It was a strange procession of monsters and manlike beings that made its way down the long, long stairs beneath the Royal Khazan House of Justice. Several hundred feet underground, they emerged from the stairwell and lined a long stone dock overlooking an entrance to a wide tunnel. It was here that the Trollgod ran into his first problem.
“What do you mean we don’t get to shoot at them as they run?” bellowed the Khazani guardsmen stationed down here. “That’s about the only fun we get, and it’s traditional – to give the prisoners added incentive.”
“They’re not prisoners,” growled the Trollgod. “They are racers, and you don’t get to shoot at them.”
“I’ll turn you into frogs,” said the Trollgod.
The Trollgod’s right-hand monster, a humble troll called Ak Ptui bustled about, pushing the racers into their places at the edge of the platform. It was like herding cats. He repeatedly announced, “Racers! Take your places!”
Khayd’haik, the Trollhalla wizard also stepped to the line. He was a Trolf–a homely combination of Troll and Elf, better known for his magical tricks than his combat ability. He carried a musket, ready to fire and start the race.
These were not the mightiest monsters ever seen on Trollworld. There were four Trolls, and the largest of them, Tmuwo, wasn’t more than five-feet tall. There was also an Uruk, a Shadowjack, and a Dragoll – weird crossbreed between dragon and goblin.
“These are the rules,” said Trollgod, as he handed a ring bearing a purple stone in it to each racer. These rings record your adventures on this race and send them back to me, and from me to everyone in Trollworld watching the race. If you feel that you are about to die, or that you can’t go on, take off the ring, and you will be teleported instantly back to Trollhalla. The racer who finishes first, or gets the farthest will be the winner. Once you turn the corner,” he waved at a bend in the tunnel some 50 feet away, “all is fair. You may fight each other, or play tricks, or just run like hell – it’s up to you. May the best racer win!”
The seven racers stepped to the edge of the dock, prepared to jump down and start the race when the gun went off. They were an odd assortment: Middleclaw, the Dragoll, with his stumpy little wings and occasional snort of flame. He wore a loincloth and carried some string wrapped around a tiny arm. Next to him was a sickly-looking Uruk named Taran Dracon. He had a sharp and shiny ring of steel piercing his snout, and a stick of chalk clutched in one hand. Third in line was a short, gaunt Shadowjack. He looked almost human except for the pointed ears and glowing red eyes. He was elegantly attired in black top hat and black velvet cape. Incongruously, from time to time, he also seemed to be wearing a sundress covered with green and yellow polka dots, but if you looked at it closely, the dress faded away. Then came four Trolls: Gimor Ironfang carried nothing but a sneer on his misshapen countenance. Mahrundl wore an old bloodstained lab coat and carried a round metallic disk with a hole in the center – a cymbal by all appearances. In fact, it was the Holy Cymbal of Trollhalla, and he hoped it would bring him luck. Next to him was Rrraff, looking buff in buckskin breeches and with a lodestone swinging around his neck on a string. Last, and largest of the racers, was Tmuwo, wearing baggy blue pants and carrying a kalimba. Apparently, he thought music would give him some advantage, or maybe he intended to use the instrument as a staff.
“On your mark, get set!” POW! Khayd’haik’s musket went off. The racers leaped off the dock and sprinted toward the corner.
Tmuwo took the lead immediately and quickly vanished around the corner. The Shadowjack was right behind him. A few seconds later, Rrraff also cleared the corner. The other four were somewhat slower. The flying Dragoll was fourth, while Mahrundl and Taran ran neck and neck a few feet behind it. Bringing up the rear, and well back, was Gimor.
Tmuwo loped around the corner. It was darker here, but all the racers had excellent darkness vision, and he could still see very well. Ahead of him, the tunnel split into two tunnels, one going off to the right, and one to the left . . .
(to be continued)
Racer Profile Number Two
SilverHorn – “Soooooo, anything goes. Nice. Perfect milieu for a Shadowjack like myself.”
He is a male, Shadowjack, chaotic and Silly. This feisty competitor has no concept of winning or losing, he just goes mad and has as much fun as he can. A risky choice to bet on since ‘winning‘ is not his priority. Expect major weirdness, gut-wrenching jokes and Zen reversals at every turn. On the other hand, he’s highly motivated to give a good show, and always does his best to amuse the punters. If winning will garner a few chuckles, he’ll make it a goal.
Official talent: Dancing Fool