The troll (Vulgus troglodutarum) is common to all European nationalities, rated on the International scale as a mere XX, prior to the Snafu-Sentience-System. Varied species of multiple families dwell in the more distant environments, following the Muggle Crusades (also known as Culling, see Culling: the Italian Diversion, vol. 2 Book II) nigh rabid attempt to eradicate Dark Creatures, in the last – and what many scholars consider the greatest – collaboration between Muggle and Wizarding kind on a national level. These Crusades involved one of the largest gatherings of elite combatants known to both worlds; their subsequent decimation under the forces of Dark Creatures were the final impetus driving a wedge between Muggle and Wizard (See Culling: Noble Families and Pureblood Alliances, vol. 3 Book I).
V. troglodutarum may be classified into thirty-seven families, which in turn are reduced to five Orders. The most common of these are the Mountain Troll (Mons troglodutarum), the Forest Troll (Silva troglodutarum) and the Sea Troll (Mare troglodutarum). Less common Orders include the Jungle Troll (Saltu troglodutarum) and the Cave Troll (Curricula troglodutarum). Troll-like beings like the ogre (Pessima muta) are not considered relevant for this discussion. No troll can perform magic, whilst some ogres have attained the level of shaman, or primitive magics on par with wizarding cultures.
V. troglodutarum may be roughly described as humanoid; a barely sapient anthropoid. Abnormal specimens measuring less than two spans are recorded in outcast ‘tribes’, but the majority average between three and four spans tall. The intellectual deficit of a troll is legendary (see: Academic Gradings and their Etymology, Chpt. 7, the Troll Paradigm), with a magical quotient on par with squibs and the lesser krup (Canis venari). To whit, traditions in Cochen, Germany, suggest distracting a V. troglodutarum with two buckets of beer. If placed in equidistant locations, the specimen’s inadequate intelligence becomes incapable of making a decision. Local oral traditions note one particularly resilient troll that remained in this state for two months.
However. This ignorant state of being is not present due to fortunate circumstances operating on behalf of V. troglodutarum. As a species, V. troglodutarum is a formidable opponent. Its hide is magic-resistant, three fingers deep in some circumstances (see: Wizarding Foes: the Troll, pg. 25). Healing is disproportionately swift, with simple cuts healing over within minutes and severed limbs regenerating in less than six months. This regenerating prowess is no doubt a source of immense stamina; a tribe sufficiently provoked may follow the initiator of such provocation for years. In addition, mating behaviors are known to be an exceedingly drawn-out process; the higher the social status, the greater the duration.
Interestingly, V. troglodutarum also possesses reflexes of a much smaller creature. In tests, V. troglodutarum reacted to external stimuli within fractions of a second; indeed, the initial researchers (Charles Dimwitty and Oswald Chamberlain Jr.) were forced to review the sessions within a pensieve, drastically reducing the time-flow in order to precisely measure the initial trigger point. Given the massive size of the V. troglodutarum, it is a relief that so much mass reduces the speed exponentially. Were the average specimen smaller, their perspicacity would grant lethal attacks within a distance of ten span.
This durability, stamina and low intelligence is only matched by the V. troglodutarum’s strength. The phrase ‘strong as a troll’ became a metaphor during the Greco-Roman incursions (see: Gawain’s Words Compendium and Their Romantic Antecedents, 5th Edition), and grew in popularity following the serendipitous Uprising Interruption of 1066. In the chaos following the actions of William the Conqueror, a tribe of V. troglodutarum became irritated at the constant noise. Five Forest Trolls (Silva troglodutarum) became fixated upon Alfred the Saxon, whom had been in the course of a planned counter-attack. These five specimens obliterated nearly fifteen wizards and forty knights before being brought low through the clever use of levitation charms and boar spears. Needless to say, the entire endeavor lost momentum when William the Conqueror mocked a formerly powerful leader that had been out-maneuvered by trolls.
V. troglodutarum have weak eyesight, average hearing, and an incredible sense of smell. This ability to detect odors has rendered inter-species communication less than stellar. Indeed, until several specimens were forcibly abducted and indoctrinated in verbal communication patterns, the common belief held V. troglodutarum as true beasts. It cannot be said that pheromone communication replaces complex idea conveyance, but it holds the advantage of pure silence. One V. troglodutarum standing upwind may communicate a target’s disposition, size, and location without uttering a single sound.
The history of V. troglodutarum interaction with Wizards can be summed in a short paragraph.
Stay away from trolls; even the most brilliant philosopher is only capable of locking its mental faculties on whatever the most offensive phrase incurs the greatest reaction. They are able to recognize terms, pejorative in particular, and respond with frightening strength. Do not provoke, do not feed, and especially do not attempt social activities.
As an XX classification, V. troglodutarum are considered ‘Dangerous’ to many, but not a great threat. Their inclusion to the Culling factored only proximity to military activities: a provoked troll is a combat-ready troll. Concurrently, it behooves any wise wizard to not under-estimate the capabilities of the V. troglodutarum.
