The grog was flowing down their throats after the midnight meal. Now, I ate before heading out so I demurely nibbled on a delicious mushroom stew. Only later did I start to worry that I had been poisoned. Who knows what a troll can tolerate that will kill a human. But I was feeling good, and while I did not try the grog, I don’t think they noticed.
It started with a dare. First Oton, then Blade were wading along the shore, but that was not going to be enough to prove who was brave enough to take a full-fledged dip in the recently frozen water. It is my understanding that most trolls dislike the water, but a few are accustomed to long soaks. What we would call a soothing hot tub, they would call a cauldron. These trolls appear to be suited to the cold and prefer cold water, if any at all.
Well, a few more rounds of the grog pitcher had the younger trolls amped up. Several had waded out into chest high water, but they did not look comfortable. I was really starting to relax and enjoy myself when a primal roar startled me from my boulder. It was immediately followed by a banshee howl so chilling I started to panic, and look for cover. Next thing I knew, the shadow of a troll leapt from a tree that had partially tipped over the river. Arms out, head tucked, tail erect and toes pointed— it was a perfect swan dive into the river. Only a small ripple marred the entry of the diving troll.
No one moved. I don’t think they had ever seen anything like it. Who was it? Seconds later a drenched head popped to the surface and Twig beamed back at the partiers. “Now, that’s taking a dip,” he called out to the others.
So began a diving contest of half-drunken trolls climbing higher and higher into the branches of the once mighty oak. Several belly flops later, they had finally had enough. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I can’t wait to go back.