4. Sheep Stealers!
It is dark, yes because it is no longer day! Therefore no foul sun to force her fiery nose into matters she has no remote right to know!
Secure by this knowledge no doubt a big form nestles itself in and through the cosy veil of night. Such finely crude features can only mean one thing - one of the wonderful Olog has decided to grace the world with its presence! Indeed it is Basil who walks about, mace firm in the one hand, while he drags a tree behind him with the other. His path is uncertain as he seems to walk from out of the northern hills towards the south - yet his feet waver east and west as if not entirely convinced what path they seek!
Beady black eyes watch this procession with great and lazy interest; but at last Oliver bestirs himself. "Whatcher got there?" he asks. "Saahl? Ollie gots lots."
As if stung by a most foul thing, Basil's head jerks up. His eyes grow big and wide - if not innocent, somehow that part does not befit a troll proper - and the really sharp observer may have seen the teensy small leap the behemoth makes. Yet none of this stands when Basil spots the source of his blatant discomfort. "Gaaah! Yer is spookin me. Stop dat or I gives yer a thumpin!" grumbles the bigger troll. Then his eyes dart towards the tree in his hand, he almost sulks, "Dis... be a tree. I thinks 'bout ter eats it. I cannay find me better nosh. Sum fattie been eatin it all, I figgers yer no king ennymores 'ere?!" rather quickly Basil throws down the tree and himself, landing with a light tremor of the ground.
A light gleams in Oliver's eyes and he stares at the tree trunk thoughtfully. "Is it tasty?" he asks hopefully, shoving himself a little more upright from where he reclines. "Feeds it saahl?" But the higher culinary matters of tree-cookery are obliterated by the horrible news Basil brings. "Oo's eatin' Ollie's food?!" the smaller troll roars, sitting bolt upright in shock and fury.
Ill news, not fun to spread, so it falls Basil heavy to share. He slumps his shoulders, for a lack of food is serious indeed, "Dunnos, e's big. I 'as not seen 'im meself. I tells yer, in the distance I sees an the bones 'bout. Been lookin an searchin fer juicy meatsies... nuttink! Me old home..." the troll would sob if he could that much is clear, "Yer woods aint dat fun ennymores! But yer the king!" something dawns, "Yer gotsa makes it right! Yer kingdem!"
Basil holds up the tree, a slightly bruised pine, not really tasty by the looks of all those green needles, "I can not be a-eatin dis!" he whimpers, and a light tone of distress shimmers through, "It aint right!"
Oliver is greatly stirred by these terrible tidings. So much so that he huffs himself around until he can get to his feet, snatching up a broken branch as he does so, and glares about the dark woods as if the intruder might be right there to hand. "Where's 'e at?" he shouts, "Bring 'im on! Eatin' Ollie's food. SHEEPS!"
Lost in his own gloomy thoughts and prospect, the huffing Ollie is not something Basil expects. So he almost - almost - falls over, tumbling backwards. He is quick to scramble to his feet now! "YUS!" he roars, not quite
grasping the situation, but that has never stopped a troll before, "SHEEP EATER! We gets yer good! Get aht of Oulie's kingdem!" like a full-fledged madman, the bigger troll whirls his mace above his head, eyes looking frantically for the big bad Sheep Eater.
It is like a juggernaut. Two trolls, a conversation that piles on top of itself into incoherency, and an unfortunate breeze that shifts a tree at just that moment. "THERE!" Oliver howls, eyes bugging nearly out of his head as he spies the movement. He points with his club and leans forward to get some momentum up for chasing.
"FILTHY BLEEDIN SNIFFERIN SNIVELLER!" shouts Basil, and instead of doing like Ollie, he charges straight ahead, "GRUBBY 'ANDS OF DAT FOOD! AINT YERS YER KNOW!" with vigor the troll makes his way to the shifted tree, his eyes not clouded by the dark of night, yet by the rage of mind!
Basil is getting there first! This cannot be! Oliver's feet dig into the soft mulch of the forest floor as he thunders forward. "I'S GETTIN' 'IM," he shrieks. "YER GETS OUTTER TH' WAY, I'S GETTIN' HIM!"
Basil skids and stops to look back at Olliver, "ARRIGHT BUT ONLY CUZ YERS THE KING! GET 'M DEN!!!"
A smug expression descends across Oliver's face, and he smashes through the undergrowth past Basil, heaving his club over his head and bringing it down on the offensive tree with a resounding crash. And again! And again! Splinters and sawdust spray into the air as the main part of the trunk is pounded into the dirt.
