After The Fall: EarthFall

Adventure Part 2

Beginning for Friday’s story.

Story part 2
Men and women armed with all manner of ragged weapons rush to the front buildings that offer a small screen of cover from the approaching trolls. The guard continues to ring the bell alerting the town to the incoming menace. Children are swept off streets, those unable to fight rush to back of the town and into whatever buildings that can house them.
The frantic pace slows as the defenders continue to check and recheck weapons while the trolls, still incredibly distant continue in their almost mechanical march towards the town.
As the sun climbs higher into the sky the heavy smell of sweat and nerves collect all around you. Ben Bobbin moves to your side and stands next to one of the faceless buildings that face the desert. Scattered metal railings are dragged out and efficiently block off the roadways that enter the town on both ends. Though they will most likely do very little good against the Trolls.
Far out into the distance you can see the tawny black and red skin of the revenger as it towers above the trolls. Chains connect it at the arms and neck to 3 handlers who juggle its control, keeping the blindfolded creature on pace with the trolls leading it.
The Revengers head is covered by a helmet of old car rims, one on its crown and a rim covering each side of its head. Even from this far away you can see the blindfold that covers its massive eyes. Along its shoulder appear to be an old steel beam. Either from an ancient building or some other massive construction.
“What the fuck do we have here Ben?” Marshall Wallace tromps up to the deputies side, barely coming up to the thin man’s chest. His bearing and the general feeling of threat that he exudes makes him look equal to the human. His black curly hair and beard and streaked with dust and sand.
“Looks like a 5 by 5 formation Marshall. Revenger in the back.”

Wallace spits onto the side of the building, pulls a large long cylinder from his side and holds it to his eye. “Aye. That’s what it is. Good eye Ben.” He looks at you both as you stand there.
Then he looks back to the Trolls. Then back at you.
“Ben, go get Grot from his mine.”
“Yes Marshall.” Ben runs off.
The dwarf says nothing to you, simply pretending as if you don’t exist. He pulls an old long cylinder handgun from the holder on his side and checks the chambers. The gun is massive and as he checks each bullet you can see that they are almost the size of a human’s index finger.
He sees you staring at the gun. “And old earth Paladin carried this. His name was Harry. Saw a pic of him once.” He clicks the cylinder back into the gun. “Ugly fucking human.” He adds muttering to himself.
A moment later Ben returns. Behind him, still wiping soot from his face, stands an 8 foot troll. His black and gray hair matted down with soot and sweat. he wears no shirt, but wears dirty brown breaches and massive boots. He bristles with troll muscle. His features are bulbous, brows as thick as a mans’ fist, eyes like palm size saucers filled with glittering gold and black flecked eyes, and a nose like an engorged sausage with deep black nostrils.
“Grot!” Marshall greets the troll.
The troll looks from the Marshal to you and then back to the Marshall. “I am not digging.” The troll says plainly.
The Marshall nods, “I will get you back to your mine. I need you to help us out Grot. We have some of your brothers on their way here. Can you talk to them?”
Grot looks out into the desert and then back to the Marshall. Thick black fingers folding over a belt around his waist he looks as if he is staring down a child.
“Came to fight.” Grot says matter of factly.
Marshall nods at that. “Rare though. We haven’t had problems with them in some time. I would rather not kill them all.”
Grot stares him down for a couple more seconds. “I need a new shovels.”
Marshall nods again, “I will make sure you get them.”
“And a pick. Short one. The tunnel is small. No room to swing. No…2 picks.”
“Wayland will get you what you need. On me.” The troll nods to Wayland who is standing behind a series of boxes and barrels he has piled up beside the building. The shopkeeper calls back over his cover, “Grot. Its yours!”
“I like horse.” Grot says to no one in particular.
Marshall shakes his head. “I told you. We need them for riding. Wayland has jerky.”
Grot thinks a moment, “Hard meat?”
“Yes just the way you like it. Lots of pepper.”
Grot nods. “Deal.” Without another word he walks past the Marshall easily steps over the barricades the town has put into place and begins to walk out into the desert.

