Still fixating on the fleeing giants, I reflexively continue to create sparks from my flint and steel, in the diminishing hope to create a forest fire that w-
Betraying my own expectations, the tip of the tree erupts into a blinding fury of emanating flames. I rapidly riffle through my mind to find a way of this damned tree, well knowing the searing heat that was soon to come. It didn't arrive however, I hung mere inches from the growing flames, and the heat that should've scorched me was replaced with a comfortable warmth wrapping around me as a blanket. Confused on this skewed perception of heat, it dawns on me, or more specifically my chest. My crystal chest plate reflected both the image and heat of the flames, only a delicate warmth. A very quick thanks to the magical pegasus was given, and then I continued observed the soon-to-be forest fire.
That is, until the confused expression of a wyvern with a wide open mouth piqued my interest. I lean over to gander at the wyvern staggering around with something very much alive thrashing in its mouth. The Hunter had somehow managed to open the jaws of a stunned wyvern and begun to crawl his way through the treacherous hole for who knows what. Naturally, the wyvern attempts to snap his mouth shut to maim the Hunter with his jagged and sharp teeth, yet he struggles to as the Hunter stands and pushes his arms upwards against the force.
The jaws shut closed.
Resistance did not stop though, as I spot large protrusions appear and disappear around the wyvern's mouth as the Hunter still pushed and punched to force his way out.
Hesitating on finding a way to cut the Hunter out of the jaw of death, my plans are altered when the red dragon hurtles into the ground forcing anyone in the vincinity to change focus. In a mood of panic and dread as the red dragon examined me with his eyes, I try to play it cool, put up a nervous smile and casually quip "Hello."
"Puny mortal, why are you not burning a painful death screaming in flames?" probed the dragon. "I'm immortal?" I replied, trying my best to keep my composure spilling out into the flames. Trying to prove my claim I roll back my shoulders, emphasizing my chest to show off my lustrous crystal chestplate insulating me. "You are a foolish brave warrior." he smirks. He is distracted chuckling at his own insult, not paying attention to the fact that my hands have grabbed another oil bottle start to aim straight at him. The bottle spins at a rapid pace towards its destination. He stops his gloating demeanor and snaps open his eyes. Another quick movement and he already snatched the bottle midair with a claw swipe and immedietly starts to guzzle it down with greed.
Once again he distracted from my actions, savoring the oil from his dexterous reflexes. An extra third oil bottle finds itself into the grip of my hand prepared to deliver, the second time's the charm I suppose. But charm was shown to be absent as the bottle flies well above the target and vanish in the thick of the forest.
The crimson menace does not even acknowledge my misjudged throw or presence. He instead opts to hover above the ground and turn around, letting me gaze at his barbed and bulbous tail. It gently curls into a spiral as the tail of a playful cat.
The tail unwinds much faster than I could react.
I sailed across the sky, the green trees below turned into a blur. My chestplate whistles as air flows between its cracks. Slammed into the sturdy tree I struggle to focus just for my breath, lying limp on a weak branch.
Inhale, Exhale. Inhale, Exhale.
Slowly, I move each part of my body and limbs to make sure nothing is broken or painful. I gently rise up to focus once my senses come back from the soreness and confusion. How could I survive such an intense blow? I look down to examine my crystal chestplate but fail to see a single crack or dent, that was the sole reason I continue to breath. Once again I give gratitude to that mysterious pegasus for a literal life-saver.
Before moving out of the branch I listen for any tell-tale signs for the hostile red creature, ready to swoop in when I reveal myself. No roars or growls, just the gentle brushing of my body against the leaves. I take my chances and peek out form the safety of the leaves. There wasn’t a red dragon in my view as I thought, but he could be around the area. Surprisingly none of the wyverns or my allies else had taken notice I flew into a tree moments ago, if they did spot me mid flight they’d assume I flattened with the tree.
I do take notice of something no one else did, a fight below me. The cleric was swinging his staff wildly at some hideously gross, despicable creature, a midget.
How dare that tiny freak even attempt to lay his hands on my friend! But I just can’t jump down and slaughter that thing, I don’t want him to gaze his eyes at me. I must be silent.
With ease the cleric blocks any of the midget’s short-ranged punches and throws by mildly shifting the staff. The midget’s rider armor seems to be restricting his joints preventing him from going all out. Was he actually a rider of one of those wyverns? He seems to be far too tiny and clumsy to grab a hold of one, lest he try to control it. I imagine him barely grabbing on with just one hand as the wyvern takes flight and eventually letting go and wildly spinning due to his small stature.
The midget actually lands a kick in the cleric’s shin only making him more enraged. I also get more angry, how could he? I ‘ll get rid of this disgusting midget in a spectacular way since no one will notice me, I have the time.
I have several odd tools and trinkets for unusual or rare situations but I’ve never gotten a chance to use any of them due to the nature of such occasions. This time is different. I dig into my bag into a part I rarely access, and retrieve a wooden tube, a blow dart. Along with an poison-tipped dart I slip it into one end, I take in long drawn breath, wouldn’t want to get a mouthful of illness. Placed into my mouth I take a long hard look at the ugly miscreant, adjusting my mouth for a direct hit. A sharp exhale shoots the dart in a straight line in lightning speed.
The little mongrel takes a direct hit to his shoulder. It seems that his rider’s shoulder plate did not provide its protection as the needle sinks in and disappears. Only the shaft remains visible. He stops his tirade of frantic attacks and pauses to look at the Cleric wide-eyed with his arm pointing. His mouth gasps and struggles to speak, just sounds of incoherent muttering. The legs are the first to collapse then the rest of the body topples as well. He lies face down and struggles to move. His movements slowly stop as death takes hold.
