#NaNoWriMo : Story for the Day: Word of a Giant
Many of you are curious as to what happened during the Galleisian War mentioned at the beginning of Commander and Den Asaan. Here for you is a small glimpse of Rautu's first appearance in Frewyn.
Word of a Giant
|No, the butterfly is not in the book, but it's amusing to consider.|
It was cold in Kileen, uncommonly so, and the frigid air and white skies over the small ferrying village recommended the arrival of a thick snow for the afternoon. Frewyn was no stranger to being buried under a white tumult, but in its northeasternmost regions, snow had never been used to fall until midseason. Here it was only the beginning, and yet Kileen was struck with a brilliancy of wintery ardor: a thin blanket of glittering frost blanketing the ground, children bundled and tarrying about with shabbily formed snowballs in their hands, the Church in a bustle over the recent and almost overlooked holidays due to the war, and the nearby Dremmwel softened in its swells by the thin layer of ice cracking the sea’s surface. The unbearable dampness that Kileen was used to suffer was increased by the unusual morning frost. Furnaces and fires must be lighted in houses and places of business throughout the day though wood in wartimes must be scarce, cider carts were dispatched to give warmth to those whose exertions took them outside, and a bonfire was lit in the village square for those who sought a repose from the sultry cold.
It was midmorning when the village began to make its preparatory rounds of daily pleasantries: denizens crawled from their warm dens, smiles and waves were restrained by the hindrance of chilled bones, shoppes were opened, stalls were manned, and the bells at the Church rung to remind the village of its morning prayers. Though it was frightful cold, the climate was made tolerable by agreeable faces, amicable raillery, and general Frewyn hardiness, but there was another occurrence that morning that forced the citizens of the small Kileen to all but forget their usual offices.
The sight of the most impossible thing in the world prevailed them and compelled them to act where they would have otherwise been happy to go about their day: a giant was discovered inside the Kileen armoury. A large consignment of weapons coming down from Livanon had made its way to Frewyn by way of the Kileen ferry, and upon the ferry, screened by the concealment that a thick evening fog and the darkness of night could supply, was a Haanta. He had done well to move between the copses of trees along the coast and hide himself amongst the sparsely placed houses in the village, but when the sun gained power over the winter morning, the fog thawed into a brisk frost and the white rays betrayed the giant’s tracks. He had been silent through his prowling inspection, breaking into the armoury and searching the consignment without alerting even the blacksmith, but a stray cat in search of a dish of milk began meowing incessantly at the giant as to make any further concealment impracticable. He would have quitted the village without quam but he came for one item and one item only, and though he was sure of its being part of the shipment, once discovered he would not betray the reason for his visit; if the citizens of Kileen knew of his errand, they might seek to make its completion impossible, for a nation at war would do much to have a giant on its side. The blacksmith had shouted and he had been cornered, and though he could have easily attacked his aggressor and escaped, he chose to stay in hopes of them being forbearing of a foreigner’s presence , allowing him time to create a distraction, and then find means of successful and imperceptible escape.
His presence was treated with a mild horror. A creature of such immense stature, powerful build, hulking trappings, fierce black and violet eyes must be cause enough for alarm, but the blacksmith, after tranquilizing and putting down his hammer, had the good sense to ask the beast why he was here and what he wanted. His countenance seemed wary and his stomach, though well-muscled, somewhat thin, and though the giant would not speak to when addressed, the blacksmith surmised that he must be searching for food and a means of protection from the cold. His pelts would keep him well enough, but he wore so little underneath, only a kilt and an empty holster, that the blacksmith was inclined to think him hardly warm at all.
“You lost, giant?” said the blacksmith, taking a step forward.
The giant said nothing. He only stared at the blacksmith and kept his back pressed against the armoury wall, secretly searching the place through the corner of his eye for the one object he had come in quest of.
The blacksmith removed his hat and scratched his head. “Never seen one-a you before. Sorry I startled you. I was lookin’ after the cat. Didn’t expect to see a giant in my armoury.”
There was no response to the blacksmith’s sudden friendliness; his only object was to find what was his and leave for home. His eyes flickered across the armoury, and there, beneath one of the consignment crates of weapons being conveyed to the warfront, was a glimpse of a familiar hilt. If he should be quick in his movements, he could knock over the crates, bar the blacksmith from advancing, and grab his weapon before anyone could impede him, but the shouting beyond the armoury door began to suggest that perhaps hesitation was warranted. He had hoped that the village’s coming was out of mere curiosity to see the giant who had invaded their home, but their demands of the giant being dangerous and that he must be imprisoned recommended their visit was not of a peaceable nature.
The blacksmith had been mistaken in thinking that the giant was a mere traveler, only turned round and gone in the wrong direction if he was to find his way home. Word of the giant’s misdeeds in the north against a certain village in southern Thellis had reached Kileen, and desirous as the giant was to leave Frewyn, even more desirous were the officials in Livanon for his capture and return, officials who were offering a generous reward to those who would hand the giant over that he might be in return given to Thellis. Livanon had always prided itself in being a neutral kingdom and had no share in either the Thellisian or Galleisian War excepting where profitable. Giving weapons to its southern supporter showed good faith, and giving a wanted criminal to its northern ally should yield a similar and more favourable result. All of Livanon had been searching for the missing giant; the sum of twenty-thousand gold pieces was enough to have the entire Two Continents on the watch for him, and though the description given had been vague, a giant anywhere on the Southern Continent was still vaguer, and therefore the giant standing at the back of the armoury with the chary expression must be the one for whom everyone was searching. The villagers came in all their fervency, ready with torches and pitchforks in hand to lead the giant into his cage. The people of Frewyn and certainly of Kileen were humble folk with regard to acquiring riches, but that the giant had been said to have killed an entire village worth of men with his bare hands drew many concerns. He must be captured and kept away from their children, and though he had shown himself peaceful to the blacksmith, there was no telling what he might do if and when his anxieties should recommence. That he must be traded to Livanon officials did not admit a doubt, but the matter of when he should be sent must wait until after the current battle in the south was said to be done.
For now, the giant would resign himself to the peace of his isolated cage where he might sit and be left alone to contrive and plan. His compunction was with himself, his anger was with Thellis, his distress was with his leader, and his dismay was in having lost the one item with which he had not parted in nearly thirty years. Having lost his composure under the situation in Thellis was perfectly understandable: he had been forced from his home, he had lost his brothers, his men had been careless and had gotten their party captured, he had been compelled to watch the execution of his men, and once his weapon, the only item in the world he had left to cling to, the embodiment of his skill, his pride, and his spirit, had been taken, there was an end of all peace in the business. He had allowed his inbred rage to conquer him. Alone, confused, and afraid for the first time in his life, he could no longer bear the agony enforced upon him and decided to expel the extent of his impregnable fury upon those who had wronged him. He had been robbed of every moral peace which he had once cherished: his brothers, his position as a chief, his dignity as a warrior, and after his rage had calmed in Thellis, he had been robbed of his sense. His judgment had been so misconstrued by the failure of his mission and defeat of his men that he would no longer distinguish between what was good and what was right where his duties were concerned. He would only quietly submit to his present captors, remain in his imprisonment, and endeavor to regain his focus.
Enjoy the story? Enjoy the first book in the series: