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Gry and the Mountain King

The Mountain King ruled the lands around his lonely mountain, everywhere his goblins and trolls could reach in darkness.

At times, Gry and the other children would look south to the mountain, scare each other with gruesome tales, and giggle.

The village was safe. The slow trolls could not reach it, not even in the longest night. But one day, Gry noticed something.

At noon, when the winter sun hung low over the mountain, the shadow cast on the plain seemed to reach closer than before.

“It is because the days are getting shorter, silly,” the grownups said.
They could not see the shadow’s shape was wrong.

Next day, Gry put her skis on just before sunrise, and headed south. Nobody was faster than her. And nobody else cared.

Gry’s skis carried her swiftly across the plain, towards the east of the mountain, in case there were trolls in the shadow.

When she got closer, Gry studied the shadowed side. There were many long grooves in the snow, leading up towards the summit.

She hurried up the slope, but the mountain was much higher than she thought. She only reached the summit when the sun set.

In the last light, Gry saw an enormous pile of large boulders at the top of the mountain. Trolls moved in its shadow.

Gry hunkered down and watched as a few more boulders were piled on top.
“It is done!” a big troll shouted. A cheer went up.

The trolls left. Gry waited a while, then hid her skis in the snow. Moving softly, she followed the trolls down the slope.

The last sliver of the moon gave a little light, guiding her on the path. That, and the sound of music, led her to a cave.

The cave led into the mountain, to the Mountain King’s great hall. Goblins fiddled, and trolls danced around large fires.

On his throne of human skulls and bones, the King sat singing.
“In the darkness we will come, we will kill, we will eat.”

“In the darkness we will come, and steal the human babies!” the Mountain King roared with the music.
The trolls sang along.

Gry cowered outside the entrance to the hall. She had to stop the King’s plan to put her village in the mountain’s shadow.

She fumbled around to find some stones and gravel, then took a shaky step into the hall and hurled a stone at the King.

The stone hit right on the King’s large nose, and he yelled out in pain. The dancing stopped, and Gry took a deep breath.

“I bet you can’t hit me with a stone!” she shouted. Then she ran.
Behind her, trolls trampled goblins to chase after her.

Gry ran up the path. At the top, she turned, and saw a horde of huge trolls come out of the cave. She threw stones at them.

She hurried to her skis, and threw her last stone. It bounced off a troll and hit the rock pile. She pushed off, downhill.

The trolls picked up rocks to throw after her. She pushed to speed up, and swerved from side to side to avoid getting hit.

The further away she got, the bigger the boulders the trolls hurled. She skied on until she could no longer feel them land.

The plain was strewn with boulders, and the top of the mountain had its usual shape again. Gry smiled and headed for home.

This story was serialised in 25 daily tweets from MicroSFF, December 1st to 25th, 2015, tagged with #AdvenTale. Here those tweets have been collected to give the full story.

Published inShort story