Everyone was armored and ready to storm the Diamond Consortium’s main Headquarters. Arsha cracked her knuckles as Malnar cast a voice amplification spell on herself. “Attention, residents of 2708 Stonetrap Lane!” she announced. “You have been found out! Your treason against the Under-realm will not go unpunished! You have been charged with infiltration of the Diamond Consortium with intent to enslave the Troll population again! Your genetic manipulation has been discovered! Surrender yourselves to Under-realm law peacefully or we storm the place! You have 10 seconds to…!” She was interrupted by a wand blast from the building.
“We will NOT surrender!” replied Mr. Bling’s voice. “The animals we had will become ours again! Back off or we will level Falgreth!”
“Big mistake!” snarled Malnar as she cancelled her spell. “STORM IT!” she ordered the people. Both Arsha and Malnar’s crews came in, wands blazing. The battle was shrouded in a sea of wand bolts and smoke. Arsha, Malnar, Enfanti, and Delga occupied themselves with Mr. Bling. His knife was slashing here and there, scoring a few shots, but not doing anything serious. He then set his wand into the knife and pulled the handle down, making it a blaster, and fired off a few shots to get his attackers to keep their distance.
“It’s times like this,” panted Enfanti, “that I wish Mistress and Dorbu were here!”
“Arctania would also help in this instance!” remarked Delga. “My stinger’s not finding a chink in his armor!”
“Then I’ll make one!” declared Malnar. Her wand started spewing fire, then it concentrated into a tiny point, firing a beam of fire at a spot on Mr. Bling’s shoulder. Mr. Bling cried out in pain as the beam pierced his shoulder.
“Thank you!” bid Delga. His tail lunged for the spot, but Mr. Bling grabbed it and flung him aside.
“Master!” cried Enfanti. She snarled, then formed an Ice Blade, swinging it down on Mr. Bling’s head. Mr. Bling caught it and slammed his fist into her side, making a rib snap and putting her into a lot of pain. Malnar then helped Enfanti reset her rib before casting a healing spell. “Thank you,” she gasped.
“This would go a lot easier,” growled Malnar, “if he were a Goblin!”
“His strength may go down,” observed Arsha, “but his speed will go way the heck up!”
“…Arsha, you just gave me an idea!” cheered Enfanti. “Goblins can’t exactly control their speed on slippery surfaces!”
“No, they can’t,” realized Arsha. “I see what you mean.” She made a quick telepathic call to Malnar and Delga and they got into position for the plan.
“What makes you think you can stop me?” demanded Mr. Bling.
“A few things, actually,” replied Malnar. She stepped aside to let Enfanti ice the ground. Mr. Bling chuckled.
“What good will THAT do?” he boomed. “Have you not gotten a good look at me?”
“Allow me to remedy that!” called Arsha’s voice. Two of her tails had teal fireballs at the tips and she clasped her hands, pointing the pointer and middle fingers of both hands into a teal runic circle. She then spread her hands apart to opposite sides of the circle and a blue ball of light appeared in the center. She then held her right hand out in a flicking position. “Rashentha!” (Undo) she said as she flicked the blue light towards Mr. Bling. The light entered him and he was covered in a blue aura. As it spread, a pinky came back!
“No!” wailed Mr. Bling. “Recua! RECUA!” (Halt). It was no use. His skin went from the usual rocky grey of the Trolls to the sickeningly green of the Goblins, his height went down to a human level, his ears became pointed, his chin was more pronounced, and his nose became potato-like. The aura faded as the real form of Mr. Bling was revealed.
“Borome!” yelped Malnar.
“Chancellor Garsheek’s son?!” quizzed Arsha.
“Oh, wait ‘til she gets her hands on you!” snarled Enfanti.
“Who do you think funded this venture?!” growled Borome. He charged at Enfanti, but she sidestepped as if she were on cobblestones, not ice. Borome was not so lucky, he skidded when he tried to turn around. When he regained his balance, Delga swung his tail into his enemy and knocked him into a wall, Arsha grabbed him with one of her tails and slammed him to the ground, and Malnar summoned chains clasped to his neck and arms. She then pulled him up to her helmeted face.
