the captain didn't believe him, he was still curious. He felt the urge to go outside of the cabin and see what had happened, surely with all the noise that came from the crash, something had to of hit and Robert wanted to find it. He leaned over to Jakub who was staring into the fire, obviously still flustered from the green flash of light and all the stories they had been hearing and said.   "Jakub lets go out and search for whatever that was so we can prove the captain we weren't lying." Robert didn't like the fact that the captain so blatantly didn't believe them and wanted to prove him wrong.   " way, I am staying right" Jakub stammered as he gazed into the dying fire.   Robert stood up, walked to the front of the cottage, and grabbed his old ragged brown jacket that his father gave, whipped it over his shoulders, and turned around.   "I'm going out to find out what that green flash was and if I have to do it alone, then I shall. I will not sit around here and be called a liar when I know we both saw it and I'm going to prove it was real by finding whatever fell from the sky." Robert declared as he began to open the door.   "Ff...fine let me put on my coat and hh...hat and well look together," muttered Jakub in a quite and scared voice that trembled with every word.   The two men walked out into the brisk night sky, fog coming from there mouth with every labored breath they took. The two men began walking to where they believed the crash had happened. Nearly a mile from the cabin the two began to notice smoke coming from a batch of trees on the other side of a small hill. They knew they had to be getting close. The hill was right in from of them as the ascended the slope they heard a loud crunching noise.   *Crunchhh...Crunchhh*   The two men instantly began to slow down, hearts began to beat so fast they could listen to the thumps in their head, and the mist coming from their mouth got larger and larger as they huffed up the last few steps. When they reached the top of the hill, they both laid down and began to look at the destruction below. A large rock had flown through the tree canopy landing near a large grouping of fir trees. The stone wasn't a natural rock though, they could see the rock pulsating with a bright green glow as if it had its own heartbeat. * Crunch...Crunch..*That's when they saw a figure standing no more than 20 feet from the landing site of that great green glowing rock. It was no doubt a Garder Troll, but something seemed extremely off about this troll. Garder trolls are generally a muddy brown with off green patches around their large bulky body with blue eyes. They are also known to be a reasonably friendly creature caring only about the forest and cleaning the dead trees from the canopy. This Garder troll seemed to be covered in a scaly rock growth that glowed in the same green hue the rock did. The troll had its back turned to the two men laying down on the hill and was obviously feeding on something, what it was the two men couldn't tell. Jakub looked over at Robert and whispered.   "Ww...we should ll...leave now."   Just as Robert was about to turn to Jakub, the Garder troll stopped and looked back straight up the hill into the two pairs of eyes staring at him. The Garder trolls yellow-green eyes were fixated on the two men staring down at it. Jakub didn't hesitate and immediately stood and began running down the hill back to the cottage. Something had caught Robert's eye, the Garder Troll wasn't eating an old tree, he was chewing on the leg of a great elk with one leg hanging from the troll's hand, he stared at Robert. Just then the troll let out a great bellow.   *GRAAHHHH*   The Garder troll then began to beat its smaller two arms on his chest standing on his two back feet pushing his chest out. Growling and pounding the Garder troll began to take off up the hill. Robert turned as fast as he could and ran through the dense jungle. He stumbled but kept running all while the loud pounding sounds from┬áthe troll's feet and hands on the ground was getting ever closer. He kept running while dodging trees and small bushes. The troll reached out and used one of his massive arms to swing under Roberts' legs. His legs flew out sending him flying through the underbrush. He began trying to crawl as one of his legs seemed to be broken, he could hear the troll walking up behind him. The troll reached out and grabbed Robert by his failing leg, sending a stinging pain up Roberts body as he screamed. As Robert screamed in pain, the troll reached out and grabbed each of his limbs, pulled and tore Robert into 5 pieces.   The screams woke the captain who was now alone in the cabin. He stood, grabbed his gear and strapped on his sword as a thud hit the door, and Jakub stumbled in. Jakub turned around and immediately closed the door and ran to the fire and threw water on it to put it out.   "What in the hell is going on, and what are you doing?" asked the captain.   "SShhh...SHHHHHH. Ww...we have to hide a de...demented troll got Robert in the wo...woods." whispered Jakub   "A demented troll? We all know the Garder trolls in these woods are harmless."   "Ss...something off aa...about this one cc...captain the eyes I've nn...never seen anything like it."   "I told you guys to quit going on with these story's boy they are causing you to go crazy. You and Robert went into the woods and night and got spooked by something you saw. Let's go and see what-"   *Grahhhhh*   "What the fuck was that?"   "Tt...the troll captain ii... it's gone crazy."   "Well, then we need to kill the troll before it kills us, grab your sword Jakub and let's go meet this beast."   Captain Retlaire grabbed Jakub by the forearm and locked arms with him. " We fight until the end, no matter the odds forever and always." Captain Retlaire turned back towards the door, the pounding of the troll's feet were getting closer. The furniture was beginning to rattle. Retlaire opened the door took one step outside, and a massive forearm swept through the front of the cabin sending the captain into a pile of rubble and stones. Jakub backed up against the wall he could see the eyes looking at him again. The troll stood on its feet lifted his massive arms and crushed in the roof of the cottage.

Cover image: Wizard Sleeping WDFC by Jesse


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