Ch. 48.3 The Enemy Revealed — Ezra stood on a branch of a towering spruce tree and looked down at the valley below them. He gulped as row after row of armed trolls emerged from the gaping wound in the earth and spilled into the meadow. The heavy beating of their drums pulsed in the air.
On the opposite side of the valley near the castle, an army of human soldiers huddled, swords out, spears up, bows ready. Their eyes were wide with terror. Ezra’s friends and allies were hidden in the trees behind them.
Ezra’s stomach rolled. Was it common to feel sick before a battle?
Fritter hissed and spat. “So many.”
Ezra nodded. He estimated at least fifty thousand soldiers had emerged from the ground. Who knew how many more were still below in the tunnels? “And so big too.”
Ezra had never realized just how enormous they were. One troll could squash a human with his fist. He wondered how they would survive the day, even with the surprises they had planned.
Fritter pointed. “There, at the head of the army. That’s King Tolgut and his son, Crown Prince Markam.”
A golden crown circled the troll king’s head. His armor was streaked with blood, and his eyes glowed red. His son was only a little smaller and just as terrifying. Beside them, a tall fey wearing a crown and silver armor rode a red horse with dagger-like teeth.
“That’s Old Bob’s brother,” Fritter said. “Prince Korim of the Fey. That explains a lot.” Ezra looked to the south, and sure enough, an army of Fey rode forward to join the trolls, all armed and riding magnificent, blood-red horses.
When the troll army reached the middle of the valley, the troll king held up a hand. The army stopped. King Tolgut’s voice boomed out.
“People of Nelsonia, you are defeated before you begin. We have infiltrated your city. Your castle is ours. Your royal family has fled or been destroyed. Surrender now, and you will live as our captives. Resist us, and you will be crushed. You have no hope left. Throw down your weapons and kneel to your new king.”