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This FanFic is a tribute to the old Trundle the Cursed Troll in the event that he is changed. Trundle holds a special place in my gaming heart as he was in the first video I saw that got me into League of Legends. Some of you may know the video. It is on the youtube channel belonging to TotalHalibut, which he used Trundle in the video. Of course, this video is old, back when there were still dodge runes, a very basic client window, and I don't think runes stacked. No really, there was such a time.
As to this story itself, I refuse to accept Trundle as anything but a jungle troll, but I am willing to accept him as a troll driven from his home and tribe.
Part 1: A King is Made, not Born
Trundle lay on the ground, hurt and bleeding from the inside. His club lay not far away from him, his hand opened with its handle in his palm. He made no move to adjust his grip and take up his weapon. He also had a large hunting and a small pouch of herbs at his belt, but none of those would help him now.
The troll lay on the ground hurting not from a battle, but from the emotional pain that flooded through him. He lay on the ground with his heart bleeding as his mind processed what he had been told.
He felt a sharp pain at his side, forcing him to grunt and roll over. He turned his eyes lazily toward the source of the pain. He saw one of his tribesmen, Ro'Shak, who standing over him with a large club but not as large as Trundle's.
The troll warrior was saying something to him, angrily it seemed, but Trundle did not care. The damage had already been done; his pride was hurt and he was wounded in more ways than one.
How did things turn out like this, with Trundle on the ground, beaten by one of his tribesmen?
A messenger had come to his tribe while he was gone and informed them of something none of them could believe: their regeneration ability had been greatly weakened by the ritual that took away their disease. By taking the disease completely into him, Trundle had also taken a large portion of the tribe's regeneration ability. He had never told them this, but this messenger had. By doing so, his tribe was very angry.
When he returned, Ro'Shak challenged him for the right to remain in the tribe. His reasoning had been that Trundle had been working against the tribe by not telling them of their weakness, and now he was not welcome within a tribe that could not trust him.
Trundle had tried to explain himself, but the elders and shaman silenced him. They agreed that he should have told them of the side effects of the ritual, and now he was no longer welcomed in the tribe
Trundle was crushed as he stared at the faces of his tribesmen and women. He could not believe what he was hearing. He had asked who the messenger was and why they had come, but none of them had answered, only saying that it was none of his business.
He could tell that there was no use in arguing with them, and so he took up his club and followed Ro'Shak toward their fighting area.
The battle was one-sided.
Trundle, hurting too much to even defend himself, just let his tribesman beat him until he fell to the ground. The fight had left him during the walk as he watched the faces of the tribe. Anger, resentment, betrayal, disgust, and more were present on the faces of the adults and children. By the time he and the other one arrived at the arena of smoothed ground, the faces, glares, and words directed toward him had taken all the fight from him.
After words, when the battle was over, Trundle was now an outcast in the eyes of his people. His people, for whom he had given his health for. His people, for whom he had decided at a young age to free from their suffering of the leprous disease of that necromancer. His people, for whom he endured constant, unrelenting agony so they could wake every day and live every day without pain. Those same people had now thrown him from their tribe, from his tribe, because he had taken from them their pain and the regenerative strength that had allowed the tribe members before them to endure and live through it. His selfless act for duty… what was worth now?
He felt another sharp pain, this one harder than the last. As he blinked the tears away, he saw more of his former tribe. They bent down and lifted him from the ground, and then proceeded to drag him out of the village.
He was numb to it all. The rough handling, the curses and hateful words, the rocks thrown at him, all of it was in another world to him. How? How could he go on now as an outcast to the only family he knew, the only thing he had continued to live for?
He was their Champion of the League of Legends, their world representative in Runeterra against the larger powers of the world. Without him being there, being in the civilized world where his kind had been thrown out of, those greater powers would have taken what they wanted from his tribe's land. Without him, how many of his people would not have returned alive from hunts into other parts of the world? Without him…
He was thrown to the ground; far from his tribe and the village he had been born. Rather than wish him well, his former tribesmen wished him the worst. That he would die in agony and alone.
Why should he care what happened to them now? They had thrown him out, discarded him now that he had fulfilled his true duty: to take away the leprous curse. Now that they knew the truth, what reason was there for him to remain?
For the first time, something stirred within Trundle. With fisted hands, he rose and turned to see the specks of his former people leaving. He stood to his full height, and narrowed his eyes. He glared at them with red eyes full of hatred.
He had given his everything for them! He had taken the curse from all of them and their future children so they could live without it! He had represented them in the League of Legends to protect them from outside invaders, and fought and bled for them under the command of summoners! He had been their champion, their political figure head, their protector in and out of public view, and their strongest fighter!
Fists still clenched, he threw his head and arms back and looked up at the sky as he let out a terrible, furious shout. His disease, now a part of him of which he used in battle, sensed this outrage and began to spread itself out along the land. The grass died, the animals choked on their own blood, the insects fell to the ground, and the land began to bare his taint.
When he finished his rage filled shout, the land itself bore his taint, his scar, and would never likely heal. He turned his eyes back to where he had been, toward the trolls who had thrown him out. He panted from his rage, and then took a step forward.
Before he could do anything else, before he could yell out his own dark oaths, he stopped and the fire began to leave him. Why should he be so angry at them when they were right? He did betray them.
Trundle fell backwards and brought his knees to his chest before putting his head down on top of his knees. He knew about the effect that the ritual had had, how it had improved his abilities so that he could take on the disease of his people, but he did not want to tell them that they were not as strong as before. He was proud of his troll heritage and his people's ways, and so he did not wish to tell them that they were weaker without the curse. And so, he had kept it from them after he had found out. It did not appear to make a difference as his people were still strong, but apparently they thought it was.
The troll could not be angry at them, not now anyway. He had taken the curse into himself of his own free will to help his people, and they had expressed their gratitude… at first. As the years went on, they began to see him as different, as what they once were. He was alone when they all had the curse, and he was alone when only he had the curse. Now, he was alone for the rest of his life; he was an outcast now.
Slowly, he rose, and then turned around, away from his tribe and his people. He then began to walk. The Plague Jungle could no long be his home, not when his family had branded him. He would either find a new home, or die.
Death… Was that it? Was death his only way out now? If he died, he would be free of the agony of his curse and the agony of his new status. He could do that, die and be free of this agony!
No, he couldn't. He had endured living for so long, how could he face death with opened arms? Besides, he had other, smaller responsibilities he could undertake now to fill the void in his life, and he had friends he had made from his times in the civilized world. But he was still a troll, and worse he was a troll with constantly rotting flesh. Also, many of those responsibilities were because of his duty to his tribe. He was no long a part of that tribe…
After a time, he stopped to rest in the sun. He looked up at the rare sunshine, finding the warmth soothing on his rotting and healing skin. He realized then that he was in a different jungle, the Kumungu Jungle. He could tell this by the greener vegetation, the way it looked to have just rained, and the smell of luscious growth and decay.
There were also the sounds of many insects going about their lives. He did not hear many animals, only a few bird calls, but nothing else. Animals tended to avoid intruders and just wait for them to pass. While some protected their territory aggressively, others were more concerned with not being harmed by the strangers.
After a few minutes, Trundle was up once more. His stomach grumbled, his head hurt, and he was thirsty. During his journey from one jungle to the other, he had walked hours with only his troubled thoughts. Now that he had rested, his body was telling him that he needed to take care of itself.
Take care of itself
He stopped when he came to a cliff. He looked down and found that the bottom was concealed by the leafy tops of trees. His mind was back at the dark side, debating whether or not living was better than death. He stared down at the blocked bottom, wondering to himself if he should.
A sound brought his attention away from welcoming drop. He turned to see the glowing, angry eyes of a concealed beast in the bushes. He heard a growl, but it was not a growl that warned him that he was invading this beast's territory. It was a growl of a hunter.
Trundle, as he was, appeared to be easy prey. If he was killed by something, then it would realize that he was not a good choice for prey. But that would be after he was dead, and Trundle was still leaning more toward living. He watched it from the shadows, trying to figure out what it could be that was now threatening him. He didn't know many of the animals of the Kumungu Jungle, so this was likely one he had not encountered.
He waited and stared into the beast's glowing eyes. His hand flexed, but then he realized that he did not have his club. It wasn't that it matter much as he could easily wrestle almost anyone or anything into submission, but such a fight would result in him very weak and exhausted.
Suddenly, the beast lunged at him, an angry fury of claws and teeth. As it flew through the air, the seconds going by slowly, he remembered that he had not eaten or drank anything for half the day. He was already weak and would likely be unable to put up much of a fight. That became evident as he was too weak to even withstand the impact of the furry beast.
