Ayesha

Beyond the Walls

2 posts in this topic

I'm looking for either a male or a female partner for my female character.(This is why it is tagged as yuri. I do prefer a female, though!) This is a fantasy role play. With dragons and trolls, and a forest of zombies, and what have you.

Rules:
18+ mature partner.
No whiny, helpless characters. I don't want my characters to have to do everything. That's boring!
There will not be any cybering or smut.

 

So far I play two characters, a human girl and a troll. You can be either male or female, human or elf, or any other humanoid person. You can play a creature if you want. My troll is a boy, you can play a female troll. In this RP trolls are not bad creatures, but misunderstood because of their looks. (No mature troll romance... just... no)

Give me an example of your writing through PMs.

High casual to advanced writing. 3+ paragraphs a must! No oneliners!

I must warn you that my first post is quite long, because there was a lot I felt needed to be put out there to give you a better understanding of my characters and the world they are in, and to set up the plot. The plot will be discussed if you are interested! Your characters and my characters will meet soon in their travels.
 

 

Name: Arlia (Lia)

Age: 17

Bio: Arlia was taken advantage of by is now pregnant. She has to switch places with her twin sister so that she can escape the castle walls and avoid punishment for the taboo of being pregnant before being married. The only reason she has a twin to switch with is because of the Breeding Laws in the kingdom. Each family are allowed only one male child and one female child. The king and queen are very strict with upholding laws, or at least pretending to, so when they had twin daughers, one of them was hidden away and given to the kitchen staff to raise. Arlia found out about her sister through the words of her favorite mades when she was on her death bed. The twins quickly became close and each were willing to switch so that Arlia would not be pushed, because even as princess, she could still be punished.

 

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Princess Arlia felt tears falling down her cheeks. She looked over at her sister, twin sister to be exact, though the world knew nothing about her. For years, Princess Arlia and Fiona were kept from each other, all because of the breeding violation their parents had committed. Each family in the kindom were allowed one male and one female child. The King and Queen had to set an example and uphold this law.

The twins only knew about each other because one of the kitchen maids had told them the truth on her death bed. Princess Arlia's sister had always lived and worked within the castle. They looked exactly alike, except for their hair. Princess Arlia had red hair, and Fiona had blonde hair.

It had always been a fantasy of theirs to switch places, though neither had been brave enough. Now just barely seventeen, Princess Arlia found herself in trouble. She was pregnant, though through no fault of her own. She had been mistreated by a male servant.

No matter the reason, they were forbidden to carry a child before they were wed.

“If we don't switch now, you'll be punished,†Fiona  said, fear making her normally soft voice, loud and agitated. “This is your chance to go beyond the walls.â€

“I know, but it will be just as risky for me out there as it would be in here.â€

A pregnant girl, alone in the world would be picked off quickly; Arlia had sense enough to know that. The world out there scared and excited her at the same time.

“I know, but there are steps to take. Mr. Wilber can forge the exact papers you need for a wedding certificate. If asked, all you've got to do is say your husband went missing after going on a hunting trip.†Fiona 's idea would keep her from being thrown into prison for breaking the forbidden taboo, but it would not save her from people and things that prey on the helpless.

With the help of the kitchen staff, and other people who worked in the castle, Fiona and Princess Arlia traded places. It challenged both of them; they had to learn each others way of living in less than a week. Princess Arlia also had to make a big show of coloring her hair to match Fiona 's so nobody would question the pretend princess's hair color whenever Arlia left the castle.

“We look exactly alike.â€

The first sixteen years of their lives, they had not known about each other, though now they loved and cherished each other. This would be more than Princess Arlia escaping to avoid punishment. This would be the splitting of two best friends.

----

Her satchel backed with important belongings, including her fake marriage licensee, Arlia hid beneath a pile of palace trash as she left the castle walls for the first time in seventeen years. She didn't even care that the cart smuggling her smelled so horrible.

It felt like a bittersweet escape.

"You smell like a proper villager," the carriage driver joked, as he helped her out from the garbage. Arlia wrinkled her nose, not liking his tone at all, but hoping he could be trusted like she had been told. She nodded, brushing off what looked like old apple peelings off her "new" tattered brown and green dress. "Thank you." She shuddered in disgust, as she shook more rotting food from her hair.

She had no idea where to go from here. It scared her that she knew nothing about the outside world.

'Nothing true anyway. I do not believe all the stories can possibly be true.'

She wondered how many people were like the man who had put her in this situation in the first place. Princess Arlia touched her stomach, and though she did not show yet, she knew a baby grew inside. She had a slender look and would be noticeably pregnant within a month or two, but for now she looked like just another nameless wandering person who had no real home. She did have coins in her satchel though.

