An Adventure Recorded
An Extract from Hrothgar's Saga:
A short while later Darrach came to Hrothgar and informed him that he had heard there were trolls nearby and requested that he be allowed to take a band of warriors to hunt down the creatures. Hrothgar said he could but that he had better be successful this time. Darrach called to his side Jarl Lief Tyrsson, Boon the Hun, Halfdan Armbreaker, Andor the Magyar, Jarl Gunnar, Jarl Steinkel Lennardsonand Knut Guthrothrsson.
Destruction of Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick
The brave troll hunters set out from the camp of the Host and after a short journey they came upon a village, they decided that they should see if the villagers knew of any trolls there about. On entering the village they were met by some well set up fellows who asked their business in Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick and who then agreed to take Darrach and his men to their headman. Darrach asked the headman about trolls but there was some confusion as the headman could not understand Darrach's speech and grew angry until he refused to talk to Darrach. Gunnar then took over the negotiations and the headman said he would send them to a volve who lived nearby and may know of such things as trolls provided he was paid. Gunnar flew into a rage and ordered the men of the village put to the sword! Boon the Hun struck the first blow by shooting down a stout fellow standing beside the headman. Swiftly the troll hunters cut down every man they could find until Darrach, who had been sulking, realised what was happening and put a stop to the killing in time to save the headman. At this an old crone came up and offered to lead the troll hunters onto the road they must take to find the volve. Darrach decided he had better lead his desperate band from the village before any more were killed and accepted the old crone's help. When they were a short distance from Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick they looked back and saw that the place was aflame and the women and children were fleeing into the countryside with what few pathetic possessions they were able to rescue from the flames, the headman stood on the road looking after the brave and noble band.
Turning away from the destruction they had wrought the troll hunters followed the road as indicated by the old crone until they came upon a shepherd sat upon a fallen tree. They greeted him cordially them Andor the Magyar rushed up and held a knife to the shepherds throat, Darrach quickly ordered Andor to leave the shepherd unharmed. They then questioned the man, his name was Ned, and asked if he knew the whereabouts of the volve, he said he did and that she liked flowers as a gift. After a while they persuaded Ned the shepherd to show them where the volve lived, he led them to the foot of a steep hill and pointed to an ancient oak at its summit saying that was where she was to be found. Now six of these warriors had seen a great many summers pass and grew very weary if the climb, only two, Andor the Magyar and Knut Guthrothrssonwere young men with the flush of youth still upon them. Having climbed half way up the hill they grew tired and stopped the rest, then they shouted up the hill to the volve calling her to come down, she refused and suggested they were weak and cowardly. It was decided amongst the brave band that the two youths should go up to speak with the volve while the old warriors rested and awaited their return. Then Knut Guthrothrsson said that while he was happy to climb the hill he knew little of lore and suggested that Gunnar, as the Lore Master among them, should also climb the hill, the two youths could help him if he grew tired. Spurred by the call to duty and the implied slight to his strength Gunnar accompanied the youths up the hill.
On reaching the oak tree they met the volve, she wore a red dress and her hair was twined with twigs, leaves and flowers. She greeted the three warmly and offered them drink and fruit as reward for completing the arduous climb. They talked for some time and Gunnar told the volve that they were seeking trolls that they had heard were here about. The volve agreed that there were indeed trolls in the woods to the east and that they were in the thrall of Thrym the Frost Giant and that they could be found if the hunters followed the sign if the father, mother and son. More she would not say and Gunnar had to puzzle long and hard to decipher her meaning. Before the three descended the volve gave Knut Guthrothrssona stone and told him to give it to the noisy one, by this she meant Lief who had been shouting up the hill the whole time, she said it would restore his courage.
Once Gunnar, Knut Guthrothrsson and Andor the Magyarreturned and told their story the troll hunters set of east. They followed a road in that direction until they saw a man running towards them, this man was scarred and calling for help. It seemed he was with a group of travellers who had been attacked by bandits, the troll hunters could see that the bandits blocked their rout so decided they would attack them and strode boldly forward. Except Steinkel Lennardsonthat is, he was bold enough but his years were holding him back many paces from his fellows. The rest of the troll hunters drove into the bandits they could see and quickly forced them back killing several, those that tried to flee were shot down by Boon the Hun. Just then some bandits that had been hiding leapt out to attack the brave band in the rear, it was now that Stainkel arrived and in turn attacked these bandits in their rear! Halfdan Armbreaker turned and with mighty blows chopped the arms of one of the bandits. Having dealt with the bandits they found that they had rescued four women, a young maiden called Becca Swoonworthy, her matronly guardian Alorna Tanglehair and their two maid servants Dorothy and Dotty. The young Becca Swoonworthy was in a swoon and seemed to adopt that state as soon as she got excited, she also found the older members of the troll hunting band strangely attractive, only those men who might soon leave her a widow appealed to her! The matron Alorna Tanglehair was very insistent that the rescuers should protect them and take them the safety. Not wishing to be distracted from their task and seeing that these were noble women who couldn't be killed or abandoned without consequence they decided to take the women along with them on their quest.