Staring at the corpse in confusion, the Cleric looks all around for the source of the dart. I shake the branch I lay on and call out to him. He turns with a slightly scared face but turns to relief as he recognizes me. The Cleric shifts to the base of my tree and as a gesture of thanks, casts a spell of healing to soothe my pains. A golden aura engulfs my vision and the aches from being thrown disappear altogether.
All of the aura blanks out, leaving my eyes to see the natural colors of the world once again. I glance to the Cleric to find why it all stopped so abruptly and see him staring at the two dragons of clashing colors, red and green, peer in detail of the other. Red is the first to break out of the gaze by launching a torrent of flames of which the heat set several tips of nearby trees ablaze. The green dragon is plunged in the flames for several seconds and writhes in the unbearable fever. The fire stops and the green dragon has charred spots, clearly in pain yet continues to fly. I squint my eyes to recognize the two figures atop the green dragon, the Wizard and Oreo, and they are not in good condition! Both of them reduced to cooked pinkish flesh, moaning the cries of a baby discovering hot water.
They’d probably be okay once we’re done, not the worst we’ve seen with what we went through. Of course though, something else takes our distracted eyes as the chance to attack -
Another midget with the fury to match it charges the Cleric but screams far too early alerting us, it’s going to take a solid fifteen seconds for him to make contact. The Cleric’s raises his arm and faces his palm to the thing, an ethereal purple spear emerges and flies. The midget is struck in the center of hi chest instantly ending his momentum, his legs fly up in the air and he collapses onto the ground driving dust and fallen leaves everywhere. Pointing straight up the ghostly spear, taller then the victim itself, rises and falls gently as the skewered midget struggles to come to terms. It seems that it hasn’t killed him but that will change with time when the spear will disappear, leaving a gaping wound exposed.
A ear-piercing screech fills the empty air after the stabbed midget stopped moaning. I hear the familiar flapping of a dragon closing in on us, I struggle to peek to find it without exposing myself. It wasn’t the red dragon luckily, rather the green dragon barely coping with it’s burned wings and slowly sinking towards the ground to relieve himself of the constant effort it takes to stay afloat. Two figures perched on top, the Wizard and Oreo, were now level with me. There wounds and burns have been for the most part gone with some careless healing spells, but some charred spots still remain and so did their a-dragon-just-set-me-on-fire faces. Oreo is unfazed or pretends to. He lets go of his grip on the dragon and grabs hold of his bow loads an arrow and pulls it abnormally far. It’s aiming at the red dragon still in flight among the trees. It stops for a brief moment and that’s when Oreo fires, the arrow whizzes in an arc to hit only to feebly bounce off the red scales and fall like a needle. We start to realize the wrath we have invoked by getting involved with this red dragon but there was one more trick we could use, a furry little one.
“DONKEY!” I screamed out to beckon him once more to me, he was my last hope in this fiery encounter. “Come on Donk—”
My calls are answered as Donkey bursts into my field of view, primed for any of my bidding with an expression that oozes of loyalty and honed skill. I riffle through my mind to find anything of use he could be to the situation. The red dragon is obviously out of reach, he can’t help Oreo, the wizard or—
Ah, the H unter! Last I recalled of him he was being digested alive inside of a wyvern and slashing his way out to change that. With an objective secured in my mind to delegate to Donkey I take in a lungful of air and straighten my posture ready to give my commandments.
“Donkey! A loyal and dear friend to our group the Hunter has found himself in the most terrible of situations; a wyvern! Even worst at this very moment he is fighting to prevent his end as lowly food! And it may be too late for him, but you are here to change all of that! Now go! Go with your unending ferocity and willpower and tear apart that sorry wyvern so that our friend will see the light of day once again! GO!”
Donkey acknowledges the duty handed to him with a simple nod and looks to my eyes, I nod back. He turns away to face the direction of the Hunter I pointed out and dashes away to finish it. Everyone else just looks at me in either awe or confusion after the ordeal, but I shrug it off.
Oreo beckons me onto the green dragon after seeing me rest on the tree branch for a while. He says I could have a better shot at hitting the red dragon if I was riding and against the betterment of my judgment, I leap off my branch onto the back of the green dragon.
I land on all fours steady making sure to get a grip on the scales to avoid slipping and falling off onto the Cleric. Immediately after the dragon lowers before straining to rise back up, it’s now groaning from exhaustion and having to carry the weight of three adventurers. This may have been a bad thing to do. Oreo without warning leaps at me to try and toss me off! He could have asked me to get off in the first place but it’s too late for that. I dodge to the right and Oreo crashes on to his belly, dazed. I take the chance to counter his attempted toss and grab his torso to roll him off the dragon. Oreo falls down, letting a branch catch him and hold his weight, effectively switching positions from before.
The Wizard looks at both of us mildly disappointed with a sigh. A moment later he makes a few gestures with his hand, then we start to flicker and disappear. Did he cast an invisibility spell on us? It would be useful to hide when that red dragon comes over to try and roast us or if any other wyverns and their riders come. We only remain invisible for seconds before it wears off but the green dragon remains completely invisible, I feel like I’m going to fall at any instant as I look and see the ground below me clearly. I’ll have to be careful not slip off.
Perfect timing for the red dragon as it flies overhead, we all duck in unison in preparation of soon to be barrage of fire but in a few tense moments it never comes. Instead we hear the familiar voice belonging to the one that tail-slammed me into a tree.
Really? I could barely believe it. Most of us had been viciously wounded; I got tail-whipped into a tree, the Hunter is still probably being digested and the Wizard and Oreo were burnt to a crisp. But still, I couldn’t find any sensible reason why they would retreat now after coming so close to victory.
