Evil Things in Robes of Sorrow by Emachinescat
A Tollhunters Fan-Fiction
Summary: It's funny - being a troll, the son of Kanjigar, Draal has hurt many people throughout his long, long life. But there is a big difference in hurting someone of your own free will and being forced to hurt your friends. Written for Febuwhump on Tumblr. Day 1: mind control
A/N: General spoilers for a bits and pieces of the show, with more specific spoilers toward the end. I also highly recommend reading the full poem the title got its name from - it's excellent.
Evil Things in Robes of Sorrow
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn! - or never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
- From "The Haunted Palace" by Edgar Allan Poe
As a troll, Draal has seen his fair share of violence throughout the centuries - much of it done by his own hands. He's no stranger to bloodshed; in fact, it has fueled him through some of his darker days. And yet - there's something very different about choosing to attack someone, regardless of your reasons for doing so, and being forced to hurt someone you care about against your will.
Normally Draal isn't one for contemplation or reflection - he is a troll of action, just like his father was. But now, all he can do is reflect, as a tiny corner of his mind is all he has left. It's dark and cramped with this malevolent, oppressive force bearing down upon his will from all sides, and as much as he tries to fight it, Gunmar's hold is too strong.
And now he is forced to watch, through eyes that once were his, as the entity controlling his body attacks the human boy who somehow has became his friend. It isn't the first time he has tried to kill the human Trollhunter, but the last time he'd been grieving his father and angry at the injustice of the amulet going to another, a human. In retrospect, Draal has never been so glad to have lost a fight. James Lake, Jr. has become one of his closest friends and allies against the forces that threaten troll-kind.
He can feel everything; that is the worst of it. He can feel his hand curl around the human's armor-clad, but still feeble, body, can feel the muscles hefting the struggling form off of the ground and the impact of Jim smashing into a set of lockers. Jim bounces off and slides across the floor, his armor scraping against the tile shrilly. His sword skids away from him, down the hall, and for a terrible moment, he doesn't move. The demon inside of Draal smiles.
From inside his prison, Draal calls out desperately, but the words won't touch his lips. They only echo back, unheard by the one person who needs them most: Get up, fleshbag! WAKE UP!
As Draal's body advances, the Trollhunter stirs. Relief fills Draal, but so does apprehension. The fight is far from over, and Jim is outmatched - if only he'd fight back, he would have a decent chance!
That is another thing that makes this so agonizing for Draal to watch - while his body goes berserk, attacking the Trollhunter - a betrayal, unwitting or not, of the highest order - James Lake, Jr. refuses to fight back.
His voice, so puny and human, pinched in pain, might as well be coming from the mouth of a giant when he shouts, "I will not hurt my friend!"
He dodges the attacks that he can, and blocks those he can't, and when there are ones he cannot block, he grunts in pain, soaring into walls and lockers and doorways, crashing into the floor. Draal feels the power of every connected hit and it kills him.
"Please, Draal!" Jim cries, dodging another attack. "It's me - Jim! Your friend! You're stronger than this - please, remember!"
Draal longs to scream back at him that he does remember, that he never forgot what he and Claire and the orange one and even Blinky and Aaarrrgghh have come to mean to him, and that he's trying to fight it - by Deya, he is trying! But remembering means nothing in the dark hole he's in, because remembering can't get Gunmar out, can't give him back control of his body.
Fight back, Trollhunter! he urges, and his pleas resound uselessly. You have to end this - save yourself and your friends. FIGHT BACK!
Deep inside, he knows the Trollhunter will not fight to kill, or even injure, no matter what. Even if he somehow survives to not-fight another day, his loyalty to Draal will surely kill him eventually.
As hard as it is to watch himself hurt his friend, to feel every crushing grip and pounding blow, Draal fears that the worst is yet to come. Self-hatred courses through what is left of him as he realizes that he is going to, sooner or later, feel the Trollhunter's small human form break in his hands, see him dead at his feet, and hear celebratory laughter from his own mouth at the grotesque spectacle.
It is then that Draal retreats into himself, turning away from the macabre scene that is sure to come, giving that last inch of space to the darkness and allowing himself to be swallowed by the pain and self-loathing.
When he does finally resurface, he's surprised to find himself free of Gunmar's hold and the Trollhunter miraculously alive, and when the time comes to give his life to save that of his friend, he finds he isn't doing it out of guilt or anger at himself for his failure - it is because of the happiness he felt upon seeing Jim somehow still alive. Even if it means losing his own life, it's worth it to keep his Trollhunter alive for even a little bit longer.
Darkness isn't always a bad thing, he reflects as the stone creeps across his body. Sometimes it is like a welcoming embrace, the peace of a job well done.
A/N: Thank you for reading this little tidbit; I hope you enjoyed! I really enjoyed getting to explore the relationship between Draal and Jim a bit more. It's such a well-developed rivalry-turned-friendship. I'll be posting more Tales of Arcadia fics over the next month, so I hope you'll tune in for those as well. Please let me know your thoughts - I'd love to hear from you!