This poem is spillover from the July 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from rowyn and kelkyag. It also fills the "combat" square in my card for the Hurt/Comfort Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the series Sort Of Heroes.
Nib and Brod left the village of Fronton
with extra caution, watching the woods around them.
For a time it was quiet and peaceful.
Without the horses, they had better luck hunting.
They only saw one other traveler, a tinker
whose wagon had gotten stuck.
Brod lifted it with one large hand,
and the tinker gave him a coin in thanks.
Nib and Brod found signs in the Brackenwood
that pointed to probable trouble,
broken branches and rusted arrowheads,
trails that twisted the wrong way for game.
They moved more cautiously still.
The bandits managed to ambush them anyway,
knowing the forest better and popping out
from behind a tumble of boulders.
"Run!" Nib yelled to Brod.
"Sword say fight!" Brod roared,
pulling the long blade from its sheath.
The bandits quailed in the face of such might.
Brod swept the enchanted sword through their ranks
and cut them down as they tried to flee.
Nib covered Brod's back. They gave chase,
and soon stumbled into the bandit camp.
Then someone snatched a branch from the campfire
and came at Brod, waving the flaming end at him.
"Fire!" Brod wailed. It was one of the few things
that trolls truly feared, because of the damage
it could do to their stony hide.
Nib spun around and shot the bandit,
who dropped the firebrand and fell to the ground.
Others lay dead or wounded;
only a few had escaped into the woods.
Brod was whimpering over his forearm,
where a long oozing burn
reached from wrist to elbow,
dark amidst the colorful patches of lichen.
Nib brought out the various supplies
they had gotten from Hazel the herbalist,
mindful of her instructions for the care of wounded trolls.
He applied the healing potion and then
wrapped Brod's arm in strips of clean linen.
"Nib hurt too," said Brod, lifting a finger to Nib's cheek.
Nib flinched away from the stinging touch.
Someone must have cut him during the brief combat,
although he hadn't noticed it at the time.
Nib couldn't see to clean the wound himself,
so he had to sit still while Brod did it for him.
The troll's huge hands were surprisingly gentle,
and he must have paid attention to Hazel's lecture too,
because he did all of the right things.
No wonder Fronton had been having trouble
with bandits: the camp was not far away.
So Nib and Brod tied up the wounded bandits
and marched them to the village.
The guard captain was pleased to take charge
of the captives, and sent two more guards
back to the camp with Nib and Brod.
The forgotten campfire had managed to spread,
so that they had to take time to put it out.
A pall of smoke hung over everything
as they buried the corpses and gathered loot
and made sure everyone could recognize the place
in case any more bandits tried to make a base of it.
The guards helped them divide up the treasure,
some of which would go back to the village
to make up for the harm the bandits had done,
and some of which went to Nib and Brod
for breaking up the bandit gang.
One of the guards elbowed Brod.
"That Durla has eyes for you," he told the troll.
"Did you notice her staring when you came in
all hero-like with those bandits in tow?"
"No," Brod said, shaking his big head.
"Well, it's true," the guard said.
"Make sure you visit her when you get back."
He and his partner started home.
Nib cast a look around the smouldering camp.
"I'm still not sure what it means to be heroes,"
he said. "I mean ... is this what it is? Really?"
his friend said.
"All right, what does it mean?"
The troll grinned around his tusks.
"Brod get girl."