He and his attacker were thrown backwards, right off the edge of the cliff. As they fell, the beast realized that this was not the prey it had expected as Trundle's rotting flesh made it release him as it tried to flee, but it was too late.
They both hit the flat, grassy ground with a thud each. Trundle landed on his right side, the bone in his arm snapping as it broken on the impact, and the beast laid dead near him, its head at an unnatural angle. A pool of blood formed around both of them, slowly spreading out.
Trundle, grunting and groaning in pain, gripped his right shoulder with his left hand and rolled onto his back. There, he clenched his teeth as his regenerative healing went into overdrive. This boost in ability was common when there was something near him that had recently died. In this case, he was only a foot or two from the corpse of the beast, but it was still close enough for his disease to reach it, begin to decompose it, and transfer nutrients to him.
Despite the benefits of his regenerative abilities giving him near immortality, the downside was that these same abilities worked against his curse to cause him unbelievable pain. Most people saw immortality as a good thing, but they did not think about how the healing aspect functioned in it. Trundle was nearly killed by the fall, but it was the pain from his curse and healing clashing against each other that was driving him to the breaking point.
Finally, he lost it, and fainted from the pain.
Tasty. Something tasty washed over his tongue. Trundle tried to opened his eyes, but found only darkness. Was he blinded? Did the fall blind him? Or was it his regeneration? It could be the curse, or maybe something else.
Again, the tasty substance washed over his tongue. He swallowed, and then licked his lips, finding more of the tasty substance around his mouth.
"Are you waking up now?" A voice, female, asked. He tried to rise, but was unable to due to some kind of restraints. "You're going to have to rest for now Trundle. You nearly died from that fall alone; I don't want to think how much damage that panther did to you." The voice said.
A panther? That was what the animal was? He tried to speak, to ask who this person was, but he did not even know his words were illegible. He was shut up when a third tasty dose entered his mouth.
"Rest now Trundle. You're no good to your tribe dead." She said.
'Your tribe'. Those two words were enough to make him begin to cry, the tears flowing once more. Again, he muttered something, but the words were unidentifiable.
He heard the female humming something, and then something like a boiling water. The boiling soon stopped, and then there came a pouring sound, followed by light blowing. "Here, drink this." The female said. Trundle soon felt something on his lips, a cup of some kind, and then a warm, sweet drink running down his throat. It was soothing. When the cup was taken from his lips, he felt a soft cloth being dabbed over his mouth.
Trundle took a deep breath, feeling the tears continue to run down his cheeks, but was unable to do anything about it. And then he could see again. A cloth was over his eyes and forehead, keeping him from seeing, but now it was his watery eyes that made him unable to see. He could just make out some of her features: long hair in a single braid, slim yet fit figure, and tall. He couldn't really make out much else of her, but he felt that he recognized her.
She appeared to be confused in his watery vision, and then she reached out with her hand to hold the side of his face.
No words were spoken, but that touch meant everything to him. He didn't care who this person was, all he cared about was that she cared for him, even if it was just a small amount. Now, he cried for himself, for wanting to end his life. This person cared enough for him to help him recover from his injuries.
Or, maybe it was because he was in a delusional state from his near-death experience.
The female took her hand away, retrieved a cloth, and then began to dry his eyes. She was gentle as she cleaned his face with the warm, wet cloth. After a time, she put the cloth away and got another one. This one, she folded into a long rectangle, and placed it over his forehead and eyes. Still, he did not know who this kind woman was.
"Rest now Trundle. You still need to recover." She said, her voice much softer than before. She sounded hurt, as though she was feeling his pain.
And then he fell asleep into a restful sleep. It wasn't from pain, but just because he was tired.
When he woke again, it was from the female's soft voice. "Trundle. I need for you to sit up so I can change those bandages." She said. He opened his eyes, finding them unhindered by a cloth, and he was able to see what was within the room.
There was a small weapons stand with two spears, a large hunting knife, a number of traps, and a few leather scraps. To the right was a glassless window with a series of woven flax that acted like a curtain. That curtain was tied back to let in the sunlight. To the left was a makeshift dresser and closet, both were closed. He also noticed that he was on a bed that was handmade from jungle wood, animal furs, some sheets and blankets that were bought, handmade pillows, and an odd mix of designs, to him anyway. A few feet away, tucked into its own place and sealed off in a brick prison, a small fire burned with a metal rod suspended over it. Near the fireplace was a kettle hanging from a hook.
The room itself appeared to be very simply made with its thin jungle wood walls. If not for the furnishings, the room would be plain.
Trundle's head turned to the one who had awakened him. His eyes widened when he saw who it was, but then they returned to normal. He shouldn't have been surprised considering where he was. He straightened himself into a sitting position, and then waited for her to continue. His right arm, wrap up into a caste, still hurt, but only if he moved it.
She did speak, but began to undo the bandages on his body, taking care to not hurt his arm. He did not so much as flinch, so she went on. As the bandages were removed, she tossed the old bandages into the fire, which burned briefly in a swoosh of smoke. "It looks like your bleeding has slowed, so more bandages will not be needed. How is your arm? Does it hurt?" She asked. He nodded his head yes, so she began to undo the caste.
When his arm was exposed, she paused from her delicate work. She looked up at him, but he did not look back, so she chose to continue and only wrap his arm up in clean bandages. This time, she did not wrap his arm into a caste.
When she finished, she released him and gently pushed him back down onto the bed. "Can I get you anything? Food? Or something to drink?" She asked.
He turned his head to face her, his dark eyes meeting her emerald green orbs, and then shook his head. She nodded her head before rising from her seat and moving toward the corner of the room and into one of his blind spots. "I do not know what happened to you, but you are free to stay here until you feel that you can walk again. I am sorry that I cannot be a better hostess, but I've been having some problems recently." She said.
He began to rise, lifting himself with his left arm. "What problems?" He asked, trying to turn his head to find her but could not.
She spoke from outside of his view. "It's nothing you need to get involved with, just some misunderstanding." She informed him, and then her tone turned more serious. "Lay back down and rest. There is no reason for you to get involved." She said. She had thought that her mention of his tribe had caused him some sorrow, so she avoided mentioning it.
He laid back down then, not wanting to argue with her since she did help him and continued to help him. He closed his eyes again, trying to return to the land of slumber.
Or he was, until he heard a door click opened.
He began to rise. "Lay back down Trundle. I am only going to check on something." She said, and then she was gone. Trundle let out an agitated sigh before lying back down on the bed and closing his eyes once more. Whatever it was that she had made him drink, it was making him tired...
Trundle woke with a shock when he heard something crash into the room. He rose swiftly, sitting on the bed as he turned his head to try and find the source of the crash. He saw nothing, but felt a cold chill run down his spine. His eyes darted all around, trying to find out what the source of the sound was and why he was suddenly on guard.
Before he knew it, he was out of the bed and outside. It was dark, night had come while he was asleep, and he saw no signs of the woman who had been taking care of him.
He was moving, running, through the jungle floor. He pushed aside the bushes and low branches with his arms, ignoring the pain from thorns, whips from the branches recoiling, angry insects he disturbed, and the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife.
Suddenly, something caught his foot and he tripped. As he fell toward the ground, he put his arms out to cushion the fall, but then his arms fell through the ground. It was a hole!
He let out a cry as he fell, unable to see the bottom through the darkness.
And then, his fall was interrupted by a sudden jerk. He panted, his heart pounding in his chest. "I can understand the desire for a walk in the moonlight," came the female's voice from behind him, "but I am not the only one in this jungle who can set traps." She said.
With great effort, she heaved him backward, away from the hole and onto his back. He tried to get up, but he was forced down when he felt a stick pushed against his chest. "Trundle, what were you doing running through the jungle?" She asked.
Trundle pushed the stick away with a sweep of his hand only to have it thud back onto his chest. He looked up at the woman with a glare. For several seconds, the only sound was his panting as he breathed through his mouth, and then he spoke. "Just let me go!" He demanded.
The woman made no move. "You nearly died earlier today from hunger and thirst, the fifty foot fall and panther attack being the least of your worries." She said. She moved slightly, her darkened figure shifting with her movements. "Something happened with your tribe, didn't it?" She asked, her tone soft and gentle.
His tribe... At those words, he turned his away from her, not wanting her to see that she had hit the nail on the head with that one. He grumbled as he turned his head away from her. "It's none of your business." He said.
"No, it isn't." She lifted the stick from his chest. "But, as one friend to another, I was hoping you'd tell me." She said.
