Finding Gratitude, Part 1

The Green Witch

A scream pierced the night sky. Trouble in Gratitude.

The buildings stood stoic, silent to the cries of another in trouble. Hundreds of eyes looked down at the sound of the noise. They found the man, and his attacker, and returned to their own world.

None blamed them. The foe was a troll, and burlier than most, well over six feet tall and two hundred pounds. His horns curled around his ears like a ram, making the headbutt against the storefront all the more destructive.

The man cowered in his store, and tried to become invisible. His attacker as occupied with mere property damage, but would soon grow bored with this. The troll would then move on to more challenging pursuits. The kind that could run away.

Tears ran down the man’s face. None wanted to help him. No one could help him.

No one but me.

I looked down at the two, hidden on a ledge of a three-story building. My hood was drawn down in the dim torchlight, hiding any features. My staff was in my right hand, and I itched to go forward and do some hero-ing.

Still, I hesitated. Darkling and Lady Violet had been separated from me due to a Wyvern attack earlier in the day. We were new to the town of Gratitude, and I was still reeling from the sheer size of the city.

But there was someone in trouble. It was an easy decision to get involved.

I dropped down to ground level. I did not go silently, but used the sound to gather the troll’s attention. He looked around in confusion, seeing a figure in green clothes wielding a staff in front of him.

“You need to stop,” I said.

“Who are you?” He added some mean words that I won’t repeat.

I did not answer. Instead, I blasted him with green fire.

The fireball slammed the troll backwards. It drove him into the wall, flames licking at the stones. He glared at me, clothes in tatters. “That all you got?” It wasn’t even close.

He charged. I spun away. The cloak swirled behind me, and he grabbed at the billowing fabric. I hit him again. Trolls were not too susceptible to fire, but I wasn’t trying to kill him, just knock him out.

“Stay out of this!” he shouted.

“Not when people are in trouble,” I said.

The troll rolled, and charged again. I thrust my staff into the ground. The earth shuddered, and loosened. It became muddy, then liquid. The troll tripped, and flew headfirst into the earth. In seconds his face broke the surface, trying to swim through liquid ground.

I quickly ended the spell. The ground snapped back to solid form, sealing him in place. The troll struggled, and roared, but could not break free.

“I’ll kill you!” He shouted.

I slammed my staff into the side of his head. His eyes rolled upwards, and then back down as he slumped forward.

“Not today.” I said.

The store owner stepped out, and looked at me. I made sure the hood was lowered, and bowed.

“You’re safe now, citizen,” I said. “Let the people of Gratitude know the Green Witch is here to help.”

The man squeaked, and ran back inside, locking the door. Not the welcome I was expecting, but give it time.

“What is going on here?”

A second troll walked up. I readied my staff, and relaxed. There on his chest was a badge, a shield of tin that held the four rings of Gratitude. A deputy.

“Just helping out a citizen, officer,” I muttered.

The troll stopped. He looked at the store front, and then to me. He squinted at the troll. His face darkened, and he glared at me.

“You beat up my partner, you witch!” He bellowed.

This was not how a rescue was supposed to go.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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