A Dream of Storms, In the Shadow of the Black Sun: Book One, p.1William Kenney
In the Shadow of the Black Sun
A Dream of Storms
Copyright 2011 William Kenney
Its skin was that of stone. As it approached the small village, its heart became stone as well. Roughly three heads taller and perhaps four times the weight of the average man, it was an imposing sight. Sniffing at the cool spring wind, it halted at the unmistakable scent of Man. It wrinkled its nose and placed one huge foot in front of the other. Its hunt was near complete. Soon, the sounds of morning business reached its ears and it grew more cautious, slowing to a walk. For three weeks it had traveled, the supplies on its back now exhausted. Just ahead, it thought. A few more steps and I can rest. For a moment. Raising one tattooed arm to its eyes, it checked the location of the sun. Nearly noon. There should be plentiful food about. Two days with little nourishment produced a deep growl from its stomach.
The villagers in the main square stopped open - mouthed where they stood, their eyes moving quickly to the huge lumbering figure as it lowered its foot onto the red cobblestone sending several cracks running away through the square. There were many townsfolk milling about and all came to a halt where they stood, in sudden silence. Several shop windows slammed shut and someone inside let out a scream.
Turning its hairless stone head from side to side, it surveyed the small town, its deep - set eyes in a squint. One hand went to its massive chin as it pondered its next action. After several tense moments, its eyes fell to the closest villager.
Haniman Grinter nearly dropped from fright. After all, it’s not often that the town tailor is approached by a creature straight out of legend. In an impossibly deep and gravelly voice the creature addressed him.
“Hmmm …. I seek.” He hesitated, obviously unsure of the language. His strange lips formed silent words for a moment. He hadn’t spoken the human tongue in quite some time. “Hagan … Must speak Hagan Marindel.”
With this, he looked from face to face in the hope that he was understood. Long minutes passed.
“What seems to be the - " a young man strolled casually into their midst and immediately froze. His blue eyes became like saucers as he took in the Stone Troll standing to his right. He brushed his shaggy brown hair from his eyes, unsure of what they were seeing. “What … Who is that thing?” he stammered.
Haniman leaned close to the boy’s ear and whispered, “He’s looking for Hagan.” He paused and placed one hand to his chest. “D’Pharin, what do we do?”
Just then, the Troll reached into his pack and removed a torn sheet of parchment. He eyed it quickly, his thick fingers tracing the writing there, closed his eyes and spoke again.
“Hmmm. I mean no hurt …. Message.”
An aged man smelling of cheap wine joined Haniman and the boy. Wrinkling his balding forehead in a frown he said, “Well, s’obviously a Stone Troll from up north. Far’s I know, ain’t never been no evil Stone Trolls, heh …” This started a coughing fit that had everyone backing away. “’Course there were that time in Pandaria. I held off – what - musta been seventy or eighty giants’n then when my sword ….” He paused mid - sentence and gathered his tattered brown cloak about him. From somewhere within the folds of his clothing he produced a small glass bottle. He slowly raised it to his cracked lips and drank. Suddenly he turned on his heel, rounded the local inn and was gone. Everyone was familiar with Trune’s fondness for drink and elaborate stories, none of which were true. The man had never left Lauden.
“You think we can trust him, then?” the boy asked, glancing quickly at the Troll.
All of the villagers had since gathered around the two and were staring at them for answers.
Haniman nodded. “Let’s take him to the Village Hall and have a little chat with Chenal. Oh, I’m sure he’ll love this.”
He then raised his voice in the Troll’s direction. “Uh, Sir …. If you’ll kindly join us.” He waved the towering beast over as the villagers parted allowing the Troll ample room to pass. With skin of rock and piercing black eyes, he was a sight to behold especially for an out – of – the - way village this side of nothing. The few children standing there simply gasped and ran to tell their friends. It seemed that the adults were by far more afraid than the young ones were. Gorin produced the closest thing to a smile his chiseled features would allow.
“That was easier than expected,” he thought as he followed the tiny men deeper into their town.
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