Still, he did not turn his head back to her, but sat up and crossed his festering arms over his chest. Or so he thought. His arms did not hurt like before. He looked at his arms and was surprised to find that his skin was not as bad as before. It was almost as if his disease had recessed, or maybe it was leaving him altogether.
He turned his head up toward the woman and saw that she was looking at him strangely, and then realized the way he had been staring at his arms. He put his arms to his sides and pushed himself up, trying to look as if his recent actions had meant nothing. "I need to get going." He said before starting away.
As he passed her, she put her arm up and forced him to stop. He turned his head to her and looked up at her face. "And where are you going?" She asked. Before he could reply, she stepped in front of him, blocking his way. "Trundle, please, tell me what happened, and then I will leave you be." She commanded with a gentle, caring voice. It was clear that she did not intend to let him go until he at least told her that much.
With great reluctance and a sigh, Trundle looked up into her emerald eyes. His face was devoid of emotions. "My people made me an outcast and threw me out of the tribe." He said blankly, and then stepped around her. "I'm going now." He said.
There was silence, and then he heard the sound of footsteps behind him. "Your people threw you out of your tribe, and now you are an outcast?" She asked. He nodded without turning his head. "Don't tell me there was another incident with your hunting party. I thought your people only ate invaders after all the-"
"It was an invader, but this one came to the village alone and of its own will." He said, cutting her off.
They both paused and merely stood there, with only the darkness and uneasy silence between them. There was the occasional sound of a nighttime bird or insect, but neither of the two spoke.
Finally, she did. "Come back to my home with me. Traveling through the jungle at night is something even I do not do." She said into the silence. He shook his head. "Then you will likely die tonight, and this time I will not be able find you so quickly." She said blankly.
After a few moments, Trundle began walking again. "I'm dead. I have been for years now; I just refused to see it until earlier." He said as he walked. He stopped hearing footsteps from behind, so he reasoned that she stopped following him.
He turned around, but did not see anyone behind him.
He was tired, hungry, thirsty, and in pain. The night had been a constant walk through the jungle with no light except for a few rare glowing plants and whatever moon and starlight penetrated the jungle canopy. He hadn't come across any animals wanting to kill him, so that was a plus, but he did come across several plants that tried. Vines tried to strangle him, roots tried to trip him, and many more things that he couldn't even begin to explain.
Thankfully, morning arrived with the smell of dew and welcome light.
Panting and breathing heavily, he sat down under a tree. His eyes, or at least the good one, had a ring of red around it that spoke of his all night walk. He blinked away the sleep, and then closed his eyes. It felt so good to have his eyes closed and to shut out the world around him.
Sadly, the world around him was just waking up. Birds sang their morning songs, water dripped from leaves and branches, the animals stalked through the jungle floor as they hunted, and the plants opened up to await their prey to be attracted to their sticking and trapping nectar.
As he sat there, his back against the tree and resting, Trundle thought about what he would do. He couldn't throw his life away, not after all he had been through. The curse that ran through his veins now stayed from his people only because he still lived. If he died, then the curse would seek out his people and infect them once more. As appropriate as that would be considering what had happened, he couldn't bring himself to do it. If got far enough away, then maybe he could prevent that.
Yes. If he was far enough away, surely the curse would not travel across the world to find one small, isolated tribe of trolls. And how could it? The one who cast the curse was long dead, around several generations of years dead for that matter. That was the last time a necromancer ever set foot in the Plague Jungles.
Smiling, Trundle rose back to his feet. He took a step, the first step of his long, long journey... And then fell. As determined as he was to make the journey, his body was still weak from his lack of carrying for it.
That woman was right, he was going to die, but at least he did not die overnight. Still, dead was dead, and he feared that he was still too close to his tribe to die.
He snickered. After he had just come up with a plan for himself, he was now going to die in this jungle. All the good he had done for his people, and now the best deed he had done for his people was about to be undone by his death. It was laughable really. He was still all for his people, even as an outcast, and now he didn't have a choice. He was an outcast, a traitor, a victim, and soon a corpse.
He looked up when he heard something hit the ground near him. It was one of the backpacks he had seen some of the civilized people use, but this one appeared to be made by hand.
He reached toward it, grabbed it, and then pulled it toward himself. He undid the straps and looked inside. It was packed full of preserved fruits, meats, nuts, water skins, and some blankets. He looked around to try and find out who it was that had left him the pack. He didn't see anyone.
Greedily, he dug his hand into the pack and began to devour the first thing he pulled out; some dried fruits. To him, it tasted so good! The fruit was sweet, even if it was dried, and tasted like a feast to him. When he finished, he took a piece of dried meat and ate it before taking out one of the water skins and drinking. When he finished, it was half empty.
Trundle paused before he removed anymore. There was no one around, so he was clearly not going to get anymore, but then who was it that gave him this bounty? Again, he looked around, yet saw no one. The jungle was quiet and lifeless, save for the animals within it.
The troll redid the straps to the pack and pulled it over his shoulder before rising. He began walking once more; now more determined than before to complete his journey.
"Where will you go?"
He stopped. "North, to Freljord." He said.
"That's a long way from here. Why would you go there?"
"I've heard rumors of the trolls there fighting in tribal wars. It's gotten bad, real bad. Ashe and Tryndamere have been preparing their army to stop the wars and raids from involving innocents." He said.
There was a short silence. "So, you think they will welcome you?"
He shook his head. "They need a champion to rally behind. If I can be that champion, then I can at least save one tribe." He said.
"It's a really long journey. Wouldn't you rather have some help getting there?"
He looked up toward the sky. A smile brightened his face. "I am a troll, and a Champion of the League of Legends and representative of the Institution of War. If I cannot walk from one end of this land to the other, then how can I call myself any of those things?" He asked. He looked back down, and then began walking again. "If the Ruhgosk tribe no longer want me, than I will find my own life away from them. I've endured years of physical agony, what's a few weeks of banishment from my people?" He asked.
"You are heading to the Voodoo Lands, you know that right?"
He nodded his head, and then laughed. "What's the worst that can happen to me? Until I find a new life out there, I'm just the walking dead." He said with a smile.
There was another short silence. "You're only dead when you allow yourself to die. Which do you see yourself as? Alive, or dead?"
He adjusted the weight of the pack, and then stopped. "Alive to myself, but dead to the world. Until I reach the Freljordian troll tribes to the north and make a new life for myself, nothing will change." He said.
"Seek your own life then, Trundle. I wish you luck."
He turned around and smiled. "Thank you, for everything." He said, and then turned his head back forward. He took a deep breath, savoring the final scents of the jungle around him. After this day, it was unlikely he'd ever inhale the sweet scents again.
"It was my pleasure."
With that, he turned around and began walking once more. With a pack of food, water, and blankets, as well as a new goal and his faith in himself renewed, he started out.
Outcast from his people by a mysterious messenger, Trundle the Cursed Troll was making his way away from his jungle home and toward the unknown land of Freljord.
After three months of traveling, he was nearing his destination. As he waited for his fish dinner to cook, Trundle reflected over his past journey.
He had begun his journey through the Kumungu Jungle, where he nearly died from a fall. Thankfully, a friend had found him and nursed him back to health, but he could not stay to completely recover. On the way out of the jungle, he had come to terms with himself and his new goals. He would live for himself and travel to the northern frozen lands to aid the trolls there. If they would not accept him, then he was determined to prove himself or to beat his way into their ranks.
The second leg of his journey was through the Voodoo Lands. As much as people had talked about it being a forsaken place, he had found it to be not nearly as bad as the rumors said. There were sulfur fields that released poisonous gases, but as long as he avoided them it was not that bad. He even found a hot spring that he used to wash himself off before continuing. The people he had meant were also different from the rumors. In fact, they were accepting of him, despite his appearance and heritage. By doing a few odd jobs, he was able to earn a little bit of money and favors to restock his supplies and continue.
His third stop was the Tempest Flats, a land of grass and grazing animals. The people of the land were riders of beasts, each one trained from a young age to tame the beasts of the land with a gentle touch. He had no idea how much effort it was to train a mount, much like the one Sejuani used, but now he had a far greater respect for the mounted warrior. He had even tried to ride one of them, but he kept falling off the saddle, much to the amusement of the natives. He laughed with them each time, earning their friendship. Again, he worked for a small earning to restock before setting out once more.
The way through the Mogron Pass was the most terrifying. There, he had met with Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper himself. The reaper had watched with a sly smile the whole time the troll made his way through the pass. Trundle never took his eyes away from the reaper's. Luckily, it did not come to blows, and so his journey did not end in that corpse littered mountain pass.