The first V. troglodutarum recorded can be traced back to the chief Roman chronicler in the Etruscan Codex, Lucius Aralias. Translations from his Majicka Fabula record: “We met upon a mass of dull-witted beasts, each standing a full two heads over our tallest. Gray skin and animal hides covered their shame, and hideousness accompanied what we supposed to be the females of the rag-tag bunch. Their bearing was that of an idleness-filled layabout, who believed himself somehow entitled tribute from his betters. After proving them incapable of speech, we attempted to bypass the animals. This proved to be an error; the beasts charged and slew some tens of the Great Emperor Adoltin’s personal guard, before they were brought down by His hand.” (see: Adoltin’s Fifty: warrior-mages of the Emperor).
It is therefore of little surprise how the following Roman Empire established a bounty for V. troglodutarum, a practice which became prevalent over the entirety of its domain. Despite this focused attention, relatively few people took advantage of this financial boon; trolls frequently dwell in regions inhospitable for all but the most lethal of creatures.
Instead, the V. troglodutarum’s major opponent is its own species, and the werewolf (Lupinotuum pectinem). Werewolves that inhabit territory occupied by V. troglodutarum tend towards aggressive behavior; a full werewolf pack may take on a tribe of V. troglodutarum, but both sides will be, and have been, severely damaged in the process.
One such account was recorded by the naturalist Adolphus Scribener, Keeper of the Dalish Forests in what is currently the Prusso-Austrian Alliance. His position as a Scir-gerafa (translated: sheriff) enabled many observations not possible for the average wizard. His education in Durmstrang, armorum peritia cum laude gave special emphasis on combat, despite his mental aptitude for the Arts.
Adolphus recorded many of his sojurns within the Dalish Forests in journas now known as the Arboribus Compendium. One of his more frequent stopping points overlooked a campground used by V. troglodutarum, and also seemed to be a transit hub for L. Pectinem. Encounters were therefore safe, and he took great pleasure in observing both species in their natural environs.
Book three, chapter fifteen of the Arboribus Compendium records such an encounter:
“Yea, and in the seventh day of Ocktobre, in the tenth yeare of King Ulfric the Third, long may he reign, I didst see an interesting site (sic). In the Malodorous Valley there were trolles of such stachure I fain nigh believed battle to soon o’er come my good home. Yet it was naught, for whilst I did observe them, a great howel arose in the forest all around. I deemed it behoove me to alight verily, but the enchantments encircling mine booth were both old and strong, blessed be the Name of the Son.”
“Glad was I that my thews yet not quailed, for in less than a candle’s quarter burning I witnessed the vile trolls gather themselves as for war. Young trees they gathered, holding such thinges as a bar of sugar. The mityest knite of good King Ulfric would be sore pressed to wield such a thinge. Scarce had their armaments been lyfted when the beasts flung themselves from the trees ….”
“… and I did see one trolle beset afore and behinde by five such beasts. Were he not of such unblessed visage I nigh would have vouchsafed for royal blood. Tho’ blackened by rivers of his own blood, he stood high, wielding the tree as a champion worthy of the High Table. Three he did crush, sending their broken bodyes in the nyte. The fourth did circle behind and fell the trolle by striking in the heele, in the same fashion as Achilles of old. The fifth beast did leap and tear oute the trolle’s throat with his teethes, but such was the fallen one’s strength that in hys dying moments he did crush the beast in a hug of mortal fury.”
“… and there were four score and five beasts by mine eye, and one dozen trolles, with a half dozen more in their rude huts that did not come out … all told there were some two hands of beasts left alive and three trolles that I did see.”
While sensational, this description describes both the potency and of V. troglodutarum and L. pectinem. One should note that the werewolves were unarmed, but possessed great numbers. The trolls themselves were able to form a defensive strategy and if they did not defeat the werewolves, they did remove a significant portion of their numbers.
The historic significance of this event recorded was the establishment of the sentience of V. troglodutarum. Following the events described, Keeper Adolphus took a thestral (Pegasi formidulosus) into the troll vicinity. Based on their reactions, plus what limited vocabulary they possessed, he realized their sentience was definite. The young were unable to view the beast, but those he’d observed fighting could follow its progress by sight alone.
Finally, the sentience of V. troglodutarum, while proven, is insufficient reason to treat these Class XX beings as one would treat a fellow wizard. Strangely, they are compatible with wizarding bloodlines, as proven by the Bulstrode Alliance (see Eccentric Old Blood by Crabbe & Goyle Esq.). The failings are far too great to risk continuing such experiments, in consideration of the limited availability of old blood.
In closing, we would like to thank the gracious patronage of the august body viewing our work. Without the kind donations granted our person, public interest in such things would wilt, and even fewer would venture forth into the great mysteries of natural philosophy than now so do.
We remain, your humble servants,
Charles Jal’ton, Übermagier von der Küste, Recipient of the Award of Merlin (Second Order), Hyperion Research Grant beneficiary, and proud member of the Assembly of Scriveners.</p>
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