Tales from Two Trapped Trolls
1 In which Makraz and Khremloc become Chilean miners
"... so she says, "you're a barefaced liah!" Right? Den- den da Boss-mon, he says, "ah think you'll find ah'm a wolf-faced liah", den come da head butt, pow!" With that Makraz swung his hand, slapping his leather greaves with an echoing clap, followed by his lonely childish chuckle filling the dim confines of the jagged cave. Both he and Khremloc had been lucky with their choice of prison. One of Makraz's earlier, wilder anecdotes had expressed his delight about their predicament. At least no bears'll come back fo' deir wintah suppah. Khremloc noticed the unlikelihood of a repeat performance, surveying the collapsed tunnel again with a burdened sigh.
Khremloc's coins had tickled Makraz's hands. He could remember the bounce of Mak's eyes as each disc slid through his grip, clattering to a stop in Mak's pale green palms, all the while his own eyes saw mineral deposits piercing damp stone. It wasn't long before they'd trekked deep, through some ancient tomb in a hidden cleft, further still through false walls and rusted gates till the ground shook. Khremloc had fallen to his knees, his desperate cooing to the earth both futile and dangerous. Away from the windswept peaks of The Barrens and into the inner workings of Azeroth, it was needless to say that Khremloc was out of his element.
The walls heaved and the ceiling sank, stray stalagtites and stalagmites skittered across the floor. They watched as the dust and rubble sealed their fate to the music of Makraz's earnest yells and gentle sobbing. Hot on the trails of the quaking earth came the intense heat. It seeped into their pores, scolded the air till it was arid, and like a snake it wrapped around their tongues and squeezed the moisture out of their mouths. The mud at their feet became a boiling broth, their leathered feet seeking refuge on top.
Still, Khremloc tried to console the elements. He thumbed his beads and charms, chanting all the while. Makraz's wails and thrashing refused to subside as the air grew thicker and thicker... the torture stopped. A deathly chill set in and silence was their only tormentor.
Makraz was the daring of the two, the first to end the uninterrupted tension. While Khremloc wallowed under the weight of his confused melancholy, Makraz recalled the twilight at the Thousand Needle-Barrens border, the jutting mesas springing up as the elevator descended. Khremloc could see his hands rolling as he painted the picture of Dagger and Totem's patrol, weaving between the mesas towards the Shimmering Flats. It was only when the echoes mentioned collapsing needles and angered earth did Khremloc take interest, staring into the darkness at Makraz's invisible shape. Makraz continued unabaited, which Khremloc suspected he would've done anyway had he interrupted.
There was little difficulty found in setting up a fire, each strike of the flint flaring their sunken faces for only a moment. Khremloc was quick to juggle the flame to his totem, and then planted it deep in the mud. Makraz's ears twitched as he gave the totem a queer look. No crackling or spontaneous bursts of flame left him feeling uncomfortable in the orange flame, yet his stream of body language and words quickly set him at ease. Their shadows stretched themselves up and across their little world- spectators of the waiting game.
The dynamic became apparent as time passed, and both Khremloc and Makraz were ignorant of the second slipping through their fingers like sand through a sieve. As Makraz wittered on, Khremloc went about siphoning water from the damp stone and mud, all the while quietly thankful that Makraz's gluttony had goaded him into bringing a sizeable supply of food. Yet despite the passing seconds, it seemed that their only reliable supply was time. Each second was replaced by a minute, every minute with an hour, no foreseeable end to their sentence. What they had was time. Time waiting, listening, talking, chanting, laughing... starving.
"We're not gonna be here long, right, Khrem?" said Makraz. Khremloc turned to see him craning his neck towards the entrance.
"Ah can' say ah'm sure. Ah didn' speak ta anehbodeh before we left, ah was relyin' on you ta tell your clan 'bout our venture."
Makraz inclined his head. With a flick of his hand he wiped away the sweat beaded on his brow, letting out an unconvincing chuckle. "Of course dey know where ah am! Ah ain't no child, ah don' need stories o' kids tumblin' inta caves ta teach me ta prepare! Common, eh, sense. I's da tool dat'll save us at da end of da day," stammered Makraz, all the while cursing his horned, cloven-hoofed conscience and its advice. What use was keeping a bigger share when you never got around to using it? His paranoia had dug the grave he was sat quite comfortably in.
Khremloc flinched, remembering his eagerness to delve into the ground in those moments of his own incompetence. He'd forgotten to consult the elements before their journey, a foolish mistake before invading their realms. Khremloc couldn't help but feel responsible for their misfortune, ignorant of the cataclysmic events taking place both above and below the surface.
"Listen, Makraz, jus' keep on tellin' stories and ah'll see what ah can do ta make da wait on da short side."
"Right den! Ah like ta call dis next story..."