Trolls are thought to have been created by Melkor in the nethermost pits of Angband, or perhaps earlier in Utumno, so that his fell legions could have within their ranks a kind of warrior whose size and strength were a match for the Ents. Indeed, Trolls may well have been made from Ents whom the Dark Lord had captured and twisted in body and mind, much like Orcs had derived from corrupted elvish stock. Ever hungering for meat and voracious man-eaters, Trolls can stand over ten feet tall and have hides nigh as hard as rock; their weakness, however, lay ever in their stupidity and fear of light. The spells which had brought Trolls forth into the world are said to have been uttered in uttermost darkness, so in darkness these beings had always to dwell, and keep themselves in caves during the daytime lest a single shaft of sunlight in their eyes literally turn their bodies into lifeless stone forever. How this happened may have had something to do with the natural armor of their outsides growing into their innards and crushing them to the core.

During the Ages of Starlight, Trolls openly roamed Middle-earth alongside Orcs, Wolves, Balrogs, and other wicked minions of the fallen Vala whom the Noldor named Morgoth. Lumbering brutes who lusted for raw flesh and the thrill of a kill, they took to no tongue save broken shards of the Black Speech and perhaps grunts and growls understood only between their own kind. To throw them down by dint of might was nearly an impossible feat to achieve; however, those with some wits about them could oftentimes take advantage of a Troll's blunt intelligence and beat them through sheer guile and trickery. Only upon the advent of the First Age of the Sun did Trolls have to beware of when they were out and where the nearest shelter was, and they could no longer take part in conflicts which happened during the day.

During the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Trolls in great numbers made up the bodyguard which begirded the dreaded Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs. Having no weapons other than the use of their huge arms as clubs, Trolls fought with a savagery and recklessness which to a great degree made up for their lack of skill and cunning.

Trolls lived on in Middle-earth after the War of Wrath and the overthrown of Melkor in Angband. As with all the other fell beasts and minions of the first Dark Lord, they hid themselves principally in the east of the land beyond Beleriand, keeping themselves in caves, mountains, the snowbound northern wastelands, and faraway hills. Having no master, they fended for themselves either alone or in small bands, until in the Second Age the new Dark Lord Sauron came forth and summoned to himself all evil things which would bow to his will. Trolls were among the hordes which mustered in Mordor and marched against Elves and those among Men who were the friends of Elves. To make the hulking brutes more suited to the needs of an organized military campaign, the Lord of the Rings bestowed to them wits markedly better honed than in days of yore, so that they presented a greater peril than ever to those who were their foes. Their language skills improved, and as a rule they did not lend themselves quite so easily to being tricked. Yet still, even in the Third Age, it was possible for Gandalf the Grey to set three Trolls who dwelt in the Trollshaws of Eriador to quarreling amongst themselves until they were caught by the light of the rising sun and turned to stone. These Trolls both understood and spoke the Westron tongue used commonly by men and hobbits.

Still, shortly before the outbreak of the War of the Ring, Sauron further enhanced the old Troll formula until he wrought what he called the Olog-hai. Capable of amazing wiliness and deft in battle despite their great bulk, they spoke fluently the Black Speech and bore enormous shields and crushing hammers. Most revolutionary of all, this new race of Trolls was unafraid of sunlight and could face it openly without being harmed in any way. Forth into war these berserkers went, and no blade save those steeled with an Elvish magic could cut through their armor-like hides and visit death upon them. Once they slew a foe it was their wont to use fang and claw to drink the blood and eat the meat of the body. Their terrific mental acumen, however, was born of a spell uttered by the Dark Lord in the Barad-dûr, and once the One Ring was cast into the Cracks of Doom and melted to nothing, the spell was broken and all the Olog-hai were stripped of their senses. None are thought to have survived for long thereafter, though it is likely that some Trolls of the ordinary kind still lived well into the Fourth Age, eventually making their way to a far away land known as Morrissey-Solo.

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