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Conversations with Trolls

by on May 27, 2013

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine was making some very poor choices, as she was teaming up with Edward to find a way into Asgard to steal Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!). Meanwhile, Krystelle, Smudge, and Connecticut Smith were also going after the Shovel, though by a slightly different route….

Mugs smashed joyously upon the floor. “Another!” roared a collection of half a dozen elves, dwarves, and a few aliens of indeterminate species, to the raucous accompaniment of Frost Giants playing accordions in the corner. Krystelle beamed in the doorway. “Ah, Silmarilly’s. Ain’t it just magical?” she said to Connecticut Smith, standing beside her.

“Yeah. Magical,” the treasure-hunter said, running his hand casually over the Frisbee attached to his belt. “I personally would’ve met my contact someplace quieter, but I suppose it’s tradition to arrange these things in cantinas like this.” Connecticut tapped his communicator. “Demi, you have the teleporter locked on our signal, right? Just in case?”

“Of course, sir,” came Demi’s prim reply. “As always.”

“Fine,” Connecticut said. “Well, let’s go meet our contact.”

They shouldered their way through the crowd, till they reached an unoccupied booth in the back. A sullen elf waitress dropped by for their order. “Right, what’ll ya have….” her mouth dropped open. “Krystelle?”

“Hey, Mindy,” Krystelle said nonchalantly. “‘Sup?”

“You ain’t supposed to be here!” Mindy said in a frightened whisper. “Not after you hit the hobbit over the head with the pole.”

Connecticut blinked. “The…”

“Flagpole,” Krystelle clarified. “And the hobbit dude was crazy anyway.”

“Yeah,” Mindy said bitterly. “Crazy enough to hire a legal team and sue us for negligence or somethin’ like that. Ted’s still mad. I wouldn’t stay here long.”

“Look, we’re just here to meet a guy, then we’ll leave. No worries.”

Mindy rolled her eyes. “Yeah. That’s what you said about the hobbit.”

She stalked away, and Connecticut looked worried. “Perhaps we should go outside…”

But then a shadow fell across their booth. “Blimey,” rumbled a deep voice. “A elf, a dwarf, and a blinkin’ ‘uman. I oughta go ‘ome now.”

Krystelle rather agreed with that sentiment. Before them stood a troll, huge, scowling, and not likely to win any  “Sexiest Norse Mythological Being” nominations anytime soon.

“I’m not just any blinking human,” Connecticut Smith said, “I’m your contact. We spoke briefly. And besides, it’s still sunlight, so you can’t go out yet.”

“Cripes. Blinkin’ sun,” growled the troll. “Might as well talk, then.”

“Exactly,” Connecticut said. “This won’t take long. We’re trying to get into the toolshed of Asgard. We need to know the best way to sneak in.”

“You want to sneak into Asgard?” the troll repeated incredulously. “Are you lot daft?”

Connecticut shrugged. “I can’t speak to the sanity of my compatriots; I’m only here because they paid me.”

“Paid you rather a lot,” Krystelle grumbled. She’d had to tap into the emergency cash reserve she kept in her sock, and she still wasn’t happy about that.

“Well…” considered the troll. “There’s the bottom way. You could go through Niflheim up the roots of Yggdrasil, and out the well Urdarbrunn, and you’re in. ‘Course, you’d still have to get pass Niddhog.”

“And he would be…” Connecticut asked, not being overly familiar with Norse mythology.

Krystelle blanched. “Niddhog. Ripper of Corpses. Freakin’ big dragon type. Not fun.”

“I think we’ll give that a miss,” Connecticut said, as he generally preferred to avoid encounters with dragons whose epithet was “Ripper of Corpses”. He generally preferred avoiding anyone with unpleasant epithets like that, but dragons especially. “I just hate dragons. Okay, then, what’s another way?”

The troll considered again. Thinking wasn’t exactly its strong suit, so it took a while. Then, finally, it had an idea. “There’s the top way. You could fly in the branches and then climb down.”

“I see. And are there any other unpleasant beasties we might encounter that way? Bert the Messy Devourer of Entrails, or something?”

“Nah,” the troll said. “There’s just Vethrfolnir. He’s a giant in the shape of a hawk. Controls wind an’ weather. Sits on an eagle’s ‘ead. Dunno why.”

Connecticut pondered their situation. They could either try to sneak past a dragon named the Ripper of Corpses, or a hawk sitting on an eagle’s head who could control wind and weather. Fortunately, he had a spaceship, and Demi was a very competent pilot. “We’ll go that way, then. Thanks so much. You didn’t happen to bring a map, did you?”

The troll smiled, for the first time. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. He gestured towards a scroll stuck in his belt. “I might ‘ave. For a price.”

At that moment, the door to Silmarilly’s banged open again, and a pack of rowdy hobbits stormed through. By very ill luck, one of them glanced the troll’s way. By even worse luck, that particular hobbit was the exact same one Krystelle had beaned over the head with the flagpole. Worst of all, Krystelle was sitting in more or less a direct line of sight with the door. “HEY!” the hobbit yelled, loud enough that he attracted the attention of every creature in the place. “IT’S THE FLIPPIN’ ELF!”

“And that’s our cue,” Connecticut Smith said briskly, snatching the map from the troll’s belt before he had time to protest. “Demi?”

Krystelle was already going for her sword Miranda, her eyes alight with the joy of battle. She had just started to scream a particularly insulting Elvish swear word at the hobbit when she, Smudge, and Connecticut Smith disappeared in streaks of light, leaving a full-fledged bar brawl erupting behind them.

***

“Niflheim,” Catrina said. “You’re sure.”

“Exactly,” Edmund replied. “We go through Niflheim, up the roots of the tree, and we’re in. Easy. But you’ll want to bundle up, first. It’s a bit cold, down there. ”

“Oh frabjous day,” Catrina replied flatly. “Let’s just get on with it.”

“On the bright side,” Edmund continued as they made their way down towards the World of Mist, “we’ll meet a friend of mine. Niddhog You’ll love him. Really. He’s great at parties.”

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. To buy a copy of Catrina’s adventure in space, appropriately titled Catrina In Space, go here. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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