Just after the red dragon’s command I notice all of our enemies, the wyverns and riders start to make a retreat. Many wyverns fly frantically with their rider barely holding a grip, some had even left their rider forcing many to run on ground towards the forest fire. Far down I spot the midget who had a magic spear embedded in him start to follow the order, desperately hobbling away from us.
I don’t even know where she came from, but the Monk bursts into my view running straight behind the midget. The midget’s short strides are no match and soon she catches up, she leaps forward and tackles him with the Monk landing on the midget on the ground. The midget is held into an arm lock and realizes the situation and starts to sob wildly. I can’t tell if they’re genuine sobs of pleading or crocodile tears, I don’t care either way.
Distracted by the wailing midget, I see a hand creeping up the side of me. I quickly look down are spot Oreo, clinging to seemingly thin air but I know it’s the green dragon. He quickly grabs my arm and pulls me down without warning, I topple off and brace myself. I crash into the same branch Oreo did and feel a tinge of comeuppance from before as I recover my bruised ego. Oreo completes his climb and reclaims his usurped position, smirking at me during the process.
FEE, FI, FO, FUM…
The familiar stomps of the giants returns and jolts my body. It seems they heard the call to retreat and came to observe or catch any stragglers for fresh meat. I climb up the branches of the tree in order to see how many of them came out of the cave.
A dozen or so they stumbled around looking, but a small group surrounds a cornered enemy. I lean out to see they’ve encircled the dead body of a wyvern, the one that ate the Hunter. But clearly the head and neck is thrashing about, the Hunter is probably alive and kicking his way out of his meat prison. Donkey is also trying to help with the situation by repeatedly headbutting the corpse in the belly, which only slightly jostles it. The group of giants obviously don’t know that someone is in the dead wyvern, believing it to be possessed. They start to roar , threatening the body with physical violence and to end up as a tasty meal.
Something else distracts all of the giants from going through with their plans of beating a dead body.
There were noises of panting and straining coming from the suffering green dragon. But he was invisible to all of us and only we know this discrepancy. Even though they couldn’t see the dragon they start to circle around the source of the noise, ready to beat the ghostly voice senseless. Once again they threaten the perceived dangerous being with violence. The wizard and Oreo still on the invisible dragon, attempt to calm down the giants into a more calm state, since they’re the ones that would suffer the most if they attacked. But these pleas are ignored, they heighten their threats with more insults.
I feel my right foot being tugged at and raise it away fast, fearing someone may want to tug me down again. Glancing down quickly I see the Monk who pulled without warning apologizing, she only wanted me attention. She simply asks for rope and points her face in a direction, I look and spot the midget laying on the ground in fetal position, moaning. He looks worse than I remember, dirt is strewn all over his clothes and he has many bruises on his face. I understand what she intends to do with the rope and toss down a few feet of it from my bag. She catches it and walks with glee towards her target. I stop looking and opt to focus on the dragon, I don’t want to see the process, just the end result.
It’s degraded to throwing hateful threats and showing their clubs, tired of the constant threats the invisible victim snaps back.
“It’s foolish to antagonize one who can melt you with a single breath of acid.”
This sends the entire already unfriendly group into a state of fury, raising tensions so high that intervening would bring a certain death from both sides. The Cleric, completely at wits end, climbs up the tree closest to the dragon with ease and the anger of a mother. With one hand on a branch he leans out towards the unaware Oreo who was occupied with bickering, and shoved his shoulder. Oreo lost his balance and unable to see the dragon to hold on, fell down but at the last moment gripped one hand on a part of the dragon no one knows. The Cleric wasn’t finished with his retribution, He stares at the giants, waiting for them to stop hollering. When they don’t, the Cleric sighs and catches their attention with something even louder.
“Hey, will you guys shut up for a damned moment!?!”
His voice drowned out all the other noises I could hear and forced all eyes on him, silence save for the sounds of nature. He definitely used some sort of spell to project his voice as loud as that. With everyone’s attention drawn, the Cleric resumes his lecture.
“Look, I know you can’t see this dragon that wants to acidify you, but can we just mellow out for just a bit? Neither of us want to fight so, just— a misunderstood time right now. If we all talk, we’ll get this over with.”
With that, the Cleric climbs back down the tree in silence and walks to help the Hunter as if his plea was never announced. The giants take a pause to process what he said and understand it as well. In the lull created from the thinking giants the Wizard gets up, although it looks as if he’s in midair. Not wanting to risk walking onto real air he leaps from where he stood onto a branch and clings to it, since it’s something he can actually see and hold onto. He gingerly descends the tree and once clear, makes a mad dash towards their cave when the giants huddle together to discuss.
A slicing visceral noise ends the temporary quietness. I shudder a teeny bit, already imagining a horror scene when I turn to look at the source. Ah, so the Hunter is finally getting out of that hellhole. The Cleric just sliced open the neck of the dead wyvern through its thick scales, tall enough for any man to exit, or enter. Light seeped into the innards of the mouth. It must have been a literal divine miracle for the Hunter and he took it swiftly. He bursts through the gap, severely widening the hole and tearing off chunks of scale and flesh. Smeared with blood, the Hunter collapses at his feet and drops his sword.
His face was the one of a prisoner who’d been freed after an agonizing several years of jail. Actually, being trapped inside a musty, damp dead wyvern is comparable to jail. But he had a smile, letting us know that he was okay. Due to the rotten odor the Hunter was smeared in the closest the Cleric would get was two feet to do a it’s-going-to-be-okay hug, but he hovered his hands to avoid rubbing on him the entire time. The Hunter wearily lies down onto the ground and said it was his time to be alone for a bit, we respected his wishes and leave him to reflect.
