Fires burned, the red of the fires reflected in the wood elf’s eyes. He was not a true wood elf, it was just an illusion. The wood elf form allowed him better vision to see all around him. To take it all in.
Bloodshard Ogg sat, watching line after line of frogloks charge at the city he grew up in. Torches in their hands. Bloodshard was a warrior, devoted purely to Rallos & the ways of war. He had long ago been treated coldly by some of the leaders of Grobb for his refusal to follow Cazic Thule, the creator of the trolls.
He wondered what would have happened if he had. Would he have been able to get the various troll factions to work together? No. He knew that was impossible. Trolls were survivors, they always had been but they were never united for long. It was their curse. Word was now the advisors of Grobb had ordered the trolls of the city to fall back to Neriak for support. It was going to be odd to see trolls & dark elves sharing such small quarters. Bloodshard was glad he didn’t have to rely on that living situation anymore.
He had remembered hearing stories from the Shamans in his youth about the various troll tribes before Grobb. The Broken Skull Clan, the Yakesha, his tribe the Ogg. He had sought out Lynuga in his youth. He remembered the first time a dark elf had asked him to talk to Lynuga on his behalf. He had passed a ruby on to the lady at her request & she handed him an earring she had come across in gratitude. He gave it to the dark elf who freaked out basically in excitement. Those dark elf casters were always an odd lot he thought.
He recalled prying what he could from Lynuga about the Broken Skulls. They were a scattered tribe, outcasts. The more he spoke with her the more he found his calling. All she did now was wander the swamp & battle for her meals. He respected that, more then that it called to him. Freedom & glory.
A lone froglok tad hopped by, oblivious of the battles around it. It always amazed Bloodshard how the frogloks never protected their youth that well. He remembered the first time he had encountered them in his youth , they were just another creature that just attacked him. He slaughtered so many frogloks he had lost count long ago.
Later he learned the frogloks did not attack all, it was a long war between the frogloks & trolls. Frogloks only attacked the races that followed ‘dark gods’. And the trolls had long ago fought the frogloks first. A battle his father had fought & won. It was one of the glorious things that helped unify Grobb. His father had been declared a King of the trolls for a while, but then again trolls had a lot of kings. Too many leaders. They wanted Bloodshard to join that lifestyle. The trolls of Grobb had become too use to sitting at tables & discussing things rather then doing. Chest thumping & unorganized raids into the swamp to spread fear & hate., the trolls just grew fatter sitting back in their cave in the swamp. They just pillaged when they needed these were not the battles that were fought before, they ignored threats and were placated on their plundered gains. Their lack of real action had disgusted him. He left in his youth on a mission to see the world of Norrath. It was accepted that he would come back, many a youth of the trolls felt that calling, Bloodshard never did return to Grobb to stay. There was always another beast to slay & Bloodshard fought them all. Never choosing a side.
Soon he learned of loyalties. He was attacked by many, those who did not strike him first he counted as allies, but soon he learned they would quickly turn against him if he stood along side another force in battle. Though he was a mercenary & chose no side, a side was always forced upon him.
In the frozen lands of Vellious he fought & learned. He fought along side dwarves & the shakey alliance he had with giants quickly fell. Soon dragons counted him as a friend as well, because of his battles alongside the dwarves against the giants.
All these friendship, negotiations, alliances, talks, shows of trust, he began to grow weary of them. Expectations were placed with the trust. Always there was another favor to ask. Then he heard of many seeking the favor of The Dain of the Ice Dwarves and he was gaining in those ranks. Assumptions were made. He gained his ring of the 9th rank & he knew soon he was expected to lead a war against the giants. Expectations were always there.
It was in the Plane of Mischief that he came upon his turning point. He slowly turned the red 9th ring in his fingers & stared at the chessboard. He looked at the fallen pawn: Just another pawn in the game. He had seen other chessboards throughout Norrath, always the pawns fell first. Pawns were made to be sacrificed for the glory of a king. Always the tool of a king.
Bloodshard snapped. He was no ones plaything. He joined another growing force of discontent & attacked the Dain. Then he turned on the dragons of the Ice Lands. Soon he was hated by them all. As he slaughtered more & more the giants began to take notice. The saw the spirit of Rallos surge through the troll. Soon they accepted him within their ranks.
Alliances always came with a price, the price of freedom, a lesson learned.
It was in the newly opened Planes he learned more. He saw more frogloks there. Learned more. He learned through reading, yes he could read, that frogloks only hated trolls because the trolls attacked them out of malice. Fear & Hate breed War, but it was not the War for pure War’s sake that Bloodshard was devoted too. Soon he learned of the frogloks desperate fight in their own lands against an ancient curse causing undead to flood them from below while trolls attacked them from above: a manipulated battle of 2 fronts with the frogloks pawns in the middle. And for the first time in his troll life he felt pity for the beings he had been raised to hate. He traveled into the depths of Guk & killed thousands of the undead. He gave the items he found to young trolls & ogres he would find during his breaks back out in the Swamp for fresh air. Sure they would go fight the frogloks but that was an ancient fight he was no longer part of. As time grew the frogloks began to ignore the fact that he was a troll. They watched him time & time again slaughter the undead that pushed at the Frogloks of Guk daily. Soon the frogloks tried to show him friendship, they respected the Valor the troll showed. Bloodshard of course shrugged off such gifts. In time Bloodshard was rewarded with a crown that allowed him the guise of a wood elf. Ancient froglok magic from an elder time. Magic that strangely seemed to almost be growing within the froglok ranks as they seemed to have more time to meditate & rest from the endless battle of 2 fronts they had fought for so long.
Soon word spread of the Broken Skull Clan making an attack on Grobb, Bloodshard watched from afar. He would not be a part of a troll fighting troll war. Although it was often they tribes of trolls would turn against each other it was not his way. He knew he would be EXPECTED to join Grobb. Always expectations. Then he watched as the frogloks began acting strangely. Ancient magics were awakening amongst the frogloks. They began to stir. Soon leaders emergered, weapons began to be made & preparations for battle. Bloodshard watched as the frogloks began to organize as almost a reflection of the trolls fading more & more into their chaotic ways. Then he watch the ranks of frogloks assault Grobb.
Once more, it was not his war. He knew Grobb would fall. Trolls would survive though. He saw a young troll with a pack of kobolds chasing it. The pack was taking advantage of the chaos. Bloodshard stood up and calmly stepped between the young troll & the pack. He cut down all the kobolds in a flurry of attacks. As he did so his illusion faded & he grew to his full troll frame. It was a trivial conflict to him, over in moments. He turned & looked at the young troll who was thanking him. ‘Go ta Neriak, itz time ta leave Grobb.’
The troll began to argue. ‘No. The trollz will have a city again. Onky when dey can unite again. Maybe a city that will make Old Grobb look like just a cave in da wall…someday…but not today.’
Bloodshard could tell a loosing battle. Organized troops of frogloks, against the shattered armies of the trolls. The spirit of strategy & tactics flooded through his mind. He could instantly see that any immediately attack back upon the frogloks at this time would only slaughter the trolls. Bloodshard would go & help the trolls retreat, minimize losses. But it was not the day for the trolls to rise again, someday, but not today.