Friday, 23 October 2015

Monster Bash, Tier 1: Troll vs. Witch

  “Goooood evening, faithful fans, and welcome back to Monster Bash! Last night we saw another exciting fight, but there’s one more Round for Tier One of this competition, before we move onto Semi-Finals next week,” I say, and I quickly start heading over to the commentator’s table. The two unimportant characters are still adjusting papers uselessly, but I walk up to a beautiful young woman waiting with her own microphone.
  “Thank you for joining me again, Jayalaw. We’ve had an exciting few fights, but now we’re at the last fight of Round One, and I think this one is going to be a little unusual. Troll versus Witch, what are your thoughts?”
“My bets are on the witch,” Jaya said. “Because one thing about magic is that it is variable; you can do so many things with it. A troll can rely on his or her brute force and durability, but those can only carry you so far. A witch has more options at her disposal; the only thing that might stop her is a conscience, or an oath to do no harm. In some traditions like Wicca, the actions a Wiccan takes comes back to them threefold.”
  “Luckily for tonight’s contender, this witch is no mere pagan. A sorceress and student in sorcery and witchcraft, she will give out troll a run for his money. However, trolls are not without their own brand of magic, and they are known for being tricky. So, while I think the witch is more powerful, I think our troll may have a trick or two up his sleeve. And witchcraft isn’t compatible with trolleri, so I can’t even offer an opinion either way. There are too many variables for me to decide. Crafty witch plus devious troll equals I have no idea what will happen tonight.”
“As long as he isn’t an Internet troll, I think she’ll be fine,” Jaya snarks.
  “Haha, yes,” I say, chuckling. “Those internet fiends can spit acid, and since they’re spineless and gutless they’re pretty flexible. They can shapeshift into the ugliest thing they can imagine, and don’t even get me started on the flame wars. Luckily for us, this troll is a nature guardian with botanical magic, and not a loner with an inferiority complex. Oh, and speak of the devil, here are our competitors!”
On the left side, near the trees, a flat-panel truck backed towards the gate as two stagehands opened the gate, the suspension straining with the weight of its cargo. Standing on the back of the truck was a two-storey tall, forest-green monster. Its legs were brown and covered with bark, and it wore a loin cloth fashioned from some unidentifiable animal skin. Its back was covered in twigs, leaves and moss. The trolls face and hands were oversized, and he had a large, beak-like nose, an underbite filled with sharp, little teeth and small, yellow, beady eyes. He stepped off the back of the truck, making the ground shake as he did. Then the truck drove off and they shut the gate.
  "In this corner, from the Taynish National Nature Reserve, a young troll guardian known only as Gremby. Standing seven-point-sixteen metres tall, and a skilled master of trolleri, he is our heaviest competitor, weighing in at over two tonnes!"
On the right side near the church, a short woman wearing handcuffes was lead through the gate by two stage hands, one holding each arm.
She was wearing a black, draping dress and a wide-brimmed hat, and wasn't very muscular. One of the stagehands unlocked the cuffs and the two of them left and locked the gate behind them.
  "And in this corner, Melissa Maitland, at just nineteen years old, she is our youngest competitor. By day, an art student with an interest in history; by night, a self-trained sorceress and mistress of the dark arts. Now, let's get started!"
I jump up and scream. “It’s Beauty versus Beast, who will win? Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Three . . . two . . . one, FIGHT!”

