1. It's Mine! No, It's MINE!
To the east groups of trees huddle together; their normally lengthy shadows are completely swallowed by the thick darkness of the night. The clouds have assembled for a mighty struggle, gainsaying all form of light to pass through their grey mass. Could it be this veil of black which drapes this land in the folds of an intense foreboding? Something appears amiss... something feels wrong. Is it the woods to the east? But no sounds comes from there. Then perhaps the peril lurks in the west? Yet the bridge keeps watch over these shores, surely... Harken! A dull sound rises from the pools of utter silence. A figure presents itself at the far western end of the bridge. It walks eastwards with a lengthy stride, producing a steady thuds of heavy feet upon wood.
Footsteps that echo in the hollow beneath the bridge and along the shore a little ways to where a dark lumpish form squats bored and disconsolate. Oliver stirs at the water with a long stick and mutters to himself. "Nuffink t'do an' isn't no dinners an'..." He stops abruptly, tilting his head towards the sound. A cunning smile warps his face, revealing broken rotting teeth, and then he scrambles up the pebbly slope to the road. Rocks bounce down the incline behind him and splash into the river.
The splash makes the approaching figure stand still... but not for long! The tall and broad form springs to action quickly! The pace of thuds increases as the unknown person makes a rush towards the source of the splashes. "W'o's there?!" booms a low voice.
"Oo's th..." comes a gravelly echo, bit off mid-word. A crease wrinkles itself into Oliver's craggy face and he lifts a stubby forefinger to rub at one ear. "Tha's what I is saying," he complains. "/I/ says, 'Oo's there.' An' yer says, 'I's there' an' I says, 'Yer stops. Can' go 'cross.'" He stops triumphantly. So there.
The other, obviously another troll, seems to consider these statements. But a vigorous shake of the head shows his opinion, "Dats not rig't! I says w'oose there! Yer mistaken, bloody muggins, yer speakin ter a king so a-listen ter me I says!" Basil grunts after his little speech, folding his arms in anxious anticipation. That's how things are!
Ollie is already shaking his own head. "No!" he insists. "I says it! Yer wasn't list... king? King o what?" Suspicion furrows around small eyes. "This 'ere's MY bridge, yer can' have it."
What's that?! Someone opposing Basil's will? That most certainly will not do, oh no! "Yer BRIDGE?! Dis be part of me kingdem! Yer a rottin stinkin liar!" temper flaring the troll points to the west, "T'em woods is mine an the 'ills!" It seems the Olog has already enslaved Chetwood and Weathertop, "I is thinkin ter see me kingdom, mindin me ahn kingy business an t'ere yer is!"
Suspicion deepens, flashing into outrage. "MINE!" Oliver rumbles, clenching his fists, and jutting his chin forward. "Dark thing gives it to OLLIE! Says, Ollie guard bridge. Don' let nobody cross. Eats 'em all!" He takes a belligerant step forward, and squints his beady eyes. "MY bridge, MY cave. Yer is /stealin'/!"
"I IS W'AT?!" Basil practically roars now, eyes bulging, foam starting to seep from the corners of his lips, "I aint stealin nuttink! Yer snivellin weasel! W'oose yer ter speak ter a king like dat?! I says yer the t'ief! No black t'ings 'round ter be 'andin aht bridges as presents!"
The smaller troll glares back, fury over-riding anything like common sense that he may ever had possessed. "IS NOT!" he bellows. "YER is thievin'!" The incessent repetitions from Basil seem to drive him mad, for he gives up on words and shrieks: a wordless infuriated howl; and leaning forward, he tucks his head and charges. "GERRRROOOFFFFFFF!!"
Basil probably has not been king for too long, not used to this form of insolence of supposedly LOYAL subjects! And so nothing in the wonderful world of the Troll Shaws could have prepared him for this sneaky assault, aimed to overthrow his dignity, authority, and... himself! With a blind thought the Olog throws his arms forward to shield himself against the stampeding Oliver. But the bridge is too small to dodge the attack. Although he is bigger than the other, Basil wobbles on his feet when Ollie rams into him. He falls, landing ungraciously on his behind. Uttering a string of swears, the only other form of offensive tactics come in form of a right foot which makes a wild sweep towards the other troll's legs.
