(For other "Stories about Trolls", see the listing.)
“Grimtooth’s wrath!” Stillpoint looked at the disarray on her worktable, and her cheeks flushed to an angry shade of emerald. “Morel, if you cannot keep my spawn under control, then I’ll see you replaced with someone who can!”
Morel’s mop cap was askew as she finished wrestling Candlewick out from beneath the stout legs of the laboratory’s table. “So sorry, mistress!” the servant murmured, her breath coming hard and her voice sounding close to weeping. Once caught, Candlewick squirmed, her four bound goldspun braids swinging as she wriggled like a fingerling fish.
“Bang!” the little mump shrilled, pointing toward her mother’s precious alchemical beakers and vials. “Bang! Bang!”
Stillpoint took a deep breath, asking herself (not for the first time) why she had ever acted on the impulse to procreate. The mixture of egg and sperm was just another kind of chemistry, but the result was guided by chaos instead of rational law. She didn’t have the time, patience, or temperament for this. “Morel, take her back to the nursery, before she can break something!”
“Yes ‘m,” Morel said, hurrying to carry her charge out of the door.
Little Candlewick wailed, her eyes firmly locked on the bubbling fluids of her mother’s latest experiment. She reached wildly after Stillpoint as Morel passed, and her small, chubby fist closed around the scholar’s monocle her mother wore. Candlewick gave a brief tug, and the golden clasp of the chain of the monocle parted. Morel made it to the door, blind to her charge’s theft, and as she was carried out the door, Candlewick raised the monocle up and mouthed it. The smooth, cool glass was not much of a comfort, but it tasted of her mother and of the wonders of the laboratory. It was better than any toy or doll. And Candlewick knew that as soon as Morel was distracted again, that she could find her way back here, to where brews bubbled and wondrous things were crafted.
Candlewick would find her way back here again, it was only a matter of time, patience, and will.