🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #44
Chapter 8 – The Bomb
“No!” Trabernikus said. “A troll’s hair is his strength! Every hair is precious to us. It’s what gives us our powers of transportation!”
“I know,” Henrik said. “That’s why they are so useful in a bomb. The power they contain is tremendous.”
“Not my hair,” Trabernikus said. “Not mine! Anyway, I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous thing. Who told you to use troll hair in a bomb?”
“Not any troll hair,” Henrik said. “Specifically Navigation Troll hair. The Witches of Algairtha taught me some things that they thought I might need as a man, as I grew up to defend others. There are different ways to make bombs, but this way would be the best.”
Trabernikus winced at the thought. “What else would you need?”
“Not much. A tailfeather from any bird, so that the bomb can spread and reach with its impact. Some sort of fluid, water is fine, and then a drop of Elgarberry juice. Then I would need a casing, which I can make out of fallen leaves and pieces of vine or string.”
“Well I know where the Elgarberries are,” the troll said, thinking to himself. “Water isn’t far, either. But if you take any of my hairs, I won’t be the same ever again. My life will be shorter. I won’t be able to run as fast. What about the other ways of making bombs?”
“They will take longer,” Henrik said, “and I don’t believe those bombs would be powerful enough to wipe out the residents of a Marauder Mountain, the size of which you are describing.”
“Bloody witches,” Trabernikus muttered to himself. “Always wanting stuff from the trolls.”
“Since you can’t be cursed, the power contained within your hair has the power to wipe through any dark magic that might be protecting the mountain,” Henrik said. “The bomb would destroy the evil within it, but the mountain would remain intact.”
Trabernikus thought about the impact this would have on the Marauders, who he had grown to hate over the years. He wanted the threat to his forest gone forever. After a while of thinking, muttering and staring into the trees, he looked at Henrik.
“Fine,” he said. “But if you take more than just two of my hairs, I’ll show you just what a Navigation Troll can do when it’s upset!”
A few minutes had passed, and Trabernikus had been running his thick fingers through his own hair, glad that it was dry after Boevill had licked him with such force. “Luckily my hair feels a bit thicker today. Don’t know why,” Trabernikus said. Henrik looked at Boevill who was sitting on the ground, looking almost as if he was smiling.
“Wait there,” Trabernikus said. “How much water do you need?”
“No more than a handful,” Henrik said.
“Start making a container,” the troll said. “I’ll be back soon with your other ingredients.”
“Hang on,” Henrik said, “are you able to locate Bindenvines?”
“Of course, what do you think I am, an idiot?” Trabernikus said. He was not liking the thought of losing two of his precious hairs.
“And perhaps some Tarla leaves.”
“Oh for goodness’ sake. Do you want me to just make the thing for you?!” Trabernikus snapped.
Before Henrik could reply, Trabernikus was making the ground rumble again, and he was disappearing down into it.
“Can’t believe I’ve got myself dragged into all of this,” Trabernikus muttered, as he disappeared and was swallowed up by the ground.
Just a few moments later, the rumbling started again, and Trabernikus was emerging out of the earth holding a bunch of dark green leaves in his arms, a bunch of soaking wet vines, and a little wooden cup with some water in it.
“Where did you get the cup?” Henrik said.
“It’s mine,” Trabernikus said. “But you aren’t using that as well! Just the water. I found that cup in the woods, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever kept. It reminds me to be empty, when I’m doing my work. I have to let the powers of these woods fill me up and flood through me, instead of holding on to some of my grievances from the past. I must be empty, like the cup.”
Trabernikus sat beside Boevill and they both watched as Henrik made his bomb. The Tarla leaves and the Bindenvines were very easy to crush and mould together into a big sticky ball, along with some mud that Henrik gently scraped from the ground. He left a small hole at the top to put his ingredients in, and the ball he had made was sealed the rest of way round.
Trabernikus was watching, occasionally muttering something to himself that Henrik decided not to focus on.
“Elgarberries,” Henrik said. “We forgot Elgarberries.”
Trabernikus screwed up his face with fury, closed his eyes, and while remaining in a sitting position, he rumbled down into the earth again.
He reappeared with so many Elgarberries in his arms, that Henrik actually began to smile.
“I only needed two,” Henrik said, and as Trabernikus trotted up to Henrik with a mild agitation, he dumped them all over Henrik’s head.
“Well you should have told me!” Trabernikus yelled, walking off and sitting back down.
Boevill stood up, walked over, started to sniff the berries and eat them.
Henrik squeezed the juice of two berries inside the cup of water that Trabernikus had given him. Then he poured the liquid into the ball he had made. He looked up at the Arganbird who was resting above them in the branches. After Trabernikus saw Henrik staring at the bird for a while, the bird began to shake its tailfeathers until one began to flutter down towards the ground.
“I’ve never seen a bird give up a feather before,” Trabernikus said, astonished. “They must be keen to see the Marauders of Derdark come to justice.”
“Indeed they are,” Henrik said, placing the black feather with a thin red stripe inside the round casing of leaves and wet vines.
“And now the final ingredient,” Henrik said. “Trabernikus, if you please.”
Trabernikus stood, annoyed that it had come to this. Despite his aggravation, now he was slightly wanting to give his hairs to Henrik so that proper punishment could be dished out to the Marauders, and whatever that dark thing with the hood was.
“But not yet,” Henrik said. “We should travel to within sight of their lair, and add the final ingredient then. We don’t want this going off while we are travelling.”
Trabernikus stood still, pleased with the fact that he could keep all of his hairs a little while longer. “Good idea,” Trabernikus said. “Let’s go. And give me back my cup!”
Story written and read by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley