Troll Town [photos re-uploaded 04/07/2020]

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An index to jump straight to the various parts:

It's been a while since I've posted any new creations here, mostly due to the fact that my home office, and therefore build space, has been taken over with storage boxes whilst a major redecoration of the rest of the house is being undertaken. However, I have had a couple of projects lurking in digital form that are now starting to take shape as the decorating finishes and a slew of Bricklink orders start wending their way across the country to promote them from bits to ABS. So I thought that it's time to post now and we'll add to the thread as the ABS arrives and the various models take shape.


My usual stomping grounds are 80's castle and I've quietly been amassing a small (possible understatement) army of Lions, Falcons and Crusaders in order to try and stage one of the large battle scenes as seen in the catalogues, complete with beige ground and orange from the box covers; but that will have to wait until the last of the real world decorating is done and I get some space to erect the photo stage. Meanwhile, I've been somewhat taken by the Trolls from 2009's Fantasy Era. Whilst 7097 Trolls' Mountain Fortress is modular I was a bit disappointed that TLG never released any extra modules to build out the castle in the same way that they did with the 80's castles. I can fix that...

The first idea was the Trolls' landing. I needed somewhere to moor my Troll Warship!

For some months I've been toying, unsuccessfully, with a concept in my 80's range whereby a gate in the wall opens out onto a beach or quay with a small rocky outcrop and beacon at the end. Thumbnails of the original 80's style are shown below to give you an idea of how the concept has progressed over several months and across the differing styles of the two eras.



But these are Trolls, everything has to be rockier, spikier, more exuberant. A rocky outcrop with beacon becomes a towering outcrop with a massive flaming torch. There would be steps to the outcrop, then steps carved into it then a ladder to the top where the beacon burns brightly.

Even with the above in mind my first attempt at rebuilding the above in Troll style was pretty lame.


The rocky outcrop was so-so, the quay a black plate to the gate, the flame not quite massive enough, the steps up just didn't have the awesome epic-ness that I'd had in my mind and most importantly of all the design DNA from the 7097 just wasn't present; it didn't look Troll-like. Time to step away from the drawing board (or it's LDD proxy) and to do some research into just what makes Troll architecture look Troll.

I pulled out one of my many copies of 7097 and actually set about building it. Surprisingly this was the first time I've ever built the fortress itself. I built it slowly, deliberately looking for the techniques, the colour schemes and the motifs that make a Troll building Troll.

  • Windows: Formed by Slope 75 2 x 1 x 3 facing inwards in Light Bluish-Grey and Slope, Inverted 45 2 x 1 also in Light Bluish-Grey, again facing inwards.
  • Walls: A mix of BURPs, LURPs, Rock Panels and Tower pieces. The big pieces create a lot of wall quickly with small bricks used for infill and detailing. Dark green 1x1x2/3 slope detailing on the BURPS simulate moss or foliage. Black inverse slopes and small reddish-brown highlights are used to represent Troll constructions over the rocks. Towers and other major masonry sections are Light Bluish-Grey, rocks are Dark Bluish-Grey. Troll constructions are typically topped by Dark Red 1x1 cones with white horns inserted.
  • Arches: Brick built using slopes to provide an angular construction.
  • Gates: Plate built in reddish brown with deliberate spaces between the plates to create an open yet formidable gate.
  • Tower tops:Brick, Arch 1 x 5 x 4 Inverted are used to create crown type structures.

I still feel the concept of gate, quay and beacon will make for a good set but it needs to incorporate the Troll design ethos listed above. For inspiration I analysed around some of the other sets, 8876 Scorpion Prison Cave and 7093 Skeleton Prison Tower. Although the styling is very different there is a certain DNA that they both share; they're both towers and they both have prison cages hanging off of the side. I'll steal the prison cage idea.

My first beacon was a solid lump of BURPs topped with a back-to-back pair of LURPs. Solid... lump... great play features... not! For the next attempt it would be good to open things out, I steal the arches from the giant Troll guard towers on 7097 and open the solid lump of BURPs out so that it becomes a cave. Better, we now have more play value, we can hide things in the cave.

