The Story Edit
Long before the Sundering, when the Tuatha de Danaan were still in the world, there were two fae: Ottmar Oakstrong; tall as the sky and strong as the sea, and his oathbound companion Breanna ab Corwyn Fiona; a sidhe as beautiful as the dawn. Ottmar was truly mighty of arm and stride, with midnight hair and ice blue eyes, yet gentle as a summer breeze to those he loved and cherished. Breanna was slim as a reed and graceful as a swan. Her auburn hair was so beautiful as to make autumn leaves ashamed, and her skin was as smooth and white as pure alabaster, yet warm and soft as any before or since. The two were inseparable, wandering the whole world together. Together they defeated the foul Beast of Exmoor. They journeyed into the Unseelie domain of the crafty, dark-bearded sidhe, Dark Tom; renowned for his black reputation, and retrieved the Gem Jimminy, a great treasure. For this, they received Dark Tom's enmity, and that of his allies, and this enmity the two gladly received; feuding is a sure road to fame and adventure. Enemies met Ottmar's sword and Breanna's mighty magics.
The Perfect Pair Edit
The two seemed a perfect pair, companions beyond compare. The strongest oaths were taken to cement their friendship and promising eternal aid. The seeds of strife were there, though. Ottmar was a true troll, the first in battle, champion of the weak, and the subject of songs and tales. But there was more to him than this. Like all trolls he had a deep romantic streak, and he was madly, passionately enraptured with Breanna. He kept this secret because, though he loved her truly, he was a noble soul and would make no demands of her. To openly profess love would have been unseemly. Instead, he secretly dedicated everything he did to her in his heart, which drove him to ever greater deeds. Other fae, including Breanna, began to look on him with awe.
He took pleasure in his accomplishments, but not as much as from the praise of Breanna. He treasured each word as a gift. He was not hasty in his love, thinking each word, each smile, each gesture brought Breanna closer to true love for him. That was a treasure worth waiting for. Being immortal still, and with no need to hide from Banality, he could have waited decades for her love. He would have if not for Sean the Silver.
Sean the Silver Edit
Sean the Silver was a Seelie sidhe of House Gwydion known for his bright coat of mail and shining helm. Beautiful and fierce beyond common ken, he was also a hero of merit; a worthy equal to the pair. As many had fallen before his silver tongue and violet eyes as to his needle-thin sword. He was a dashing figure, full of grace and courtly ways. Honeyed words flowed from his lips as easily as song. Breanna was not immune to him, which quickly came to Ottmar's attention.
At first Ottmar welcomed Sean as a kindred spirit and fellow adventurer. Sean was an equal in his eyes and Ottmar treated him as a brother. This changed when Breanna sought the sidhe's company more and more and began inviting him along on their adventures. Even this was tolerable at first, for Ottmar was sure Sean could never surpass him in dangerous encounters and rough terrain. Sadly, Sean wielded his sword as deftly as his words, which Breanna noticed as well. She began to praise him as she praised Ottmar, freely giving the sidhe words Ottmar had risked death to hear. This spurred Ottmar to greater acts, for which both companions praised him, but did not diminish the praise Breanna bestowed on Sean.
If only Sean had been Unseelie or a beast, Ottmar could have dispatched him with ease. Instead he was a noble and honorable sidhe who had transgressed no law or hospitality but those written in Ottmar's heart. Ottmar suffered bouts of self-doubt and moodiness. His previous demeanor shone out less and less. Only when facing a dangerous adversary did his old light shine. Both of his companions expressed growing concern but were met only with silence growing into churlishness. Breanna tried hard to pierce the mystery of his dark moods but her attentions often drove him into a worse mood. She had no idea it was love that pained him.
Dark Tom's Plans Edit
Now Dark Tom had not forgotten the theft of the Gem Jimminy, and was immune to feelings of sympathy for either Breanna or Ottmar. He knew little of Sean, though he knew the other two too well. He was craftier than most, with eyes and ears everywhere. By way of a satyr, who heard from a boggan, who paid dearly for the information from a sluagh, he learned of Ottmar's silent tears when he thought he was alone. He had heard the two had become three and put the pieces together, realizing that Ottmar was pining for Breanna. With that knowledge, he began laying plans for a trap to destroy Ottmar and leave Breanna in his clutches.
Ottmar's Pining Edit
The concern his companions showed him only deepened Ottmar's suffering, because he could see that love was starting to blossom... not for him who had tended the seed, but to the lucky interloper. His silent despair grew to the point he considered abandoning Breanna and the oaths that bound him to her. But he was a troll and would not cheapen the might given him to fulfill his oaths for only heartache. He resigned himself to the situation and began to think of ways to reclaim the love of Breanna.
While on retreat from adventuring, the three took refuge in Verdure Vale, the lush and fertile freehold of Lady Rona, a minor noblewoman known for hospitality and generosity. Sean and Breanna delighted in the place while Ottmar deepened his brooding. The pair of sidhe noticed this but knew from their travels he would right himself eventually without their interference, especially since their attempts usually made things worse. They left him in silence, concerned nonetheless. If Ottmar had known their whispers were about him, it might have lightened the load on his heart, but he saw with the eyes of the forlorn and heard in his mind words said to Sean that he wished to hear. He retreated to his quarters and to sleep.
Vengeance Unfolds EditThat evening, Sean was roused from sleep by stealthy sounds outside his door. He, cat-like, lept to his feet and, sword in hand, went to the door, ready for anything. To his surprise and delight, what awaited him was a letter written in a delicate hand. It was unsigned but carried the scent of roses and he needed no more clues. He hastily dressed and went to the assignation, in the garden under the stars.
Breanna, too, received a letter, written in an artistic and bold hand that only a noble could have written. With sweet words that melted from the page, she was courted and enjoined to meet her suitor in the garden as soon as she was able. Her heart sang with joy, for finally she would hear the words from Sean she had longed for. Quickly, though with care, she dressed and readied herself.
Of course, this was the scheme hatched in the blackness of Dark Tom's heart. Love was nothing to him but weakness to be exploited. It had only cost a few silver pieces to arrange for three letters to be delivered. Ottmar had also received a rose-scented letter written in a hand that must have been Breanna's. It asked him directly to come to the garden and share her joy and love. Overcome with emotion, Ottmar quickly made ready and stepped out into the garden.
Though Dark Tom laid the stage, it was Candle Jack that set the players in motion. An Unseelie sluagh known for treachery and odd magic, he had prepared the scene in detail. He knew many secrets, including Breanna's love of roses. Armed with his knowledge and potent magic, he set the bait and waited. He gave an eerie chuckle as he watched his plot unfold, for such an evil fae could not reap his pleasure from a distance.
In The Garden Edit
The crowning glory of the garden was a blasted oak made beautiful by the emerald vines and crimson roses that encircled it. With wordless joy, Breanna and Sean flew into each others' arms, speaking their love in countless silent ways. The passion each felt was fanned into flame so bright there was no doubt of their intentions for each other. There, in the garden of Verdure Vale, the two sidhe found love in one another without spoken words. As a testament to his love, Sean picked a perfect rose; perfect but enchanted. As the stem broke, all of the flowers released a magical perfume that rendered the two unconscious.
Ottmar aride only moments later. What he, the truest friend and most ardent lover of Breanna, saw was nothing other than the two lying in one another's arms in the heart of the garden. If he weren't blinded by grief, he might have noticed the two were helpless. Hearing only a cruel jest in the words of the letter, his eyes began to tear. Through that hazel he thought he saw scores of shadowy figures advancing through the garden, intent on harming the two lovers. In his rage and pain, he left them to their fate. They would triumph or not, but he would not stand and aid those who had wounded him so. Forsaking his oathbound beloved, Ottmar left his companions to the clutches of Candle Jack and his henchmen, silently taking his leave of the Verdure Vale and his honor.
Dark Tom now had Breanna in his grasp, though Ottmar eluded him. He relegated his two 'guests' to Cancel Jack's underground labyrinth where they were stripped of their treasures and their dignity and shackled together in a mockery of passion's embrace. Revenge was incomplete without Ottmar, though. His agents, sent far and wide, were unable to discover the giant's whereabouts. Since he couldn't find his prey, Dark Tom had his agents spread the news abroad of the fate of Breanna and Sean quietly, hoping Ottmar would come to him. He was sure the noble giant would not refuse such a call to action but was unaware of the changes pain and betrayal had wrought on his foe.