For a time, she would be okay, until she had to find another way to survive. What kind of job could a spoiled princess preform? She had no skills that she knew of, though her tutors favored her among the other high class children they taught. She knew the only reason had to be because of her being the next queen in line for the thrown.

For a while, she just wandered around the village, getting familiar with the various shops. She smiled when she found an inn. All her strength fled her body, whether from the thing inside her or from the excitement of the day, she did not know. Before going to the inn, Princess Arlia walked into the cover of woods. Magnificent trees surrounded the whole village. Trees so tall, it hurt her neck to look up at them.

She found the stream of water she had been looking for. It amazed her how the vary same stream had hidden with her behind the castle walls and now here it was, as free as she found herself. She set down next to the water. She had a lot of time to sit and think. Her name had to go. Fiona  called her Lia, her shortened name, so from now on that would be who she was. Her fake marriage license even said so. "Lia Windthorn married to Nathaniel Finnegan." The dates and everything else were smudged. The fake license looked as if it had become wet quite a few times, though it had the seal that proved it was real, even if the seal itself was forged.

"I'm now Lia Windthorn Finnegan." Lia lay on her stomach and ducked her head in the water, washing out the dye she had used to fool her parents into thinking she and Fiona were the same person. Now Fiona with her natural blonde hair ruled as the princess and Lia with her natural red hair was just another homeless wanderer.

At least with the trade there would not be a big commotion about there being a missing princess and who would really care about a missing kitchen maid? Lia stood and shook her hair until it stopped dripping. To anyone looking, she probably looked crazy. She did not care. Walking over to a tree, she leaned against it and breathed deeply. It was just a stump of a tree, only a few feet taller then she was.

The tree let out a grumbled yell that sounded like "Getoruffme," making Lia jump away. Her heart pounding, and cheeks flushed, she looked up at what now looked nothing like a real tree. It was a man. A tree man. Lia could see as the tree shape dissolved into the shape of an ugly man-thing.

"I beg your pardon," Lia said, not knowing how else to handle this. A thing that used to be a tree talked to her.

"I'm no tree. I can look like a tree," the thing said. Thing? Man? What was he? Was it even a he? Lia had no idea. Not to mention, did it read her mind?

"Did you read my mind?" The tall creature laughed. It sounded neither nice, nor mean.

"No. Your eyes say all. I am troll."

She blinked a couple of times. "You are?"

"Yes." Now she knew why he looked like a man, but not really a man. He was human shaped, though far bigger and deformed. Ugly, even scary looking. Maybe even evil.

"Scared of troll?" he asked, thumbing his huge chest.

"Uh..." Should she say yes, or pretend otherwise. Apparently she needn't do either. The troll folded into himself and soon looked like a large gray rock.

"You no scared of rock?" She could not help smiling.

"I'm not usually scared of rocks," she said, quietly.

So he had a sense of humor? Lia paced in front of the rock troll. She wondered if the creature would just let her go in peace or if he would try to eat her. For as long as she could remember, villagers, even people of royal blood were kidnapped from their homes and killed, possibly ate by trolls and dragons, both races were a danger to her people. The broken bodies that were later found was proof of this.

The troll dissolved again, until he looked like himself, at least Lia assumed this had to be the body he was born with. He walked toward her and held his hands out as if he were getting ready to grab her. Lia flinched and squeezed her eyes shut.

'This is it,' she thought, 'just let it be over with quickly.' Instead of hurting her, the troll's sharp fingernail barely touched her stomach, a prick of red blood blossoming there, though by accident and she did not even notice the blood.

“There is life deep inside.†He wiped his hands in the stream, not at all affected by the scent of blood. Lia noticed both things at the same time.

'His fingernail cut me, though not enough to really hurt, not even enough blood to cry about. Yet, the smell did not send him into some kind of feeding frenzy.'

“Yes.†Lia did not know what else to say.

“No fear.â€

The troll set down and when he did, the whole world felt like it shook. He kind of looked like a cross between a tree and a rock again, at least his coloring did. She realized he took in his surroundings. He could blend whenever he wanted. Could he change into anything, despite what he was around?

“Very well, though I do not know what else I am suppose to be feeling.â€

“I Gog, the Troll.â€

Confused, she answered, “I am A... Lia Finnegan.â€

He nodded. “Then we friends. No more fear?â€

“I guess not.†Honestly, she felt no ill will toward him.

“Very good.†He held out a big meaty hand. Lia placed her small, fragile hand inside of his, suppressing the need to cringe in fear. When he shook her hand, her whole body felt like it would break. He could quite possibly be stronger than ten men put together.

Trolls were decent people, at least Gog was. Of course it had to take her getting pregnant, then being forced to leave her home, for her to figure out how the world really worked. Nothing she had been taught was true.