My initial attempts to incorporate steps carved into the rock were soaking up too many bricks for too little benefit. Nice though the idea was it wasn't adding to the playability of the design. Sometimes you have to "sacrifice your darlings", the rock built steps had to go.

I drew heavily on the top of the main tower in 7097 to create the platform for the beacon. Tall inverted slopes in black support the platform which utilises the inverted arches in dark red to make it uniquely Troll. A ladder at the back to an intermediate platform supported on more inverted slopes with a set of steps taking us down to the quayside.

The gateway draws on the brick built arches to provide the angular troll arch with a single gate design based around the spaced slats used in the main gate of 7097. Slope 75 2x1x3 with inserted horns provide the spiky adornments of Troll architecture.


It's a better attempt but it's still not quite right. The cave isn't accessible and the quayside is just a boring expanse for flat black plates. There's more work to be done...

A second side of the cave is opened up and I realise that I can insert a boat into the cave. Suddenly the landing has an immediate purpose more than just an add-on for the Trolls' Warship. The jetty gets rebuilt into a much more rickety form, copying some techniques that I tried in the Troll King's Hall that can be seen in the town images above and will be described in a later posting. A skeletal prison cage and a Dwarf's head on a stick give the proceedings some more ambiance although I still feel that there's more to be done raising the tower another brick or two higher but I need to think about how I can achieve that and more in terms of mooring posts on the jetties.


A new day, a clear mind.

I remove the jetties from the model and condense the mass of blue base-plates down to a single 16x16 plate. Without the jetties it all fits on, just. I'll come back to the jetties later, they're an intrinsic part of the set but I have some modularity in mind, partly inspired by the Heroica sets.

I pull the tower apart placing the top section to one side. I'm happy with the top, it's the base and middle, particularly the middle that isn't quite right. I start layering up bricks, typically the big 2x8 bricks, but it's not working, it isn't coming together to form a suitable support for the upper portion of the tower. I stop, pull it all apart again and go back to the 7097 instructions to find out how the big Troll guard huts were topped off; the TLG designers built the back and side walls up square and level and then used a large plate across the top. I decide to try that, a couple of large 1x12 bricks bring the sides up level but then I find myself back to using 2x8 bricks to bridge the gap and form a base. I'm back to the same problem I had moments ago, but two bricks higher. What I do notice is that the space is 10x8, just right for a pair of back-to-back BURPs and that those BURPs narrow to the right size for the LURPs that form the starting point of the upper section of the tower. The whole rework has probably cost another 20 bricks but has given me an additional 6 bricks worth of height.

My plan with the jetties is to make them modular and therefore configurable to suit play. I design a basic crossroads jetty piece that fits onto a blue 6x6 plate, this gets replicated three times. I design a length of jetty that fits onto a blue 10x6, replicated twice and a shorter 6x8 that holds a small bridge section. Black technic connector pins hold everything together and the jetty walkways themselves replicate the design style that I had tried earlier. I change the overall colour to brown and everything looks good. It's probably cost me another 30 bricks to do the jetties this way but I think it's definitely preferable. The disadvantage is that the model can't be picked up as a single lump, the connections are just a little too fragile for that.

A quick pass of the model attempts to minimise the number of unique elements by ensuring that every brick type is only present in one colour. The fact that the colour palette blends so well and that the construction already contains a degree of colour mottling to achieve it's affect means that this isn't anywhere near as problematic as it sounds.

I replace the bone cage with one based on the prisoner cage present on the 7094 Trolls' Warship. It saves me about 15 bricks and blends in better with the rest of the Troll Architecture.

Minifigs are added, I initially started out with 4 trolls but quickly sacrificed one of those for a Crownie that could be a prisoner. Prisoners on their own are no fun, somebody needs to rescue them so another troll was sacrificed for a second Crownie soldier. Of the two remaining trolls one is armed with a cutlass, the other gets a flaming torch to light the beacon. I add a spare sword and oars to the boat and the jetties get barrels and fish. A couple more minor tweaks here and there and it feels like it's done. Maybe a skeleton in the cave... but I can't see any suitable attachment points.