Still, seeing all of the bodies made him think. He figured that most of them had simply been killed by Vladimir, but that did not matter. Each one was once alive, with dreams and goals of their own. Now, because of one wrong choice, those dreams had awakened them to death and those goals had ended at a dead end. The bones of the dead reminded him of what he endured; the pain and suffering of the curse his recent ancestors had lived and died with, the curse he now held so that his tribe could live without it. He would endure that pain and suffering now, for the dreams and goals of a people that did not want him.
Sneaking around, he had evaded the Institution of War and the traders and travelers going to and from the building. The last thing he wanted was to get involved with the summoners. Until he found his new life, he was dead to the world, and so to would he be dead to the Institution as well.
Over the weeks, he had also noticed that his curse, the disease, was fading from him. His body grew stronger, his wounds healed faster, and his flesh no longer festered. The only remnants of his curse were patches of exposed nerves, but they did not bleed or hurt as much as before. He now faced the reality of it: he was getting over the sickness that he had lived with for so long. He did not know how, perhaps it was due to his change of living and eating, or maybe it was his outburst when he had been thrown out by his tribe and he had discharged enough of his curse to recover like this. Whatever the case, he was feeling better for now.
The Howling Marsh had been the least of his worries, but it did give him the chance to make his own weapon. A big stick, rope and vines, and two large rocks were enough to make a heavy, blunt, and crude club. It was makeshift, just like his last one, but now he was all on his own. A simple weapon for a simple person, and this was a great weapon for him.
Now, at the final leg of his journey, Trundle had settled on the Serpentine River. With a five fish dinner cooking in front of him, he was eagerly watching the snowcapped mountains of Freljord in the fading sun. He was almost there, right on the border between survival of the fittest and survival on the land. His new life waited somewhere with those mountains... or it was his death.
He took up one of the skewered fish and bit into the steaming meat. It wasn't as good as other meals he had had, but it was enough to fill his belly. He also had a pot of water boiling with some pine needles in it. He had found that he could make a tea from the needles and some of the other herbs, so he was brewing himself a cup. With his supply of water gone, he had to boil stream water before he could drink it.
He smiled to himself, at all he had done by himself.
Trundle had become a survivor, living off the land and its bounties as well as meeting new people and becoming a part of their culture briefly. He had come to learn the trades of speech in all its forms. Haggling, silver tongue, lying, gossiping, and everything that came with it. He could manipulate people into either acting or at least believing what he wanted them to. He had become quite the speaker and spinner of truths, lies, rumors, and theories.
He took another bite, tearing the fish from the stick. Those he could not beat in brawl, he turned to his wits. Trundle had become a warrior of muscle and mind, able to do what no other member of his tribe had ever thought to do: outsmart his foes. He'd gotten past patrols claiming to be a slave, swindled people out of food and water, and turned foes into friends with a little misinformation.
He plucked a second fish and began to eat it while he checked on his tea with his other hand. It had been a long day traveling through the marsh, and now he was through it at last. He deserved a warm meal and freshly brewed hot tea.
The tea was done, and he just put his cup into the pot before taking a drink. He let out a sigh of pleasure as the rich flavors danced over his tongue, and then he swallowed, the warm liquid sliding down his throat easily. The day had been hard, but it had been worth it.
He held up his second full cup toward the mountains. "Tomorrow, Freljord, you and I will meet face to face. And let me just warn you: Send me your worst!" He taunted, smiling and baring his teeth before downing his cup and turning back to his meal.
When he finished, he turned in for the night. He had managed to get himself a tent, which kept out the weather and most animals. It was a small, canvas tent large enough only for one, but it was better than nothing. The blankets he had been given had to be repaired, but he had kept them just the same. Even if he had gotten other ones, he kept these and used them.
Sighing happily, he put out the fire before crawling into the tent to sleep the night away. Tomorrow would be a big day for him, and he wanted to face it refreshed and ready.
Setting foot on the freezing land sent a shiver up his spine. Trundle had never imaged the place to be so cold, but it was. He had made himself a pair of snow shoes with the aid of branches, but those didn't help when the snow touched his bare feet. The wind was also very cold against his skin and nerves, but he couldn't stop himself from shivering despite the furs. He was cold and miserable, but he would endure and find the trolls.
Speaking of which, he had no idea how to find them. All this time, he had expected them to be easy to find, like there would be a hunting party that he would run into. There was no hunting party of any kind, and so he continued to walk.
Freljord, as it turned out, was a much larger land than he thought. Every step felt like many, and every minute felt like an hour. The place was almost barren too, only the occasional sight of brown from vegetation or animal. Whenever he stopped for a drink, he found ice mixed in with his tea, which often froze solid before he could satisfy his thirst. He kept his water skins under his furs, close to his stomach, but even that did not keep them from partly freezing.
Finally, he came across a slightly forested area. Thankful, he began to break off limbs, knowing that if he could get a fire going then he could be warm and heat up his drinks. Sadly, the wood was wet, and so it took a long time for him to get a fire going. By that time, he had chosen to make camp in the area. At least he would be warm for a while, but what would he do about the warmth at night?
Just as he thought, the nights were worse and the days. He had gotten a little sleep here and there, but he had to keep the fire going or he'd die from the cold. How other people lived here, he did not know. It was cold even with the fire going. All he could do now was try to survive and find a troll tribe.
Over the night, he had wisely chosen to alter his furs and clothing to keep himself warmer, even taking one of the blankets and tearing it apart to keep himself warm. With the extra padding and warmth, he was feeling more confident in the traveling. He hid his exposed nerves with a few patches of fur and cloth, but most of it was for keeping himself warm and his tea liquid.
With the night over, Trundle bundled up a torch with the last of his fire place and dried wood. He was pleased with himself for making the torch and started out once he had everything packed back up. He could actually feel his pack and supplies being lighter from getting stronger and less supplies.
Torch in his left hand, club in his right, a pack of food slung over his shoulder, a folded tent on his back, water skins around his waist and under his protective clothing, and with his sights set on a long trail of smoke off in the distance. He hoped it was a tribe of trolls, but could not be sure. If he was found out by one of the human tribes, then he could very well end up dead just for being a troll in the war-torn land of Freljord. They could assume him to be a scout for a raid, trying to find an outpost for his people to attack and steal supplies.
The way the smoke looked, however, remained him of the ones he had been taught to make by his people. Smoke signaling was a must among his people for long journeys and patrols. He had been forced to make a fire before and warn his tribe of invaders. At the time, those invaders were a group of jungle trolls intent on raiding the village for nothing more than killing. The village was prepared when the attack came, and the Ruhgosk trolls placed the skulls of the invaders on spears at their territory's parameter.
Hopeful, Trundle began to make his way through the bitter cold wind and snow. All around him was white, like the world had been bleached of color and left only with a few shades of blue, black, gray, and brown in rare places. Still, he did not hate it. He could see why the others who lived here were so strong. Ashe, Tryndamere, Sejuani, Volibear, and even that child yeti rider Nunu, all of them were strong from just living in this frozen wasteland. He had a new respect for the people of Freljord, but he had high hopes for the trolls of the land.
After several minutes, he stumbled into what he had hoped to find. The tribe had been hidden under a spell of illusion. The shaman must have set it up to safe guard the tribe, but it did not stop him from walking in.
Speaking of walking, Trundle had entered through the front of the village and now stared at the faces of battle hardened troll warriors. Each one held a weapon of some kind and they wore white animal hides. He hadn't just stumbled into this tribe; he had interrupted them while they were preparing for combat.
He dropped his torch and club, the fire fizzing out quickly when it landed on the wet snow, and held up his hands. "Don't kill me! I've come to help!" He blurted out.
There was an uneasy silence, and then he was charged by the warrior trolls. The trolls easily overpowered Trundle and had him on the ground in no time. He spit out snow and dirt as he was hulled to his feet, and then he was stripped of his pack and the tent on his back.
He watched as the Freljordian trolls searched through his things, trying to find out if he had anything dangerous. All they found was cold food, a few pieces of dry wood, the blankets he had kept since leaving Kumungu, a flint and steel, and the canvas tent.
As they finished their search, some of the warriors sampled the food before throwing it to others near them. The tent was also given to another, noncombat member of the tribe, and the rest of it was given to female members. He hated to see the things he was given lost and handed out unceremoniously, but now was not the time for that. He could end up dead at any moment, and he wanted to live.
Trundle looked around at the tribe while he waited for something to happen. Instead of huts of straw, mud brick, and tree bark, there were houses of ice blocks. The trolls did not wear as many furs as he had thought, but were covered in hair to protect them from the cold. They did wear big clothes, but they mostly covered the torso of their bodies.
Finally, a large, burly troll stepped toward him. This troll was big, had scars along his arms, dark blue hair covering most of his face, arms, and legs. He was the largest troll Trundle had ever seen.
This big troll appeased him with a critical eye, looking him over to assess if he was a threat or not. Finally, the big troll looked down and met Trundle's eyes. "I am Rocko, chieftain of the Fenrir war-band. Why have you come to my tribe?" He demanded.
Trundle straightened as best he could, trying to make himself seem proud. He had not come all this way to lose his nerve. "I am Trundle, a jungle troll from far, far to the south. My people have heard of the troubles our kind face here in the north and I have been sent to act as an ambassador." He said.
There was a moment of silence, and then the chieftain began to laugh. After a few seconds, his warriors and those around him began to laugh as well. He was confused, not knowing why they were laughing.
After a long time, Rocko stopped laughing and spoke, though he continued to chuckle. "You came all this way from the south to offer your aid? What a joke. You are funny." He said and then patted Trundle on the shoulder. "Now, tell me the true reason you are here jungle troll." He said, now smiling without a serious expression on his face.
It hadn't worked as he intended, but now they were easier about him being here. Trundle took a breath of the cold air before speaking. "I... was made an outcast by my tribe. I heard about the trouble here, that the human tribes of the land were beginning to hunt the trolls here, and so I decided to try to find my place here." He said.
The chieftain made a hand gesture and the warriors released Trundle. He then looked at the jungle troll with that analytic gaze once more. "Why were you outcast? I do not want a troll in my band that I cannot trust." He said.
Trundle nodded his understanding. "I failed to inform them of a sickness that once infected my tribe, and now only infects me. It is a leprous disease that I alone bare now. Until the day I die, I am to live in constant pain." He said, and then paused for a moment. "This disease, when I took it, gave me most of my tribe's ability to regenerate injuries. To prevent it from killing me, each member of the tribe unknowingly gave me a part of their ability to heal. I kept this secret from them, until they found out and banished me." He explained, leaving out a few things.
The chieftain had listened with interest, and then nodded his head to Trundle. "If I let you join my war-band, will you do this again? Will you keep knowledge you have that may weaken the tribe from me or them?" He asked.
Trundle looked up at the chieftain and studied the look in his eyes. Finally, he spoke. "No. Whatever knowledge I have, I will share it with the tribe. I may not share it immediately, but I will share it before it becomes a hindrance or danger to the tribe." He said.
The two trolls looked at one another for what seemed like hours in the cold silence. He knew that this was his only chance to become a part of a tribe once more, but he did not know how well he had spoken. He wanted to be truthful to these people, but not too truthful. If the need arose, he wanted information to trade for his life.
Finally, Rocko smiled. "You will go with the raiding party and prove yourself. A wagon of food is coming along the road west of here. They will have food, supplies, and other things we need, but they will also be armed." He said. Trundle nodded as he reached down to pick up his club. The chieftain put his foot over the weapon. "You will use weapons of my tribe and dress for the surroundings. You will stick out like frostbite on my big toe the way you are now. Goo and Frost will gear you up. You leave in ten minutes." He said.
Trundle, determined, nodded his head. This was it!
Watching for movement, Trundle waited near the other members of the Fenrir tribe. There were trolls to his left, right, and front, but he was a part of the rearguard that would distract the humans and see to the safety of the other trolls as they fled.
The plan was simple. Wait for the wagon to come by, charge it, draw the defenders away, and have the weaker members steal the food. The fighters were what worried the troll most, but they had a plan for that. And he liked it.
Finally, the wagon was in sight, and so the trolls were eager to begin. When the wagon was only a few meters away the warriors charged toward it, eager for a fight. They yelled terrifying battle cries as they charged through the snow, ten large, white trolls armed with jagged clubs, sharpened rock spears, or scavenged metal weapons ran toward the small caravan, eager for battle and the supplies it carried.
Trundle and the others stayed back, waiting for their turn.
As the warriors engaged the defenders, fighting carefully and backing away, giving ground so that the defenders would purse rather than stay with the traders, the smaller, weaker, but agile members ran forward. Unlike the warriors, they were armed with stone knives for swift combat. If they got into a fight, they could stab their foe or slit his throat, but that was not what they were trained for. These were thieves and runners, and their job was to get into the wagons, remove the crates and bags and sacks, and take them away from the traders. They were very good at their job.
The traders shouted for the defenders to return, yelling that they were being robbed. Now it was Trundle's turn.
With a club fashioned from an old tree in hand, he lunged toward the wagon. With his disease having lessened, he could not bring out its power, but that did not matter. He was stronger than ever, and now it was time to find out just how much stronger.
He rolled toward the wagon after his lunge, scooping snow and dirt as he did, and threw it into the air with his free hand. He blinded the nearest human, so he backhanded the man out of his way. He climbed into the seat of the wagon and kicked the other trader out of it before swinging his club over the front of the wagon.
As his weapon tore through the flimsy wood, the beasts that pulled the wagon were freed of their restraints. He shouted and roared at them before swinging his club at the backs of the beasts, sending them into a panicked, startled run. They ran off together, still connected by the braces and saddles.
As they ran, the beasts forced the returning defenders to get away, giving Trundle the chance to surprise them and begin attacking. He kept himself between the defenders and the stealing trolls. With each swing he connected with some part of the humans' bodies, either knocking them over or sending them flying a few feet away.
After minutes of fighting and chaos, a signal horn was blown, signaling the retreat. Trundle turned to make sure the last of the stealing trolls had left the wagon, and then turned to the warriors still in combat. He shouted for them to come to him and that he would hold off the humans as they fled.
The Freljord trolls ran past him, in the direction of the path they would take back to their tribe, leaving Trundle alone to fight against the fifteen defenders. Three were knocked out, and five were injured, leaving it seven to one. He smiled at the odds.
As the humans charged at him with their swords drawn, Trundle prepared himself for the fight. Or so they thought. Instead of fighting, he swung his club low, toward the ground, and then turned and ran behind the wagon. The humans closest to him had backed away, thinking he would stand and fight, but he had just made them think he was attacking. The defenders, past their confusion, ran after him. What they found was nothing but snow.
Trundle had hidden himself underneath the wagon. He quickly counted out the number of feet, and then rolled out the other end of the wagon, away from the humans. As he rose, he dropped his club and lifted the side of the nearly empty wagon. Mustering all his strength, he toppled the wagon, rolling it over and onto the human defenders.
As they yelled in shock, some diving away, he picked up his club and ran once more.
As he ran, he heard them yelling for the others to help, some crying out in pain. He had gotten some of them under the structure, which served his plans nicely. Before, he never would have taken advantage of the weakness and compassion of humans like this, but, in this land, he had found that survival favored those willing to do whatever it took to live.
Trundle smiled to himself. He felt alive again knowing that he was helping this tribe to live in these unforgiving lands. Even if he somehow failed to prove himself, he was learning how to live in this land by troll means. He did truly hope that this would prove him to be a loyal troll.
When he returned to the tribe, going through the illusion he had stumbled upon before, he found the chieftain waiting for him. The large troll was alone, his arms folded over his chest, and his face reflected nothing but serious intent. "Jungle troll, what did you say your name was again?" He asked.
Trundle stepped forward and straightened before speaking. "Trundle, chieftain. My name is Trundle." He said.
Chieftain Rocko appeased him for several seconds, like a judge appeased a man. Trundle felt like he was on trial, unable to tell if he was guilty or innocent. This would determine if he was accepted into the tribe, or cast out of it.
Finally, the chieftain spoke. "Do you know how many raiders were sent out?" He asked.
Trundle thought it over a moment. "Including me, sixteen. Ten warriors and five stealers." He said.
The chieftain nodded. "Do you know how many returned?" He asked. Trundle shook his head. He had been far behind the others, so they were likely to be back by now unless they were caught. He smiled. "Sixteen." He said.
Trundle could not help but wonder why this chieftain was talking like this. Still, there was something about that smile.
The chieftain approached him and clamped him on the shoulder. "I was waiting for the last raider: you. Trundle, welcome to the Fenrir war-band tribe. I hope I can put my faith in you to be a strong and loyal member of my tribe." He said.
Trundle took a step back, shocked to hear this. He... he was accepted into the tribe. He felt a smile overtaking him, and then he nodded. "Th- thank you, Sir, I mean Chieftain. I will not let you down." He said.