The midget restarted his agonizing moans again and I start to watch him, he’s awake and squirming in pain. All that struggling is for naught though, as he still lays in the fetal position and his hands are bound behind his back. It’s tight enough to cut off circulation as his hands turn into darker shades of purple.
The Monk had her back turned away before the midget cried and now that he had her attention she comes back and slaps him, snapping his head to the side and silencing him. Unamused by his antics she grabs him by the chin and lifts him to his knees. A dark pink slap mark was now added to the many bruises on his face. He looks down, avoiding the gaze the Monk tried to pierce him with. She snaps her fingers with her free hand at his face, forcing the midget to look at the source of the sound.
She asks him, “Why did you come here?”
The Midget closed his eyes in thought. “To…” The midget hesitated, “…Kill you.”
She was satisfied with those three simple words and smirked as she slams her fist against the midget’s temple. She lets her grappling hand go, letting the midget crumple to the ground, knocked out cold. Blood starts to drip down into his ears.
The invisibility spell had worn off the green dragon, now visible to all. You can clearly see the rage in his emerald eyes be held back by his will. Oreo who was gripping some random scale of the dragon, now had a much easier time seeing what to climb. He scrambled up the creature from the side and mounted him once again.
The Wizard returns from the cave dragging a massive object behind him shrouded in brown cloth. The giants take notice of the object and whisper among themselves, suspicious of what he may have stolen. He drags himself until he is between the group of giants and the green dragon, then rips off the cloth, revealing to the world what he had brought to attention.
A rotten, decapitated green dragon head.
The green dragon, horrified by the sight of his own slain brethren shrieks of a high enough pitch to rumble the nearby trees and everyone wince. He thrashes his wings and body all around without care, crashing into trees and almost the giants. He repeatedly slams his tail against the ground and shakes his back like the waves of the ocean, it looks like he’s trying to buck off Oreo who barely clings on for life and fear. He stops at once and remains calm with his eyes closed and head low, a complete change of state from just moments ago.
Oreo takes the opportunity to scramble off the dragon, scared of the potential that the dragon could go berserk once again. My suspicions become more solid, as a bubbly sizzling noise growls from the throat of the two-faced dragon. He’s preparing to spray acid! What makes it more terrifying is that no one knows who’s going to be the target. He raises his wings and slams them down, raising himself into the air and starts to fly up. If he’s starts to spit his acid, he’ll hit everything below and reduce everyone to a bubbly puddle regardless of their alignment.
Several of the giants also realize the potential carnage the dragon could create. A handful split off from the group and start to whisk where the dragon lifted off. They were all distinct from the rest of the plain aggregation of giants. Blue tattoos of warrior and magical origin adorned them on their faces, arms and chest. They adjust themselves into an organized row, something unlike their usual brash tactics, and hold their hands out as if they’re grabbing an orb. In parallel all their hands start to conjure a small ball of ice that floats between their palms, growing bigger with every second until it is the size of a large boulder.
All at once they roar to announce their attack and multiple shards of frost and ice shoot out of their orb, all aiming at the wings of the deranged dragon. The effects are almost immediate, the ice pounds and shreds the relatively delicate wings while the frost slowly freezes his ability to fly well. The overwhelming cold force is too much for the dragon to handle and he starts to careen down towards the earth, wings almost frozen to the core. He crashes down with thunderous force as he couldn’t use his wings to soften the fall. He screeches and attempts to move away but the frigid dead weight of his wings prevent him from moving an inch. Fury and frustration is plastered on his face.
However, he is forced to concede to the giants as he could do nothing to change the odds. He lays still on the ground, wary for the next potential hostility to happen. Sensing that the giants would probably start to get their revenge and retribution against the dragon for all the taunting and threats, the Monk walks with urgency towards the trapped creature before the giants could interject. She places herself down mere feet from his head and crosses her legs. She waits with patience until has put all focus on to her, and then she starts to speak.
“You’re angry,” she says in a tone sprinkled with gentleness “It’s something understandable, though.”
“Understandable?” The dragon snaps back. “I only understand this. You want me to fight and die for you. For a pitiful cause.”
She replies .“Our cause is something worth fighting for.”
“Your actions say otherwise.” He opposes the Monk’s opinion. “Your allies’ attempts to fight the invading army have merely been a small setback. They will come again, and they won’t forget.”
The Monk sighs. “That is why we need you, we will perish without any help－”
“So be it.” The dragon sneered.
“－And then they’ll get you too.” She finishes her sentence. “You have two choices, flee like the rest of the cowards and delay the inevitable, or join us and stand a chance.”
The Dragon furrows his face in thought, taking in her opinion and reconsidering his options.
The Monk also adds ”Are you not bound to Oreo? What happened between when he summoned you and now?”
“It is true that my purpose to Oreo is being a loyal servant. But my life comes first.”
“You’ll have no more life when you abandon us. The army will take it instead. We are the only ones you have.”
She waits with the dragon in silence. We all do, giants included. No one wants to break his speculation. Is he really supposed to be a companion for Oreo? He didn’t seem to be the kind to build relationships much less a follower to a substantially weaker being. Oreo came flying in on that beast amid battle as if they were brothers teaming up. I still don’t know the story between them and fill in the missing gaps with my own imagination. Were they raised together? Kept secret during our time in the citadel? I take note to ask Oreo later, if the dragon becomes amicable again. We need him on our side in this fight, this skirmish left us exhausted and the army and we won’t last long without any support.
Raising his sore head, the green dragon clears his guttural throat and says his final decision. “There is no choice if I desire peace for myself. Consider me as part of your little cause for now.”
The Monk sighs with relief and I silently cheer in my mind. At the very least we won’t perish the moment our enemy counterattacks while remembering the pain we inflicted on them today. It won’t be very long until they recoup and come for us.