There's at least one more element rationalisation pass whereby I try to standardise the colours of various bricks across all of the models to ensure consistency across the range. Having looked at the element listings for 7097 I realise that I'm probably being more ruthless than I need to be, but the engineer in the back of my mind is thinking that if I mix two bricks of different colours in a single bag then no matter how many times I weigh the bag I can never tell whether I've got the ratio of one colour to another colour correct. The more I think through this problem the more respect I have for the TLG engineers that run the packaging process, getting the apparently simple process of putting the right bricks in the right bag correct time and time again is much harder than it looks.





Which leaves me waiting for the ABS to arrive, almost a dozen BrickLink orders have been placed and one order with TLG customer support, but I realise belatedly that I've not ordered the key 16x16 plate in blue! Which means I'm stuck until I place another order or locate one of the sets that contains the 16x16 plate... However, once enough of the orders have arrived I should have enough parts to build up one or two of the other sets: Trolls' Forge, The Troll King's Hall, Troll Training or the Troll Engine Docks. Expect something within the week...

LDD file for those that are interested.

Edited by The_Cook
Fixing hyperlinks

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Looks good I will be keeping an eye out for the updates when they come

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Great indepth illustration into your design process. I like the decision making you've used to "transliterate" the Troll Style into 80's classic modularity. I too would love to see this in ABS. Good luck building and I hope to see more updates.

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Love it. Troll's Mountain Fortress is one of my most favorite sets. It was so ramshackle and barbaric, super unique and a stark contrast to more or less every other LEGO castle. This is an excellent addition. :thumbup:

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Always fascinating to read about the design process that goes into your builds :thumbup: You really did manage to capture the look of a troll building and this looks like it would be a blast to play with :classic:

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I'm still waiting for a little package from Denmark...

When it arrives next week I'll have all the bits necessary to start building up this and the other 4 models that extend 7097 Trolls' Mountain Fortress to make Troll Town.

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Great and unusual idea, I will eagerly await the result.

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I'm stuck waiting for a TLG Customer Service Order to arrive, it looks like it's going to take the full "...up to 7 working days" of the small print. I know I can't realise the Trolls' Landing in ABS until the TLG order arrives and I'm similarly stymied in realising the Troll Forge in ABS because there are again key parts that are in the TLG order. So I turn to the Third of my designs; having designed the Landing and Forge (both of which I will return to) my ideas pile was starting running dry. The usual medieval town ideas don't translate so well in Troll Town...


Troll Bakery anyone?

But food is important, Trolls need somewhere to feast. They'd feast in the Troll King's Hall. My initial sketches, roughed out during a European flight where I didn't have enough room to pull out the laptop were of an open sided hall with a vaguely Nordic/Norse styling. It made sense to site a throne at one end which led to enclosing that end of the throne room with a wall, hinged on either side to form an enclosed space if the set were to be used standalone.

For play purposes it would be necessary to get to the interior of the hall. The roof either had to lift of or be open-able in some way to allow access. Whilst thinking about pivots I wondered, but couldn't adequately determine on paper, whether the roof slopes could be pivoted at the bottom and then rest on some form of support to keep them at the right angle... Which led to me considering whether the support point could also become a tie-bar across the width of the roof section. It looked plausible but it would require an LDD session to try to prove the theory.

That evening with spare time on hand LDD was duly fired up and some 3hours later a fully fledged Troll King's Hall emerged. My experience at Troll Architecture was sufficient that the various sections looked the part from the outset rather than requiring a substantial redesign.

I opted to use 1x12x3 arches as the tie pieces but with hindsight I could equally use a number of inverted slopes to create the tie pieces. The result might not be quite as strong but should be sufficient. The overall cost would be 20 more bricks on an existing total of 303. The unique element count would remain the same since the inverse slopes are already used and the 1x12x3 arch would be replaced by a 1x8 brick. For stability some the 1x1x2/3 cheese slopes might need to be replaced with 2x2x2/3 cheese slopes which is an anachronism since these elements are newer than the Fantasy castle line.

The rock-work end to the hall feels substantial whilst being simply built with BURPs and LURPs, whilst the adjacent windows fulfill the Troll architectural style without making the wall expanse too repetitive. I'm particularly pleased with the roof structure, it's simple in design but the use of 12x3 wedge plates overlaid with tiles and foliage give it substantially more depth and character than a simple plated roof. The holes in the roof are especially pleasing as they follow the Troll's decrepit architectural practices.





Four trolls formed the initial minifig complement but for storytelling purposes I feel that a King or General from the Crownie side might need to be substituted for one of the Trolls. Such a substitution would allow the Troll/Crownie equivalent of the "Capitulation of Vercingetorix". May they prostrate themselves before the Troll King whilst his warriors feast...


This is the one model that I can actually build without the TLG Customer Services order being present. According to my records I have all the parts bar some 1x2 plates in Dark Green which aren't of structural importance and can be skipped. The baseplates lock together nicely (pretend the old brown 2x8's are reddish brown :wink:) and I start building the columns.


The one thing that you can never tell from LDD is how strong the actual connections are. As I build my columns of the hall I realise that the supports for the roof brackets aren't as strong as the could be the columns really need a layer of plates to lock the top together with the 1x12x3 arches. The roof mounts at the wall end are particularly weak. I continue regardless but it's something I might have to come back to in a design revision.


I start building the roof then realise that I don't have either the Technic, Pin Connector Plate 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with Two Holes (Double on Top) nor the Reddish-Brown Slope, Inverted 45 2 x 1's. The later I replace with Dark Bluish-Grey, the former I spend half an hour hunting through boxes on unsortted black bricks to see if I have any spares followed by searching through various sets to find Dark Bluish-Grey equivalents. I also need to colour substitute 1x8 plates in Reddish Brown for Dark Brown. With the roof sections built they're added to the existing structure and my earlier suspicions about the mounting points are correct, they're holding for the moment but I doubt they'd pass an engineering review. I then find the 8 black Technic, Pin Connector Plate 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with Two Holes (Double on Top) that I had indeed ordered but had forgotten to log in the inventory and so spend another 20 minutes swapping out the Dark-Bluish Grey subsitutions and returning them to their rightful sets. Subsequently I find enough spare Dark-Bluish Grey pieces in my unsorted box of Dark-Bluish Grey; a very frustrating diversion caused by poor planning.

The fully assembled model.



Structurally the pillars are holding together although they are a definite weak point in the build and I spend a little time LDD in putting locking plates across the top of them, particularly where the side walls hinge onto the main structure. It comes at the cost of about 12 more pieces although I haven't been able to reflect the changes in ABS yet. It's not a bad little set, definitely some play value. Here's the capitulation of the Lion King to his new Troll overlords.




LDD files are temporarily unavailable whilst I work out a suitable alternative hosting site.

Edited by The_Cook
Re-upload images

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The old green trolls/orcs are some of my favourite castle minifigs and for their cartoony look I like them much more than the LOTR trolls/orcs. So it's really great to see some more mocs revolving around them and fascinating to see how LDD becomes reality!

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A small package with a Danish postmark, a familiar Red and White Logo and a slight rattle when shaken, has finally arrived...

It takes me about 2hours to build up the Trolls' Landing from scratch. As this is one of the most refined of the Troll models, in the sense that it went through 5 iterations before I was happy with the design, the actual construction progresses smoothly and there are no structural issues in quite the same way that I had with the Troll King's Hall.





The Trolls' Landing assembled next to the Troll Kings hall. Assembled the two models are getting too large for my photo-stage. By the time I've added all of the designs to 7037 it will easily fill the small Dining Room table.


Edited by The_Cook
Re-upload images

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The King's Hall looks great, that opening roof design is excellent :thumbup: Glad to hear your order arrived, and I'm looking forward to your next additions to the Troll's buildings :classic:

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I totally agree with Soccerkid6, I love that design, and the tower is fantastic as well. Can't wait to see the next section!

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A blacksmith. How else do trolls get their wonderful speckle silver helmets? The inspiration is undoubtedly 6040 Blacksmith Shop and my starting point was a short stretch of wall. The wall is lifted almost directly from the small wall section in 7097 Trolls' Mountain Fortress but trolls don't have a little red furnace they have a furnace that consumes the heart of a mountain! Perhaps a mountain is a little ambitious but a small-ish rock structure is used to hold the fire, with a connecting arch across to the wall. The connecting arch is deliberate since it provides a second anchor point without which the plate attaching the furnace to the wall would be too flimsy.



The forge in the first attempt, shown above, had closed back but it felt somewhat forced. The use of a Wall Element Iceberg meant that the black surround to the coals couldn't go right the way back into the mountain. It was quickly removed in favour of hammering the swords from both sides.


For decoration I initially stuck a skeleton in the tower section, as seen above. Pretty; but there's no storyline. I swap the skeleton for a Crownie and stick a door over the front. Better; we have a prisoner but what's a prisoner to do but sit and wait. Wait to be rescued? So we need a rescuer? One more Crownie on the outside. Now we have conflict, we have drama, will our heroic Crownie rescue his friend before the Troll uses his polished bones to make the pommels of the Troll cleavers? (Okay, maybe TLG wouldn't phrase it that graphically but it's what every 7year old boy is thinking!)

A weapon/helmet stand and an anvil finish off the set and I retain the skeleton for posterity... Weighing in at 152 bricks, admittedly some are large BURP sized pieces, it's not quite a small set yet it's not yet made it into the 'big' set category.




After an interminable wait for a TLG Customer Service order to arrive that contained two Slope 75 2 x 2 x 3 Double Convex that form part of the forge I can finally build the set in ABS.

The one change that I make whilst building is to add a black apron to the Troll blacksmith to differentiate him slightly from the others. With only two troll torsos, two head variants and two helmet variant the amount of differentiation between trolls is minimal so something like the apron, or shoulder pads or a special helmet are important in order to make the characters special and unique.




Compact, pretty sturdy. My ABS photo's above are currently missing the skeleton and 2nd Crownie; both of which are really needed to give the set a little more colour. I'll add them back in as the greater Troll Town gets assembled.

LDD files are temporarily unavailable whilst I find an alternative hosting site; PM me if you want them.

Edited by The_Cook

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so much good stuff happening here, great balcksmith and great overall design. I really wonder though, why you rely so heavily on TLG to get the right pieces, there are cheaper ways ...

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Love the blacksmith, great idea! Very troll-like build with fitting colours.

The 6040 Blacksmith is one of my favorite classic Castle sets due to it's simplicity and great modularity that allows it to function as a diverse and interesting addon for a castle. I have been meaning to do a Kingdoms version of it for a while, but haven't gotten around to it.

Do you have the medusa figure? Her head and possibly torso as well could make for a great female troll.

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I really wonder though, why you rely so heavily on TLG to get the right pieces, there are cheaper ways ...

I'm not entirely reliant on TLG there have been a dozen Bricklink Orders to get the various parts but there are a couple of rare colours of standard elements that TLG happens to be cheaper for; case in point being Dark Green Plate 1x2. Dark Green 5x6 Leaves are also cheaper than the UK Bricklink stores at the moment.

Dark Bluish Grey BURPs are also surprisingly hard to get hold of, unlike their Old Grey ancestors which are found much more regularly. I did a quick back of packet calculation and the cost of postage when buying them one or two at a time from dozens of Bricklink sellers means that the TLG price is still favourable with their fixed cost pack and postage.

German and other continental BrickLink stores often seem to be cheaper than the UK but the cost of foreign rather than domestic postage has to balance that out.

