The Trocolane are some of my favorite creatures in my RAVENQUEST series. Raven and Skyeyes travel with two wolves Altair and Alkul and their pups as well as a mischievous bobcat named Platis. Enjoy this excerpt from Book 1 of RAVENQUEST: Here Be Dragons describing when Skyeyes and Raven first met the Trocolane in the Tangled Wood.
We awakened to the sounds of water and wind in the trees. I listened for the sounds of birds singing but could not hear a single bird’s song. This usually was not a good sign when the creatures of the forest became silent. It usually meant there was something they feared and they wait in silence observing until its intention became clear. As I stirred the fire to life I suddenly felt that there was a myriad of eyes upon me and mixed in the sound of the wind in the trees I could hear voices. I checked to make sure my blade was at my side and casually wandered to where the great sword Ravensgaard was covered to make sure it was where I covered it for the night. As I exposed its hilt the voices stopped. Then they began again. I could not tell what they were saying. Their voices sounded like whispers mixed in the wind. Skyeyes still sleeping I walked as casually as I could to awaken her and yet not alert whatever was upon us. Altair must have sensed it too for he was giving a low growl. I put my finger to my lips as a signal to him to remain silent and did the same as I awakened Skyeyes.
We then heard a rustling in the bushes like some creature was making its way through the bramble. I stood with Ravensgaard drawn. Skyeyes also stood with arrow drawn on the bow she named Orion after legends of the great hunter in her village lore. We stood there waiting to see what was coming out of the brush. As it got closer we could hear a small voice crying out saying, “Let me be, you beast! Set me down upon my feet or I will…”. Then as we lowered our weapons somewhat who should appear but Alkul with the strangest little two-legged creature either of us had ever seen. He was kicking and thrashing about as Alkul kept him raised off the ground by the collar of his clothing. He fought and spouted unintelligible syllables between words, probably the cursings of his language. Alkul finally sat him down before us and we saw it was a tiny little man no taller than our knees. He wore some type of head dress that seemed to be formed from various bramble and sticks from off the ground. His clothing was made from a cloth with all the markings of the woods upon it, some attempt at camouflage no doubt. And he had a beard that bushed out grandly almost to his feet. It was a green and molded color. Altair barked and wagged his tail as if laughing, Platis walked a circle about him with a low yowling sound.
“Call off your beasts or I shall call a destroying rain upon you all.” He said as he raised a tiny stick in the air.
Skyeyes could hold back no longer as we busted out laughing.
“What is so funny? Do you doubt my powers?” He continued to threaten. Then even he began to laugh. He then bowed and introduced himself. “I am Green Beard of the Trocolane.”
“Greetings to you mighty Green Beard,” I said to him sarcastically, “I am Raven of the free and this fair creature is Skyeyes, last survivor of the Sky People of Thera Zum and beware calling my four-legged friends beasts they are as equal with anyone of our wandering tribe. We are now one clan. We are adventurers on a quest.”
“Forgive me, majesty,” He said sarcastically returning my barb toward him. “I too wish to be your friend and guide through the Tangled Wood. My people have surrounded you all the night observing you curiously from afar. Come out from hiding my people.”
As he spoke every manner of bearded little men came forth followed by their females and children. Several rode upon the backs of badgers driven and guided by a harness of some sort. The badgers made terrible noises and obviously protested their treatment.
“You find our use of badgers curious? They are our beasts of burden, our diggers for our homes. We have observed that they are but food for your clan. That is fine with us for there are plenty to go around. We live in a mutually beneficial relationship as grouchy a creature as they be. We live in the burrows they dig together with them. We bed together sharing the warmth from their fat little bodies. We feed them with treats that they like of various roots and the squirmy ones who also live in the soil.” Green Beard explained.
“We are pleased to know you. We have traversed six lunas since we began our journey and you are the first people we have met. We did not know that there was such a tribe as yours for where we are from our two-leggeds all are tall like us.” I responded.
“To the east where the great light rises ye shall come upon a people who stand much taller than you. We are all children of Terra Zem.” Green Beard spoke again.
“Indeed. It is so and we wish only peace and the blessings of Eli upon all creation.” I said.
The Trocolane were a pleasant people. They quickly got to know everyone in our tribe. There were children riding the backs of the pups and the pups were loving every minute of it. One brave female child jumped onto the back of Platis and held on to the knap of his neck and got the ride of her life as Platis bucked and ran about. He did not want to be ridden by anyone. Platis even climbed a tree and the brave Trocolane held on for dear life and was laughing the whole time with no fear. She was having a great time. Finally Platis was worn out and he came down the tree and just rolled over in the dirt. His rider rolled off still laughing like she was having the time of her life. Platis just lay their licking himself as other children begged him for a ride. Way to ignore, Platis.
The Trocolane then invited us to their camp. Green Beard motioned to follow him and headed toward an opening in a burrow, apparently a shortcut for them. He then knocked on his head like it was hollow and said, “Sorry, lad. Just wasn’t thinking.” So we walked a little ways off the main trail and eventually came to their camp. It was a wide open grove. A clearing with a beautiful creek running through it and the water going over some rocks was a waterfall for them. Many of them were swimming and sliding down the ‘waterfall’. They had a pole in the middle of their village covered with colorful ropes and cloth. Many were holding the ropes as they danced around the pole. Some bravely swung through the air as they grasped the colorful ropes twirling through the air wildly over the heads of some and knocking others down. The ones knocked down seemed to take it with a good sense of humor and got up and dusted themselves off and playfully threatened with balled up fists.
It was quite a busy little metropolis I suppose for them. Badger riders passed each other by pulling carts, the badgers hissing at one another as they passed each other by. They were hunters and gatherers for there were many treasures from the wood hanging and drying in the wind and what little sunlight there was filtering through the trees. The game they hunted, of course, was small like them, rabbits and squirrels and such. We met other prominent leaders of their people. There was Red Beard, Gray Beard, Black Beard…well you get the idea. The females of the tribe had beautiful names like Flowing Hair, Sun in her Eyes, Flower and the like. Some had names like Badger Rider, Mole Fighter, Worm Tamer and much more. Green Beard explained that their people were named for some great feat they accomplished or some feature that stood out. He also told us that a name was not for life that names could change as long as they went through a naming ceremony officiated by the Beards. Everyone shared food and clothing equally so no one was without. All about the groves were the badger holes with little people and grouchy badgers going in and out constantly into the common area they all shared. They shared the work and they all played no matter how old or how young. They had their societies though. Some played games on the field. Some just slept in little hammocks in the trees. Every society was highly regarded and respected no matter the level of activity or lack of.
We sat there by the creek side with many of the Trocolane and enjoyed their company and the stories they told.
The Trocolane have an important role in the RAVENQUEST saga. And the adventure that follows this introduction is something you don’t want to miss, believe me! This excerpt is from Book 1 of RAVENQUEST: Here Be Dragons. Begin your quest today! Book 1 is free by e-book or you may listen to me, the author, read this entire book for free. Just go to the Fantasy Books tab to find out how.