Oathbroken EditWith the spreading of the rumors, word of Ottmar's oathbreaking also became known. Other trolls sought him out; some to entreat him to return, others to punish him for his transgressions which cast all trolls into ill repute, but none were successful. Those armed with words met stony silence and simmering anger and despair. Those armed with weapons met their match with a ferocity and savagery rarely matched before or since. Neither group could achieve their ends, so eventually, they stopped seeking him. Ottmar wore his pain like a cloak and kept to himself.
One visitor did rouse him, if only a little, from his solitude. A young wilder who remembered the stories of honor and deeds sought him out and found the ill-tempered ogre lurking in a cave far from civilization. He sis not heed Ottmar's warning to leave but spoke a name that caused Ottmar to react as though struck. He bore news of Breanna and of her capture by Candle Jack. Ottmar was almost stirred to action, for he loved her still, even if she had broken his heart. Just as he prepared to set out, though, a chance sighting of a rosebush caused him to remember that sight of Breanna and Sean locked in an embrace... a sight that had been in his dreams since that fateful night. Pain, masked as rage, twisted his face and with a bestial snarl he commanded the wilder to leave him in peace in a voice that would not be disobeyed.
Ottmar's Complaint Edit
Ottmar wandered the barrens, alone with his pain, so he thought. Unknown to him, though, the Tuatha de Danaan were watching him, aware of his plight. Though they had created troll hearts, they were more concerned with law and oathbreaking than unrequited love. One of them approached the ogre, speaking to him of his oaths. Ottmar was terrified they the Tuatha's presence, for even the stoutest heart would quail before such beauty and power. Nothing was beyond their knowledge. Yet he found courage to speak, to tell of his love and the care he took to nourish it. He grew bolder and spoke of the trials he subjected himself to for his love and of the regard he had for her. He even spoke of Sean whom he would have called brother if not for his love of Breanna.
Usually a quiet sort, pain lent courage to the giant; courage and eloquence beyond his normal ability. So moving was his speech, the trees bent nearer, the birds stilled, and even the rocks wept. The Tuatha, though, was not moved. Ottmar had taken an oath in good times and abandoned it in difficulty. Even knowledge of dire peril to his oath-friend did not move him. Every sad moment, every heart-breaking instance was met with the same words, driving the fae closer and closer to anger. After the last repetition about oaths, he flew into a rage. Before he had spoken moved by compassion, now he was moved by anger. He cursed the day he had given his word and cursed the oaths he had taken. He cursed love, cursed Sean the Silver, and cursed the fickle heart of Breanna.
The Judgement Edit
The Tuatha spoke of Justice and Punishment. Ottmar showed no remorse. He was beyond that, goaded by the seeming unfeeling Tuatha to greater and greater anger. There in the barrens, judgment was passed on Ottmar. He had given his word and broken it. He had cursed the innocent and so he too was cursed. As long as he kept his oath unfulfilled, he would be no true troll and have his might stripped from him. The harsh sentence drove him beyond the bounds of reason and his rage erupted more than ever before. Now he cursed the Tuatha de Danaan who had created his heart as romantic as any other. Did they not place him in such a body as to be rough and oafish next to a sidhe? Were they not to blame for his misery?
He raged against the injustice he felt was done to him and the rage burned the resentment from him. Rage vented, he returned to his reason, but too late. Apprehensive, he waited the outcome of his ranting. He was not denied. The awesome countenance of the Tuatha clouded with anger, causing the giant to quail. They accepted Ottmar's words for they contained truth. As a troll, he was both mighty and passionate, but both needed to be tempered. He had broken his oaths out of passion and punished with weakness. But it was true he was as he had been made; exemplary of his kith. With a grim smile the Tuatha thanked him for bringing the weakness of all trolls to their attention. Ottmar trembled with fear at the words but knew the worse was to come. If even he could act ignobly out of passion, all trolls could be led so astray. The punishment was broadened so that all trolls would suffer the curse of they broke their word. Honor and strength were they core. To loose one was to loose the other. With that, the Tuatha disappeared leaving Ottmar in a despair greater than before. He had brought punishment on hi whole people. Moved by shame, he shouldered his sword, strapped on his armor, and set out to make amends for his broken oath. Nothing would remove the curse from his kith, but he could at least save Breanna and Sean. The pain of seeing them again would begin to be a suitable punishment for the injustice done to his true family. He was undeserving of death and felt he had much to suffer to atone.