Alas for momentum. Oliver's thundering charge checks as he crashes into Basil, but the smaller troll is only deflected, not halted. The din of his pounding feet recede into the distance; it is mid-span before he manages to stop himself and turn around. Stopping to see if he had succeeded would be the smart thing to do here... so Oliver, of course, simply starts running again, head lowered for use as a battering ram.
Meanwhile King Basil is able to gather what is left of his regal dignity and makes a desperate plea to his wits. His eyes seek and find Oliver, and they widen as they spy the danger. His brain succeeds, if barely, to have Basil realize he is at a disadvantage lying on his backside on a small bridge with on two ends water. As trolls are not particularly known for taking baths, the Olog's reluctance to have one now is understandable. His opponent leaves him no time to stand up and properly fight and defend, so Basil must improvise... With a loud battle roar (something close to: OEEEWAAAARRRTAAAAAKAAAA!) he goes on the counter-offensive, starting his impersonation of a rolling barrel. Over and over he tumbles, picking up some speed.
Oliver, in his turn, apparently hasn't yet realized how difficult it can be to head-butt someone who is sitting on the ground. Or rolling, as the case may be. He gains speed and steam, charging blindly towards his foe. The ear-assaulting clamor of two trolls, both screeching at the top of their lungs; the pounding of mighty feet; the clatter of stony skin against an ancient bridge... they are joined by the earth-shattering sound of Oliver slamming onto the floor of the bridge as he trips over an unforeseen menace.
Succeeding in tackling his foe (be it one way or the other) King Basil lets out a cry; it starts as vibrant euphoric, transforming rapidly in a high-pitched scream of terror! The collision with Ollie has spun Basil the barrel off course! Where he was crossing the bridge in a straight line at first, he now finds himself closing in on the right edge! "I CAN NAY STOP AN SWIM!!!" he yelps, but his fate is inevitable. And with a loud SPLASH at least one troll's temper is forcefully cooled down.
There is silence. Then Oliver pushes himself dazedly up, and peers blearily along the now-empty span of the bridge. He blinks, uncrossing his eyes. Nope. Still no one in sight. Hah. The interloper has been vanquished! Triumphant, Oliver wobbles towards shore.
All is not so well in the river. Frantically Basil flaps with his massive arms to stay afloat, and miraculously the Olog does not sink. Comprehension slowly, very slowly dawns on the king and with a blink of his eyes he suddenly stops flapping. His head sticks out of the water, the river is not deep enough here to drown a troll of Basil's size. A small fountain sprays from the Troll-King's lips. Dumb-founded his hands reach for the bridge, as he attempts to pull himself out of the water.
A small sound reaches Oliver's ringing ears. He pauses, then peers over the edge of the bridge. There is a troll-head in the water. Oliver pats his own head gently, squeezes his eyes closed, then looks again. "What is yer doin' down there?" he asks confusedly. "'As yer lost yerselfs?"
His senses dulled by the cold water, Basil looks up to Ollie and nods, his chin breaking the surface of the water, "Oy! I fell in 'ere! Dun like it much! Can yer 'elp me aht right quick! Me ears is gettin wet!" not entirely freed of his panic the troll clings to the edge of the bridge for dear life.
Ollie shakes his head gravely, winces and stops. "Dat's bad," he agrees. ""Ere, yer should go off that a-ways." He leans over a bit, and points to Basil's left.
Basil has little choice other then doing what Ollie says, no matter how discomforting the thought and it probably helps that he is a troll himself. He moves to the left not entirely sure what he is supposed to do there, "Den w'at?! I can feel dat water drippin from me nose!" he warns, "An som'tin is a-ticklin at me feet!"
The sound of harsh voices and violent splashing drives away many creatures of the dark forest. But it also attracts some. Lurking from the east comes a small shadow of evil intent. The slight clink of chain against chain echos softly through the air as a tall orc slips from the edge of the trees. His stick poking into the ground as he hobbles forward. Then he sits close enough to see the scene and lets out a laugh, "AHrarharhar! Whatcha doin'? Fishin?" he calls out, feeling safe enough from this distance.
