“Hello,” Wren’s opening salvo wavered in the air and vanished.
Although her voice had been faint, the troll stopped roaring and frowned.
Clearing her throat, Wren glanced at Hawke, and they shouted together, “Hello.”
The troll’s frown grew more fearsome. “You speak Troll?”
Wren shook her head. “No, we drank a potion.”
The troll spat in disgust. “Magic.”
Hawke edged in front of Wren. “We needed it so we could talk to you.”
The troll spat again. “So talk.”
Glaring at Hawke, Wren stepped beside him then addressed the troll, “Unfortunately a spell went awry and brought you here, and we wanted to help you return home.”
The troll’s eyes turned wild. “I’m not letting you send me anywhere with magic!”
As Wren and Hawke involuntarily stepped back, Hawke hastily interjected, “We could not even if we wished to. We are not witches.”
The troll relaxed but still eyed them suspiciously. “I can’t see how you can send me back then.”
Ignoring her pounding heart, Wren drew near to the troll. “By offering advice.”
Striding beside her, Hawke added, “And by procuring any supplies you might need.”
As the troll grunted sourly, Wren peered closely at him, realizing that although the troll appeared hot and miserable, he was not sweating, which doubtless explained his foul temper. “You should try jumping in the river to cool down.”
The troll shuddered. “I’m no fool. Even trolls freeze when they jump in rivers.”
“Not here they don’t. Try it.” Wren shooed the troll toward the water.
“We could jump in first if it would make you more comfortable.” Hawke flashed a wicked grin.
Giving them a narrow glance, the troll vaulted over the side of the bridge and into the river, dousing both Wren and Hawke.
Ignoring their damp clothes, Wren and Hawke leaned over the bridge wall to see the troll. “Well?”
“Very nice.” His brutish features beaming, the troll splashed in the river.
“If you cool down in rivers and travel at night, you should be able to make it home.” Hawke gestured away from the bridge. “North is that way.”
“I know,” the troll grunted. “Trolls always know the direction of home. How far do you think it is from here?”
Exchanging a thoughtful glance with Hawke, Wren shrugged. “The Walle is a good three month journey from here, but we do not know how much farther north you live.”
Sighing dolefully, the troll stilled in the water. “I have a long journey ahead then.”
Wanting to cheer the troll, who would not be able to leave for several hours, Wren asked, “What is your home like?”
The troll heaved a deep sigh. “Much colder, much higher, and with less heavy air. My cave is on the side of a mountain with a stunning view.”
Remembering his lonely eyes, Wren closely examined the troll. “Any family?”
The troll drooped and heaved another sigh. “No, not even a mate. There’s a trolless I want, but she’s never noticed me.”
Hawke chuckled. “I suspect that will no longer be true. You will possess the cachet of being an adventurer when you return home.”
The troll brightened. “I had not thought of that.”
Pleased he appeared happier, Wren grinned. “Do you need any supplies?”
The troll shook his head. “No. As soon as the sun sets, I will start home.”
Hawke quizzically arched a brow at Wren. “Then we should probably go.”
Wren nodded with a faint sigh. “Yes, I suppose so. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Troll, although I sincerely hope to never see you again.”
The troll’s laugh sounded like a rumbling rock slide. “Likewise.”
Wren and Hawke strolled away, and once they were too far for the troll to hear, Wren muttered to Hawke, “I am never using a charmed object again. Magic only causes trouble.”
Wren, of course, breaks her vow eight years later in The Enchanted Bird when she disguises herself with a spell to seduce Hawke…