Troll Hunting

youngspellwritersawardTroll Hunting is a short story in parallel to the novel Youngspell – both written by J. Rae Moore.

“Cagord ‘ears ya, chicken,” a deep voice bellowed from the dark depths of the cave. “Ya shall suffer for da murderin’ of da daughters,” it continued. “Cagord will grind ya bones to make me bread, ya hear?”

Juliana shivered. She knew the words were directed at her. She glanced across the rocky terrain at the three stone figures in front of the cave. “Daughters?” she muttered. Until then, she’d thought the petrified trolls were boys. Their exaggerated, wart-heavy features showed no sign of femininity. She shrugged. “Who knew?”

It had been her folly that brought Cagord’s daughters to their ends. She hadn’t meant to harm them—not to the point of death anyway—but the potion she needed to complete called for troll beard stubble, and she was going to get it. Since both male and female trolls grew facial hair from the age of two, it should have been easy to collect. After a long and weary night of trying to convince the young trolls to come out of the cave, it was the offer of human flesh for their tasting that finally did it. Success fluttered in Juliana’s chest as they’d tiptoed out, but, unfortunately, the sun had decided to break over the horizon at the same moment, petrifying the youngsters before Juliana got a chance to swipe her blade across the bristle covering their faces.

“Ya get ya sleep out there, chicken,” Cagord hollered. “Tonight Cagord hunt ya.”

Since she was forced to wait, Juliana sat back and noted the position of the sun. It had passed its zenith and was drooping toward the west. She had a few hours until sunset. She shoved a rolled up shirt behind her head. Cagord was right about one thing. She needed to sleep. As she settled in and closed her eyes, she also realized that the troll was also wrong. He might think he was going to be the one after her, but in reality, it was Juliana who was going to be doing the hunting.

As promised, Cagord emerged the moment the sun’s rays had extinguished for the day. He was a typical mountain troll with gray, porous skin and a flabby yet powerful body. His neck swelled with fatty bulges as if it cultivated a new one each year. A horn sprouted from the crown of his head and wrapped around his skull twice. Juliana was pleased to spot a thick layer of black stubble covering his chin and cheeks. He shook a fist above his head as he scanned the area. “Come out, ya green-eyed chicken,” he shouted.

Then, there was another troll beside him. Slightly smaller than Cagord, the new troll was the size of a shed with a head of wild, brown hair, a collection of large warts across the bridge of her nose, and a face full of stubble. The new troll pushed ahead of Cagord and touched each of the stone trolls. “Me poors poors babies,” she sobbed. Juliana ducked behind a boulder as the smaller troll swung her large, muddy brown eyes along the edges of the space. “Baloneen gots a pot just right for yas, bawk-bawk chickadee,” the troll called. She continued to bawk like a chicken as if Juliana would be drawn to the call.

Juliana checked her dagger and confirmed that her carpetbag was hitched high on her shoulder. She hadn’t intended on having to deal with two full-grown mountain trolls. This was going to be a bit harder than she’d thought. She was so busy trying to come up with a new strategy she didn’t realize the trolls had found her until she heard Cagord say, “Yas a stupid chicken, ain’t yas?” as he made a grab for her.

Juliana jumped up from her spot and sliced at his large, gnarled hand.

“Owwww!” Cagord bellowed, holding the wound to his mouth.

Juliana scrambled away from him, up the side of the rocky hill behind her only to be seized by the back of her shirt by the other troll. With one arm, Baloneen held her up like a pup by the scruff and studied her—face-to-face. “Yas a bad bawk-bawk chickadee,” the female troll seethed between her teeth.

Juliana dry-heaved as the troll’s breath swirled around her and wrapped her in its fumes. The stench stung her eyes, immediately causing them to water.

“Give Cagord chicken,” Cagord ordered. He reached for Juliana but Baloneen pulled her out of his reach.

“No, Baloneen smash it,” Baloneen argued, still dangling Juliana at arm’s length.

Cagord stomped a foot. “Cagord crush it!”

“Baloneen smash!”

“Cagord crush!”

Juliana saw her chance. She twisted hard to the left and a loud rip split the air. She landed on the ground with a muffled thump and scuttled away, leaving Baloneen holding only a scrap of her dress.

The rest of the night was a series of hides and finds with Juliana and the trolls trading turns for each. It was after another narrow escape that Juliana found herself hiding once again. This time, she crouched between two boulders the same size as the trolls who hunted her. There, she fought to regain her breath all the while listening for the footfalls of her pursuers.