Rocko let him go and smiled down at his newest member. "We do not have huts here, but we live in ice homes called igloos. Your things have been placed in that igloo over there." He said, pointing some distance away. "We label them by marks, your club has the same marks. You will eat with the other warriors, sleep in your igloo, keep your weapon and furs in good condition, and followed my orders and those of your superiors. Today was easy, tomorrow your place in the tribe will be revealed." He said.
Trundle nodded his understanding, unable to keep the smile from his face. As the chieftain walked away, he started toward where he had been pointed to go, toward the ice home known as an igloo. He was looking forward to tomorrow, but, at the same time, feared what could happen.
It had been weeks since he joined the Fenrir tribe. Over those weeks, Trundle had gotten stronger and more use to the cold, his body even adapting and growing more hair to protect him from the cold. His disease had also halted. It was still there, but he thought that the cold kept it from spreading as it had before. It also seemed that the cold weather of the land prevented him from using his disease to infect the land, which was just fine with him.
After that first day, he had found the igloo to be surprisingly warm. He was forced to remove his furs to keep from sweating continuously. After a few hours, one of the warriors, Goo, had come in to answer any questions. He had thought the exposed nerves were battle scars, so he didn't thing they were part of a sickness.
Thanks to Goo, Trundle had found out how to make a small fire for comfort and light in his new home, but also warnings that it was very easy for the igloo to catch fire and melt. He was surprised by this, but took the words as fact and promised to follow the warnings. He also learned how to take care of his furs, where the tribe's activities were, and how to live among them in harmony.
What surprised him the most was that most of tribe seemed to be fascinated by him for being from so far away. He told stories of his adventure to the children, explained the blankets to the woman, and shared his combat experiences with the other warriors. He was like a celebrity, and he truly felt that he belonged.
The second day, he was taken before the shaman and chieftain. During this meeting, the shaman had found that he was cursed with the disease of eternal rot, and that his life was the only thing keeping it from spreading to those around him and the land itself. He had been afraid that they would throw him out, instead the shaman offered to remove the curse.
Trundle was stunned. Could this mystic really do it? As it turned out, he couldn't remove the curse from Trundle, but he could seal it within the troll so that he could never infect others. When he died, he would simply rot away.
He accepted the ordeal with a smile.
The third day and those beyond he had continued to grow stronger from the fighting, the cold, and learn more from the tribe. He maintained his celebrity status, but it had slowly faded. Instead, he was now a champion among the tribe, but he could never fully trust them. He kept account of all the favors he had earned and which ones would support him and his decisions.
Now, Trundle was nearly as big as the chieftain, and he was the leader of the raiders. He no longer took the rearguard, but he set traps ahead of the wagons and traders. As panic broke out among the humans, he led the warriors in their charge, calling out orders as they fought and picking out targets himself. Rather than just steal the cargo, his team stole the weapons and armor of the defenders, taking them back to the tribe to improve the weapons and gear of the other warriors.
Thanks to him, the tribe had become a force to fear. Nearly every warrior had a metal weapon of some kind, a forge and blacksmith section in the tribe, and the improvements to armor made injuries less likely.
Now, however, Trundle realized that the chieftain Rocko was not the right leader for the tribe. While he respected the troll for all he had done for him, he knew the current leader was too set in his old ways.
The two could hardly agree on anything. Rocko viewed the use of metal working as human sorcery, the use of traps to confuse the humans was dishonorable, and Trundle's brutal fighting ways did nothing to show the people of Freljord that the trolls deserved to live in the land.
Rocko viewed Trundle's ways as brutal and proved that the humans were right to try and wipe the trolls from the land. Trundle viewed Rocko's ways as cowardly and foolish. The old troll, to Trundle, was stuck in the ways of old and refused to adapt to the current world. By following these old ways, he said the trolls of Freljord were doomed to be wiped from the ever changing land.
Finally, Trundle challenged Rocko for control of the tribe. Despite the difference in size and strength, Trundle had fought hard, but he lacked the endurance to keep up with the bigger troll. The battle ended when Rocko caught Trundle by the arm and proceeded to beat him into submission.
Blow after blow came, aimed at his head, chest, and shoulder. Trundle could do nothing but take the beating. Finally, after several minutes, Rocko released Trundle to fall to the ground.
Within seconds, however, Trundle's abilities began to heal him. Rocko, along with the rest of the tribe watching, waited until he rose. The chieftain grabbed the troll by the throat, lifting him from the ground. "What will it be Trundle! Will you obey my rule, or will you die this day?" He demanded, giving his ultimatum.
Trundle blinked away the remaining blood from his eyes and glared at his chieftain. "You will never be a true leader of our kind." He said.
Rocko narrowed his eyes, matching Trundle's glare with his own. "And how would you know? I follow the ways of old, when our people were great rulers of massive empires!" He shouted into the beaten troll's face.
Trundle clenched his teeth, his mind working even as his chief spoke. He would not let it end like this, not after everything he had been through. He had come too far to die here, to submit himself to the will of one who could only lead his new tribe to their death.
He had journeyed from one end of the land to the other, fighting his way through impossible odd, outsmarting and outwitting all who he could not beat. He had met new people and been to new places, each unique in their own ways. He had even evaded the best of Runeterra, from the summoners of the Institution of War to the soldiers of Demacia and Noxus and everyone in between.
Wait! That's it!
"Where is your weapon of rule then?" Trundle yelled into his chieftain's face. "Where is the mighty weapon crafted for your hand and your hand alone to wield?" He yelled.
Rocko looked stunned, but then quickly recovered. "That is a lie! There is neither such weapon nor history of such a thing. Chieftains rule by strength follow the will of the tribe. I am the strongest troll in the tribe, and so I will rule it and do what I believe is right for the tribe!" He responded.
Trundle smiled. "Maybe here, but where I come from there are still empires of troll rulers. Each one named for their godly weapon, designed for the one who rules." He said. He took a few moments to catch his breath before continuing. "While I lived in a small tribe, it served as an outpost for the mighty Dragon Dagger empire." He said.
The chieftain appeared to be in though then, considering what had been said. After a few seconds, he finally turned back to Trundle. "Explain yourself then. What does this Dragon Dagger empire have as its weapon?" He demanded.
Trundle thought about Shyvana, the Half-Dragon champion of Demacia. "The ruler of the empire wields a dagger crafted from the teeth, bones, and scales of an ancient dragon. The ruler killed it alone, proving his strength, and then ordered a weapon made from its remains. The bone served as the guard, the teeth as the blade, and the scales for its handle, grip, and sheath." He had to stop to breath, to catch his breath, and then continued. "The blade never rusts, never breaks, and always burns when it is taken from its sheath. The ruler who wields it need only show his weapon, and my tribe and the others under his empire will rally to him." He said in between pants.
Finally, Rocko released him, allowing him to get his breath once more. "What of the other empires then?" He asked.
Trundle met his chieftain's eyes as he spoke. "The Spider Blade empress, the Demon Eater emperor, and the Shape-Shifter sage empire are the ones I've heard of, but I do not know of the others." He said. He smiled. "I do know that there were some who traveled to new places. The Demon Eater ruler, who wields a massive blade said to steal the souls of the ones he slays, came here, to Freljord." He added.
The chieftain grabbed him by the throat again. "You speak of the human barbarian king! You are a liar!" He said.
Trundle's expression did not change. "And would you say this human is a human?" He asked. The chieftain was silent. "He fights like a demon, doesn't he?" There were whispers around them. They knew who he was talking about. "How long do you think until this human turns his blade to this tribe? Can you defeat a blade that has slain demons?" He asked.
Silence reigned as one worried troll looked to another, and then worried whispers began to be heard. His plan was working.
Finally, Rocko released Trundle. "You said other troll empire rulers came here?" He asked. Trundle nodded. "Find one of these ancient weapons then. If you are telling the truth, they will still be in useable condition." He said.
Trundle pushed himself up with the aid of his hands, and then stood. "I will, and I will prove that you are not worthy to lead the tribe." He said.
Rocko's glare returned. "If you do not return with one of these weapons, you may as well not return. If you do return with one, then I will give my rule to you." The chieftain said.
With that, Trundle started to his igloo to gather his things. When he finished, he started to the entrance of the village. He met with several members of the tribe who offered him supplies, provisions, and other small items. He refused all of them, swearing that he would find it with his things and by his strengths alone.
He set out with five days' worth of food, two large furs to keep him warm overnight, and a few other things. He knew of only place he could find such an item as the one he had spoken of: the lair of the Ice Witch.
