Land of the Trolls
By: Mark Kodama

I.

When Glump, King of the Trolls, ascended to the throne, he promised change. No longer would the trolls be fools to be used by all but would assume their rightful places at the head of the table. After all, only the trolls could drive away the dragons and save the kingdom of slavery and doom.

Hobbits were immediately purged from positions of power in government and in the military. King Glump thought hobbits were clever, sneaky people who had unfairly amassed wealth and power through their shrewd dealings. No one liked them anyways.

Next King Glump seized the possessions and wealth of the hobbits to be distributed among his friends and supporters. Life was a contest: winners win and losers lose. You need loyal friends and supporters to defeat those that stand in your way.

When a few of his supporters opposed his policies, he removed them from power. One thing Glump did not tolerate was dissent. He was a strong man. Right or wrong, he demanded respect.

Newspapers that disagreed with him were closed. Newspapers that supported the king were awarded large government contracts. “What is truth anyways,” King Glump confided to his closest advisers. “History is written by the winners. Truth is what those in power say it is.”

Glump fired his attorney general after he advised the king that his actions violated the Constitution and laws. The King was not about to tie his own hands with the words of the law. No one liked lawyers anyways.

And he had strong support among the trolls. His policies have spurred an economic miracle. Trolls were working again. Millions of dollars were spent on new armor, swords, crossbows, catapults and horses. Soldiers had to be clothed and fed so millions were spent on uniforms and food.

Not only did King Glump, create wealth for the nation but restored Trollean pride. Sure, his tactics could sometimes be a little rough but he was a practical smart man. He was willing to do what was necessary to succeed.

“To make an omlette, we must break a few eggs,” King Glump said in a speech to parliament.

#

Reichmann always knew he was destined for greatness. Others thought he was stupid and lazy but they were wrong. Reichmann lit a match and held underneath his hand, the yellow flame hungrily licking the palm of his hand before he snuffed out the match.

When his coworker asked what the trick was, Reichmann said there was no trick. “It is all about willpower. How far are you willing to go?”

Kaltenstein, a successful lawyer, was a boyhood friend. He recruited Reichmann to join the National Royal Party, a new political party that promised to restore the trolls preeminent place among the cave dwellers. For the first time in his life, Reichmann felt liked he belonged.

“The problem with the trolls,” Kaltenstein said “ is that we are weak and divided. We need to be more unified under a strong leader – a superman – a troll above the law, a troll who makes his own rules.

“Democracies are corrupt and weak,” Kaltenstein said. “Politicians try too hard to please the weak and unwashed. We need to encourage strength.”

Reichmann and his friends roamed the streets of the kingdom with sticks to silence critics of the regime.

At times, some of the trolls would get a little out of control. But every revolution need trolls of action – trolls who are willing to do anything necessary – to ensure success.

I#

Papi was the head of parliament. He did not particularly like King Glump: he was crude and rather unsophisticated. But Glump could be controlled and shaped. And he was popular among the trolls. Papi was not about to take on the people.

Every year, the dragons demanded seven youths and seven maidens to be sacrificed: intolerable. The Trollean military was being secretly built. The time would be soon when the trolls could refuse the dragons. Indeed, the dragons would be soon destroyed.

Once the confederacy of knights was reestablished, the trolls would be ready to launch our surprise attack. The seized possessions of the hobbits were used to finance the new suits of armor, weapons and horses.

Once the dragons were slain, Glump could be deposed and the old order restored. “Idealism is fine,” he confided with his friends. “But we must live in the real world.”

Glump attended the king’s speech. The king warned of the dangers from within and without the kingdom. Papi had to admit King Glump certainly knew how to rouse the people.

#

Dani was just an ordinary hobbit. She was neither particularly bright nor ambitious. She was not the kind of person that liked to stir up trouble. She just wanted to find a nice hobbit to marry and have his children. King Glump’s words were so extreme he could not possibly mean what he said. But when she met Ram at the secret gathering, he completely changed her life.

Ram was a knight until he was purged by King Glump. He urged the hobbits to fight back and not accept King Glump’s attacks upon them without a fight.

“We may not beat the Trolls but at least history will record that we resisted,” Ram said. “We must be courageous and powerful forces will come to our aid.”

II.

