They’re big. Like, really big. And they stink like a wet dog fed a steady diet of beans and rolled in week-old garbage. Add claws that can cut through concrete, teeth the length of my arm, and enough brute strength to rip your parents’ SUV in half with one hand. They also lack the intelligence God gave a lima bean. All of this make trolls perfect for pretty much just one thing: carnage.
Trolls are the favorite thugs of the more powerful residents of the Otherworld. And, since he ousted Lord Oberon and Lady Titania, the Erlking is not only the most powerful resident of the Otherworld, but he also really, really wants me dead.
Why would a sadistic elf want to kill a skinny fifteen year old kid from Glens Falls? I blame my uncle. Uncle Bryan is some kind of hotshot academic down in New York City. You’ve probably seen him on The History Channel or PBS or any number of other “educational” channels. But, no matter how busy he is, he never forgets his “favorite nephew.” He’s sent me stuff from South Africa, Egypt, Tokyo. One day, I come home from school—okay, Art Garvey and half of the JV baseball team chased me home, but that’s a whole different story—and there’s a package waiting for me from Uncle Bryan. And what did my globetrotting uncle send me, you ask? Well, it was a cap. A baseball cap. Sure, it was an awesome shade of vibrant green like nothing I’d ever seen before. But, it was still just a nondescript baseball cap.
Thinking about it now, I wish he’d sent me a snow globe.
I know what you’re thinking: “This kid’s a total prick. His uncle sends him stuff from all over the world and the little brat can’t even be grateful?” First of all, back off! Secondly, if it was just a baseball cap, I’d have been the happiest guy in the world. Okay, maybe not. The dude who gets to sleep with Shakira every night is probably the happiest guy in the world.
Where was I? Oh, yeah…
The baseball cap. Okay, so it turns out this wasn’t just any old baseball cap. No, it was a freaking monster-magnet. I still don’t have all of the specifics nailed down yet, but apparently the cap contains the essence of Puck’s magic. Yes, that Puck. “If these shadows have offended” Puck. Except this Puck is real. Was real? Anyway, when I put the silly thing on, I can tap into Puck’s power—legitimate changeling magik—or it can tap into me. I’m not really sure which, and I don’t really want to think about it too much.
Either way, the Erlking wants Puck’s power—partly, I think, because he believes Puck knows where Oberon and Titania are hiding; but also because he’s a creepy, power-mad psycho who sends giant faerie assassins after teenagers.
On the upside, changeling magik is pretty sweet and, not to brag, but I think I’ve gotten the hang of most of it. Especially the shapeshifting. Turning your arm into a chainsaw? Awesome!
My name is Robbie Gwynn, I’m fifteen years old, and I have about nine hundred pounds of freshly butchered troll to dispose of.
Anyone out there have a van?