Annoyed with our premature celebration, the green dragon responds curtly. “Letting me out of this prison of ice is required if you wish for me to remain an ally.”
“Okay, got it.” the Monk replies back to assure him.
Sensing that the Monk probably can’t shatter the ice with her bare fists, me and the rest of the group come to surround the reflective, inanimate wings. At once we all strike with our weapons with precision and a bit of callowness to crack the ice, but we make sure not to cut so deep we slice into the dragon’s flesh and anger him further. Chunks of ice start to break off and fall, immediately melting on the ground from the sun’s heat. In moments much of the ice is gone, now puddles along the patches of dirt and grass.
With much of the dragon’s wings now exposed he starts to expand his wings. The rest of the small patches of ice crack and slide off. Drips of water flow down the entire canvas of his body.
“I’ll be up there.” The dragon gestures his head towards the top of the giants’ cave entrance which has a natural terrace. In moments he leaps off the ground and flies towards his destination, landing with ease. He rests himself atop and curls his body, keeping one eye open to look at us as he starts to sleep.
The giants, satisfied with the situation, start their own way back into the cavern. Among the walking group, their leader stands still and looks at us, about to ask some questions.
“Come, inside. I want to give a proper welcome to you, unexpected guests.” He says to our group in a much more soothing voice than the grating war cries from before. “I’m sorry for being a bit brash about earlier. Wyverns, you know?”
Yeah, I guess the giant in us came out of all of us when they did attack. The leader seems to have made a sharp turn in personality, from a raging warrior to a host welcoming guests. Will he offer us tea next once we come in?
In our group we look to one another for confirmation, we all nod yes. I speak to respond to the leader’s offer “Sure, it’s better to talk in there than here.”
“Your welcome, squishies.” He responds with a hint of sarcasm, reminding me I haven’t even thanked him for all he’s done.
“Thanks, I mean it,” I almost forgot to say our gratitude to him, “you and your friends saved our backs out there. Are they all right?” I ask, concerned for his wounded comrades. The less giants we have the more problems we’ll have in the future.
“Only a few are hurt, they’ll heal, given time. I’ll tell them it was all for you, make sure to kiss their feet when they’re recovering.”
“Now, let’s go in, out of the heat. It’s been a long while since we had guests.”
Heat… Isn’t the forest still on fire!?! It’s something I’ve started yet completely forgotten. If it’s been this long since the fire started then it may be too late to stop it. The forest ablaze in flames that coat the sky in orange and burn with searing intensity, something I wouldn’t mind but I’m currently in it, and so is the giants’ cavern. I yell to the leader to alert him of the elapsed inferno. “Hey! What about the forest we’re in? Isn’t it on fire?”
He replies with casualness “Oh, that. Did you not notice it’s already out? It was all snuffed out when our mages froze that damned dragon.”
Wow, the giants’ magical capabilities are much better than I assumed, better for us. It’s going to be very important to convince him to join us as well. He and his clan have what we need, strength, magic and terrifying appearances. We need to act like this some royal castle of a king and we’re the visiting nobles ready to kiss his feet, to receive some personal advantages with him.
“Well, we’re here. Ready to come in?” The leader asks. We all stand close to the entrance to his humble cave still pitch dark, not allowing us to see the interior of his home.
“Yeah, let’s go.” I reply, and so we all step in...
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Unamused by the fact I have become and still am a giant's plaything, I attempt to find solace in why I should be treated like this. I only find humiliation instead. Resistance is futile at this point, no matter the determination I put in to try and get out. So I put on a neutral face, and simply wait for the giant's short attention span to run out. But I wait far less than I anticipated. One of the giant's comrades says in a voice awe and wonder, "Look at the big wing-ey things!". I predicted that the giant saw birds flying in the sky for the first time in his life. And so I ignored it. But then, my heart leapt into my throat.
The unmistakable sound forces my eyes above the horizon. It was something I've heard constantly in the past few hours. But now my eyes have the chance to visually feast on it. Dragons, no wait, Wyverns. The only difference between a dragon and a wyvern was that they had no separate front legs. They were instead combined together with the wings. But I still felt the same terror strike my heart as equally as dragons.
The wyverns flew too fast and erratic for my eyes to count. I could only make an estimate of at least of a few dozen. They were multiple clumps, tightly-knit together to the point that they looked like fast, multi-colour clouds that would rain death instead of water. The giant looked towards the flying death, and quickly but gently, laid his hand down to the ground and let his fingers relax, so that I could become independent and on the ground once again. All of the giants moved and looked together at the wyverns in synchronous harmony. Their faces similar with an agape ignorant mouth and eyes either full of wonder, or stupidity. I also notice the same awe-struck face on Donkey, and I reminisce his complete failure to take down the giants. He has dishonoured our family honour and the only way for him to atone for his sins, is to sacrifice himself for me, and our family (which consists of just me and Donkey).
I call towards Donkey for possibly the last time and with a melancholic yet vehement clamor, I confess to him, "Donkey, you have brought great shame and dishonour to our family, and there is only one way to atone for such an appalling failure, sacrifice." Donkey stared at me with those saucer-sized eyes, but I continued, " As my final command as your master, you must charge and duel with absolute determination towards the flying abnormalities. Do not return to me until you have restored our honour, by either decimating the wyverns, or by dying." Donkey somberly looked upon the wyverns, and then back towards me with the face of a regretful soon-to-be departure. A single tear flows down from the corner of his eye, which disappears upon the green foliage. "GO!" This final scream jumpstarts Donkey into running into the forest, far enough to vanish into the thick of the lush trees.
FEE, FI, FO, FUM...
