Lurking next to the Throat sit four low slung warehouses. Metal vats rise from the centre of each building, spitting out feverous yellow steam. These vast buildings are sturdy but seem tarnished, as if marred by random explosions of acid. The buildings all border a stone-walled pit whose edges are scratched and broken as if torn apart by rending claws. Most in the cities like to forget this place exists or at the very least not think too hard about what goes on in the Troll Vats.

Seventy years ago the immortal gourmand Ferris Grintuft discovered a preparation process that changed troll flesh from inedible rubber into delicate and tasty meat. He partnered with the Dwarven Biomancer Durtan Bloodhearth who at the time supplied trolls to the fighting pits of Rasht to create an institution that is now integral to Spherover. The perpetual growth of troll flesh. Inside the troll vats stand all sorts of figures in thick leathers stained yellow by the viscous liquids spat out by the growth. These handlers keep the vats turning over, straining out the bones and teeth that are constantly trying to form the roiling flesh. Looking more like thick skeins of blubber than actual meat the place stinks. A miasmic cloud of yellow bile is spat out by the flesh at it forms mass out of arcane energy that crackles out of electrum plated pylons.

This is only the top layer though, where the flesh has already started to be treated to make it safe. As you go deeper, travelling down through passages carved into the rock, you will be greeted by animated steel suits twice as tall as a man. Each holds a scientist highly trained in the analysis of flesh cultures and doing murderous battle. Through viewing ports, they examine the Bone Tanks. Around these white columns, each taller than the average man, muscle and skin take shape. This process has flaws, the main one of which is that it can lead to the rapid formation of formed troll pieces. A loose arm isn’t much of a problem though it can still gore the unlucky, the thing to fear is the heads. If a head forms it can in a matter of minutes assume a weak form, in an hour it’s a full-blooded troll. That’s when the nightmare starts. With so much troll flesh around the half-formed monster will gorge itself on it mutated kin. Rapidly gaining size and perhaps mutating itself, gaining additional arms, legs and in extreme cases heads. The steel suited techs frequently do battle with trolls like this. Firing gouts of flame out across the foul creatures. 

Worryingly this is happening more often and the trolls that form seem faster and more dangerous than those that came before. While the company has tried to keep this a secret it’s mounting budget and body count has caused word to reach far and wide. Some theorize that the troll flesh has a consciousness that rejects the brutal torture it is put through. Ferris Grintuft angrily denies these accusations, insisting that it just a byproduct of their expanded operations. Durtan Bloodhearth remains silent.  What adds to the mystery is that somehow on occasion a troll will escape, slipping through the muck of refuse tunnels or clambering up through the gas vents. These trolls would be no trouble if they acted as their kin normally do, raging and attack everything nearby. But without fail they slope off to the floating forest getting lost amongst the dense foliage. Hunters rarely return from chasing them down.

Those in the know worry that some form of linked mind is driving them, giving them uncanny intelligence and insight. Rather than dark conspiracies, they believe it may be what hides on the deepest levels. Big Tom. This gargantuan troll would stand eye to eye with a storm giant. Reworked and restructured by Durtan, this is the source of nearly all the troll flesh. Kept in the stone pit in a constant coma the body is used to stock the Bone Tanks. It’s mind though is as big as an entire troll and with that change has come issues. Key among them is dream leakage. Big Tom dreams long dreams. Those who work down here become stuck in hallucinations of worlds covered by overgrown plants, the only occupant’s trolls who skulk over its surface like cockroaches. Worlds like this do exist and they are places devoid of beauty, intelligence or culture. Unchanging they just persist. Big Tom doesn’t think of just any world though, he imagines solely Spherover broken. What causes worried conversations though is he seems to know the current layout of Spherover in too much detail. Buildings built long after his last escape attempt lie in ruins in these nightmares. None are sure what will happen if Big Tom slips his bonds again.

About The Author

Related Posts