King Glump met with Field Marshall Betts to review the progress of the rebuilding of the military. Field Marshall Betts ringed his hands.

“Your majesty we cannot just attack the dragons without provocation,” King Glump. “They are seizing and eating our young people. Isn’t that enough?”

“We would be in violation of our treaty.”

“Can’t we provoke them?”

“What do you suggest?

“Anything. Think of something. You are the general.”

“I have sworn to uphold the constitution and law.”

“Rules are made to be broken.”

“I’ll think on it.”

“It is a matter of our survival. You are the Field Marshall. You must have backbone.”

#

Reichmann was put in charge with the relocation of the hobbits. Rich hobbits were allowed to emigrate from the cave if they were willing to surrender their possessions to the state. Poorer hobbits were moved to slave labor camps.

Skilled laborers were employed in industry making armor, weapons and uniforms. Unskilled laborers worked on farms. Those unable to work were killed. The country would be soon locked in a life and death struggle with the dragons. It could not support unproductive trolls.

Reichmann also arrested trolls who opposed King Glumps’ policies. They were nothing but disloyal trouble makers and hobbit lovers anyways.

He had nothing against hobbits. He even had friends who were hobbits. But what had to be done had to be done.

No one could doubt that King Glump was a genius. The trolls were strong and prosperous again. When the dragons demanded their annual sacrifice, King Glump refused. Even the newspapers applauded the king.

Reichmann loved King Glump. He frequently said he would take a bullet for the king.

#

When King Glump declared a national emergency and suspended Parliament, Papi was caught off guard. As Speaker, he had to object but there was nothing he could do but bide his time. Glump had become too powerful to stop.

Soon, Glump’s paramilitary groups were roaming the streets, beating up critics of the regime and opposition newspapers.

Papi was offered position of ambassador. After careful consideration, he agreed. It was better to remain in government so he could influence events than to retire.

He did not like the latest turn of events but he was powerless to prevent it. What could he do? He was only one man.

#

When King Glump and his henchmen began rounding the hobbits up, Dani and Ram went into hiding.

Most of the trolls refused to help the renegades. Many were supporters of King Glump’s anti-hobbit policies and thought such tough measures were long overdue. Others thought it was none of their business. And a few were too scared to act.

But Dani and Ram were able to escape to the Land of the Dragons. Although powerful, the Dragons were small in number so they recruited hobbits and dissident trolls for their army.

War was coming. A final conflict was inevitable.

III.

King Glump replaced Field Marshall Betts with his uncle General Halter. Although General Halter was not particular bright but no general was more loyal. It really did not matter. King Glump knew how to fight and win battles better than any of his generals anyways.

Glump and Halter began planning the war they would soon launch against the dragons. “Yes, King Glump, these are great plans. You are a military genius,” Halter exclaimed.

“But how are we to supply the army?” the quartermaster inquired.

King Glump became upset. “What is your solution? You are the quartermaster.”

“I don’t want to hear any negativity,” Halter said. “The king is right. We need to solve our problems not whine about them.”

#

General Halter led his army to the Land of the Dragons. The torrential downpour and swollen rivers forced the army to abandon its catapults. A mule train and its supplies were lost when a pontoon bridge was swept away.

Small forces of hobbits and trolls serving in the Dragon’s armies attacked the army’s supply lines as it progressed deeper into dragon’s territory.

The quartermaster warned the expedition was too risky. There was no longer any margin for error. But Halder feared King Glump so he pressed on.

Halder and his men lived off the land, raiding the farms and houses of the hobbits and trolls who lived in the Land of the Dragons to save supplies.

In a great battle, the Dragons and their army attacked the Troll Army as it attempted to cross the mountain pass. Dragons roared flames from above as the hobbits and dissenting trolls rained down arrows from a stone and tree wall that had been built across the pass.

The underfed and undersupplied Troll army was soundly defeated and lost half of its army.

IV.

When the remnants of the Troll army returned, the newspapers spoke of the great victory. King Glump awarded great medals to General Halter and his knights. A great parade was held in the main boulevard in front of the palace.

King Glump and General Halter headed the great procession. Trolls lined the streets strewing the streets with petals.

The trolls released the surviving hobbits from captivity and quietly resumed sending their sacrificial victims to the dragons.

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