Thu, November 22, 2007
The fog of the morning burned away with the noon sun, and the gentle surprise was how warm it got. Out into the Wood I went, to run among the trees. I was not five minutes under the deep canopy when I realized it was warmer than I thought, so I stripped down to my tank top and let the delicious air sluice over my skin like water. This warmth made me so happy I was fleet of foot, running toes out with high steps. Lovely.
Throughout the Wood there are several footbridges. The Wood, on the whole, is very loved and well cared for, somewhat mysteriously. All of the bridges are clean, whole, and sturdy... all except for one, that is.
Thump! Thump! Thump! Over the first bridge I go, the surety of feet over water, my steps careless. Up the bank I fly, never looking back. These bridges are something, though; the streams in this place are nestled deep in gullies, so that the paths rush down at the bridge and back up with some pretty hearty inclines- so I am always flying down, arms out, and flying back up on my toes.
Through the Wood I go, over rocks and logs, slaloming from bank to bank on some of the river-carved paths. I passed on the edge of the Wood by a field, and came to the not-so-nice bridge. In fact- I use the word 'bridge' rather loosely here; several broken down palates, carelessly tossed there at some point to ward away the mud that collected there. Yes- it was not even a stream to note, just a place where water sometimes collected in stagnant pools and made the traveller inconvenienced for having to scramble over broken boards, slippery boulders and loose rocks. My strategy is to land square on the most whole of the wood, then onto the nearest boulder, and try to clear the whole mess in two strides.
I landed neatly on the palate, which made a distinct sucking sound from yesterday's melted snow. Off I sprang, onto a boul---
--and splat, right onto my ass, half in the mud and half in the bushes.
That was a rock that yelled at me, it was. No, it's (holy shit) moving, WTF???
The rock turned around, slowly, and glared at me. Not a rock. A troll (?). A rather small, but angry troll.
(Dunyan was not pleasant, as trolls go (and trolls are not known for their friendliness or hospitality, in general.) He'd spent his long life in the Wood, dealing with the fact that he was too small to have any of the real bridges- those all were taken by his bretheren. The others of his kind took every opportunity to remind him of his small stature; either by beating the crap out of him, or taunting him and his rat trap 'bridge' at every opportunity.
And now this. Some big cow clod of a girl, jumping on his head as if he didn't have enough of a headache. She sat there blinking at him, and he wanted to laugh, except that he was pissed beyond words.)
I started to pick myself out of the mud, unsure whether or not I should be afraid of the thing. Troll? Gnome? I though trolls were bigger.
"I'm sorry I stomped on you. I didn't see you. You, ah, blend in." He did; his hat and overcoat were the color of, well, mud; and he and the clothing were misshapen so as to look like- rocks. Yes, rocks. Muddy rocks.
"Sorry, eh? Yeah you and everyone else. You know, this ain't your woods; ain't mine neither but this IS my bridge and you ain't gotta be steppin on it, or me! I's just tryin to live, do my job here takin care of my bridge, and you an everyone else in this stinkin Wood always steppin all over me. People, dogs (don't get me started on dog shit, neither!), hell even the damn coons! No respet, none at all."
I just stared at him. Whatever I expected from my first encounter with a (troll? Gnome?) I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant, but certainly not a tirade like this.
"Yes, well, Mr.- uh, what is your name?"
"Dunyan. And before you ask I'm NOT a gnome, those simpering little garden farts."
"Right, I knew you were a troll. Had to be. Anyway, really, I am sorry."