"...towers where chough and merlin nested..." (p. 181)
"...troll chiefs sprawled in spilth and vomit." (p. 182)
"The imp shrank aside, eyes and fangs agleam in the murk." (ibid.)
Valgard wonders why the great elven strongholds captured by trolls are falling so quickly to the resurgent elves. The answer is that those strongholds house captured elven women who have been hospitable to their trollish conquerors but who will stab those conquerors in the back as soon as an elven army is at the gate.
Motivations impossible to mortals come easily to immortal and amoral elves.