Part 4: Trolls 2The Wars of the Elder Races
It is written that the trolls once explored the roads out of the darkness of Wonderhome in the time before the coming of the Great Enemy, Yelm. They journeyed out to the mountain named the Spike, where they discovered the elves and dwarves, the Aldryami and Mostali, who were already feuding since time immemorial. The trolls loved to play with this feud, and many troll legends focus on these games of theirs.
Jongale the Silent stole the leaves from the hair of the great elf-goddess (or perhaps queen) Shanasse, blaming it on the dwarves. Vaneekara hurled huge rocks at the famous Castle of Delicacy, beloved of dwarves, and the elves were blamed for its ruin. All was not perfect, of course. Once, the elves came to Wonderhome and stole many kinds of fungus. The trolls and the black elves of the deeps resisted them, but they were defeated, and so even now some rusts and molds feud with the other plants. The trolls who gave chase were captured, and it took many songs to fix them, as they were chopped up. In another battle, the dwarves captured a whole clan of trolls, shaming them and wounding every one of them. In other stories, the warrior-heroes Gore and Gash found a secret route to another world, perhaps the World of Heroes, and explored there often, though it was very dangerous.
However, the war with Light gave Kyger Litor a deep, dark sorrow. So deep was her sorrow and so great the loss of Korasting that all trolls born since that time have been weaker. The first race of the Uz, the Uzuz - the Mistress Race - is not born any longer and has not been born since the Age of Gods. In their place was born the race of Uzko, the Dark Trolls. The Mistress Race was long-lived indeed, and some still survive to this era, but they are few in number. It is said that there are perhaps two in all of Dragon Pass. (And no, Cragspider isn't one of them.)
With the loss of Korasting and the coming of Yelm, Kyger Litor ordered the Uz to evacuate their ancient lands. Other gods had already fled up into the realms above: Xentha, now the Goddess of Night. Zorak Zoran, of war. Xiola Umbar, of healing and friendship. Gorakiki as well, claiming that he was no longer inferior - that the insects, his children, would prey on all. The Uz left in three major groups. The first was led by Kyger Litor herself. The second was led to the Backhill Path by Gore and Gash. The third left by boat with Kogag, son of Jeset the Ferryman.
Kyger Litor led her children through the secret paths to the Spike, where they made a great kingdom. Gore and Gash were warriors, leading a warband that was cut off by Yelm and headed to the upper world. Kogag's boat trolls sailed down the Styx to the Black Sea, but they were delayed by many things and for a long time they disappeared from the world. During this escape, all the routes out of the darkness were nearly destroyed. Only a fragile path ran through the realm of Asrelia, the Goddess within the Earth. She was at war with Lodril, God of Volcanoes, and the Uz joined her war to help her, led by Gore and Gash. Thus, Lodril was driven off, and today, the Uz worship her as the Goddess of Darkness in the Earth. She is for many people the Goddess of the Underworld, though everyone knows the Darkness worlds lie deeper in. Some say Lodril is her husband.
Gore and Gash were both male, raised in the fortress of Three Towers, where many insects were grown. When they had to abandon Wonderhome, they brought many sacred items with them via the Backhill Path, which emptied into the world they named Hurtplace - the land of the sky and sun. They seperated into three parties there. One headed east, where they found the new god Black Sun, who joined them in their travels to the Kingdom of Ignorance. The people of Ignorance saw Black Sun as a prophecy's fulfillment and made the trolls their rulers and priests. The trolls named this land Dozaki's Newhome, though no one else remembers that name. The second group, led by Bostakang, headed north, where they found great ice sheets. There, they searched and found long-lost kin: the ice trolls, who lived with Valind, God of Winter, to help spread his realm. Bostakang's tribe joined the ice trolls, becoming safe, famous and terrible.
Gore and Gash led the third group southest, where an army of elves awaited them. They fought, and a whole range of mountains was hurled at the trolls, who were terrified and fled. They turned away, finding more elves and the remnant empire of the Dara Happans, who had worshipped the sun before Yelm died. Yelm's son, Yelmalio, aided them in battle, and again the trolls were forced to flee. They turned west, to the waters of the White Sea. There, they argued and fought, so they decided again to split themselves. Half went north, while half followed Gore and Gash southwards.
Those who went north found a huge sea creature with glowing eyes, which offered to carry them to safety, should they line up, close their eyes and ears and march towards it. It warned them to never dare open their eyes or slow themselves, or the magic would fail. Everyone obeyed save Eristi the Doubter, who was last in line and thought it sounded like eating noise. He saw the sea creature eating all the other trolls, so he fled, finding his way back to the trolls only many years later. Gore and Gash, meanwhile, headed south to the edge of the Dara Happan Empire, where they fought and defeated the Dara Happans. They met with Zorak Zoran, who aided them and wounded Yelmalio greatly, letting them head further south, where they raised the Castle of Lead. Kyger Litor joined them there.
Gore and Gash ruled in the Castle of Lead for many years. They aided Karrg once, when he snuffed out stars which had been tangled in the hair of the Goddess of Night. The trolls thrived in the darkness...until the coming of Chaos.
