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Rabble Rouser

Here it is, the promised flash fiction tale and blog hop. Enjoy the story and be sure to check out the other stories linked at the bottom.

Rabble Rouser

“What do you mean, ‘pay the toll’?”

“This is a bridge. I’m a troll. You want to get to the other side of the bridge…” Most travelers didn’t give him this much trouble. In fact, Trolgar couldn’t remember a time when someone didn’t pay the toll.

“Why should I pay a toll at all?”

“That’s just the way things are done. So, pay the toll.” Trolgar held out his hand.

The merchant folded his arms. “I just don’t see the point.”

“The point? The point is that when you cross the bridge, you pay the toll. Pretty simple. What part are you not understanding?”

“Oh, yes, that part is understandable,” the merchant agreed. “I travel from town to town, buying and selling items in each, and moving to the next one. I don’t have to pay anyone to travel along the roads to do that.”

“Well, this isn’t a road, is it? It’s a bridge that connects two parts of a road over a river. Which you wouldn’t be able to get across if it weren’t for the bridge. Right? So just hand over the toll and you can be on your way and I can get back to trying to catch dinner for tonight.”

“All I’m saying is that the roads are free to use, you want people traveling them to trade goods, what gives you the right to charge to cross the bridge?”

“The right? Long time ago, humans moved in and built a kingdom, without even asking us. In order to ‘contribute to the local economy’ without being harrassed all day, we trolls were set to collect tolls of people crossing bridges, and a cut goes back to … it doesn’t matter. Look, just pay the toll!”

“What if I get all the merchants to protest this dastardly practice? I can you know. I have some pull with the local trade Guilds. I’ll convince them to rise up and overthrow this unneccessary ‘tax’ upon our profits.”

“Hold on, let’s not get hasty” Trolgar said. “We wouldn’t want to do anything rash.”

“We’ll rise up. We’ll rebel. We’ll end your profession and allow free trade to rule. You’ll be out of a job then, won’t you? What will you do then?”

Trolgar scowled at the merchant, who looked quite pleased with himself. He needed a way to stop this before it got started. He stared at the river flowing by and thought for a moment. “Can you swim?”

The merchant uncrossed his arms. “I can. I mean, a little bit. But not very well.”

“Fine.” Trolgar grabbed the merchant and tossed him over the railing. A moment later came the sound of a splash, then cries for help.

“Rabble rousers! Going around stirring up trouble. Best to deal with them right away and nip it in the bud.” Trolgar looked at the merchant’s cart. “Drat! Now I have to move it over the bridge myself.” He grabbed the reins of the horse yoked to the cart. “Come on.”

First Real Assignment by Bill Bush
A Whole New World by Barbara Lund
Eye of the Beholder by Chris Makowski

What If by Katharina Gerlach
Subject: If You Don’t Hear From Me Again by Gina Fabio
Percival’s Bane: The Demon and The Void by Juneta Key

7 thoughts on “Rabble Rouser”

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  4. Love this. It’s a pity that the troll doesn’t understand taxes or he’d be able to explain that, yes, the merchant does pay for the roads he’s traveling. Just not directly.

    I wouldn’t mind reading more about the troll and his way of coping with merchant guilds. 😀

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