My entire being convulsed in rhythm with those sudden stomps. I swiftly turned around and expected a flurry of angered giants rushing out of their caves from a disturbed nap, ready to eliminate the trouble-makers. But instead see my comrades walk side by side together with several more giants out of the cave. Did they somehow make acquaintances with the giants residing in the cave while I was being toyed with? I don't think about my question for much, neither do I question the hunter. He gallops straight out of the cave towards the wyverns with a horse I've never seen before. Perhaps being played with really messed with my perception of time... But my mind shifts once more to the wyverns and see that they truly do spot us and the "inconspicuous" giants. However, there was an odd wyvern out there flying far away solo without any backup with him. Actually, I had mistaken this to be a wyvern. The cold harsh truth lay upon my eyes and paused my mind when fire breathed and danced out of its mouth.
A red dragon.
I was not exaggerating this fact. It had been such a long time since I have seen such beauty and death rolled into a fiery creature. A flashback of the Citadel fire snapped through my mind, and reminds me of the carnage they could create. This would not happen again, I thought to myself while I sprung into action. A view from the height of a giant would definitely grant me the benefit of seeing the nearby soon-to-be battlefield and allow me to have a better shot at those flying banshees. And with that following logic, I immediately leapt onto the loincloth of the closest giant. I grab a handful of the smelly cloth and dangle off the ground, blessing my stars the fabric didn't tear or fall and exposing the giant, making him blush and cover himself with embarrassment.
Either the giant did not notice my weight on his loincloth, or he pretended I wasn't there in the first place. I took this opportunity to start climbing on the flowing loincloth, taking VERY special care to avoid that my gaze lands upon the forbidden nether regions, lest my eyes be scarred for life. Although the time it took to climb the lengthy loincloth doubled due to my lack of useful vision, I manage to reach upon the lower back of the giant. I continue my ascension, this time careful to grab on the thick pungent hairs for extra grip, rather than the numerous red pimples that would spray disgusting pus all over me. After the final pull, I find myself perched up upon the left shoulder of a giant, and over thirty feet off the ground. It was definitely a breath-taking view over the gently sloping forest, like taking hours hiking and the ending result is the sight only a bird could fly up to.
My gaze upon the green landscape is abruptly interrupted by the yells of the Monk, but it was something my tongue isn't familiar with. It was very... primordial, and had very harsh consonants as well as many hissing noises. Even though I wasn't able to understand the foreign words, many of the wyverns who are much closer to us than I realized all move their heads together in synch. All their eyes' gaze pierces where the Monk stands, her face turns into one of terror and then flees in a frenzied panic once again. From all of this I deduce that the Monk probably said something in draconic to antagonize the wyverns. And the wyverns retaliated with a gaze intimidating enough to make the Monk panic.
But my attention is refocused back onto the sky on something that isn't the wyverns, but not the red dragon either. It was an emerald green, and by the size and demeanor of it, that it was surely another dragon ready to spit acid instead of flames upon us. Even more peculiar though, was the small human figure mounting the base of the neck on the dragon. It looked even more similar the closer I scrutinized it... Was the figure Oreo? A bit of memory-jogging reminded me that Oreo left us while we were trailing Bob, he didn't give any decent reasons to stay behind. If that figure was him, then he deserved the right to rub it in our faces after we doubted his arguments to stay behind.
At this point, the wyverns had come close enough to us and the giants to viciously attack with an arsenal of their sharp spiked tails, two talons on their wings, and toothy snouts. It became a massive war between two brutish forces, both equally armed with a terrifying armoury. At the very least we were on one side instead of being targeted by both. The gift of flight may have given the wyverns an edge in the battle, but the giants still managed to strike some down with clubs or grab them midair on their tails. Amongst the mayhem I manage to spot the Hunter in a similar position to me, perched upon the shoulder of another uglier giant. The Hunter yells in a determined voice to his supporting giant to grab and hurl him at one of the fast-flying wyverns. In just one moment the Hunter is still on the Giant's shoulder, in the next he is seen flying in the air as fast as one of the wyverns. A blink of my eye and he's gone, I don't know if he managed to snag on by a scale, or he turned into forest pancake.
It is clear now that the wyverns have changed their tactics from randomly assaulting anything in sight to a surgically coordinated blitzkrieg. The newly introduced tactic was proven very effective by the evidence of panic-stricken screams, blood-spurts staining the soil and the giants also possibly staining their loincloths. However, this heightened brutality instigated by the wyverns was now matched by the giants. It appeared that some of the giants were capable of conjuring magic and used it as an offensive weapon to even the odds against the renewed strategy. A creative array of firebolts, freeze rays, lightning and variety of spells I had no idea that they existed all harm the wyverns just as much as the blitzkrieg did.
Even though the battlefield of burned trees, spilled blood of giants and wyverns alike and ruined ground had somehow become even more hectic, A familiar four-legged creature was spotted by me.
Actually. a better name would be Donkey the Revenant, since it had seemed he had returned, as if from the dead. Although I wouldn't exactly call him something you would say was "alive". It seemed that a demon had possessed him and decided the best way to take advantage of Donkey's body was to arbitrarily prance around in nonsensical directions while screaming his lungs out at the highest pitch his vocal cords could. His facial expression would be more appropriate for someone who belonged in a sanitorium, as proven with his imbecile tongue sticking out sideways and unnerving eyes opened wider than teacup saucers. At this point, it would have been better to have my last memory of Donkey wistfully moving towards the wyverns to fulfill his duty to restore honour, and instead I ignored him and pretended that he died valiantly fighting the wyverns.
The bellowing battle cry of another giant in front of me is replied with the screeching fierce roar of the wyvern on the top of a pine just in front of the angered giant. They both stare each other down in close proximity with their faces becoming more and more distorted due to bubbling animosity for each other until it seems to hit the boiling point. In an impulsive attempt to stop the giant and wyvern from getting so despicable to each other to the finality of brutality, I reach into my coat pocket to feel a familiar coarse rock. I pull it out with finesse and a flashback that reminds me of how the rock did almost nothing to a mighty owlbear... I dismiss the flashback in hopes that the rock could actually accomplish something by being thrown, and convert my faith into the strength in my arm which hurls the rock much harder than I anticipated. My faith in the rock is once again melted away with the sound of "KLAK" when the rock harmlessly whopped into the wyvern's unyielding scale, and leisurely rolls down the tree onto the ground. The event didn't even make attention for the wyvern to notice the rock, but instead keeps antagonizing the giant until it ends with the start of a savage brawl.
Just like how I attempted to interfere with the wyvern with a futile distraction, I spot the half-orc wizard attempting to do the same with another. His quarterstaff is raised and pointed towards an unamused wyvern in a bellicose manner. With his free hand he rotates his wrist and repeatedly opens and shuts his fingers, and in an instant they are wide open pointing to the wyvern. Magical bluish glowing darts shoot rapidly out of his fingers, making way rapidly towards the snout of the wyvern. But his magic missile matches the same fate as my rock did, the darts harmlessly ricochet off the snout of the now irritated wyvern and fade away into nothingness. The wyvern casts a face of petty annoyance towards the wizard to show its disappointment.
I spot the rustling crown of a tree, anticipating it a wyvern climbing up to launch aerial attack on one of the grounded giants. But of course it is one of my comrades, the Monk already twenty feet up clambering her way for reasons only the deities know. She quickly grabs onto a modest branch but the weight pushes it beyond the breaking point and snaps with sudden violence. The monk falls oddly through the air like a ragdoll, her face and all her limbs facing straight towards the sky. But it was only like that for a few moments until she wildly crashes on the ground vociferously back first. An indent in the shape of her body was formed, her robe and tattered and hair covered with bits of twigs and leaves. But somehow her right forearm sticks straight up in the air, hand still tightly grasping the crippled branch she trusted to hold her weight. This absurd scene brings forth a bellow of laughter from the nearby giant fortunate enough to watch, further cementing the Monk's reputation for clumsiness.
The emerald green dragon that flew from a far distance before comes back into my focus unexpectedly. The flying beast is surprisingly closer to us now than I realized, but the most startling fact was that it was flying right beside the crimson red dragon! I expected them to be mortal enemies since I assumed Oreo would command the green dragon to fight its own brethren. Even the two flying dragons weren't that odd, compared to the fact that I quickly spot our Rogue get haphazardly grabbed by the hands of a brutish giant. I had no clues why the giant would do such a thing, but it becomes much clearer when the giant winds the arm containing the Rogue. Without warning the Rogue soars through the sky awkwardly, past the intended target of a wyvern then hitting the tip of an unlucky tree, which provides enough momentum to launch him onto the top of another tree.
The Rogue's tree sways more violently even after it subsided from the crash, but I also take notice that all the other trees are swaying just as rough in synch. I take a quick gaze around me to find the source of such rumbling, but I heard it before I saw it.
It was the familiar stomp of a giant but it was more than a giant, each step created a shockwave that shook everything in its radius and the sound was much more profound and abiding than the normal giant stomp. And then I spot the origin of the stomps shifting out of the cave. The leader, I assume, is easily twice the size of any other giants in the vicinity, adorned on his head are antlers from some ungodly giant creature and loincloth is a step above the others with a beautiful fabric and intricate patterns. His grizzled face is complete with his stoic expression and full beard.
He breathes in deeply, and then exhales with a tirade of commands.
"BROTHERS! WE HAVE COME TOGETHER TO UNITE AGAINST THE FLYING DEMONS THAT THREATEN TO BURN DOWN OUR HOMES! WHAT IS OUR ANSWER!?! THE ANSWER IS NO! HOW DO WE ANSWER IT?!? WE ALL STRIKE IN HARMONY TO PROVE OUR COLLECTIVE FORCE!!!"
Another breath is drawn in after that decree, while doing so he glares at each individual in our party just short enough not to daunt us, but long enough to make us straighten our posture and take to heart on what he was going yell next.
"YOU! SQUISHIES! IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, YOU MUST KILL OR BE KILLED! KILL THE OTHER PUNY SQUISHIES WHO COWARD ON THEIR FLYING DEMONS!!! I WILL MAKE SURE THEY CAN'T HIDE! HEI FENG!!!"
The last two words of his expression were accompanied by the swarming of storm clouds covering the sky. A thunderous flash appears everywhere, but it was calculated, striking all the riders down from their high and mighty wyverns. I take this opportunity of pandemonium to leap off the shoulder of my vessel, the giant, and onto the tip of the nearest tree. I fiercely grip the tip of the tree as it swings wildly to due my reckless jump. After the swinging subsides, I reach into my pack and grab a bottle of oil, my fire instincts are calling me. I pull out the cork with haste, and begin to douse the tree in oil carefully, to make sure my clothes don't catch any of the flammable substance.
After the entire bottle is emptied I consider when to set the tree alight, which in turn will set the entire forest ablaze. But a much more intriguing spectacle forces me to look. I gaze at Ted, who just flung himself out of the sheath of the half-orc wizard and starts to whirl rapidly into a blur. Ted then cleaves himself into one of the riders lying on the ground in a daze from the thunderstrike. His body is immediately separated into two halves, the first half his upper torso and the second his flailing detached legs. He coughs with a shocked expression, and then moves no more. The wizard calmly picks Ted up and wipes the blood off with a cloth, before putting him proudly back into his sheath.