Anyhow all the bricks for the Tranche 1 buildings have arrived so over the next week or two I'll build up:

  • Trolls' Landing [done + posted]
  • Trolls' Forge [done + posted]
  • Troll King's Hall [done + posted]
  • Troll Training
  • The Engine Docks

I've got another batch of Bricklink orders in for the Tranche 2, but I probably need another TLG order for Dark Green 1x2's and a handful of other bits that aren't cheaper elsewhere. This will allow the building of:

  • Trolls' Market
  • The Graving Dock
  • Guarded Inn
  • The Dragon Platform

At which point I'll probably have to stop...

Do you have the medusa figure? Her head and possibly torso as well could make for a great female troll.

I hadn't considered the Medusa, but yes she might work. I've got a Liberty head which I recall someone turning into a more feminine Troll than the 7097 Queen.

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What else?

Trolls have a navy. An awesome, epic, construct would be a shipyard, possibly beyond the scope of what can be sensibly achieved if I'm constraining myself to TLG size/style sets.

Jousting, training. Good playability, how do Trolls train? Assault course? Practice dummies?

Steps, ladders, tunnels, undergrowth. Pop-ups, trapdoors.

Part of the inspiration is 2504 Spinjitzu Dojo from the Ninjago line, a triptych of Asian influenced walls and doors that are laced with traps. Replicate that but with Troll architecture. So I gamely set about building up three sections of walls that are hinged together, 120 bricks later we have a structure that I can start adding an assault course to. Except the structure doesn't take well to additions, there is no neat way of adding to the insides of BURP's. There is also no neat way of replacing the BURP's without dramatically increasing the brick count. Almost a back to the drawing board type scenario, to attempt something similar but not within the context of a Fortress wall.

However I persevere for just a little longer. I extend the baseplates to give me a little more room on the inside and use a LURP as a starting point. To this I'm able to attach headlamp bricks with Bar 4l protruding horizontally to give a series of bars to clamber over.

I copy the falling axe mechanism from the Spinjitzu Dojo, but again I'm struggling to get it to fit in within a BURP. Then I realise that if I take the top plate away the BURP has a nice cutout which will allow me to insert a 6L axle and pivot from the top. The cranked operating levers no longer make sense, so they are replaced with straight technic pieces. I realise that one of the best ways of topping them off would be to stick a 2x2 round tile on them as a target. If something hits the target the axe will pivot forwards and knock a minifig off of the beam. Which means I need some mechanism for lobbing or shooting bricks at the targets. A quick trawl of Brickset shows a couple of Troll catapult designs but the nicest happens to be Troll Warrior which has a small siege cart which shoots flick fire missiles. This design is duly replicated.

This leaves the central tower. There needs to be some form of clamberable obstacle in order to tie the lower baseplates together. Possibly some from of trapdoor. I probably need to research how to do that with as few bricks as possible but also as thinly as possible. Some form of hanging chain to swing on as well. A hanging chain and some stepping stones with interspersed spikes and flames.




When starting to build the model in ABS I realise that I've ordered the wrong size green wedge plates. I have to substitute reddish-brown plates instead which compromises the colourscheme somewhat but allows me to complete the build process. Everything else progesses very smoothly, a couple of minor refinements when I find a brick missing from the LDD design and a two 1x1 bricks side-by-side get replaced with a 1x2 brick.


Structurally it's all good but the top of the tower feels empty. What I realise is that it needs a large half barrel full of stones, and maybe a skull, to drop down onto the heads of the trainees climbing the chain.

Onto the play features. Clambering over the bars.


Jumping across flames and spikes


Dodging the swinging axes and flick-fire missiles


Clambering the chain whilst skulls rain down from above.


Unfortunately the LDD files are unavailable whilst I sort out an alternative hosting service. PM me if you want them.

Here's Troll Town in it's almost it's entirety; there's a 7097 that needs incorporating as well. The Troll Warship is shown alongside the landing for scale. What I can say is that I'm going to need a bigger table...

From left to right: Troll Training, Troll King's Hall, Trolls' Landing and the Troll Forge.




From left to right: Trolls' Landing, Troll King's Hall, the Troll Forge and Troll Training.


Edited by The_Cook

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This all looks like a letter of application for the guilds of historica to me! In other words, come and join mitgardia we can always use good builders such as you!

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