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...