My ears notice a rhythmic punching noise piercing the air, and I look down once again. The Monk is on top of a rider, just laying brutal punches to the head that make him jolt with pain, but he is unable to block or counter them. She lays one last haymaker punch to the side of the head that finally either knocks him out or kills him, I couldn't tell at this viewing distance.
Now I hear a magical skreeeeeeik, making me stare in another direction while wondering when my eyes will get a chance to rest but still pay attention anyways. The Cleric uses magic to summon a weapon from nothingness, a purple translucent javelin arose from thin air. He grasps it and points it at a rider who somehow handled being struck by lightning and stayed afoot on his red dragon. The javelin is thrown boldly by the Cleric spinning in the air until it found its target, the rider. His body is flung off the dragon and he flails about until he lands neck first on the ground, and then he stops, he is surely dead now and the javelin fades from the body.
A scream of pure terror and agony stretches across the forest, and I hesitate to look at the source of such horror, But I do so anyways. The first thing I take in is the flying spurts of blood forming numerous pooling puddles. Limbs and various chunks that were once a rider were strewn apart like some sickly playtoy. The culprit was continued to roar in anger as if Bob had forgotten that he had a human side to himself, he let the owlbear inside to take complete control of his inhuman actions.
Now after watching my allies rightfully take the riders' lives, the tide of the battle shifted towards the giants. Many wyverns are grabbed out of the air by the giants' hands and swung into the nearest natural object, be it a tree, a boulder, or just the cold hard ground.
The red dragon who just a while ago flew around spitting flames at anything it deemed an enemy now idled in the air flapping its wings. Its eyes closed and stared upwards into the cosmos, then chanted in what I assumed to be Draconic. Not a moment later, a translucent blue stick appeared and flew astonishingly fast that it disappeared from my sight. I don't know what would be worse, to find out what that spell is going to do, or the anticipation of waiting for the spell to do something.
I push the thought of the doomsday spell to the bottom of my mind and focus on the green dragon that Oreo perched himself on. A force of wind nudges me as it flies by, and it does so while spitting bubbly acid at a flat-footed wyvern. Oreo also tries to aid his beastly partner by firing a pettily arrow at the wyvern, but he overshoots and contributes nothing to the situation. But it doesn't matter as the wyvern's wings have dissolved. It is now screeching in torment and futilely squirming as it literally liquefies into an unidentifiable green acid puddle in less than a minute. Some of the bubbles that rise and burst with great intensity splash onto the red dragon, but he merely sneers and shakes it off like a wet dog.
Another tree sways in the background and it's not due to the wings of a wyvern, no. It was the rogue swinging to and fro gaining some serious momentum and with one last heave he lets go into a controlled fall. His hand quickly reaches into his hip, then he tumbles onto a rider regaining his senses. The Rogue stands up after the fall but the rider lays awkwardly. It wasn't until I realized after the knife was pulled out that the Rogue stabbed him midfall. The distinctive whiz of an arrow makes me glance down to catch the context.
A successful hit from the bow of the Hunter punctures the chest of another helpless rider. It was a direct pierce into the heart himself, he gasps and stumbles in shock and tumbles down facing the sky. He tries one last effort to rip out the arrow and only the shaft breaks out, he lies dead.
Concentrating on the rider's fatal arrow wound, I fail to realize the red dragon had swiftly moved from whence he came. By the time I noticed such absence I barely catch a glance as the dragon deftly flies towards the leader of the giants and claws him furiously, mangling his left shoulder.
I realize that things are going to start going south, and that I may not be able to unleash my plan to burn the entire forest to ashes in a beautiful inferno. Immediately I take out my flint and steel, and strike with both hands to create a mass of tiny insignificant-but-significant sparks that will be the ignition to a doomsday event. However, there juuuuust one tiny problem...
NOTHING'S ON FIRE!
The sparks refuse to cooperate, no matter how times I strike the steel across flint, my master plan has been soiled due to some damn irreconcilable sparkles!
I sulk in my own thoughts for a while, blocking out the world from interrupting me. Screams of the monk change my mind however. I snap my eyes open and detect the Monk launching herself recklessly from the top of a tree onto the stationary red dragon. She horribly miscalculates the jump, overshoots by a large margin and she is punished the same way she fell down before.
The Cleric sensing the damage caused by the red dragon and wyverns, casts various healing spells of glowing gold that aids the giants of their afflictions caused by bites, scratches and strikes. Once again he summons his magical javelin from thin air to toss at the red dragon to keep him at bay, and unfortunately misses the golden opportunity.
Being careful to look around my surroundings to make sure nothing is amiss, I do notice something amiss. I do a double take and my eyes may be deceiving me, dozens of green dragons now fly ominously over the sky. All are flying erratically and recklessly. Where did they come from? Who brought them here? A not-so-conspicuous chortle shows me the culprit: Oreo. Between his laughs and inhalations, he manages to spurt out a small chant and POOF another green dragon had just begun to exist. Now that I examine them, this was clearly an illusion spell. These fabricated green dragons could never be able to even harm a fly, they even looked like a watered-down version of a real green dragon.
But those foolish giants were dull enough to take the bait.
"RETREAT!!!" many of the giants screamed in low-pitched panicky voices. All the giants took a quick glance to their cave, and started slow mad-dash towards it. The entire ground rumbled with the cowardice of the giants retreating back into their supposedly safe "home". Many of us had to dodge the giants blindly running back in, as well as leaping out of the way when some giants casted spells at the faux-pas green dragons still flying around haphazardly. How are we going to fend off the wyverns now!?! We are simply outarmed but then I look towards Bob in owlbear form, who has ignored all this anarchy and is currently tearing another rider a new hole. Maybe I could learn a lesson from Bob and just drag the giants out and make them cry like toddlers pretending to be a baby green dragon...