“What do you want to do Princess?†She cringed when he called her that. So he did know who she was? The troll placed a large hand on her shoulder, completely dwarfing her in size. “I could take you home. You could explain that in fear, you ran away.â€

With a shake of her head, the redhead stood. She took a deep breath, and looked at the Troll. She had to look way up in order for their eyes to meet.

“No, thank you.â€

“No princess?â€

“I can not return to the castle and you can not tell anyone who I am. My life is in danger.†She gazed down at her stomach. “It is forbidden to have a baby out of wedlock and despite my situation, I would still be punished, even though I am of royal blood. The royals love to set examples with their younger peers.†She showed him her fake marriage license.

“Out here I can at least stand a chance with this paper. With this, I'm married to a man who went missing. Back at the castle, they would know it was fake, as I'm meant to one day marry the prince from the next kingdom over.â€

“How did you come to have life in you? Did you break the rule on purpose?†Believe it or not, trolls were strict when it came to their rules.

“Of course not. Someone forced their attention on me and this was the end result.†She did not want to explain any further. Not to a troll. Not to someone she had just met.

He seemed to understand. “I will ask no more of it. I'm sorry you've been put in this hardship.â€

“Do I smell a bunch of jewels in your bag?†Trolls had sensitive noses and they liked to eat things like jewels and rocks. Rare jewels were hard to come by for them.

Lia frowned. “Oh yeah, I better trade them in as soon as possible.â€

“Might I have just one?†Gog asked. Not sure she understood, she nodded, seeing no reason why she should not let him have one. He had been kind to her so far and trolls were things people feared, yet she did not. She handed him the brightest jewel. An emerald. It was as big as the palm of her hand, but looked like a small piece of candy when he held it. Surprised, she watched him pop it in his mouth, a look of pure delight on his face.

“That was so good. Now you should go ahead and trade the rest.â€

It was not hard for her to trade them. The town people had a “Don't ask, don't tell,†kind of attitude. Everyone minded their own business and nobody would never expect the dirty girl to be the real princess.

To start, she traded the jewels in for coins. When she was done, she had quite a lot of coins. So much, that they filled the rest of her satchel. Trying to look casual, she threw the bag over shoulder and walked around to the various shops, buying what she needed.

When she was finished, Lia went out to the forest where Gog hid from the villagers. She shared her food with him, surprised and happy the troll enjoyed the same foods she did. She did not want to embarrass herself by asking if he ate raw meat and the types of meat he ate. She already knew he enjoyed rocks, as odd as that was.

He seemed to understand her curiosity anyway. He told her that they did not eat maidens like rumors said, at least they hadn't for many centuries. For one thing, in the current state of poverty, most humans barely had enough meat on their bones to feed one child troll. He had to be joking. There were plenty of heavy men and women in the kingdom.

“We rely on the land. On nature. Just like many species. We eat meat just like you. The women trolls do the hunting. The men and children stay at home. The men guard their family.â€

“Where does that leave you?â€

“I'm a wanderer like yourself. My family was killed in a raids. Somehow I was spared.â€

Lia lowered her eyes. She felt guilty for the actions of her species.

Despite the fact that she now had more suitable clothes bought from the tailor, Lia continued to wear her filthy green and brown dress she had worn out of the castle, though she did take a dip in the stream and got rid of most of the filth and smell.

People looked at her quite a lot, though that had to be due with her being a new face in town. They did not get many visitors. Gog and Lia agreed they would meet up in a few days time, giving her enough time to wander around town, hearing the royal gossip, getting the lay of the land so to speak. For reasons she did not quite understand, she wanted to stay with the troll. They seemed to have a lot more in common than one would think.

She used coin to buy a room at the inn for three days. The innkeeper looked like an aging man, who seemed kind, like a grandfather. Lia did not know what it was like to have grandparents, though she suspected it was kind of like this. Being the youngest at the inn, the keeper hovered around her a lot, forcing her to eat two and three helpings at meal times and he talked to her in a kind voice. Called her things like “dear†and “child.â€

Despite not being of age to be out on her own, orphans commonly lived on the streets, surviving the only way they knew how. Luckily there were men like the innkeeper, who went by the name of Geod. He left out the leftover food he had once a day for whoever needed it. When Lia saw him do this for the first time, she felt an overwhelming endearment for him. She wished the royal family followed this kind of giving back. Instead of living rich, content and fat up in their castles, without real care to what went on with their people.

When asked where she came from, Lia would shake her head. She'd tried to open her mouth once and found she could not say anything as she did not know what to say. So instead she said nothing. People assumed she was mute.

The innkeeper knew better. She talked to him.

“Why do you keep your voice inside of you?†Geod asked her the second day of her visit.

“My dear Geod, I ask you, keep my secret. I'm new in town and I just find whenever I go to open my mouth, I do not know what to say, so I say nothing at all.†She frowned, rubbing a hand in her dirty red hair.

Geod lead her to the tub in her room. She only ever allowed him into her room.

“Bend over, I will help you wash your hair,†he offered. Sensing no perversion in his offer, Lia complied. It felt wonderful to have someone lovingly wash her hair, knowing he did it because he wanted to and not because he was ordered to. Lia realized in just the short time, Geod had come to love her like a daughter, and she cared deeply for him as well. She wanted to confide in him, anyone, but she was scared.

The wrong person would use her to get back at her parents. For power, for money. Geod did not act the type, not that she wasn't still scared.

“What will you do when your time here is over?†Geod asked her, fetching a towel and helping her dry her hair. There was no need for the help, but she allowed it. She knew the old man was lonely, despite having many guests come and go at the inn. He had no family that she knew about.

“I don't know. Travel with my friend. See the world, before deciding where to settle.â€

“A male friend?†There was a slight look of old fashioned disapproval on the old man's face.

“I guess you could say that,†she answered. “If I told you who my friend was you would think I was crazy.â€

So Lia explained what she could, leaving out the fact that she came from the castle.

He was surprised, though he could not stop the look of curiosity. “A troll for a friend. My, I  never heard of anything like that and I've lived for many years.â€

“I believe him when he tells me that his people are misjudged. You and Gog are the only ones I know. I have no one else and I want to travel.â€

“It's risky traveling with a troll, even if he is as good as you say. If anyone saw you with him, they would believe he took you by force and they would try to save you.â€

“I know.â€

“I'm too old or I'd offer to be your traveling companion, though I see you've made your choice?â€

She nodded.

“Lia, if I may--- when I washed your hair, I saw the birthmark--- You are of royal blood or am I wrong?â€

Sucking in her breath, Lia felt a cornered chicken in the chicken coop. “I have not been truthful out of fear.†She had forgot about the royal birthmark concealed on her scalp. You could only see it when parting her hair. It had the shape of a shooting star. Everyone of royal blood had it on their body somewhere, even the bastard children born to the servants or commoners when someone of royal blood stepped outside their circle for a bit of fun.

“Then what is your true story?â€

Still afraid, she told her tale starting with how she always dreamed of living outside the castle walls and how she did not want to be a princess, to the point of her attack and how she had traded place with her twin sister who lived as one of the kitchen maids because of the population control. She told him why she had to leave, because she was pregnant and not married and that her servants had helped forge her a fake marriage license.

“I had a daughter once. I understand your desire for freedom. Getting out of the village was all she ever talked about, seeing the rest of the kingdom and beyond. She wanted to be more then just an innkeeper's daughter. She did not get to see her dreams come true.â€

“What happened?†Lia asked in a whisper.

Geod looked down. His warm brown eyes shimmered with long ago memories. Good and bad. “She got sick. It was before your time, Princess. Many in the village got sick. Mostly children and many died over the course of a few years. Children more then adults, because their bodies were weaker.â€

“I'm sorry for your loss,†Lia said. She knew this happened years before she was born, but the pain was still fresh in the old man's eyes. “But why are you telling me this?â€

“Because I would have understood if she had done the same thing if she was in your shoes. How old are you?â€

“Seventeen,†Lia answered. She was of legal age to be married and have children. So that was some small comfort. At least she did not have to lie about her age too.
It was profound how she could trust this person she had just met. How she could tell him her whole story and not be afraid? Lia felt comforted knowing she had someone she could confide in. Even if she would be leaving him to explore the world. She knew she could always come home and maybe she would have a home with him? He did seem to think of her as a daughter.

“You are young, though you are a woman. I'll support you and even help you.â€

“How could you?â€

“The troll is big, so traveling long distances on foot won't tire him as much as you, being with child and all. If you want, you can take the horse in the barn. I'm getting much too old to care for her and she never gets the exercise she needs. I dare say she could use an adventure, too.â€

----

It was a mystery to Lia how she could walk freely around the village and nobody tried to stop her or force her back to the castle. She herself was a mystery. She wore dark clothing, her cloak wrapped around her slender body, hiding her gender. Her eyes were always down cast. People wondered who this person was, but nobody asked. The villagers minded their business.

It was her last day at the inn.

After telling Geod bye and promising she would come back and visit after she had an adventure, and that she would come back near the time for her baby's birth, Lia gathered her belongings and put them in her satchel. She didn't have much. Gog, the Troll guarded the rest of her coins as she could not fit them all in her bag. Gog, the Troll on the other hand had huge pockets. Lia walked to the old man's barn and saddled up the horse.

“Come on girl. We're going to see the world.â€

The horse nickered at her, and the princess was sure in some way, the animal understood her. She figured if there were many a strange creatures in the world, then why couldn't animals understand human speech?

"I have to tell you Penny, my companion might scare you at first, but I promise I won't let him eat you," she teased, though sure the brown horse gave her a panicked look. "I'm only kidding."

She now had a plain brown cloak that she wrapped around her, the hood covering her hair. With the cloak, she could be mistaken for a boy far off. At least until they got close enough to see the dress beneath. She road Penny to the closest leather shop, tying the horse up to a post. She went inside and explained to the leather maker that she required a saddle better then the one Penny already wore. One more suited for her small frame and one that had more pockets for carrying goods. She was fixed up right away, surprising the man when she was able to pay in full. The "don't ask, don't tell" attitude of the villagers always came in handy. She tied her satchel to the saddle, and then set off for where Gog waited.

"Surely you did not buy the horse." Gog stared amazed at the brown horse Lia rode toward him.

She shook her head. "It was a gift from the old innkeeper. He knows our secret and he's to be trusted. He is like a grandfather if I were ever to have a grandfather. Do trolls have grandfathers?"

Gog scratched his head with his huge hands. "Yes. We have to come from somewhere, don't we? We don't just pop up out of the ground like dwarfs."

Lia laughed, feeling a little silly for asking such a question. "Of course trolls have grandfathers, and grandmothers too, and brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers and all the rest. But Gog dwarfs don't just pop out of the ground. They live underground, but I'm sure they are born like any other human-like species."

"Have you ever met a dwarf? Did you ask him if he were born or if he popped out of the ground?" The troll asked. He sounded serious. Lia shook her head, trying to suppress a laugh.

"That would be a rude thing to ask."

Gog held his beefy hands up and grinned his razor sharp toothy grin. "Trolls are not exactly known for our manners."

---

“Three days in the village went by quickly, and I did not learn much.†Lia told him about her stay at the inn and the friendship she had sparked with the innkeeper, and she admitted that she could not speak to anyone else out of fear. What if someone found out who she was? Geod did, but it turned out not to be a bad thing to let some people in.

“If people see you with me and they know I am a troll and not a deformed man, they will believe I kidnapped you,†Gog said. If she really wanted to travel with him, then they would have to keep to the shadows whenever they were together.

“But you did not kidnap me. I went with you by choice.â€

“Obviously, I know that and you know that, but how many of your people know everything said about my people are not true?†Gog said as they stirred a huge pot of rabbit strew. Lia insisted on helping, even though the pot and spoon were far too large for her. She could not watch when he had killed the rabbits, though he told her she would soon have to get used to hunting in order to survive, if she wanted to continue on her current path.

“I'm sure none of my people know,†she admitted. “I would not have known either had I not met you when I did. Had not your eyes touched my soul.â€

----

Gog helped her up onto her horse. The troll grunted in a way that must have been his way of asking if she was comfortable. Lia felt as okay as could be expected. There were a combination of feelings running through her; she had no idea which one ruled. For now, she would just let the troll lead. She was used to following all her life. Though hopefully soon, she would be the one leading her own life.

“Where are we going?†Lia asked as they wandered for what seemed like hours. She was not doing the walking, though she felt tired and sore from being on the horse for so long. Luckily, she always spent at least an hour on her horse back at home. Part of the perks of being royal, she supposed. She loved animals, even the ones the kitchen staff called vermin. The cute little mice and rats.

“Going to see Elder Troll.â€

Confused, she half twisted around in her saddle to look at him. He had been walking slow on purpose so that he would always be behind her, and somehow the horse just knew where to go. She wondered if it was some kind of enchantment. The horse also did not show any fear toward the troll.

The rain came out of nowhere. They had to quickly get to shelter, though she knew it had to be more for her, than for the troll. He did not seem to mind getting wet; he even seemed to enjoy it, as if it refreshed him. On the other hand, Lia found the rain a little annoying, though she supposed she would not have minded it under different circumstances. She wondered how long they would have to wait out this downpour.

“Why are we going to see this Elder Troll of yours?†Lia said, having to yell to be heard over the heavy rain. She had a feeling Gog could hear her just fine though, but it seemed if she didn't scream, he would not be able to hear anything she said.

“Elder Troll help girl.â€

“You mean me?â€

“No, the life inside of you,†he answered.

She felt a heat come to her cheeks. Not the embarrassed kind, or the excited kind you get in intimate moments, but a different kind. Her whole body felt like it was on fire, though it did not hurt. She knew that she was running a fever, which was often normal during pregnancies. Despite the fever, she was not hurt, nor did she feel very sick.

“You mean you can tell it is going to be a baby girl?†she asked, her voice in a hushed whisper. She could not even hear herself, though she had no doubt that the troll knew what she said.

“There are a lot of things Trolls are not given credit for.†Gog sounded smug, but not in the way royal guys when they visited the castle to court her. She shivered at the thought. She had not liked even one of them. Despite the so called courting, she knew she was arranged to marry Prince Skylar from the neighboring kingdom, so she had no idea why she had to go through the courting phase with various men. Tradition she supposed.

“I'm sorry I've just went by what we are told and what we see.â€

“What do you see?â€

“Often our people have gone missing and end up found later slain, some seem to be eaten and others are just dead, seemed drained of all life, and we've even heard the same things have happened to elf and dwarf tribes that live nearby our village.â€

“And it must be the Trolls fault?â€

“I'm sorry,†she repeated. “The Trolls and Dragons. Nobody knew who else it could possibly be. We know of no other creature who could cause so much damage.â€

Gog rubbed his chin, looking thoughtful. “It is true Trolls and even Dragons are capable of that much damage, and I'm sure Dragons possess something to “suck†life as you made it seem, but I've never been attacked by a Dragon. Have you ever been attacked by one, or a Troll? Have you seen any besides me?â€

“No I have not,†she admitted, feeling more heat flush to her face, this time for shame. She looked down, cringing at her soaked cloth covered feet. She wished she had better suited shoes for her journey. That was one thing she forgot to get when she bought things from the village.

Gog seemed to read her mind, patting her so hard on the shoulder that she almost fell over. Luckily the Troll had been holding back his strength or else she would have really took a stumble.

“We got good leather makers. Trolls do. Get you proper coverings for your wet feet.â€

“Mm, thank you.â€

He nodded. “You see we Trolls are not mindless killers. I can't speak for Dragons, myself, but from what I know, they usually just keep to themselves, hidden away somewhere.â€

“I'll meet your Elder Troll, then. But why do you say the Elder will help my baby? What is wrong with it-- her?â€

He avoided her eyes. “I can not say, Princess.â€

“Please do not address me as a princess. I do not want anyone to know. My baby? Please, what is it?â€

With a sigh, he gently pressed his finger tip against her still flat stomach. “You are much too small to carry this baby.†It was true, Lia did have a very small, almost unnatural frame. From behind, she still looked like a child. It was only when looking her dead on that you could tell she was much older. Her growth had been stunted ever since she turned eleven, though nobody could really tell her parents why. The same went for Fiona, of course nobody seemed to care much about that, except those who had raised her in the kitchen.

It had to be some kind of gene defect, though neither the queen or king wanted to admit it might be their genes that were the blame.

“I already knew I had to be too small for it, but I figured I would just have a more painful time during the birth, nothing more then that. What else is wrong? Why are you avoiding my eyes? What can the Elder Trolls do?â€

“I see your death. It is unknown but trolls are very good at sensing things like death and life. That is why I knew you had life inside you and that is why you can not hide this from any Troll even if you tried. But I also see death around that life. Yours. Having this child will kill you unless something is done to prevent that.â€

A fear like never she had known before traveled through her whole body. She shivered, tears in her eyes. She was not shivering because the cold or the rain.

“What can be done?†she asked in a child like whisper.

“There are choices. Your humans could offer you none other than to terminate the child before it becomes too grown inside you.â€

Her eyes widened. “Kill it?â€

“In a manner of speaking. They have herbs and the like to do that, and in extreme manners they could operate on you.â€

“That would surely kill me too.â€

“In most cases, yes.â€

“How do you know of our customs of... this kind of thing?â€

“Trolls keep away, though we can disguise ourselves with those things around us, including human beings. We like to watch and learn all we can. But mostly we stay out of the way. Our Elders on the other hand are like any other tribe's Elders, I'd assume. Trolls do not use magic like elves and dragons, though we do have some charms and things like that.â€

“If you don't use magic, then what is another way to save me from dying besides killing the...†She put her hands on her stomach.

She did not have to finish. He knew. “We have an amulet. It has been with our people for many ages, though we do not remember where it came from. It protects the wearer from all things that would cause death. It does not protect from becoming hurt or getting sick, though it prevents death.â€

“Why would your Elders give this amulet to me, a mere human?†It was a justified question, though Lia hoped she did not offend Gog. He was being very thoughtful toward her so far. It was strange, but it kind of seemed like he was taking on a protective role. Maybe that was just the true way of a male troll?

