Readers Gazette Short Stories

Short Story Troll Babies

Troll Babies by by Renee Travis Fantasy short story

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Once Upon a Time there lived a lovely queen. This Queen was everything her people could want, fair, kind, strict, athletic and a bit quirky. She lived in the Bright Kingdom, where love, laughter and happiness tended to prevail.

As a Princess she struggled under the watch of her grandmother while her parents traveled and worked hard to make the kingdom a safe and beautiful place, for the Kingdom was also called the Bight Kingdom because it bordered the mystical line where the real world met the Fairy Realm.

When the princess became Queen, with the death of her father and the stepping down of her mother, she vowed to keep up the traditions that had made their land safe and happy for centuries. While Fairy was beautiful and some of the creature’s sweet and kind, there were horrible monsters that dwelt in the realm and the Queen had a solemn duty to make sure they did not wage war on her Kingdom or cause problems with her citizens.

As a young Queen she was often foolish when it came to matters of the heart, desperate to find a match to her loud personality and stubborn nature. She married a Prince from a The War Kingdom, a place where the sun almost always shone, the beaches were pearl colored and military was prized above everything else.

The marriage was a proud yet slightly unhappy one with the new King trying to exert his power and ideas over the Queen and her subjects. After a year or more the Queen gave birth to a beautiful raven haired daughter who was quickly beloved and deemed the Best and the Brightest. Two years later she delivered twins to a delighted Kingdom, small babes, born too soon, coco in color and nicknamed Choc and Olate.

Unbeknownst to the King and Queen the leader of the Trolls, in the land of Fairy, had a horrible plan for Choc and Olate. The creatures of Fairy had spent the last 100 years trying to find a way to solve a large problem; babies were seldom born to those who were 100 % fairy, whether pixies, trolls, elves or goblin, producing children was difficult. However, they had found that a human child could have a baby with someone from Fairy very easily. So a process was developed where creatures from fairy would kidnap mortal children leaving fairy babies, identical to the original child in everything but personality, in their place.

Choc and Olate were fairly happy babies, though much quieter than their sister Raven. They were sweet and innocent full of bright curiosity. Then late one night the Trolls swooped in and stole the children, replacing them with doppelgangers, no one in the castle, let alone the kingdom knew…

Years passed, the Queen divorced the prince from the War Kingdom and replaced him with a new husband that her daughters adored, from the Kingdom of Buildings. A place solely dedicated to craftsmanship, carpentry and architecture. Good and bad things happened as one sees in a long fruitful life. There were tears and laughter, fights and love, long languid afternoons and hectic crazy mornings.

However, over the years the one thing the Queen noticed was that Choc and Olate grew angry and distant from herself and Raven. They didn’t want to participate in Kingdom Festivals any longer, they rolled their eyes at humorous stories and tales, banished their ladies in waiting to the country side preferring to dress themselves and keep their own company and as they aged resentment seemed to brew in their minds whenever their eyes alighted on Raven.

When Raven came of age, 20, the Queen sent her to the estate on the outskirts of Fairy to take over control of the border guards. Though she missed her beloved daughter the Queen thought this distance might help with her relationship with Choc and Olate. It did not, Choc left as soon as she could to apprentice in political anarchy in a far off Kingdom of Conflict and Strife, and Olate, after being caught having an affair with a stable boy, ran away to apprentice in the Kingdom of Dreaming and Vacation. Where she learned with not-so-much enthusiasm how to day dream with the finest day dreamers and languish in leisure.

The Queen and Raven tried desperately to interact with Choc and Olate, sending party invites by carrier pigeon, demanding their presence for holiday galas and weekly communications by magic mirror. Nothing seemed to help and the distance between the Queen and her youngest daughters developed to heightened proportion and the animosity between Raven and her sisters boiled with fervor.

One day while strolling with her daughter, overseeing new equipment to protect her Kingdom, the Queen and Raven spotted a girl just inside the boundary of Fairy that looked just like Choc and Olate. Startled Raven called out to her sister without thinking, the girl whipped around, frowned and slowly made her way to the sparkling line that separated Fairy from the Bright Kingdom.

The Queen and Raven met her there, confused and curious.

“Excuse me your highnesses, did you need something?” The girl asked, she had been instructed to always be polite to everyone.

“I am sorry, but you look just like my sister.” Raven told the girl, frowning at her; it was Choc, but not.

“Well that’s my name, but I am not your sister.” The girl smiled a crease between her brows.

“That’s impossible.” The Queen argued. They looked past the girl who was and was not Choc as a loud thumping sounded.

“Oh, I had better go, that’s my husband,” she turned as a medium sized Troll entered the clearing.

“Choc, how many times have I told you not to wander so close to the border?” He growled, behind him were two half human half Troll children. Choc that was and was not smiled again at the Queen and Raven and ran to the Troll, she kissed him on the cheek, waved back at the royalty gawking at her and left.

Raven turned to her mother.

“That explains it. Choc and Olate are TROLL BABIES! They are changelings; the real Choc and Olate are in Fairy, married and having babies to increase their numbers. I always knew something was seriously wrong with them, but no one believed me.”

“I still cannot believe you, that was simply Fairy trickery. I understand how you feel but don’t jump to conclusions.” The Queen scolded, walking away and back to Raven’s estate.

“I am not; it is the only thing that makes sense. When they were babies they were full of joy and laughter, though maybe a bit quieter than me,” Humor glimmered in Raven’s eyes, “and now they are horrible, mean blights on our Kingdom, and both are due back THIS WEEK!”

