The monsters in the hills were huge – at least twice as tall as Dax and ten times as heavy. They had long arms that almost scraped the ground when they walked and gray skin that blended in well with the night. Their eyes were beady and red, and tusks grew from the corners of their jaws. The creatures were covered in long, ratty fur that hung about their bodies in rags. Sarah guessed the fur was once white for most of the monsters, but the hair was stained with sweat, grime, and what might have been blood.
Lurking in mountain caverns and hiding under bridges, trolls are among the most dreaded creatures in Greystone Valley. Yet they are also known to occasionally inhabit houses and serve as guardians for families in need. Trolls are among the most adaptive creatures in the valley, with their bodies and minds constantly changing to match their environment.
Trolls are born in small, rock-like eggs. When they are first born, they can be as small as six inches tall. Usually, they’re scaly and either dark green or black in color. However, they adapt to their environment very quickly. Within a week, a troll will have taken on an appearance best-suited to its surroundings. Within six months, it will grow to adult size as long as it has enough food.
If they’re forced to survive in a harsh environment like the mountains, trolls will grow to fifteen feet tall or larger. They’ll put on muscle and usually develop a coat of fur that gives them natural camouflage – assuming that they keep it clean of all the grime, blood, and muck the coat picks up during their hunts, that is.
While the giant tusked trolls of the mountains are the most widely known and feared of these creatures, trolls who are born in different areas adapt in different ways. Near towns and villages, bridge trolls are smaller and more cunning than their mountain cousins. They earn their name from the fact that the commonly lurk under bridges, ambushing travelers who are wandering alone around nightfall. Meanwhile, house trolls never grow much more than six inches in height and, if they are exposed to the same family week in and week out, tend to become docile and friendly, helping the people they live with rather than going down the path of violence that so many of their cousins follow.
The one thing that almost all trolls seem to have an aversion to is sunlight. Even the nice ones tend to come out only at night and seem to prefer the cover of darkness. Legend has it that trolls turn to stone in bright daylight, although this hasn’t been tested in generations. Evil trolls tend to be difficult to capture alive, and only the most cold-hearted of people would experiment on a good troll.