“I do not know if they will. I shall plead our case to them and see. It would only be a loan of course, until after you give birth. The amulet is a troll treasure, usually kept under lock and key, but once in a while when an unnatural death is sensed, the amulet will be loaned out to the troll in need.â€

“Why would you want to plead my case...? Why did you say “our†case?†she asked. It was still raining and the rain was so heavy, that she could not see Gog's face, knowing full well that he could see hers.

“You did not run when you saw me. You took the time to listen to me. That means a lot to me. Trolls are loyal creatures, mostly to their own, but also to any creature who is kind to them. Like you. You remind me of tiny Troll kit.â€

'I've just been adopted by a troll,' was all Lia could think. Out loud she said, “You mean child?â€

“Child, kit, same thing to me and you.â€

“I am seventeen years old and I'm going to have a baby.â€

“Ah, but seventeen is very young in Troll years.â€

“How old can Trolls be?â€

“You are considered a kit, a child for the first fifty years, on your fiftieth birthday you come into trollhood, which is like when a human boy enters manhood or a human female starts her monthly gift.â€

She blushed, but said, “some of us can start that as early as nine years.â€

“That is why trolls believe humans grow up too fast, and to answer your question, the oldest known Troll to live was barely over two hundred in age. He died a couple years ago of old age. A very natural and peaceful death. The current oldest is one hundred and one years old.â€

The rain let down, so they ventured out of their shelter. Lia made sure her horse was prepared for another tiring journey. She hoped they were almost to the troll's den. In the back of her mind, she knew she should be afraid that she was being lead into a trap or something, though she really doubted that Gog was trying to trick her.

On her horse, Penny, she turned back and looked at the troll. “Then how old are you if you talked about me being like a kit?â€

“I'm not yet an adult, though I am close. I am forty nine years old.â€

So kind of, in a way, they were around the same age. She only seventeen, almost entering adulthood and he only forty nine, about to enter adulthood as well.
 

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A bead of sweat dropped off the curve of her jaw as she released another arrow into a clearly beaten target. These practices were beginning to get too easy for her she thought as she flipped in the air nocking another arrow in the process but holding it taut as she counted by the seconds. The sound of the gate opening called to her attention and she quickly readjusted letting the arrow fly at the intruder. A familiar face broke into a wide grin as they barely dodged the weapon, a clean cut on the right side of their cheek showing they were lucky.

 

Irritation mixed with concern as Zyraeda swung her bow over her shoulder and rushed to aid her good friend. “For the love of… Triston, how many times have I warned you not to enter the training grounds are being used! Especially by me! I could of killed you right there if you had not moved at the last second.†Triston merely shrugged, unperturbed by the fact that he had been nicked.  â€œActually Zyraeda, I wanted to see what you would do if someone walked in. You hesitated and shifted your aim at the end. A move like that could get you killed. You cannot expect that everyone is an ally even if you have known them your whole life.â€

 

Zyraeda ignored him as usual, placing a hand on the fresh cut, her voice still angrily hushed as she muttered under her breath. “The only species I would be concerned about are humans and I do not plan on taking a human for an ally Her fingertips glowed lightly as she felt the wound closing up beneath her palm. “Regardless of the point, what are you even doing here?†Triston took her hand in his bringing her knuckles to his lips. “Well is it not obvious? I am here to accompany you to the resting and coronation.â€

 

Zyraeda’s eyes grew wide with realization of the day. Today was the day that the old queen was released to the spirits and the new queen would be revealed to her people. Many who did not understand the elven customs would consider their ritual almost cruel. Everyone would gather around while the old queen lay on her death bed and breathe her last. Upon that moment the deceased queen’s body transforms into leaves and flower petals and be scattered by the wind. Then the coronation took place. The entire elven clan would bow down in respect as the wind revealed the next predestined queen. Anyone from the clan could be revealed; even the youngest was a possibility. There was no way to ever know until the previous queen had died. After the reveal came the passing of knowledge from one queen to the next. Lastly would be the celebratory dance of death and rebirth. But alas this is not how the outside world understood the customs. Many humans still believed that the elves killed off their queen to bring a new younger one to power. Zyraeda didn’t expect the humans to understand anyway. They saw fit to remove anything that did not make sense to them. Zyraeda had lost her parents that way.

