Author’s Note: Welcome to the start of NaNo 2011! If you missed my earlier post on the matter, this is my first time doing NaNo, and I’m going to be posting my progress on the story as I go along. The important thing to remember is that I don’t actually know how the story is going to end. I barely even figured out how it would start. My plan it to put a bunch of characters in an uncomfortable situation, and see how it unfolds.
That being said, I can’t guarantee that the story will have a happy ending, because I honestly don’t know. I’m not going to intentionally give it an unhappy ending, but many of my stories tend to, at the very least, be bittersweet. So, consider this your fair warning, and don’t get upset at me if everything goes south! I will also attempt to avoid profanity and graphic descriptions of sex and violence, because I don’t like reading about that either — but I won’t not write it if I think it becomes necessary for the story. I will post warnings for any posts that contain such material.
And that’s enough boring introductory rubbish from me. Happy reading!
Chapter 1 – Percival
“GRAORRGGHH!!” Percival the Troll let out an angry roar as the bright sun peeked over the tops of the Cedarbrook Mountains. Percival was angry. Of course, this wasn’t particularly unusual for a troll, especially not Percival. There were all kinds of good reasons for him to be angry, first and foremost among them the fact that the sun was up. However, what was unusual about this particular fit of rage is that Percival couldn’t remember why he was angry. He didn’t remember that late last night (about an hour after midnight, to be precise), a tall, swarthy man with three surly-looking prisoners in tow had woken him up rather rudely (“Percival, you stupid oaf, get up and open this gate before I climb over the wall and get you up myself!”). He didn’t remember the detailed instructions that the man had given him with regards to this particular set of prisoners (“Lock them up and make sure they stay that way!”), and he certainly didn’t remember the twisted gold choker around the neck of one of the prisoners that indicated a position of great importance in the kingdom. But no matter. Percival was content at this moment in the morning to just be angry, without remembering exactly why.
In point of fact, Percival was a bit of an oddity when it came to trolls. Despite the fact that Percival lived at Castle Whitefell, Percival was not actually a Castle Troll. He was a Dungeon Troll, which does a lot to explain his severe lack of intelligence when compared to his Castle Troll brethren (it goes without saying that Castle Trolls themselves are not the brightest torches in the hall, either, so Percival could perhaps be forgiven for his unfortunate inability to remember the cause for his anger this morning). Percival came to Whitefall when he was ten years old, two years after he was rescued during the Great Troll Hunt of 482 by the daughter of the previous White King, who insisted that Percival was “the most adorable thing ever” and “can’t we please take him home, Daddy, please, please please?” It was clear from this moment forward that the Princess did not have the best taste in the world, and so it is fortunate that she was the White King’s second daughter, and thus that the poor sap who eventually became her husband would not inherit the kingdom.
In any event, the Princess quickly tired of Percival as a play-thing, but insisted that he be kept alive, much to the chagrin of her father. So Percival was shunted around the White King’s slave offices for two years before he was finally transitioned to Castle Whitefall, where he was placed in charge of the dungeons. It was thought (not entirely incorrectly) that even though he was living in a castle, he would be most useful in an environment that simulated somewhat closely his natural habitat. And so, for the past fifty-four years, Percival has been the Chief Jailer and Dungeon Troll of Castle Whitefall.
Percival let out another angry roar and climbed down from the pile of rocks that served as his bed. Since no prisoners had ever actually been incarcerated at Whitefall during Percival’s tenure, he had been given a number of other relatively brainless responsibilities, and it was these responsibilities at which he began to labor this crisp fall day. He trundled down to the pigsty with a large bucket of slop, making sure to pat each pig on the head with an endearing “Good piggy” before leaving. He carried the Duke’s chamberpot up to the castle walls and emptied its contents over the side, looking with fear and loathing at the vast outdoor space that surrounded Castle Whitefall before tromping back down to the ground, scaring a few of the guards with his hideous facial expressions on the way. He was in the process of shoveling cow dung into the manure cart, where it would be taken down to be used as fertilizer for the hundreds of acres of (officially-sanctioned) fields of Tao weed, when he was interrupted by a muffled noise coming from the dungeons. Puzzled, Percival set down his shovel and walked cautiously over to the stairs leading down to the jail cells. As he got closer, he recognized the sound as someone shouting. As he took a curious step or two down the stairs, an insolent but quite distinct shout echoed up at him: “Oy! Could we get some breakfast down here? There’s three of us, we ain’t slept a wink, and alls we’ve had to eat since yestermorn is some old maggoty waybread!”
And all of a sudden Percival remembered why he was angry.