“Yes they are and I am hoping all the negativity will be behind us in time for their welcome home jubilee, the Kingdom has been preparing for a month, and the King is even excited.” The Queen tried to smile, refusing to believe her Best and Brightest, “besides wouldn’t we have known they were really Trolls?”

“No, they are magicked to look, act and think like humans, exact copies of Choc and Olate, they even think they ARE Choc and Olate….but Troll personalities, from my own experience, are hard to hide…The ones we do business with are all unfriendly, unsympathetic, boorish and awful. Just like my sisters.” Raven argued.

“I will hear no more of this Raven.” The Queen said, she quickly left to finish preparations for the homecoming jubilee.

Raven, a resourceful girl, made a spur of the moment trip to the close by Kingdom of Knowledge, where her fiancée resided and dug into one of their oldest libraries. There she located a book that talked about the Changeling Process. With a sad heart she read how the swap could not be undone, her current nasty sisters would never know they were Trolls, the magic was just too powerful, and the sisters in Fairy would never be able to come home, even if they remembered who they were. Raven read several accounts of families who adapted better once they proved that Changelings lived among them, this seemed like a good solution to her own families problems. After another hour of research Raven knew just how to show her mother the true nature of her sisters.

With her fiancée they searched the Bright Kingdom for the ingredients to make a salve that once put on the eye lids would unmask any illusions. Choc and Olate may not ever see , know about or reveal their true forms, some magic is too crafty and strong, but Raven and her mother would be able to have a glimpse of what they really looked like; Troll Babies.

The salve took consecrated dirt, holy water and several four leaf clovers with melted beeswax, it was a long complicated task that left Raven and her husband-to-be tired and dirty and with no time to clean up before the jubilee.

The Queen was appalled at Raven’s state of dress when she came before her only minutes before Choc and Olate were due to arrive and festivities to begin. She was even more upset by the suggestion she wear a disgusting salve on her eye lids for what she considered Raven’s nonsense. Still she laughed it off and indulged her daughter.

Raven hastily fixed her hair, gown and washed her face, smeared the goop on her and her mother. Linking an arm through her husband-to-be she went out into the court yard to greet her sisters.

There were colorful streamers, live music and the scents of dozens of different foods. Grilled meat on sticks, as well as vegetables for Choc who refused to eat flesh, fry bread, mini pies, spun sugar sticks, apples dripping with honey, ale, mead, wine and juice as well as popcorn balls and ice cream. Children played games and adults drank and danced.

“It’s a beautiful party Mama; you have outdone yourself, a bigger event than my 18th birthday.” Raven laughed, anxious for Choc and Olate to arrive.

“But not bigger than the celebration I am planning for your wedding, Best and Brightest.” The Queen teased, strolling over to her absent minded husband who was buying kites, which looked like giant metal birds, from a booth.

Horns announced the arrival of the twins. Having been separated for so long it did not surprise anyone they chose to arrive together. They walked in the same as always and not nearly thrilled enough by the merrymaking for Raven or the Queen.

Spotting their mother and sister the twins smiled, and made their way over for hugs and basic salutations. Raven hugged her sisters all the while staring in amazement. The salve had worked where once had stood her slight, dark skinned sisters they were now replaced by visions of two small blueish skinned female trolls with bulbous noses and large gray eyes.

Raven heard her mother’s small and controlled gasp as she greeted her daughters.

“It is good to have you home.” The Queen said her face a perfect mask of motherly delight.

“Well it won’t be for long, I have a job waiting for me back in the Kingdom of Conflict and Strife.” Choc sniffed the air, making a disgusted face, “is that meat I smell?”

“Yes, but there is a ton of grilled vegetables too!” Raven broke in, pushing herself to be bubbly as the troll that was her sister lumbered off for a treat.

“What about you Olate? Do you have a job waiting for you as well?” The Queen, asked, hopeful.

“Nah, thought I would stick around here a bit before heading over to the Kingdom of Art and Cooking.” Olate yawned, “I’m going to find something to eat and settle down for a nap under a tree or something, ok?” Without waiting for a response she walked away, towards to Spun Sugar Stick Stall.

“What are we supposed to do now with this knowledge Raven?” The Queen asked, sad and a little angry.

“Nothing. Now we know they truly are Troll Babies, we can’t ever tell them of course.” Raven shrugged.

“So we do nothing?” The Queen didn’t like the sound of that.

“We simply ignore them and love them for who they are. Their personalities are because they are Troll Babies, there isn’t anything wrong with them and you didn’t do anything to make them that way.” Raven embraced her mother.

“I still don’t like it… my real daughters…” she trailed off, ashamed of her words.

“Are doing what they always do, not participating. They are your real daughters, you raised and loved them, you can’t afford to think about the ones in Fairy. I wish we could, I want sisters who actually like me…but it is not to be.” Raven sighed; her fiancee wrapped an arm around her waist.

“Well then what do we do now?” The Queen asked, feeling a bit lost.

“What we always do, eat and shop!” Raven exclaimed, she pulled away from the handsome librarian prince next to her and went off to enjoy the revels with the Queen, making sure to occasional dart over and bother a rare laugh out of the Troll Babies.

To see more of Renee Travis, click the link to her website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details
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Images used for the story are Nuremberg Castle at Pixabay

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Short Story written by Renee Lake (Travis)

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Once Upon a Time there lived a lovely queen. This Queen was everything her people could want, fair, kind, strict, athletic and a bit quirky. She lived in the Bright Kingdom, where love, laughter and happiness tended to...

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