The Chaos Wars
Many of the creatures of the dark did not trust them, seeing them as a problem, not fellow victims. Things were made far worse when the Chaos races appeared upon Glorantha. They had faced Chaos once before - or, at least, Bostakang had. He had followed Vivamort's trail back to where Death had been found, and there he met Arrquong, a chaos spirit who guarded the entrance to Glorantha. Bostakang killed Arrquong with his magic teeth, ripping a secret power from the spirit. Using it, he saw the chaos to come and returned to the Uz, teaching them what he'd seen and his new power. It is this power which lets the Uz fight chaos so well.
This power was vital in fighting Chaos in the Great Darkness. They faced Pocharngo the Mutator, who made an entire army into the hideous mutants called cave trolls, whom today's Uz keep as pets. Bostakang destroyed Pocharngo, but even such victories were painful. Gash died in the struggle, though Kyger Litor saved his soul from oblivion. The Uz fought many battles against the Chaos gods, including Wakboth the Devil himself. They survived better than any other race, but by the end of the Great Darkness, even they were but a skeleton of what came before. IT is known that the war with Chaos waned over 4000 generations of trolls, and by the end, they grew strong once more. Thus it was when Kyger Litor was approached by the other gods, who sought a solution and compromise to the way of the world in the Great Darkness.
They had no reason to accept at first. Kyger Litor and her people ruled over much of the world, linked by the dark. Their gods had never died and ruled over many, even many who were not Uz. Yet they did accept, save Zorak Zoran. There is a great legend of his struggle against Kyger Litor to negate her acceptance, but he was defeated and she was the victor. It is said that the reason she acccepted was that a small spider came to her ear, whispering something that made her accept. It is believed that this spider told her the way to reach Wonderhome, long lost to the light of Yelm. There, she was reunited with her daughter, Korasting.
Sadly, this did not cause the ancient race of Uz to rise again. The Uzuz will be born once more only if they obey the goddess in their lives - and then they will be reborn in the dark bliss of Wonderhome, far from the world of painful light. Kygor Litor spread this word among her people, then followed the spider into the darkness as Yelm was reborn upon the world, spreading his light once more.
The First Age
In the centuries that followed, the Uz fought many and settled in many places. They faced the ancient civilizations of man, especially the Yelm-worshippers, whom they hated. The infant god Gbaji, called Nystalor, the Perfect One or Rashoran also, was born from the psuedocosmic egg, leading to a great war. Gbaji warred against the trolls and their allies, as well as the dragonewts. In this war, he hurled a great curse upon the Uz and Dragonewts. The Dragonewts were saved when a true dragon awoke for a moment, devouring the curse's energies. Kyger Litor wrestled with the curse, but it overcame her and broke her spirit. Thus did the Trollkin begin to appear.
The Trollkin Curse nearly wiped out the Uz. Instead of bearing healthy trolls, pregnant females carried a much shorter term and gave birth to weak, unformed creatures that would not die. At first, these were destroyed, until the Uz realized that they were more than half of all births. Thus, the trollkin were allowed to live as slaves and trolls. Gbaji and his chaos army marched on Dragon Pass, conquering it and driving the Uz underground.
Many trolls, including the heroic Naxili Garang, hero-quested again and again to try and break the Curse, but ultimately they failed. Still, even Gbaji and Yelm could not conquer the darkness, and the cult of the darkness god Argan Argar kept the trolls strong. They were led by the human Arkat, who allied with them to drive off the chaos armies of Gbaji. Arkat was wounded by Zorak Zoran during a heroquest, but the troll priestess Garazaf Hyloric healed him, making him a trollfriend for life.
Later, Arkat was rescued again by trolls, becoming transmuted into a troll by the great spells of Garazaf. His kin, the humans, feared or mocked him, but he led the trolls against Gbaji, becoming named Arkat Chaos Killer and slaying the infant god atop the Tower of Dreams. Thus ended the First Age.
In the Second Age, the troll(?) Cragspider sought to again cure the Trollkin Curse, for the trollkin condemned her people to weakness. She was a spider cultist, destined to become a god. She invoked many spirits and gods to awaken in the bodies of troll parents, to give strength to their unborn children. Instead of making normal trolls, though, what she spawned were the Great Trolls - huge, hulking trolls with low, low intellect.
What is the Cragspider? Well, some say she was a troll who became a goddess. This is true. Some say she was a darkness spirit who took on the form of a spider and assisting Gore and Gash in their escape. This is true also. Some say she is an avatar of the spider goddess Aranea, and this also is true. All are true, for that is the way of Glorantha. And in all cases, the Cragspider serves as ruler of a troll tribe and a being of almost unstoppable power, an immortal demigoddess of fire and spiders and darkness.
And if we are very, very lucky, we will never make her angry. I think I can end my lessons on the Uz here. Just understand that most Uz are Dark Trolls, while Trollkin are the horrible twisted half-troll children they would prefer didn't exist. Trollkin are raised as slaves and not considered to be trolls. Sometimes, they eat trollkin.
(Trolls can eat practically anything, up to and including dirt. The Mistress Trolls can even eat rocks. Trollkin mostly eat feces.)
(Oh, right. And trolls have sonar rather than good vision, except for Trollkin, who are more like humans.)