Juliana wiped the sweat from her brow and checked the edge of her blade. Cagord and his wife had proved to be fast for big, fat buggers and they were relentless in their pursuit. It would have been a lot easier if she’d only had to deal with one troll at a time, but whenever she got the drop on one, the other would rush her and she’d be forced to retreat. “Not this time,” Juliana swore under her breath. She plunged her hand into her carpetbag and pulled out Vena, her magical broom. “This time, I even the odds.”

Juliana tapped the broom twice, bringing it to life. She swung a leg over to straddle it then silently levitated into the sky.

On the other side of the boulder mound, the husband and wife team were searching a small clearing for her. Baloneen pushed apart the branches of a large pricker bush, bawking, while Cagord was looking under the rocks.

“Dat chicken ‘ere somewhere,” Cagord commented, picking up a large boulder and peeking beneath it. He grunted when he realized he’d guessed wrong and chucked the boulder behind him. It landed with an earth-quaking thump. Cagord scratched his scalp before he bent down and lifted another boulder. “Nope.”

Now, Juliana thought. With her dagger at the ready, she steered toward Cagord and shot at him at an amazing speed. It would have been a clean shave had Cagord not looked up just as Juliana was about to graze his cheek. Before she knew it, his giant arm swung upward and knocked her out of the sky. She went sailing into the same pricker bush Baloneen was searching. She landed with a bump and rolled into a seated position, her legs spread wide. A small groan escaped her lips as the pain registered. Giant pricker bush thorns poked into her at every angle.

“Looky, looky,” Baloneen exclaimed. She wrapped a fist around Juliana’s head, lifted her out of the bush, and held her up triumphantly. “Bawk bawk bawk, Baloneen got it. Baloneen got da chicken. Bawk bawk bawk.”

Cagord cast away the most current boulder and threw his hands up. “Got da chicken,” he sang, shuffling a jig in the dirt. “Got da chicken. Now be time da eat da chicken.”

Still keeping a firm grip on Juliana’s cranium, Baloneen joined her husband’s dance. “Got da chicken. Got da chicken. Now be time da eat da chicken,” they sang together.

Ignoring the pain the troll’s grasp caused through her head and neck, Juliana squeezed her hand. She still held the dagger. Next, she searched the area for Vena. As she was being jostled around in the trolls’ victory celebration, it took a while to locate the broom. It was lying near one of the boulders Cagord had discarded earlier. She narrowed her eyes. She had to time this just right or she’d be troll chow for sure.

“It’s too bad about your daughters there, Baloneen,” she yelled above the trolls’ singing.

Baloneen stopped dancing and let out a tooth-rattling growl. She brought Juliana’s face to hers. “Ya murdered da girls, even da baby.” Baloneen spoke with her teeth clenched.

Juliana fought against the sudden urge to puke at the scent of her breath again. She was just close enough. The pressure around her head increased.

“Baloneen smash…” Baloneen’s threat ended there as Juliana reached out and sliced off a large chunk of the troll’s cheek.

Baloneen screamed, dropping Juliana and grabbing her bleeding face.

Cagord stomped over, nearly stepping on Juliana, and wrapped his arms around his crying wife. He inspected the wound. “Baloneen. Yas beauty face. Oh, poors Baloneen.”

In the meantime, Juliana scrambled to retrieve the pound of flesh she had hacked away from Baloneen. Just as she retrieved the bloody prize and shoved it into her bag, Cagord spotted her. “Ya evil chicken. Cagord crush ya,” the troll bellowed, lifting his hay barrel-sized foot and aiming it at her.

Juliana rolled away just before his foot hit the dirt with a ground-shaking blow. The troll bent low and slowly lifted his foot. As he examined the bottom of it, Juliana made a dash for Vena. She’d made it just as Cagord realized he’d missed her. It didn’t take long for him to find her again.

“Cagord crush evil chicken,” Cagord said, stomping her way.

“Wake up, Vena,” Juliana said. She tapped the broom and Vena buzzed to life. Juliana kicked up into the air but she didn’t get far when the broom stopped suddenly. She glanced behind her and saw Cagord holding the broom’s bristles between two fat fingers.

“Evil chicken no fly,” he stated.

“Get off my broom, you big-headed behemoth.” Juliana kicked at the troll’s hand but Cagord held tight.

Suddenly, a stream of red fire shot from the broom’s end and hit the troll’s hand. Cagord let go immediately, screaming.

Juliana shot high into the sky while Cagord stood below, pumping his fist at her. “Evil chicken come back.”

Juliana cackled. “Not anytime soon, oh Cagord, my pal.”

Cagord’s threats and Baloneen’s sobs followed Juliana as she sailed smoothly through the night sky. She still had several oversized thorns sunk deep into her skin—that would be a pain not soon forgotten—but she was smiling. She patted her bag then the handle of her broom. “Ah, Vena, old girl, you’ve still got a few tricks in you, don’t you.”

She reached into her shirt and pulled out the list of ingredients for the potion. Dabbing her finger into one of her wounds, she sighed as she used her own blood to mark off the box labeled Troll Beard Stubble.

About J. Rae Moore

Writer of MG and YA fantasy. Author of nothing. Reader. Often confused.
This entry was posted in Fantasy Story, J. Rae Moore Original, Short Story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

151 Responses to Troll Hunting

  1. dave says:

    Well written. Very detailed and vivid descriptions! My 3 teenage sons would love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Rae Moore says:

      Dave,
      I am thrilled you liked my story Troll Hunting. I hope your three sons did too if they got a chance to read it. I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to read it and leave a comment (and a very positive comment at that). Not everyone does that and I wanted you to know it’s appreciated.
      -J. Rae Moore-

      Like

  2. Mike Ritt says:

    Very well written. Not my particular genre, but you had my attention from the very beginning. Is it weird that I almost feel sorry for the trolls?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather says:

    Imagery is wonderful! I felt like i was there watching the whole thing. Thank you for sharing. Now i want to know what happens next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Rae Moore says:

      I hope to someday have the novel that parallels this story published. (Still looking for an agent) Until then, I’ll keep on pounding away at the keyboard and trying to make some kind of sense on the screen. I’m writing today to say thank you for your review and I am so thrilled you liked the story. It means a lot to hear feedback (good and bad) from those who’ve read it. Many happy returns to you and yours.

      Like

  4. Judith Rook says:

    A very skillful characterisation of trolls. Without losing any of their ferocity or essential nastiness, the author presents trolls as sympathetic characters, with the human protagonist trailing along as a rather unpleasant opportunist. You can’t do this sort of thing unless you are a very accomplished writer, which J.Rae Moore clearly is. A short but very good read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bill011942 says:

    Delightful story for young readers. The dialogue is interactive. The characters unique, and the writer’s voice distinct and vibrant.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent writing, with great descriptions, so much so, that I could visualize the characters in detail. You left me wanting to read more. My son would love this, and he is quite beyond the middle grade years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. maxwell ivey says:

    was very impressed with this short story. surprised i didn’t have to pay for it or at least subscribe to your mailing list. would have been nice to pick up the story from her flying in on the broom so that part wasn’t a surprise. I mean she is a witch working on a spell so we should assume there would be a broom. but we wouldn’t know who she was referring to when she called it by name. And it would be nice to know what the broom looks like and what features it may have. keep up the great work, max

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this it was lyrical and captured my attention. I would definitely want to read more and as another reader pointed out; I felt kind of bad for the trolls lol!! Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Seth Giolle says:

    I like the details around the trolls, young and old. The descriptions of beard stubble were nicely added, and the task wasn’t too simple, so it kept the action going, made the end satisfying. I did find myself wanting more description of the hill though. It had brambles and trees, but that’s all I really got for a visual of the surrounding hilly terrain. I’d have liked more. I also find myself wondering how long Vena is. The broom was in her carpet bag, which can be a big sized bag, but would it be large enough to ride on and not fall from? Little things really. It was quite good all in all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jeffrey M Thompson Jr. says:

    Reblogged this on Jeffrey M.Thompson Jr. and commented:
    Great story for the fantasy readers!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Troll Hunting – Jeffrey M.Thompson Jr.

