Something Foul Afoot
 

Criden the Ranger

UP: Lake Superior

   

My greetings readers, let me take a moment to introduce myself. As ye may have noticed, if ye follow the normal happening of the paper, there continue to be many new faces about. I, in fact, am one of those and have been deployed to follow the newest breaking tale.

Twas late in the evening, and I had just arrived in the mountain city of Minoc, with the bustling miners and smiths still working hard at the forge. While I was inspecting a fine blade for sale, there was an… an odor. ‘Tis the only way to explain it. I returned the blade to the shopkeep, and headed towards the oddity. And when I reached the clearing in the center of town, I couldn’t help but gasp before I ducked behind a tree.

Two enormous trolls, one furred sable, one a dark rouge, stood watching the Town Hall of Minoc. Outside I could see a whole platoon of horses tied about, even hidden as I was, and could barely stand the overpowering smell. People ran in and out of the building, there was definitely something going on in there, yet I dared not move from my hiding spot to investigate, so struck with terror I was. They were awesome beasts to behold, a full head taller than any other troll I’d seen, and I’ve vanquished many in my day, just emanating power and strength, clutching enormous war maces in their battle-scarred hands, the spikes roughly filed to vicious barbed points.

Then, something else did draw my attention, movement upon the winds. Descending from the upper clouds were four great daemon-like creatures, creatures formed from the very substance of cold itself, glowing a blue that gave chills from only the sight. Without a word they burst through the doors of the building, ducking their great girth between the frames, and chaos broke out below. In mere moments, the great Fiends were departing, chased by angry warriors. Though I didst see them strike one down, and later witnessed the corpse of another, I did see two escape into the air, heading northwesterly into the clouds.

And terrifyingly the troll of midnight spoke, a raspy booming voice - and my knees trembled though I shame to admit it. Though my trollish is imperfect at best, I understood the bare gist of his commands. We go now. Follow. And then it descended further into trollic, and well beyond the limited comprehension I possess.

I watched them stride towards the milling mob outside the doors of the hall, and then saw more of a nightmare than I could imagine. A half-dozen trollic warriors, their brutish hulks pushing through the trees as if they were but twigs. In passing, I was seen, and with a single swipe of his paw, the least of the warrior trolls sent me swiftly into the deepest dark of unconsciousness.

By the time I awoke, there was naught left to see but the strewn corpses on the streets – corpses both of human, horse, and troll. I counted all warriors slain, but no sign of those that turned out to be Chieftains. My nights are still filled with terror-soaked dreams of Darkness and Revenge, should the names that I was told be correct. Regardless of the names, surely these two should give all of Britannia as much fear as they give this poor ranger.





From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online,
Sunday, December 19th, 2000