 

“Zyraeda, are you even listening? You have to change clothes; the elders won’t be pleased if you show up in your training outfit.†An unladylike scoff escaped from Zyraeda as she came out of her thoughts. She had no intentions of changing. She looked fine as she was. “I am not changing clothes. There is no need for me to change.†Triston’s bright blue eyes narrowed at her statement and his pointed ears tilted back in frustration. “You are changing. This is a celebration and you are to look your best. It has been that way since our elders were our age. There is no sense in arguing. To be quite honest I expected this from you so I have brought you a change of outfits.â€

 

At this statement a young elven maiden walked into the training grounds, vibrant cloths folded in her arms and a bright smile upon her lips as she handed over the cloak and dress. Shock colored Zyraeda’s voice when she attempted to fuss at the sight of Triston taking the clothes in his arms. “I cannot believe you. I am not changing and you cannot make me.†A devious look flickered in Triston’s eyes momentarily as he took a step towards her. “Are you challenging me?â€

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Pulling the hood of the amethyst cloak over her head Zyraeda shielded her glare at Triston from their elders and friends. She truly had planned on remaining her previous outfit, yet here she stood gathered with the mass of elves clad in a forest green dress and the purple cloak clasped around her neck. Out of the corner of her eye Zyraeda could still see that Triston was grinning smugly to himself pleased with accomplishment of dressing her. She jabbed him sharply in the ribs with her elbow and his grin was replaced with the face of minor discomfort. Smirking to herself Zyraeda listened to the buzz and gossip of the large elven clan, taking note of the names of the most probable new queen.

 

By the sounds of it, Cressi; a light elf maiden was whom the people assumed would be revealed. That choice made sense; Cressi was kind to all, both her parents were healers, and she had such a way with the fauna of the land. Nearing Triston Zyraeda whispered in his ear. “What do you think? Do you believe Cressi could be the next princess?†Triston shot down that notion quickly reminding her that the predestined princess is never whom the people would have that. Agreeing Zyraeda brought the teal eyes to the center of the crowd where the current princess lay; a peaceful smile graced her face. Her time was near and the crowd grew quiet. Her silvery blond hair cascaded down her sides. She was still as ethereal as she had been when she was revealed almost four hundred years ago.

 

Moments ticked by slowly as the old queen grew more tired. Finally she exhaled her last, and the light in her eyes dimmed. Thousands of elves knelt down their eyes downcast as the elders gathered the foliage remains of the deceased queen. Silence hung heavily in the air as the wind sliced though, lazily catching the petals and leaves causing them to dance in the air. Zyraeda felt something tug at her hood, pulling the cover away from her face but she remained still attributing the tug to Triston who was kneeling down beside her. It wasn’t until she heard the soft voice of one of the elders asking her to rise that she noticed all eyes were on her and the elders had gathered around her.

 

The oldest and wisest elf held a stone bowl in their hands, the petals and leaves shifting happily in the bowl before her. A small nod from them brought a flame in the center of the bowl, burning the remains; the sweet scented smoke wafting up and around Zyraeda. The elder’s voice boomed with pride and authority as the spoke to her. “Zyraeda, your time has come. You have been revealed and now it is your turn to lead. Accept and fulfil your destiny.†Zyraeda nodded, her eyes coming to a close as her senses were filled with the powerful aromas. Images of past years flooded her mind; everything that the previous queen and those before her had done seeped into her conscience.

 

Her voice filled with confidence as she spoke out to the mass. “I accept and I will be your queen. Believe in me and I shall serve you till my time is done.†Her ears twitched as the sounds of cheers that resonated within them. Triston was the first to arise, a cocky grin set on his mouth. “Now are you not glad I made you change. Now we dance and celebrate you, your Majesty.†Zyraeda glared at him but smiled regardless as she allowed him to pull her into the throng of dancers.

 

Dawn was beginning to break as Zyraeda finished gathering supplies. A pale white horse carried a rather large satchel filled with gifts for the different species she planned on meeting with. The trolls would be her first stop. “And where do you think you are disappearing off to your Majesty?†His friendly voice echoed in the trees and she found herself looking up into his blue eyes.

 

“I have to inform the others of the passing of the previous queen. The time of peace will have to be renewed with me as the new queen and I would rather complete this now rather than wait years. I have already spoken with the elders and they agree that this is best. It will give our people a time to thoroughly morn and celebrate. I shall not be gone for long, a two months’ time at most.â€

 

Zyraeda watched him as he shook his head and brought his cupped hands to his lips emitting a sharp whistle. A falcon like bird glided down to his outstretched arm. “Very well, take the bird and write of your travels to us so that the people may know you are well and that I may know you are always safe.†A slight frown flashed across Zyraeda’s face just as she was about to speak but Triston’s lips upon her ear silenced her as he kissed her gently and whispered. “I shall await your return. Come home to me soon.â€

 

Zyraeda was unsure of what to say so she simply nodded, mounting the horse gracefully. It was a two days’ hard ride to where the trolls resided and Zyraeda did not wish to waste another minute. Clicking her tongue the new princess urged the horse into an easy gallop, the bird flying high above and Triston watching her as she rode away. She had several different tribes to meet with and two months’ time would be more then long enough, at least she hoped so.

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