Mad Dog Friar John
They had not travelled much further before they came upon a friar, as soon as the friar saw them he barked and rushed up to them and threw a stick to the ground at their feet, "Throw stick, throw stick" he said. The band were confused but Lief picked up the stick and threw it, the friar ran after the stick and retrieved it, he threw it at their feet again. Gunnar shouted at the friar who then calmed down, he told them he was Friar John of the order of St Maddog and that he had been lost in the woods for a long time. Every now and again they had to throw the friars stick for him to fetch or he would not answer their questions. Then the friar saw the matron Alorna Tanglehair, he rushed up to her and like a dog mounted her leg! The matron screamed and the maiden Becca Swoonworthy swooned, the maids, Dorothy and Dotty, tried to slap the friar but only the command "Down boy!" would get Friar John to desist. With more stick throwing, attempted leg mounting and dog like micturition they eventually learnt that Friar John could smell out the location of the trolls, so they added the friar to their band and continued their journey.
As they continued their journey Stenkel again fell behind, he was heard saying to himself that if he was running things there would be someone in hiding in the woods to attack them from behind so that's why he hung back! As a consequence of this he was the first to be trampled underfoot by the hoard of dwarfs that burst out of hiding from behind them. There were a great many dwarfs and they just ran over the troll hunters striking them as they did. Every one of the troll hunters was knocked senseless but the dwarfs did not harm the women or the friar who now tended their wounds, all except the maiden Becca Swoonworthy that is, she had swooned away again. Dazed and battered they continued their search.
After a long while they came upon a tree that had fallen across the road, as they went round it they were stopped by a strange creature dressed in rags that seemed half man and half woman and was incredibly ugly, as soon as the maiden Becca Swoonworthy saw it she swooned away. Sometimes this creature spoke with a man's voice, at other times a woman's voice. The man seemed angry that the troll hunters were there and ordered them away, the woman spoke as if she were held captive and begged to be freed, man and woman argued and fought with one another as well as begging or berating the troll hunters. The woman said her beauty slept within the man and again begged to be free, Lief said he thought that a kiss would free the woman but refused to kiss the creature as it was hideous with bits of flesh falling from it. Then Darrach boldly took up the challenge and kissed the creature on the lips as it was speaking with its woman's voice, it collapsed to the ground and told them to follow the signs of the father, mother and son and with the last of its strength pointed to the first sign. Here Friar John tried to leave the troll hunters but not before offering to reward them, Darrach said the only reward he required was for the Friar John to look after the women!
The Holy Spear of Ruddlan Found
The doughty band of troll hunters followed the signs and came upon the spawn of trolls known as trollets, these are vicious creatures and can be dangerous but are much easier to kill than full grown trolls. The hunters set too and began felling the monsters with savage thrusts of their spears until all but one was dead. The women followed behind with just the Friar John for protection and each time they came across the body of a trollet the maiden Becca Swoonworthy swooned. Gunnar and Halfdan Armbreaker were in the thick of the fight and alone killed most of the trollets. The last of the troll spawn fled before the slayers and they made haste to pursue it, quickly the creature left behind the old slayers, only Andor the Magyarand Knut Guthrothrsson could keep up, they were able to report to the others that the trollet had run to its sire and dam and that there was a third large troll with them. While pursuing the trollet Lief Tyrsson fell into a ditch and had to be helped out. As soon as all the troll hunters were assembled at the troll lair they attacked, the fight was hard as the trolls were as big as large men but very fast and nimble, they could only be hurt by spears driven hard into them. Leif and Steinkel Lennardson were wounded in the fight but the troll hunters were successful. When they searched the lair they discovered that the trolls had both parts of the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan and had joined them together, there were signs of frost damage to the plants around the spear but this did not interest them much as they were overjoyed to have recovered the holy relic. Friar John praised the Lord for their success.
They then returned to the camp of the Host, the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan was such a mighty weapon that two of them had to carry it between them. On reaching the camp they found that it was almost empty, Hrothgar told them that there was a mighty wind brewing in the east and it was bringing a cold rain. A volve had come to the camp to warn the Host that the troll slayers had not killed what she called Frost Trolls in time, they had performed some magic taught them by Thrym and now a great storm was to descend on the woods of Huntlees. Hrothgar stayed to make sure all the Host got away safely until only he and Darrach remained, as Troll Slayer to Konungr Hrothgar Darrach said he would stay and see if any trolls came with the storm while Hrothgar set off after the Host.