"How did you cause Edouard to change into that giant's form," Gytha asked in a light, alto voice.
"It was the simplest of spells," answered Ivo with pride, replying in a deep grating rumble, each word a rocky sound, but clear and sharp like the edge of fresh cut stone. "Back home, among the hills, we live by such masking spells. Our warriors are doughty but our enemies are large and many. Such illusions are but a word, a gesture and a speck of colored dye."
"They are a wonder to me," she said wide eyed. "I have a simple faith, and with the Saint's boon I am granted such answers to my prayers as he deems me worthy to receive, but I have never seen the like of spells such as yours."
"Have ye not?" the old gnome asked surprised.
"Oh," she laughed, "I have seen mage's spells before, and druids' cause the oerth to rise and take on human form, but not these magics which trick the eye or blind it. And more, I do not trust my senses now that I have seen you cast your spells."
"Hey there!" called Harold from across the fire. "Don't let him deceive you with his simple talk. I've seen him on a midwinter night casing spells from upon a stage set at the center of Greyhawk's High Market. He lit the sky with colored lights that swirled and changed, then came alive. First monsters walked from roof to roof, great dragons danced in pairs above then a rain of sparkling mist chased them all away. Next a land formed, the empty curve of the Selintan before a brick or stone was laid, then against the river a small wooden house, a wall of wood then stone sprang up around it. Then a castle keep, and like a season's growth of grain shown from seed to harvest in a moment's time, the city grew and grew until mirrored in the sky above were all those below upon the ground." The halfling gasped for breath and laughed at his memories of such a spectacle. "Then it all changed and there was Zagyg's face, laughing down at us, he blew us all a kiss and stuck out a tongue that could have lapped the river dry. Oh what fun it was, the Fool was crowned and the mad night begun."
"Now, now master Harold," the old gnome almost blushed at the praise, "no need to tell old tales."
"You need some of that gnomish stonesweat brandy you drank that night," Harold laughed.
"Just a small drop is all I had, to keep out the night's chill," Ivo replied.
"A small drop for one of these giants, maybe," Harold turned to the Cuthberite priestess. "I take it you have never seen the grandest city of the Oerth."
"Oh, I've been to Gorna," Gytha answered innocently.
"Gorna, oh you poor, untraveled lass," Harold cried in a pitying voice. "Greyhawk would fit a dozen Gorna's within its walls and have room to spare."
"I've heard bard's tales of course, but a city's greatness is more than just its size," she replied.
"Well said," Interrupted Ivo. "Greyhawk holds many wonders, but the hills of my homeland are much more dear in my eyes than any of the city's halls or palaces."
"Oh, the shame, that such a wonder worker as yourself fails to recognize the greatest wonder of the Oerth!" Harold despaired.
"That's enough of that," Harald's bass voice declared. "Pardon this little Harold's unrelenting love for his adopted home. He was born in Geoff, same as you and me," he told the red-haired cleric. "North of the Hornwood, was it not my friend?"
"I was but a lad. I had no choice!" the halfing Harold replied.
"Careful there!" The bigger Harald warned. "You do not say that Geoff is a birthplace to bring on shame!"
"No, no..." Harold stuttered, raising his hands in mocking fear to ward off his old friend's wrath.
"Yes, you were too young to be taken away from such a noble place of birth. No better land to raise the young exists," declared Harald.
Gytha laughed. "No wonder such an unlikely pair as these two are such friends. You are as just as bad," she waved a playful finger at the greying hero. "What can master Ivo here think of us; I'm sure his own Kron Hills are just as fair."
"My apologies, Master Gnome," Harald gave a deep formal bow.
"And mine as well," the halfling stretched out a leg and doffed an imaginary cap, in a graceful gesture of respect.
Both Ivo and Gytha laughed at the ridiculous sight of the huge ranger and the tiny halfling thief bowing together like the most unlikely twins.