The noise of battle is like honey to a troll - sweet! Basil rushes after Ollie, mace first, and joins the fray with a roar! The tree gets a solid beating now ...
Fury changes to glee, as Oliver pounds. And finally he stops, leaning on his club (battered, splintered, broken...) and panting. "We gots 'im," he decides, looking at the decimation they have wreaked on an innocent fir. "'E's good 'n squashed, 'e is. Won't be eatin' no more sheeps, now!"
Basil nods fervently, "Good un! No one's messin with the Kings!" his gloomy mood seems perfectly over as he swings his mace across his shoulder and saunters back to the north, "Now 'e's gone I is gonna find me sum proper food!" he announces, "Gotter 'urry!" Not waiting for Ollie to make up his mind Basil makes a run for it, pounding at a steady pace into the night.
Yellow, venomous eyes gleam from the edge of the black, tree-infested forest, watching the 'fight' and Basil's departure, filling the void of the darkness with the presence of a local uruk. Leaping out from the undergrowth, the creature crawls warily towards the remaining troll. One eyebrow raised curiously, and the other philosophically lowered, he looks up at Ollie. "What was that all about?"
"I squashed 'im good," Oliver replies with great satisfaction. He surveys the wreckage proudly. "Won't steal no more of Ollie's sheeps." A thought turns his great head towards the orc and he eyes it suspiciously. "Yer isn't stealin' me foods, is yer?" he rumbles, leaning forward and sniffing loudly.
Hands raised, palms facing Ollie, the orc takes a steps back a couple of feet. Eyeing the splintered remains of an unfortunate tree who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ruk'Khaz gulps. "No, no, I wouldn't dare, I wouldn't..." Shifting the balance of his arched eyebrows from one to the other, in accordance with new thoughts sieving through his skull. "But I know who does, yes, I do..." A mischivous smile spreads across his blood-stained lips...
Luckily for the orc, Oliver doesn't smell any fresh meat anywhere about his person. He settles back, wriggling his back comfortably against a large tree trunk, and then his eyes narrow. "Yer does?" His flat face swings around, peering through the darkness in search of the miscreant. "Oo??"
Gleaming with pride, the mercenary taps his fingers, overwhelmed by his genius. "Why, yes I do... there's this band of gobbers, bad critters, about my height..." Pausing for a split-second, he coughs, and continues. "I mean... a little shorter, and not as impressive as me... but you get my point. I's seen them hangin' out by yer cattle. Lickin' their lips 'n all that. Yeeeessss... very suspicious..."
Oliver listens closely, leaning farther and farther forward with each word, his head nodding up and down. "'Bout yer ... wha's hite?" he asks, interrupted in following the description of the thieves. "Is it tasty?" He licks his own lips, and swallows noisily. "Good with saahl?"
Fighting desperately to keep a straight face, Ruk'Khaz steps onto his toes and whispers directly into one of the troll's ears. "Very tasty. Fresh off the pan, spiced with... saahl... nice, yes, yes, it is... and, uh, hite's 'e number o' squirls one is, y'know, like... upwards..." Spanning his arms vertically, the uruk attempts to explain this abstract concept of the second dimension.
"Saahl," Oliver says, a blissful smile spreading across his craggy, unlovely face. A ribbon of drool hangs from fat lips. "Pans..." He gives himself over to daydreams of Something Unnamed cooked to rotten perfection and seasoned with salt; when the orc's odd gestures catch his attention. For a minute, he watches, puzzled. "Yer is sick?" he asks then, a gleam of hope entering his beady eyes.
The uruk's smile fades, and joy turns to fear as Ollie's hungry eyes inspect his meaty bones. "Well no, I's not... or actually, yes, I is... but if you's eats me, you's get sick too, and die... and then..." He pauses, and claps his hands together with a loud, shocking thump: "No more sheeps..!"
"Sick," Oliver repeats, reaching out a fore-finger to poke at the orc's stomach. "Yer is..." He startles backward at the abrupt slapping sound, banging his head against the tree behind him. "OW!" Grumpily rubbing one hand over his skull, he returns his attention to more important matters. "Where is sheep stealers?" the troll demands. "Where is sheeps?"
Looking eastwards, Ruk'Khaz says, "Not now... 'e sun's comin', you's and me's better getting outta here... but soon, troll, soon... you's getting your... sheep-stealers!" Cackling, the orc steps back and turns away, walking towards the sanctuary of the dark forest.
This is a warning that no troll would ever ignore, not even for food. Oliver drops his hand and stares skyward nervously. And then, without another word, he shoves himself upright and makes a beeline for the nearest cave. Sheep and their thieves will have to wait until another night.
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.