10 minutes pass as the solitary troll and the phalanx make their way towards one another.
Out in the sands you see the phalanx come to a stop and the center of the troll group separate to let one of their members walk forward.
For many minutes Grot and the troll talk, occasionally gesturing back into the desert and towards the town. For a moment the conversation seems to be at an impasse. Then both trolls step forward slap one another on the shoulder and turn around.
In a few moments the troll phalanx is heading away from the town while Grot makes his way back. An almost tangible feeling of relief comes over the town but no one leaves the battlements yet.
Grot makes his way up the little incline and steps back over the battlements. The troll phalanx is almost no more than a dot in the distance now.
“So?” Marshall asks.
Grot points to you both. “Came for them. Says that these two killed a tribal brother.”
Marshall shoots you both a look of disgust, “How did you get them to leave.”
Grot smiles, yellow and dark skinned teeth flashing rarely, “They want help. There is a tooth and wing fortress 1 days walk to the north. They have killed all the trolls nearby. They want someone to destroy the fortress. If we don’t they will come back and take the town.”
Marshall thinks a moment, “How the hell does a Gargoyle kill a troll?”
Grot thinks on that a moment then looks up.
Marshall doesn’t understand and says as much.
Grot looks up again.
Only then does the Marshall smile in understanding. “Ah. You guys can’t look above you very well.”
Grot nods. “They drop us. We weight lots…fall fast.”
“How many?” Ben asks the troll.
Grot smiles again and slowly chuckles “Less than a phalanx.”

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Memoirs of an Ableman
"Damned if you do, dead if you don't"

Memoirs of an Ableman, “Mad” Ezra Bristle.

Day 1 (Not sure of the date, lost track many suns ago. Lets call it Tuesday)
After another mishap in the wasteland Victor and I find ourselves without any water. Our luck never seems to hold up anymore in this fucked up world. I am writing this now because death is getting closer by the minute and we wont be able to make it back to Pipes without a miracle.

I have to laugh at Victor because he is either insane or brilliant, only time will tell. Victor says he came up with a plan to get us some water and as absurd plans go this one is over the top. Victor says that trolls always keep water in abundance and he means for us to sneak into a troll encampment at night and steal their supply.

Grandfather Bristle always said “Damned if you do, dead if you don’t”, I suppose he meant that no matter what you do either way you are screwed.

Day 2
Victor proved me wrong again, I guess I owe him again, his plan worked flawlessly. We got enough water for today and tomorrow. It should be enough to make it home.

Damn it to hell, I thought those stupid trolls would not be able to track us down. I can see their dust trail getting closer. At least we managed to find a burned out scrapyard to hold up in and I think this is where we will make our stand against them. There is no way to make it to Pipes in time so we will just have to dig in and give them everything we have. Victor just gave me the thumbs up sign and for whatever reason I got chills running down my spine, again. He must have hatched another brilliant plan. Shit on me.

The fight was quick and deadly, albeit comical. I lay here nearly dead in a junkyard car being blasted by sand and wind and Victor is unscathed and sound asleep. That boy never seems to even get a sunburn. All I can say about the fight is that we used everything we had against them and I barely survived. At one point I remember being pinned under a car while Victor “thinned the herd”, as he calls it. He had a chance to leave me there and flee but he stayed, amazing to have at least one friend out here.

That just reminded me of another saying from Grandfather Bristle, “Only your real friends tell you when your face is dirty.”

Day 3
We finally made it back to town. Sold our salvage and cleaned our wounds, in that order. Heh, when did health take second place to salvage. I don’t remember it being like that when I was a kid. Wayland was kind on us again and gave us a fair price for the crap we had salvaged.

I had another run in with the town marshal, this so called lawman will bleed the town dry if he could. The marshal is as crooked as a Dorgals hind leg. This time it was my fault, I just can’t stop myself from telling that bastard off.

