Chapter XVI: The Allies Prepare For Battle

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Djar and Cookie reached the outskirts of Mahhrain, and the designated meeting point, only hours before Elyan and his followers found Omag. They spent the afternoon searching trails in the vicinity of where Josh Bucklyn had made his raids against Karn and they had to skirt around goblin scouting parties three times.

“This is going to be trickier than I thought,” said Djar, we have to be quiet enough to not get caught by goblins, yet loud enough or cover enough ground to get noticed by any allies.”

“I don’t know. I mean, even if Josh is out here hiding somewhere, where are the trolls or Treeguard? These are armies we’re talking about, not a few raiders,” said Cookie. “They have to be here by now and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find them.”

By early evening, Cookie suddenly remembered a little used side trail nearby. She said it was newer and not on their map. Indeed, it wasn’t on any map that either knew of. She found the trail easily enough, however. It was right off one of the main trails and it had been well used within the past few days. Well used may have actually been an understatement. Footprint after footprint, wagon ruts and twisted and broken branches marked the unmistakable passage of hundreds – perhaps thousands of troops.

“Here we go!” said Djar, excitedly.

“Yes, this is more like it.”

They began top hear sounds of voices and glimpsed some smoke after traveling a half mile or so down the trail.

“Halt!” came an order from a booming bass voice. Two enormous figures then appeared out of the forest. Trolls. It was unbelievable how beings so big could be so stealthy. 

“Greetings!” said Djar. “I am Djar Lahroan of Mahhrain, and I need to speak to your commander.”

Both trolls suddenly went from looking like dangerous killers to looking like their best friends. “Lord Djar, Lady Cookie, come with us, we’ve been expecting you.” 

They turned and quickly walked down the trail.

“But where is Chieftain Thag and Tribemasters Omag and Halk?” said one.

“Uh, Thag and Halk are still with Dymorla, way out west. Omag was with us, but we were, uh, separated back in the Durn, near Dymorla’s Keep. So you haven’t heard from him either?”

The two trolls gave each other a worried look. “No. But I’m sure the great Omag is fine,” said the shorter of the two. 

They passed several groups of elves, trolls and men. There were far more elves than trolls, and a few more trolls than men. Djar thought he recognized a couple of the men, but was unsure. Several of the men cheered both him and Cookie as they passed, though no one slowed their quick pace. They passed several small clearings, some of them just cut and filled with tents. One clearing had a ring of wagons surrounded by a wide circle of trolls. It was good to see that the leaders guarded the stores. Just after that clearing, another larger clearing was still being cut. This had hundreds of tents, some of them quite large. The trolls led them to one of the largest tents near the center and well protected by another ring of fierce looking trolls.

Two monstrous trolls – huge even for their kind and nearly as large as Thag and Halk – guarded the door to the wood-framed tent.

“Garraga, Shane, this is Lord Djar and the Lady Cookie. They need to speak to the leaders.

One of the trolls merely nodded. The other didn’t move an inch, or even change his facial expression. He was like an obsidian statue. Either of them didn’t announce them or prevent them from passing.

Upon entering, they were pleasantly surprised. Trever sat at a large table in the center of what must have been the command center. Maps full of marking pins were spread out on the table and tacked to the walls. 

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