  12. Jeffrey M Thompson Jr. says:

    I’m impressed! There was (for me) a few passive sentences and an odd turn of phrase but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it and I don’t read this type of fantasy! You have a future! I re blogged and shared on my social media. You deserve the attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nicely done, with great character building. I’m already questioning Juliana’s motives behind the potion she’s brewing . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A delight to read! Great job! Oh them trolls eh? lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. DEBORAH JOAQUIM says:

    GREAT WORK OF ART

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Angele says:

    The character’s are a hoot. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. And now I’m most curious about Juliana’s potion. It’s a wonderful piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. L liked this story – well written and an interesting role reversal with the not-so-nice witch being the predator instead of the prey for the trolls. I thought the trolls were very Tolkienesque (that’s got to be a word) and Juliana has the potential to be a really interesting character. You wouldn’t want to get between her and what she wants.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jeremy says:

    I enjoyed the excitement of the pursuit, by both sides. The writing of both the action and descriptions are excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. AC Sutliff says:

    I was hooked immediately by the dialogue, especially the trolls’ way of talking, which continued to give the creatures depth as the story progressed. You have a knack for quickly establishing stakes and character motivation. Throughout the story I could visualize the action and characters. This is nicely done and leaves me wanting more. Can’t wait for the novel to come out!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Daniel Pearson says:

    Enjoyed this. Keep on writing . Good luck in the near future with your dark,magical, tales, book seriesI. I like your story telling technique.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great entertaining story!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That was awesome. I love the descriptions. I also admire how you humanized the trolls, while making Juliana’s reason for hunting them understandable.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. cameronherkes says:

    Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. glynhockey says:

    A very well written short story. I liked the use of dialogue and the flow of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Well written! I like your characters, trolls are characterized very well. what makes stories come alive are the details, great descriptions. I shared on my social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dan says:

    I like the pacing and mix of action and narrative. I want to invite more about the protagonist

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Gerri Bowen says:

    I loved this! Keep writing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Felicia says:

    Enjoyed this and definitely want to know more about Juliana!

    Great writing and attention to detail. I feel as though I could draw the trolls from your description…if I could draw! 😄

    Hope you’ll write more!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Paul says:

    Very well written with deep imagery. I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I like your description of the trolls. It sounds as if you may have done some research there. I also like the way you have the trolls talk. It is quite amusing. This is a good, well written story. I think anyone who likes fantasy would enjoy it.

    Like

  31. Lenita Graves says:

    I liked the description of the trolls. It sounded like you did some research. I also like the way you had the trolls talk. It was funny. This is a good, well written story that anyone who reads fantasy would like.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. lessie48 says:

    This is a great read. Your writing skills are superb!I’m actually visualizing the characters in the story. Keep up the great work. Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Nicolle Allred says:

    I very much enjoyed reading this short story. Very descriptive and fun! Do you have a complete novel? I would be interested in working with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Kyle Adams says:

    I quite enjoyed this little romp. I’ll be keeping up with this blog. I hope that the companion book goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Loved it from beginning to end. Started reading, then got my glasses out for better reading and enjoyed it more. Great story and look forward to reading more.

    GMKelso

    Liked by 1 person

  36. malekmontag says:

    Hmm, very interesting and well written. Good luck with the larger work! MM

    Liked by 1 person

  37. CB Archer says:

    I enjoyed this little tale.

    I will admit I was rooting for the trolls to bop that chicken witch the entire time. They lost their children after all. Okay sure, trolls eat people, but that doesn’t make them less sympathetic.

    Also, I have a thing for monsters I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. aleshaescobar says:

    What a fun read! Wow, and the ingredient Julia needed for that potion 🙂 I haven’t seen a troll story in a long time, and this brought a smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. mrsessayyad says:

    that’s my kind of stories. it’s very interesting and expressive i liked all the details. i really enjoyed reading it.

    Like

  40. Star Lady says:

    That was fun. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. richarddeescifi says:

    Really atmospheric, a lovely story. Perfect for sharing with grandchildren on a dark night!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I like the language of the trolls, depictive of their nature and yet again you humanised them by showing their show of empathy which I think is brilliant. And I can feel your voice lurking in the progressing plot. Finish the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Colleen Busse says:

    I enjoyed your story and I’m sure my boys would as well. It was a fun and intriguing read. I can’t believe I feel sorry for a troll.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. mattboss77 says:

    Hey there. I just read Troll Hunting. It was really good. I liked the characterisation of the trolls, they came across really well and their dialogue was tip-top. I can see it working as just one episode in a larger plot. I especially liked the notion of Vena being sentient and having it’s own tricks. I will be very interested in the full book, and would definitely read it to my kids when they’re a little older.

    Like

  45. Very nice! It’s intriguing and interesting, keen to see how the full length turns out! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I suppose it’s all been said; this is definitely a fine piece of fantasy! I like the tone of calm in the background. And the thoughts you’ve given each character, the wit and humour; without jeopardy to the plot.

    A good read, thank you!😁

    Liked by 1 person

  47. jguenther5 says:

    Grammar and spelling flawless. Nice job.

    Like

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