“Daddy will be very interested to hear your side,” she hissed. As soon as she said so, heavy footsteps were heard. “Here he is now,” said Malnar as she cancelled her armor. Accompanying King Orbak was a female Goblin, Chancellor Garsheek of the Goblin Imperium. When she saw her son in chains, she gasped.
“MY BABY!” she shrieked. “LET HIM GO!”
“No chance!” declared Malnar. She turned to her father. “Father, it is my belief that this ‘man’ is trying to enslave the Trolls in Dwelga’s name!”
“You have no proof!” shouted Borome.
“Oh, yes I do!” countered Malnar. She then pulled out a device and pressed a button and played back the whole fight.
“NO!” Garsheek wailed when the footage of Borome revealing who funded the whole venture played.
“YOU DARE?!” roared Orbak. “Garsheek, this is outrageous! What are you trying to do here?!”
“Leave her out of this!” protested Borome.
“You dare give your King orders?!” shouted Orbak. He turned back to Garsheek. “You never really meant to honor the Trolls’ freedom, did you?! You’re too stuck on the past, wanting to profit from slavery as your ancestors did!”
“Why not tell me more about my big future?!” growled Borome. At that point, Orbak grabbed the chains and lifted him off the ground, right up to his face.
“Traitors like you HAVE no future in any society!” he bellowed. “I’ll see to it that you spend the rest of your natural life rotting in the dungeons of my castle!” He then heard the sound of a wand being primed and turned around to see Garsheek pointing her wand at him.
“You’d die before you get within a falm of the Belsnath Citadel walls!” she threatened.
“Garsheek,” hissed Orbak, “let me remind you that enslavement of any species is a severe violation of Under-realm Law, as is infiltration of an intelligence organization for any political faction’s gains! The maximum penalty is execution! Borome’s lucky to have life imprisonment!”
“I didn’t know he had infiltrated the Diamond Consortium to murder Lord and Lady Varsek,” hissed Garsheek.
“That’s not the testimony I’ve heard!” growled Orbak. “One more word out of you, and you will be sharing this terrorist’s cell!”
“You better make sure that cell’s big enough for three!” snarled Garsheek.
“You still threaten me?!” boomed Orbak.
“Malnar,” called Garsheek, “I wonder what your daddy’s associates would say when I tell them he allowed my son to infiltrate the best intelligence network in the Under-realm!”
“Daddy didn’t know the Diamond Consortium was infiltrated!” protested Malnar.
“That’s not the testimony I’ve heard,” said Garsheek, recalling a conversation she had with Orbak a month ago concerning the Diamond Consortium. Orbak considered his next move.
“Daddy, you’re not going to be intimidated by her, are you?!” asked Malnar. Orbak still considered, then dismissed the chains binding Borome. “DADDY!” protested Malnar.
“Your Majesty, I speak for everyone here when I protest this!” supplied Arsha.
“Enfanti, is there a spell around this area?” asked Orbak.
“A standard ward spell, keeping any civilians from getting too close,” replied Enfanti, “and keeping them ignorant of any altercations. But I must protest your decision as well!”
“I’m afraid the potential media circus would prove too much for us,” countered Orbak. “If I may be a little selfish sounding, it could cause my wife and I to abdicate if we march on Dwelga right now.” Malnar scoffed, but no one raised any more objections. “I know you are disappointed,” sighed Orbak, “but the truth about Garsheek’s involvement must remain our little secret. However, I am NOT letting her get away with this for free.”
“The Chancellorship!” breathed Garsheek.
“In light of your own son betraying the peace both Falgreth and Dwelga enjoy,” continued Orbak, “you needed to step down as Chancellor in order to seek answers. You knew that the stress you feel would cause you to make poor decisions for the Imperium’s future.”
“…I wish my successor better luck at keeping the peace than I did,” sighed Garsheek.
“I always said you were a bright girl,” rumbled Orbak. Malnar’s mood improved so much that she started smiling. Enfanti and Arsha understood the smile. Orbak turned to Borome. “Shame on you for causing your mother and the Goblin Imperium so much stress!” he snarled. Borome turned to leave but was stopped by Garsheek.
“I hope you’re satisfied!” she hissed.
“…My fellow Goblins, we’ve failed,” called Borome to his fellow conspirators. They undid their genetic alteration with a spell and Garsheek summoned a portal for all Goblins to return home. Once they left, everyone released a breath.
“Such a waste,” sighed Orbak.
“Your Majesty, forgive my ignorance,” interjected Delga, “but what good will her stepping down do?”
“A lot, in the long run, Master,” answered Enfanti as she and Arsha dismissed their armor. “What Orbak did was ensure that the truth of the matter WILL get out amongst the Goblin community. By having her step down, there will be an inquiry, someone will say something that leads to the truth, and the Imperium is restructured.”
“A plan within a plan within a plan leading to a trap,” supplied Malnar, “that’s how my parents rule the Under-realm.”
“Still,” sighed Orbak, “I trusted her. I-I HELPED her in some of these matters!”
“Daddy, you were the one who told me and my sisters,” assured Malnar, “that the villains who blow things up to cause fear are easy to spot. Those who shroud themselves in good intentions before blowing things up to cause fear are the hardest to detect.”
“Whatever method I used to get you to remind me of my own words must have worked,” chuckled Orbak softly. “Speaking of my own words, I spoke with Elgrad before I came here. He feels that, after the conclusion of this affair, we give Arsha the Captain’s ceremony she missed.”
“Your Majesty, I would be honored!” cheered Arsha.
“Splendid!” replied Orbak. “A Mid-realm Princess celebrating an Under-realm Captain’s ceremony!”
“It’s going to be a lavish affair,” giggled Malnar. “I’ll see if Pyrina and Ralta can help out.”
“May I join Pyrina in whatever dance she’ll perform?” Enfanti asked Delga.
“If that is all right with Her Highness,” replied Delga.
“She would enjoy that!” cheered Malnar.
“Thank you!” bid Enfanti.
“Can we go through with the celebration after Lord and Lady Varsek’s funeral?” asked Arsha. “I feel the need to pay my respects.”
“Of course,” replied Orbak. “The funeral is tomorrow. After the Three Days of Respect, we’ll hold the Captain’s ceremony.”
“Thank you,” bid Arsha.
Troll funerals are as solemn as any other funeral. A priest was watching over the now stony bodies of Lord and Lady Varsek, the former rulers of Falgreth. According to ancient Troll beliefs, the deceased would stand sentinel over the living and serve as a reminder that life in the Three Realms, while long by our standards, is ephemeral and must be cherished. It takes a special, respectful kind of magic to move the body into a statuesque, watchful pose. Lord and Lady Varsek were standing side by side, clasping the other’s hand to represent how they doted on each other and did everything together. They were pointing their clubs to the sky to show the promise of the future. The priest was standing by the pedestal they stood on, watching the people give their respects to Lord and Lady Varsek. It was Arsha’s turn and she was dressed in dark clothing, forgoing the rose hairpin she usually had and replaced her pink ribbon with a black one. “Lord and Lady Varsek,” she whispered, “I’m sorry I did not see you in time. There are so many wishes I have to undo all this, but I don’t think I would have learned any of the lessons I did. Still, I wish I learned them while you were still alive. I hope you watch over me and my crew as we continue on our tour of duty. I know the Endeavor has a good crew; I just hope I prove to be a good captain. Goodbye, Lord and Lady Varsek.” After everyone said their goodbyes, the statue was transferred over to a carriage and everyone formed a procession behind it. A deep horn sounded and the procession set out for Malak’s home of the Greshkagh Mountains. In the ancient Troll tongue, it means “Watchful”, an appropriate name for a site dedicated to the dead that stood sentinel over all Troll-kind. It took an hour to get to the base of the mountains and another hour to get to the Varseks’ final resting spot. When everyone arrived, the statue was set on the new site.
“Born from stone,” read the priest, “and returned to stone. That is the full life of a Troll, no matter the subspecies. Time may erode the stone that Lord and Lady Varsek have returned to, but it cannot erode their eternal spirits. Lord and Lady Varsek, may you watch over us all and guide us in our lives. Farewell, friends.” With that, the main ceremony was over. “There will now be a three-day observance of the lives of Lord and Lady Varsek. Let their true history be known, good and bad. After which, we will celebrate the life we have with Arsha’s Captain’s ceremony.” Everyone returned to Falgreth to go through with the three-day observance.