Teresa, proprietor of the Pipes inn, told us about a job. The town is willing to pay us to find out what is happening at the Freedorn farmstead, apparently the much needed produce shipment from the farm is late. We will have to talk to Wayland tomorrow.

Day 4
Off to the farmstead to find out why the shipment is late. We were told to head north to the “white rock” then turn toward the twisted tree and follow the path to the farm.

On the trail we ran across a few troll tracks, Victor and I agree that there might have been a troll revenger among this group, for the troll foot prints in soil were quite large.

Another strange site, we found a troll that looks to be squished flat, either stepped on or fallen from a great height. Very unusual.

Luck is with us today, we found an old vehicle that was uncovered by the sand storm. Inside we found some nice salvage that will have Wayland drooling. Maybe with all this potential cash Victor might actually want to spend some of it and get his clothes washed. Hard to hide from trolls with that smell. Maybe I should start calling him “Troll-bait”.

Arrival at the farm. I write these next sentences with care, whether to provide an accurate account of what transpired or to just give meaning to the chaos that is this world.

We arrived at the farm with relative ease and we were not greeted by anyone. Nell, the owner of the farm, is known to be a expert marksman and she usually greeted “guests” with a keen eye and uncanny aim. At a distance the farm appeared to be deserted.

Victor and I hesitantly approached the farm house and proceeded to search for clues. We entered the house we found poor old Nell. All I can say about her is at least she died in her own bed, but I would not choose to die that way. It appears she died from what I have termed as “Black Rot”, possibly just another sort of wasting disease brought on by this harsh climate.

We proceeded to search the farm and found it in good condition. The pigs were amazingly still alive and the greenhouse is intact. We also found the missing Dorgals, who were apparently still working the farm and did not have any knowledge about Nell’s death. One of the Dorgals was not so lucky though. The dead Dogal was shot and killed by someone, another mystery for us to solve. The other Dogals have no knowledge of what transpired, they just want to finish their work. They have been blindly following orders from their dead master since her death.

Victor spotted someone on horseback coming down the trail, we prepared for the encounter by telling the Dorgals to hide as we ran into the farm house. The man rode up to the house and tried to barter with us. He wanted to buy the Dorgals from us, disgusting. We instantly peg him as a poacher and are appalled that he skins Dorgals for profit. Guns are drawn, and a shoot out ensues.

In the end Victor and I are still standing as the stranger lays on the ground collecting flies.

I am again reminded of another saying from Old Grandfather Bristle. “Take what you need, use it to survive, die if you don’t.” The meaning is as clear as glass, its not stealing if they don’t have need for it anymore. We proceed to take anything of value.

Afterwards we helped bury the dead, Nell and the dead Dorgal are at peace now, and the stranger just fills another hole in the ground. Good riddance to his kind.

The day grows late so we decided to stay the night in the farmhouse. It is going to be a long and cold night.

Day 5
Victor must be a salvager at heart, he came up with an idea to make a drag sled and attach it to the strangers horse. We will pack the sled with fresh produce for the town and valuables from the farmhouse. Then make our way back to town.

The ride home was uncomfortable on the horse but the time flew by. Our first stop was at Wayland’s to collect our reward and to inform him about Nell. Wayland can see profit from a mile away. Wayland and the marshal are planning on sending a family out to the farm to take over for Nell, and also to provide the town with a food supply. Problem solved.

After settling up with Wayland and selling some of our salvage Victor and I now have enough profit to keep on living for a few more days. If we can get a few more jobs that pay well Victor might be able to start his own Armatist shop one day. As for me, well Grandfather’s legacy is looking more appealing every day…

I am startled out of a daydream by a loud ringing noise, I glance away from my journal to see Deputy Bill running through town. He stops for a instant and plainly says.. “Trolls are coming..” then he continues on running alerting everyone of the approaching danger. I clearly hear Victor say.. “Revenger…” and an image of the large foot prints snaps into my mind.

Shit on me……

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