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|The Elf, the Trollgood and the Magic Sword (youngsters:fantasy, 1496 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Jan 17 2009||Views/Reads: 5018/1748||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|An elf finds his way barred by an ugly creature.|
The Elf, the Trollgood and the Magic Sword © 2008 Ian G Hobson Ripley was on his way home. He had been staying with his cousins in the north, and after a detour to the east, to visit his great-aunt Mistledyne, he was travelling south along woodland routes, known only to a few. Being an elf, he loved the woods and was not looking forward to leaving them for a while, in order to cross the Planes of Insul, but he knew that this would save him a day's journey. 'When you come to the Planes of Insul,' his great-aunt Mistledyne had told him, 'look for two rocks that stand like sentinels. Pass to the left of each and continue in a straight line to join a narrow road that leads over a bridge and then on to the Forest of Bow. I've not been that way for a long time, but I'm sure that the bridge will still be there. But be sure to find it, as there is no other safe way to cross the Devil's Crevasse.' And this was good advice, because the Devil's Crevasse was a huge crack in the earth that ran for at least a day's journey from east to west, and though in places it looked narrow enough to jump across, those that had tried had fallen into the crevasse and never been seen again. Naturally, the bridge had been built at one of the places where the crack in the earth was at its narrowest, and it was sturdily built from stone, and just wide enough for a horse and cart. So, when the elf arrived at the bridge, he stepped onto it without a second thought, stopping only to peer over the edge and down into the depths of the crevasse. But it was then that he was taken by surprise, as an ugly creature leapt out from under the bridge and barred his way. The creature, as you may have guessed, was a kind of troll: a trollgood to be precise. Not that there was anything good about him, for he was, in fact, a rather nasty creature, with huge hairy hands and feet, and a face that resembled a knobbly old piece of wood. And he had recently taken up residence in a cave beneath the bridge so that he could waylay unwary travellers and relieve them of their valuables. 'Who is this that tries to cross my bridge,' he asked, in a deep and rather odd voice that seemed to come as much from his nose as it did from his mouth. Quite startled, the elf took a step backwards before answering. 'I'm Ripley,' he replied, in a light and almost musical tone, 'and I'm on my way home.' The trollgood pulled and even uglier face, grimacing as though he had just bitten into a rotten apple and, with his nasal voice, he said, 'Well, Master Ripley, you have to pay before you can cross my bridge. I'll take sliver or gold, whichever you have.' 'But I have neither,' said Ripley, putting his hands into his pockets and pulling them inside-out to show that he had nothing at all. 'But you must have something!' exclaimed the trollgood. He was almost a head taller than Ripley, though his stature was somewhat crooked, and his head tilted to one side as he examined the elf closely. 'What about that hat you are wearing?' Ripley wore a cocked hat made of the finest green velvet. 'But my hat would not fit you,' he said. He offered his hat to the trollgood who tried to pull it onto his head, but without success. 'Just as I thought,' said Ripley, 'your head is far too big for it... What is your name, anyway?' 'My name?' said the trollgood, handing back the elf's hat. 'It's Snuffler; not that that's any of your business.' He bent forward slightly, eyeing Ripley's shoes. 'What about them shoes?' he asked, pointing. 'I could use a pair like that.' Ripley's shoes were made of the finest, soft, red leather, and came to a point at the toes. 'But these shoes would not fit you, Mister Snuffler,' he said, placing his foot next to the trollgood's. 'See, your feet are far too big for them... Where do you live, anyway?' Click here to read the rest of this story (76 more lines)
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