There wasn’t anything in the world prettier than blood. Fresh, pulsing, and red. Ripped from a body as claws or teeth tore someone in half. Kakrosh didn’t care about feeding, that was something his belly needed, and his body was unimportant. What he cared about was being right.
His troll brethern had never understood that. They killed to eat. Or to survive. But they were trolls. They would survive almost anything.
No. Survival was not what mattered. Survival was too easy. Feeding the belly just held off pain, but pain was inevitable. Pain was life. It was feeding the ears with the screams of the dying, and feeding the eyes with the sight of your enemies blood, that was what really mattered in the long run.
And it had been such a long run.
“Let me go, and I’ll bring you all the food you want,” the human said as it writhed in Kakrosh’s grip.
It was so much better when they fought. So much better when they thought they deserved to get away.
Kakrosh’s anger rose and he twisted the human harder. Trying to bribe Kakrosh? The human thought Kakrosh was as weak as it was.
Kakrosh twisted harder. He wasn’t weak. He would never be weak. He was above them all. With each kill, he’d absorbed another spark of glory, growing better, and stronger, and closer to the Fire Speaker each time.
There was very little that could truly injure a troll. Swords, falls, even starvation, those could all cause pain. They could all damage a troll, but pain was its own benediction. It was an ecstasy in praise of the Fire Speaker. None of those physical complaints cause inflict a true, lasting injury. Not like fire.
Kakrosh had learned when he was young that fire held a special power, a holy power. In its heat and light, even a troll could die. Like his brothers died when he burned them.
They took too much, and respected him too little. but he’d found the secret to making them stop. What the fire took, it did not give back.
Kakrosh yanked and felt flesh tear from bones. A wet, red spray bathed him, and he felt another spark kindle within his heart.
He was growing closer to the flame, closer to the Flame Speaker each day. Kakrosh had seen the miracles the holy warriors of the lesser races had performed. How they had channeled the power of their gods. He hungered for that more than he had every hungered for food.
In his devotion he had taken so many sparks, and built an altar of so many perfect bones. It felt like all he needed to do was capture that last soul to let him reach out and grab the prize that had always eluded him. The touch of his god
It was so close, the mark of divine favor from the god he alone knew, and he alone prayed to, but that didn’t matter. Kakrosh was patient.
With a fully belly, he slept in the contentment of another kill, the warmth of the blood around him cooling until he woke in a sticky, dark pool, as he had done so many times before.
The glory of the murder was passed. He needed another. More to slake the Fire Speaker’s hunger. More to build the mountain of corpses he stood upon, higher and higher, until he could reach the heavens he deserved.
With solemn reverence he cast wood on the fire he kept in the center of his cave.
The fire was his greatest fear and his greatest weapon. His nemesis and his god. He could feel it tearing through the wood, its own hunger urging it to kill him. His god struggling to be free to end followers and then the world. He would master his god. He would overcome his last weakness. Nothing would be able to stop him. He knew it was inevitable. No matter how hard they struggled, no one could stop him, not from going where he pleased, not from taking what he wanted, and not from killing them no matter how much they wanted to live.
From the entrance of his cave, he caught a strange scent.
Delicious. Human. Close.
Kakrosh turned at a sound to see a human advancing towards him.
It was time for another sacrament. Time to feed his eyes and ears again.
With a roar the Troll lunged forward, certain that with all the bones he had accumulated and all the blood he had bathed in, he would at last get the reward he had so long deserved.