Day 5

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They’d gathered a great deal of bells.

Before night fell, the bells were strung along great lengths of rope, and the wounded could set the bells to ringing.

Outside the walls, we set up a trio of cannons with enough shot and shell to give the trolls a warm welcome. Short, narrow trenches were dug from the guns back to the walls, and I hoped the gunners would be able to make it back to safety.

I sat with Pedersen, Marius, and Mikkelsen. Great fires burned in braziers set along the walls. The men who could hold rifles were in their positions, as were the gunners. At my feet, resting between my boots was a large, heavy hammer.

“Most will come from the barrows east of town,” Mikkelsen said. “We had some from the bay. Do you think they’ll attack again?”

I nodded. “Someone knows you’re alive. They’ll want to finish the job.”

For the first time, the soldiers gathered around us were quiet.

All looked to me.

“There are other monsters,” Marius muttered.

“I know,” I sighed.

A bell rang out.

Then another, and in a heartbeat, all rang in a discordant chorus.

The trolls answered them.

Great bellows shook the earth and rattled stones and debris down from some of the nearby buildings.

From the east, the trolls slogged forward, eight of them. A glance to the bay showed another ten climbing out of the water, smashing through wharves and howling at the sound of our bells.

“Seems a tad more than you said,” I remarked.

“So it seems,” Mikkelsen replied.

“How fast can your men fire those cannons?” I asked.

Mikkelsen’s response was a wolfish grin. “My boys can load on the recoil, Blood. Watch.”

The gunners held their fire, as did the men on the walls. But when the trolls from the sea came close enough, those gunners let loose, and Mikkelsen hadn’t been lying.

I’d never seen gunners move at the speed of his men.

Every shot was true, and the trolls went down, legs destroyed. Within minutes, not a sea-borne troll was left standing. As the gunners retreated, the men on the walls opened fire, isolating the closest troll crawling toward us.

Hefting the hammer, I left the safety of the walls and went to greet the troll in my own way.

#Denmark #supernatural #monsters #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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