Smudge

There is a road, and if you follow it long enough you will find that it winds it's way through a deep dark wood that is constantly buzzing with life, and with magic. Past the wood a ways there is a village, lined with small, quant cottages and outdoor market places all alive with the joy of spring. The spring is a wondrous and magical time of year in Smudge, filled with blooming flowers, new life, and young love. Outside the village is a hill, a hill where no one goes, where the road grows narrow and jagged and the sky is dark even at noon of the brightest day. In the middle of all these things there is a field, you might call it a valley, all alight with newly blossomed calilillies and in the center of that field there is a small pool of water, and in that pool there is more magic than any world has ever known.

Inside the village, laughter is always present; even deep inside the cottages. All constructed of deep rich wood and modeled after one another, no two cottages are the same. Some have bright red roofs with matching shutters and sloping porch fronts. Others, one in particular, are two story cottages with balconies facing seaward and large picture windows. Cut into the roof of one cottage, the only one you'll find to be terribly important in this story, is a moon roof. Looking up from the loft you can see all the way to the heavens, every twinkle of the stars as they guard the village in it's sleep. In those stars, if one were looking hard enough, though certainly not that hard at all, you would see the beginning of all things, the beginning of magic.

It must have been six a.m. when Carleena woke, she had fallen asleep looking at those stars. Now she opened her eyes slowly and pulled herself out of bed, her hair stood up all over her head, the one stripe of pink she'd been born with half hidden amongst the blonde. She sighed at the sight of her bed head and ran a brush through her hair. She was really quite beautiful, most people expect trolls to be hideous, nasty creatures, but Carleena and all the other trolls in Smudge were the most beautiful creatures in their world. If Carleena had given it any thought, she would have assumed it would be just another routine day in Smudge, and if she had thought this she would have been terribly wrong.

After a shower and full restoration of her appearance, Carleena walked down the stairs and poked her head into the nursery where her little brother, Triston, lay asleep in his crib. She watched him sleep for a moment before a soft knock on the front door broke her concentration. She leapt happily down the hall, for if there is one sense that trolls have, it is knowing the whereabouts of the one they love. So as she opened the door a huge smile grew across her face, for there just over the threshold was her Shire, the keeper of her heart. In a world where trolls and magic exist, certainly love is such a very different thing than in our world. When one falls in love the one they are in love with keeps their heart and guards it. In much the same way if that person were to suddenly no longer exist, they would cease to exist also. This is how Carleena came to be caretaker for her brother Triston. Their father was away at sea fighting the Dark Queen and her evil minions, they all knew the moment when he was injured because their mother began to fade away, so they knew also when he died for their mother died as well.

'Shire' Carleena shrieked and threw her arms around his neck, kissing his face as if it had been years rather than days since she had last seen him. He returned her embrace with a joyous laugh and then stepped inside the cottage pulling the door shut behind him.

'oh Shire, what a splendid surprise to see you home so early' she said in her music-like soprano.

'I needed very much to see you Carleena' he said, his bright green laughing eyes turning suddenly serious. 'I heard things while I was away, terrible things, there are legends Car' he added.

'What kind of legends' she asked, worry creasing her forehead.

'The pool' he answered, 'It is full of magic, more magic than we knew.'

'Yes' Carleena laughed, 'but we have always known that. It is good, it heals any injury, there is not one it cannot heal.'

'It's not always good Carleena' Shire said sadly, 'sometimes it is bad, very bad. When it falls into the wrong hands, into her hands.'

'The Dark Queen' she whispered questioningly.

'The Dark Queen is a troll as well' Shire began, 'but a very long time ago, before the road grew jagged and the sky turned dark, she had been the second daughter to the Royal Hawthorn Trolls. When her parents died her sister Melby inherited everything, the castle, the village, the wood, and even the magic. Out of jealousy she struck a deal with Melby, she would take the magic and go far, far away and she would never see her again, and Melby would be left to rule her village in peace. Melby was the kindest of all the trolls who ever lived and her weakness was trusting everyone, even her evil sister Midge, who had tried time and time again to kill her. Melby put some of the magic in a pond to be used for the good of the trolls in Smudge, the rest she gave to Midge and told her to be on her way. Midge didn't stay away for long, however, she took her magic and locked Melby away in the lowest cellar of the castle, never to be seen again by the trolls of Smudge. Before she was locked away from the world, however, Melby used her magic to create a bond between the trolls, the bond that would give your heart to whomever you loved. And she bonded herself to Midge, though only halfway, she would forever be the keeper of Midge's heart, but she would not give her own heart away. Without a heart Midge grew worse and worse and the magic began to grow dark. '

The pond can do more than heal Carleena, it can make your dreams come true.'

'So' she said, not fully understanding, 'who wouldn't want there dreams to'' and then she paused, the weight of his words finally sinking in. 'All of them' she asked.

'Every one of them' Shire said sadly. 'She wants Triston Car, and she knows what you've been dreaming.'

For lately Carleena had been having night terrors about losing Triston to the Dark Queen and her minions. She stared at him now, words no longer seeming to matter.

'We must stop her' she finally managed.

'There is only one who is strong enough to stop her' Shire said.

'Then we will save her' Carleena said.


And so the story goes that the two young lovers, Shire and Carleena, led an army of Trolls to the top of that hill, to the castle doors. The Dark Queen and her evil minions fought from dusk till dawn, at dawn of the second day Carleena snuck away and into the castle where she found in the lowest chamber, the most beautiful of all the trolls that ever were. There inside a glass chamber crying to get out was Melby. Carleena released her and she joined forces with the good trolls to defeat her sister Midge, the Dark Queen. And on the twenty third day of the fifth month, in the five hundredth year, all beauty and peace was restored to the village of Smudge and the castle on the hill was no longer dark.

The end!





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