The Rescue Edit
Now this was Candle Jack's plan. Dark Tom wanted revenge on both Ottmar and Breanna and had paid well for it. Since Ottmar couldn't be found by lackeys, he would be drawn out by Breanna. Candle Jack suspected that she was a bait irresistible to the giant, and he was correct, though he hadn't expected such a long wait. He was near the point of despair and feared he'd have to tell Dark Tom of failure when the first rumor of Ottmar's resurfacing reached his ears. Many traps, mundane and magical, lay in wait for the troll, and the sluagh was certain of his success. Sadly, he did not count on the determination and righteous anger of Ottmar.
The troll found the entrance to Jack's underground maze and fought his way into the depths. The traps did not weaken him. The collapsing walls were shrugged off like light snow. Echoing chasms were crossed with a single bound. Magical traps were overcome by his great cunning. Ottmar had a destination, and nothing would keep him from Breanna.
At last he reached the heart of the maze and found the two sidhe chained in an iron embrace. It was a clever taunt meant to drive the troll mad with grief. It was partly successful, though, because it did anger the giant who ripped the shackles apart with his bare hands. Both sidhe were amazed at their companion's raw power and overcome with joy to see him. Their words of thanks were met with a grunt as Ottmar shouldered his blade and prepared to fight his way out.
The Battle Edit
Candle Jack had been watching the whole thing, of course, from the secret center of his maze with a farseeing mirror. Ottmar had impressed him but he was not finished, for the heart of his plan was ready to unfold. Walls of granite fellowship into place, blocking all exit from the cell. Other walls lifted, revealing a horde of evil creatures and Unseelie fae, armed and armored, with murder in their eyes. He himself stepped from his hiding place, not wanting to miss the opportunity to gloat. He told the trio of the reasons for the trap and gave then Dark Tom's regards. With a signal, the horde descended on the giant and the unarmed sidhe.
The storm of blood and steal was greater than any legend. Sean and Breanna defended themselves with only their magics to protect them. The heart of the storm of violence, though, was Ottmar Oakstrong. If he had been angry confronting the Tuatha de Danaan, if he had been furious clawing through the maze, he was beyond rage now. Hate and anger rolled off him like waves of white heat and his breastplate turned redder than the cap of even the worst redcap with the blood of his enemies. His great blade cleaved fae and monster alike in two; ogres and griffins fell and even Candle Jack was slain, his head chopped off by the troll. More than twenty fae and countless monsters met their ends that day, most at the hands of Ottmar. When the final foe fell, only three were left standing: Ottmar, Breanna, and Sean. The two sidhe had stoped fighting long ago for no foe could reach them through Ottmar's blade. Even Sean was at a loss for words. They silently followed Ottmar back out of the maze.
Word of the battle spread and reached the ears of Dark Tom, who withdrew his enmity and formally apologized, taking stern vows never to oppose Ottmar and his companions. Fame became as a shadow to Ottmar, once known as Oakstrong, then as Oathbreaker, and finally as Oceanheart, for one could overcome him back as easily as the ocean. His own kith forgave him and sang his praises as loudly as the others. Ottmar took it all nobly in a way most considered humility and modesty, but which was really shame and regret for how his actions had cursed his kith and put his friends in mortal danger. He renewed his oaths to Breanna, and even expanded them to Sean the Silver, the innocent who had suffered for his actions. Both sidhe greeted this kindly and swore similar oaths to Ottmar. Ottmar also took a silent oath to never let his emotions blind him to duty and friends even if the pain was unbearable. To his credit, he never broke either oath and served as an honored guest at the weeding of his two companions. At the births of each of their children, he swore to protect each with his life. He was renowned for his duty and kindness ever after. He never took a lover or even another companion.
And so ends the tale of what it means to be a troll.