Changeling’s Choice by Rachael Ashdown

changeling75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Soren was contemplating ways to rid himself of Linnea when they were stopped by two identical dwarves. As the readers suggested, the dwarves will refuse them passage into the land of Faerie, forcing Soren and Linnea to find a way around them.

Episode 7

“The trolls are your family?”

“Yes.”

This simple declaration caused a great raucous from the dwarves, both bursting with laughter and slapping their knees as they guffawed for several long minutes, forcing Soren to exercise patience as he waited for it to stop. It was not easy.

“Yer a troll?” the one on the left, Erik, said, wiping a tear of mirth from his eye.

“Yes,” Soren said with conviction, attempting to hide his annoyance. “I am a changeling, seeking my true family in the Wildlands, as my time with the humans has come to an end.”

“Oh-ho, what fancy talk from a lowly troll. Tell ya wot; we will let ye cross our bridge if ya do us a favor first.”

“What is it that you want?”

“It so ‘appens that we lost something valuable, and would like it back. Get it fer us, and ya both can pass.”

“What do you wish—“ Soren began, before Linnea cut him off.

“If you lost it, what makes you think we can find it? This is pointless.” She tried moving forward, attempting to cross the bridge now guarded by the dwarves. But as she approached, intent on muscling past them, they stepped backward together, just as Linnea ran smack into a wall of red light, shimmering out of nowhere and promptly disappearing as the girl landed on her backside. Balder growled uneasily.

“You can’ get past without our permission,” giggled Evert. “Troll or not, in that silly human body you are better off forcin’ your way through a tree.”

“What must we find and where must we look?” Soren asked diplomatically, ruining it by kicking Linnea as she poked the magic wall with interest, making the color ripple outward in a very distracting manner.

“Just a small trinket,” the Erik said with a toothy grin that Soren most definitely mistrusted. “A family heirloom; a small metal sphere covered in runes. It is very dear to us.”

“And where must we look for it?” Soren asked again, his suspicion growing.

“As both ye wee people are ‘uman, we hoped ya would retrieve it from the woman that stole it. She lives not far from here, but she is quite greedy and hates us Faerie folk. Her greed drove her to steal it, thinking it would bring her magic and good fortune.” This made Evert snicker wickedly. “But for her, it is useless.”

The dwarves were not subtle. The so-called “trinket” had some magical value, but he had no way of knowing what it did. Still, he had to cross the river. For that, he needed the dwarves’ permission.

“She lives just at the bend in the stream,” Erik continued. “Find our trinket and ye will be allowed to pass.”

With little other choice, Soren agreed. With two cracks like thunder, the dwarves were gone once more. But Linnea’s continued probing of the invisible wall proved they were not going any further without the trinket. They needed that sphere. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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