He knew nothing about the woman, other than that she was to be feared as a powerful and evil sorceress. He knew that he would have to be careful. Every step could be his last; every turn could be a trap. He had to find a weapon of unbelievable power that would be worthy of a troll ruler.
Once more, he started out into the unforgiving cold of the Freljord wilderness, and toward the lair of the Ice Witch. He would either find a weapon of awesome power, or die in the cold.
Panting from the effort of a brisk run, Trundle forced himself to slow his breathing. Now was neither the time nor the place to be caught. He was in the home of the Ice Witch, a place of ice and cold that radiated a dark aura he had never felt before. It made his skin inch, ran shivers down his spine, and gave him the most unbearable sense of dread. As soon as he stepped into the forbidden place, he had felt the urge to run. Only his resolve kept him from doing so.
It had taken him days to find this place and hours to get where he now was. He had overpowered and killed the guards he came across, and then used the bodies and parts of bodies and ice to discover how to get past the magical traps. He had lost nearly all of his supplies just getting past these traps. False floors, freezing runes, heat-activated beams, and many more sinister traps. There were even times when he had to wait and watch patrolling guards past just to learn how to get past them.
He peeked out of the room when he stopped hearing footsteps. The halls were empty, so he slipped from his hiding place into the shadows to move once more. He had lost all of his supplies, either to find out how to bypass the traps or keep moving.
After several minutes of sneaking and searching, he finally found what looked like a treasure room. He had come across many of these same rooms, but each had held only small weapons that could never impress the Fenrir tribe like how he described. He had tried to use them, but they were attuned to magical use.
As he stepped into the room, he slid the door closed behind him. He was careful to make sure it did not make a sound, and then turned to look around the room. At the far corner, he felt his heart stop, and then he began to walk forward, like he was in a trance.
Slowly, he reached toward the weapon, and then ceased it in both of his hands. It was a club of blue and black ice with a leather handle. He felt his skin tingle with the power within it, the cold magic coursing through him like his disease had. In fact, the weapon did course through him like his disease, but then he felt something else.
He dropped to his knees, the club frozen in his grip, and clenched his teeth as he wrapped his arms around his body. Pain coursed through him in hot agony, and then a surge of freezing cold ran in its place. With the pain came the worst pain he had ever felt before: his baptism of pain and agony.
After what seemed like hours, the pain ended. He bent forward, using his hands to support himself, and then began to pant. His breath formed into mist as he panted. When he felt that he was recovered enough, he looked at his bare arms. His eyes went wide.
His nerves were covered over with fresh skin! He was healed! Truly healed of his disease!
"Who are you?"
He felt his heart stop, and then he slowly turned his head. There, standing before him, was a terribly beautiful woman with blue skin and black armor. He was in awe at the beautiful features of her face, but terrified by the unmistakably evil aura this woman seemed to emanate.
He could not see her eyes, but he could still feel her glare upon him. "A troll? Tell me troll, before I kill you, how exactly you intended to leave this place alive?" She asked with a tone as cold as ice.
He watched with fear as she began her conjuring, a layer of black ice expanding from her. He tried to back away, but he was unable to move. He looked down at his feet. Ice trapped him from his knees down and his hands were frozen to the ground. The ice was spreading, slowly creeping its way up his limbs and toward his body.
"Wait!" He said, calling out to her.
The Ice Witch narrowed her eyes. "And why should I do that? You came into MY lair, killed MY guards, and tried to steal MY club of true ice. Why on earth should I let you live?" She asked, watching the ice spread over his body.
An idea hit him. "Because of your guards!" He said.
The ice stopped just as it reached his neck. "Oh yes, about them. I believe you killed around twenty of them. As payment, I will kill twenty of your tribe. Which one do you belong to?" She asked.
He shook his head. "No, not that. They are weak and pathetic!" He said, keeping his voice respectful in case he angered her.
He felt her glare return to him, and then the ice move along his neck. "They will do. Good help is so hard to come by." She said, waving her hand dismissively. "I know they are weak, but there are no other options available to me." She said.
He smiled. "There is one." He said.
The ice stopped, and then she turned to him. He felt her eyes staring into his. "And what is this other option?" She asked, a hint of suspension in her tone.
"My people, the Fenrir war-band tribe of trolls." He said. He watched her tilt her head, and then wave her hand, signaling him to go on. "If you let me live and take that club with me, I can make myself leader of the tribe." He said.
The ice began to withdraw past his shoulders, but no further. "And how will that help me?" She asked.
"I will lead them in your name and do your bidding." He said. He waited a moment to let that sink in before continuing. "Let me live and keep that club, let me return to my tribe, and then I will be able to become the leader of my tribe. I'll get to live, and you'll have a tribe of trolls under your command." He said.
She was silent for an uncomfortably long time, well uncomfortable for him anyway. As he watched her, he felt the ice slowly begin to slide off him. "Is there a way you can make this offer more... enticing?" She asked.
He smiled and nodded his head. "I will make for you an army of all the trolls in Freljord. Either they will rally under me, or they will die to the human tribes." He said.
The Ice Witch moved closer toward him. When she was only a few inches from him, he felt the ice suddenly tighten around him, cutting off his breath. And then the ice shattered into thousands of pieces and fell to the ground in a sparkling dust. "I lead one of those human tribes." She said.
Even though he was not encased in ice, he knew that she could still kill him in an instant. He swallowed past the lump in his throat, and then spoke. "Tell me the name of the tribe and how to identify them. I swear that I will keep those trolls under me from attacking your tribe." He said.
After several seconds, he saw her smile. He had never imaged something that looked so pleased could be so dark. He thought his spine had frozen. "And what if I want your precious trolls to charge into my enemies first, be the vanguards so to speak? What if I only want your people to soften my enemies and die before my men need to risk their lives?" She asked.
He took a breath of the chilly, cold as dead air. He smiled a dark smile to match her own. "As long as I live, you can order them off a cliff for all I care." He said.
This made the Ice Witch frown. "You would offer the lives of every troll in your tribe to save your own life?" She asked.
He grinned wickedly at her. "No. I will offer the lives of every troll in Freljord for power." He said.
Silence returned. The only sounds he heard were their breathing and his heart beating. Either she would accept his offer and let him live, or she would kill him on the spot. He hardly believed his own words. Could he really do it? Offer the lives of all his tribe, of every troll, to this woman?
No. He wouldn't, because he did not intend to. All he needed was for her to believe him for now. He would play the part of her pet, for now. When it came time, she would die like the rest of them. This woman was no a troll, and so he had no reason to trust her. If she trusted him, then all he had to do was prove that trust until he could kill her.
"What is your name, and where do you come from?" She asked. "You are not of Freljord blood." She added.
He nodded. "I am Trundle. I was part of the Ruhgosk tribe from the Plague Jungle." He said.
Finally, the Ice Witch turned around and began to make her toward the door. "I will accept your offer. My tribe is the Frostguard, and you can identify them by the emblems on their chests. Take one of the uniforms if you wish, but do not kill another of my tribe." She said, warning clear in her tone.
When she felt the room, Trundle fell backwards onto the floor. He began panting, his heart pounding. He felt as if he had just made a deal with the devil. In a way, he did, but this was a woman.
He looked to his side and found the club of true ice. He had just traded the lives of his tribe for this weapon of chilling cold, but how bad was it really? He could no longer feel his disease, the ice had chilled that from his very being, and now he was as stronger than ever.
Rising to his feet, he grabbed the club and looked at it. A smile overcame him. He swung it around the empty room a few times, getting a feel for it. It was a perfect weapon for him. It was THE perfect weapon for him. He raised the club as high as he could, a laugh now overcoming him as well.
He lowered the club, his club, and began walking toward the door out of the room. He smiled as he walked through the dark, chilling, evil halls of the Ice Witch.
He had his weapon. He had his life. He had an ally. He had a plan. Soon, he would have a tribe to call his own.
When he returned to the Fenrir tribe, he carried with him a torn piece of cloth, his club, and a smirk. He was greeted with the smiling and relieved faces of his tribe. Rather than return the greetings, he kept walking.
Finally, he came to the one he had been looking for. "Have you brought the weapon of troll empires?" Chieftain Rocko asked.
Trundle reached behind his back and slowly withdrew his club. The sunlight reflected off the brilliant blue of the ice as he held it up for all to see. Rocko, the shaman, and all of the trolls around were silent. There was not an awestruck face along them.
He looked up into the chieftain's eyes and smiled. "This is the weapon of the Troll King, the club known as Boneshiver." He called out to his tribe.
