On the "Lebbil," or Trollfolk

"The Lebbil are an amiable people, ranging greatly in appearance but generally short, sturdy and scaly.  While communal, Lebbil are notable for their social flexibility.  Lebbil can work happily with anyone, for anyone, under difficult circumstances.  They have no personal animosity towards any race, religion or social philosophy, asking only subsistance wages and the acceptance of their coworkers to thrive.    This acceptance extends to all members of the Lebbil’s current community; Lebbil have difficulty feeling empathy for individuals outside their group.  This makes them particularly sought-after as mercenaries, gaolers and torturers."

-- Early Uranja report on the Northern Continent.




Notes from the Droh College of Chemic and Animate Research
The Office of the Senior Scholar for Animate Research 

  Consider this early Uranji report on "The Lebbil” written nearly three hundred years ago during the Uranja northern emergence. Today it shows us "the Lebbil" through Uranji eyes.  It errs in many particulars but it fascinates me as an test of the Uranja character, as they met for the first time another scaled people like themselves. The focus on social flexibility, on work habits and group dynamics, all suggest that the Uranja trade delegation team saw the “Lebbil” not as aliens, as they did with so many other races, but as oddly-made Uranja.

  Consider now what we know today about the species misnamed the "Lebbil," more properly termed “Trollfolk.”*

We cannot say what Trollfolk call themselves, for as far as we know they have no language of their own.  They have a different name in every place they are found, and are found now throughout the northern continent. Today they are called, yes, Lebbil, largely by Uranja.  They are also called Tomtedogs, Rockwaddlers, Scalyboys and Dimlings.  In the north, the term "bug-pups" is often used for the  juvenile trolls common on the edges of the Wood, particularly in their precocious phase.  In the southeastern city-states, "gruntling" and "beast" are both common, preceded with a descriptor, as "law beast" when the troll is employed in law-enforcement and "thug beast" when employed by criminals. Not infrequently terminology shades into insult.  The trolls do not seem to mind.

It is debatable whether Trollfolk are a species at all.  They do not appear to have gender and have never been observed to reproduce.  Each spring presentient young trolls - "bug-pups" - wander out of the northern Wood in groups of four to six.  Many are caught and raised for sale or trade by locals.  Others roam southward in their possibly sibling groups, picking up local language as they evolve, growing bipedal, dexterous and, slowly, intelligent.  Presumably there is a gendered form somewhere in the depths of the Wood that spawns the young trolls, but, as I write, its form remains to be discovered.  The troll pups stay together as long as possible. The troll reputation for good fellowship is very probably an extension of that sibling bond, passed to its coworkers as the young troll’s native siblings are sold, traded or killed.

The troll is such a ubiquitous part of modern society that perhaps we forget to marvel at our scaly little helpers, with their strength, their endurance and their good nature.  Over time they can evolve a surprising degree of intellect.  The Chemic department of my own institution has a troll who, in the course of decades, has evolved from the most basic of cleaning staff to a knowledgable research assistant, who has, moreover, offered several good and insightful suggestions on the nature of the elements which it worked.  It seems a shame that the vast majority of this mysterious species will be sacrificed in the day-to-day grind, as laborers or cannon fodder, before this subtle wit begins to manifest.

*The term "Lebbil" was the result of a misunderstanding.  Its use of the term “Lebbil” or, “thing of Leb,” meant that the troll introduced itself as a resident of the Leb hills, hundreds of miles northeast of where it met the Uranja Trade Delegation. The Uranja assumed it was a species name in error.

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