The other troll shuffles eastwards. "Keep goin'!" he urges. "See, yer is close on ter that there rock bit. Yer can grabs at it!" A convulsive shudder racks his massive frame. Water! Dripping from his NOSE. He wipes his own face carefully, just in case, and then curiosity takes over. "Wha's it like? Is it nasty and ... fishes? Has yer got a fishes? Gimme some!"
Waddling onward by Ollie's instructions, Basil makes difficult noises. He sputters, splutters, snorts, heaves great and deep breaths, blows water into all directions and makes uncontrolled gestures with his arms. No, trolls were definitely not bred to thrive in water. "It's wet! Wot else!" grunts the kingly troll, but the mention of fish does brighten his mood a little. "Lemme check!" he shouts to Oliver, and oh so carefully (and reluctantly) he sticks one arm under water, reaching for his toes. "I fink I gots sum'tin.... keeps wrigglin... mebbe we needs bait ter get more fis'es!" he suggests casting a furtive look at the laughing orc.
The orc may not be the smartest creature in the world, but it is immensely more brilliant than a dim troll. So Cadi'lagz sees the look of the bathing troll and spits onto the ground, "Yer don't catch fish that way. Yer use a spear! And yer don't thrash about like some fat fool!"
The orc, whose snide comment has wound its way into Oliver's conversation, now becomes the object of the troll's attention. "More fishes," Oliver agrees and starts to waddle towards Cadi'lagz. "I gets 'im," he assures Basil. "We gets LOTS of fishes." Utterly and sublimely ignoring the orc's babbling voice, he trundles off the end of the bridge onto dry ground.
"Ar'right!" Basil mumbles, but his attention is elsewhere, namely in the river. His groping fingers get hold of something... with a gleam in his eyes he pulls up his hand and presents a flabbergasted fish, "I GOTS UN!" Overjoyed with the prospect of more fish, the troll reaches for the rock Ollie pointed out to him. Reaching firmer soil walking becomes easier and Basil's mighty torso emerges from the river.
"O! An me says yer can 'ave yer bridge an dat side of the land!" the Olog shouts at Ollie, "I dun needs it ennymore. I gots me enuff ter do t'ere." With his free hand he gestures to the west.
The orc stars backing up, raising his stick and pointing it at the troll, "Back to the bridge! Yer breakin' yer job! Yer can't leave the bridge! Get back!" he says rapidly, spittle flying from his mouth as his tongue occasionally loses control. Then, seeing the troll has a fish, he points to the troll in the water, "He's gonna eat the fish! He's got a fish! Bait is a trick to you!"
Ollie 's feet slow. He peers over his shoulder, the wariness almost perfunctory these days, then speeds up again. "I is stopping you," he points out with a toothy grin. Contemptuously, he adds, "O' course he gots a fish, yer the one what said so. An' we's getting MORE fish." With an avaricious gleam in his eye, he heads towards the orc.
Happy for the moment with his current catch, Basil gets out of the horrible clean water. With his behind firmly on the eastern shore he watches the exchange between Ollie and the orc. "Oy! We shares fis'es ter set the promise! Yer gets dis side an I gets the ot'er!"
Cadi'lagz has seen Trolls run before, and they run fast, but there is always a trick or two up his sleeve, or lack of sleeves. He reaches for his belt and pulls out a very shiny piece of metal, it's flat and looks like a coin. He flicks it from his thumb toward the troll, "Catch! It's a curse!" and he turns and runs away from the Troll, leaving the coin flipping in the air toward Ollie.
Something glitters in the faint light, and Oliver halts to watch it. It spins, dips and, hitting the ground, bounces and rolls downhill. Towards the water. Alarmed, suddenly, the troll scurries after this possible treasure, snatching it up just before it hits the river. He holds it up close to one eye and then ducks into the darkness under the bridge. "I be's back..." his voice echoes out.
And so everyone goes his way. This includes Basil who stands up, fish still firmly clutched, "Time ter return to me kingdem!" and humming a false loud tune he crosses the bridge to disappear westwards, heading towards the weatherhills.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.