The troll makes his way down the path, but immediately, Melissa holds out both hands, chanting quickly under her breath and lifts her hands. The closest six headstones lift from the ground and come to float around her. The organizes them to float beside her like an enormous, morbid, stone deck of cards.
She starts throwing them at the troll's head as she moves forward, advancing. Gremby raises an arm and the headstones crack, against him. He grimaces from the pain, but keeps heading forward. When Melissa throws her sixth headstone, Gremby lowers his arm, weeping some kind of sap.
  "You're nae the only one that can use magic, witch," says the troll in a deep, crackling voice with a slight Scottish accent. He holds out his injured arm, and branches burst out of and from his skin, they grow at amazing speed, closing the four-metre distance between them and wrapping around her. The crooked limb bends and twists to bring the girl in front of his face, then the branch tightens and Melissa groans with pain. Clenching her teeth she looks up at the sky and speaks in a strange tongue. There's a rumble of thunder, then a flash of light as lightning strikes. It connects with the troll's shoulder, boils the sap in an instant and the whole limb explodes. Melissa falls safely to the ground as twigs fell around her.
With a roar, the troll smacks at the ground with his remaining arm, slamming his fist to crush the witch. But Melissa rolls to the side, then deftly runs up his arm and onto his shoulder. She grabs both sides of his head and pulls.
  "Oi!" growls the troll. he swipes around his head, and the witch goes flying. She lands awkwardly on the grass, and cries out in pain. "Tryin' to rip mah head off?! You despicable sack of meat . . ."
The troll places his hand on the ground, sending a pulse of energy into the ground. The grass surrounding Melissa flutters, then grows from blades of grass into fern-like fronds which curl around her arms and legs, then knot together. The troll makes his way towards her, menacingly. Melissa was quite rattled, but shaking herself off, she uses her magic to pull herself out of the ground, the monster blades of grass falling limp the instant they are separated from their roots. She takes three steps back, a deep breath, then thrusts both hands in the direction of the advancing troll. The troll stumbles back a fraction, then presses onwards, gritting his teeth. Melissa closes her eyes to concentrate, trying to push and lift, but the troll was too heavy. She dropped her arms and opened her eyes, glancing around desperately. Then, she turned and ran towards the gate.
  "Where are yeh goin'?" asked Gremby, and as he spoke, green vines began to grow from his left shoulder to replace his missing arm. "I'm not done with yer yet . . ."
The witch grabbed the fence, and began fiddling with the padlock on the chain that held the gate shut.
  "You can't run, lass. I'm comin' fer you."
She muttered something which unclasped the padlock, but she didn't open the gate, instead, she grabbed the loose chain, turned around and threw it at the troll. It landed on his arm, but gesturing with her hands, she manipulated the metre-and-a-half long chain to snake along his shoulder and wrap around his neck. The troll grabbed at the chain, but as soon as Melissa clapped her hands together, the chain pulled tight. Then, she twisted both clasped hands, and the two ends twisted, and there was a creaking, cracking sound as the loop of the chain knotted tighter. Breathing heavily, Melissa gestured three more times, as though miming tightening a socket wrench. Each time the chain twisted again, tightening the loop even further, cracking and cracking. The troll collapsed to its knees, his beady eyes bulging, he couldn't speak.
Then, with a cheeky grin, Melissa spun a pirouette like a ballerina. As she did, the trolls neck twisted, and she dislocated his head with a wet crunch.
The head fell to the ground with a thud, and the body slumped backwards.

  "Oh my GOD! We have a winner!" I screamed, running up to the gate. "That was absolutely excellent. A real twist at the end, I thought you were really fleeing for your life . . . but you were really just getting your hands on that chain, there. How does it feel to have won?"
  ". . . good," says Melissa, nodding, still catching her breath.
  "You're a girl of very few words. Is there anything else you'd like to add?"
  "Couldn't talk . . . I was concentrating," she says, nodding.
  "Well, folks, there you have it. When I saw the size of that troll, I thought he had it. But lo and behold, the little girl did it. Ladies and Gentleman, put your hands together for tonight's winner, the Witch!"
A few people applauded as a few stagehands approached the troll's corpse, trying to figure out how to move the two-tonne mass.
  "Well, there you have it. That is the end of Tier One of Monster Bash, out of Eight we have four champions. We'll return after a short break to clean up this mess, but don't go away. We will not be done until we find our Monster Supreme. Our remaining winners will face off, one by one, until only one is left standing Who will survive this morbid clash, who will survive this creature clash? Come back next time to find out. Until then, goodnight everybody."

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