And then he brought the weapon behind himself, swung from behind in an acring motion, and caved-in Rocko's head with one terrifying blow. The force of the impact alone caused a small shock wave to run across the ground, blowing a small layer of snow away as it expanded.
When he pried the club from the chieftain's face, the body fell forward into the snow. Blood dripped from the club and onto the brown dirt, adding to the puddle forming from the head of Rocko.
Trundle looked around at all the faces watching him, and then raised his club into the air. "Here me members of the Fenrir war-band tribe! I am Trundle, your new leader! I have killed Rocko with my club Boneshiver, a weapon broken off from a piece of the Ice Witch's throne of power! Never again will you follow a chieftain! Instead, you will follow a Troll King: me! Follow me, and I will make Freljord a land for the trolls! United under my banner, we will become a strong people! No longer with the rest of Runeterra look at us and see savages! When they look upon us, they will see their masters! If you will follow me, I will make this a reality!" He shouted so that all would hear him.
He then turned and grabbed the body of Rocko by the collar of his coat. With his free hand, he held the body up as high as he could. "Rocko was a fool! He believed that we could eek out a living by raiding small supply wagons and following the old ways! This is what his leadership would have done to us! We would all be dead! Look at the body of the fool who was stuck in the old ways of the world!" He yelled, and then dropped the body.
"My ways are the ways the world uses! By following me, we will live and we will survive! Let any who wish to return to the old ways speak now, and I will end your dream and your life with it! The old ways are dead, and those who follow them will die! Follow me and my ways, and we will be a great and powerful people!" He yelled with all his might.
There was silence for a long time, and then clapping. The clapping grew, and soon turned to cheers. In a matter of seconds, the whole tribe burst into joyous cheer, many calling out that they would follow the troll king to greatness.
Trundle smiled as he joined the cheering. This was it! This was what he had come for! He had found the cure to the disease that had plagued him his whole life! He had made an ally who could aid him in his goal! And now, he had begun the time of his people.
The time of the trolls had finally come.
The cloth at the end is the emblem of the Frostguard. It just seems out of place for him to mention that they will be receiving some help from a human tribe just when he becomes the leader to the tribe.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed this.
Part 2: The Ice Witch's Plot
Walking through the halls of her palace, Lissandra, the Ice Witch, smiled to herself. All of her plans were finally falling into place, and all it took was little push from her to move the whole scene along.
Lissandra had not limited herself to just the corruption of Freljord, but had tried to spread her influence to other parts of Runeterra as well. As she slowly began to corrupt the noble Frostguard tribe, she had sent her... special servants out into the world to acquire for her an army. From land, sea, and air they went, trying to find the perfect soldiers for their queen.
There had been some promising subjects, but no way for them, other than if she herself went, to make these subjects join her ranks. There were even several failures, but those were acceptable. After all, she still had her own army to cultivate and grow. Why worry about the failures of her servants?
There had been one, however, whom she had placed great hope into. Hakolin the Bonecrafter, he had called himself, said that he could give her an army of immortals. He spoke of jungle trolls far to the south, in a land known as the Plague Jungle, who could recover from fatal wounds and fought like demons. She was impressed by this, and so gave him what he needed: hundreds of her pawns, supplies, money, and mounts. She had invested a king's ransom and more into his success. A pity it did not go his way.
When he returned several mouths later, he had said that he was unable to kill them, that her army of immortals would take time. And so she waited, and sent him back to the Plague Jungle to wait his leprous curse to kill them. Nearly a year later, when he did not return, she went looking for him. When she found him, she made him tell her what had happened, and he told her. The trolls were stronger than he could ever image and had not died from his curse, but instead grew stronger. He said that, if given another chance, he could give her the army he had promised, and more.
She refused to believe him, and infected him with a curse of her own. She bound his soul into a prison of ice, and then placed it on display in her palace. Forever, he would suffer the cold embrace of death, but never die. His own magical power would fuel the weapon she had sealed him in. As to his body, she left it in a tomb of black ice. Slowly, many centuries in fact, his body would rot from the cold of the ice. She had left his soul and body connected, so that both would feel the pain of the other. In this way, she tortured him twice; once for his failure and twice for his hiding.
As the generations passed, she watched as her Frostguard tribe grew more and more corrupt, becoming servants to her masters. She found it ironic that such proud defenders of the land were now working to destroy it. She laughed herself to sleep many nights, just thinking about it.
One particular year stood out above the rest however, and with came the most extraordinary thing: the Institution of War.
She was surprised to see such a thing, a place dedicated to peace, yet it allowed truly good and truly evil individuals into its halls. Curious, she watched what were called League matches, and was able to pick out several faces she knew. The leaders of the Freljordian tribes were among them, and even more people of isolated lands she had never heard of. Demacia, Noxus, Piltover, Zaun, Bandle City, Bildgewater, the Kumungu Jungle, and the Plague Jungle.
What caught her attention was that troll within the league, Trundle, he was called. She watched him more than any other of the champions. He was from the Plague Jungle, a living subject of Hakoli's failure. By look of him, he was bared the leprous curse, but further study told her that his tribe did not. It took some time, sending servants to research, but she eventually found out what had happened.
A plan began to form in her head. Perhaps she could turn Hakoli's failure into a success, but she would have to spin a web of deception.
She began with Hakoli. From his suffering spirit, she learned of a way to remove the curse, but it would involve a great many things. Thankfully, the Institution was already providing some of them. By fighting in an arena tainted with magic, as well as being the victim of magic, they were unknowingly tending to his disease, but it was not enough. They were only scratching the surface.
Her second step was to removed him from the place of his curse. Unknowingly to him, he was not barely the curse for his people, but absorbing it. Hakoli's magic had tainted the area of the village, and so by staying there, within the tribe, he was absorbing the curse. He had intended to be the cure for his people when in reality he was only the magnet for the curse. Once away from it, the disease would fade away, either dissipating or infecting the tribe once more. Whichever happened, she did not care.
To accomplish this step, she took the form of a troll sage. With this guise, she had informed his people of his betray, that he had knowingly taken their regenerative ability from them to make himself stronger. When she pointed out how he could manipulated the disease to the land, they believed her. As she talked to them, she could see that they were growing more and more angry at their champion. Soon, he would be her champion.
The third part was the journey to Freljord. She had wanted to simply take him there, but she could not for fear of ruining her own plan for him. Instead, she turned to a reason for him to come long before she spoke to his people: disrupt the trolls of Freljord. With the savage creatures fighting one another and the human tribes, it was only a matter of time before King Tryndamere and Queen Ashe began to wipe them out. With this underway, he would have a reason to come to the land of ice, and right into her palm.
There had been one thing she feared, and that was the jungle woman Nidalee. She could tell that the troll held a great respect for the woman, and she feared that he would stay with her now that he was without a tribe. And so, she was forced to stay with him, from the distance and in the shadows, until he was away from the woman.
The rest of the journey she cared little for. He would make it to Freljord with her own strength or she would know that he was a failure. To her greatest pleasure, he made it. All that was left to do was show him to one of the tribes. The hard part was picking the right one. Most would have killed him for setting foot into their home, but not the Fenrir tribe.
With a delicate touch, she led him to the tribe, and then watched over him as lived there. She was forced to take the forms of both him and the chieftain, Rocko, to provoke him into challenging the old troll. Luckily for her, he did. She did not know how he had managed to avoid death after the battle, but he did, and he had found his way to her palace.
At long last, after years of careful planning, delicate manipulations, and fragile lies, she came face to face with Trundle. As Hakoli had said, his curse was barely there when he entered. It was time to completely undo it.
She still wanted to test her champion, and so she put into his way traps and guards he would have to solve and defeat. When he came to the weapon that held the necromancer's soul, she could feel herself beginning to sweat as she watched him. The magic of the necromancer called out to the troll's disease, drawing him to it. Finally, he touched it! She felt her cold heart stop for a second.
Silently, from her place in the shadows of the room, she watched him as the curse left his body. What she hadn't expected was the necromancer dying. She had seen his spirit break within the ice, turning it from black to blue. When it looked like he had recovered, she made her appearance and presence known.
Again, Lissandra smiled to herself. Everything was going according to plan. She had an army of humans, and now she had the making of an army of trolls. Hakoli had earned his death, her mercy, for finally fulfilling his promise. While they were not the immortal army of undead trolls he had promised, they would be her ruthless and brutal vanguard and enforcers.
The new age of ice was coming. The time of the Watchers was returning. Everything was going according to plan.
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