Friday, October 24, 2014

The Hill Giant Chief - Nosnra's Saga - Part 35

"No need to get snippy," Harold called back. "Let me just see what is around this corner."

"Be careful!" Gytha told him. "I don't think Henri's spell covers the entire room."

"What! Harlot! The God's light illuminates what he wills, he knows no limits." Henri exclaimed.

"Harlot!" Gytha shouted back. "Why you sanctimonious stuck-up pr..." She could barely restrain herself from striking Henri.

"Now stop this!" Ivo yelled at them. "In Nosnra's dungeon with no way out, and you two want to fight each other! Save it for the giants."

"He started it," Gytha complained and cast a dangerous glance at the blind priest.
"Henri you did. Is this the way that your liege the Theocrat would have you behave?"

Ivo looked up at them both. "Children, big as houses you are, but you act like children."

Harold had paid their argument no mind; instead he continued exploring the room. "Trust that pompous cleric," he said to himself, "not likely."

Against the eastern wall were several chests, some giant-sized but others that must have been crafted by smaller hands. Harold was drawn to these like a moth to a flame. He circled them; even crawling behind to check for hidden traps. He climbed atop the largest one, he felt along the sides and carefully examined each hinge, but he found nothing other than plain wood and iron bolts. Gytha came up to him while he searched. Her eyes still shone but she had kept her temper in check, a most notable achievement for a follower of the cudgel-wielding saint.

"I take it that these are safe?" she asked Harold.

The halfling was sitting atop the largest one. He had climbed over the other coffers and chests as if they were a set of stairs.

"It's safe. This big one looks to be at least." Harold gave the broad lid a pat.

Behind them came Ivo, then the scouts. Henri walked in last and looked at the southern alcove he walked over to the southwestern corner and reached into an area covered with a yellow mold.

"Hey!" Harold yelled. "Careful there, that stuff could be dangerous!"

Henri did not reply or stay his hand. He pulled a quiver full of arrows from the mold. "I do not fear weapons hanging on a wall," he said.

"An illusion!" Harold cried. "Ivo, I am surprised that you did not spot it first."

"I would have done," Ivo said, "but before I waste a spell..." he began, "What is it that your metal mask lets you see Henri."

"The True God grants me to see what is," Henri told them all. "No illusions can cloud my sight."

"Oh gods and magic," Harold cried. "This coming from a blind man who speaks of sight. Well my eyes still see a moldy wall. What else do you see?"

"A spear, and two sheathed swords hanging here before me," Henri turned to take in the rest of the room. "Over there," he pointed to where the thief stood atop the giant wooden chest. "There is a large wooden trunk and several smaller ones."

"I see these as well," said Harold.

"And here," The cleric stared looking with his golden mask at the southeast corner of the room, "A stout cask and a large box of black stone."

"Ah-Ha!" Harold almost clapped with delight. "Something else they did not want us to find. Ivo, you are a master of this magic," began Harold graciously. "Have you ever heard of giants who could hide their treasure thus?"

"There are giants and there are giants my friend," said Ivo. "Some of the cloud dwellers are as skilled as any of my kind."

"Oh. I pictured them all like these," said Harold.

"No, these are hill giants. There are others bigger, fiercer and more skilled," Ivo told the halfling.

The two scouts approached Henri and the cleric handed a sword to one. "Careful," Henri said to them. "These are fine blades. They may be more than just steel. Do you take them in the name of the True God?" Henri asked.

Edouard held out his hand and crossed his fingers in his mind. "I do," he said aloud, but wordlessly said a prayer to Syrul. He gave an honest smile as he held the sword. A fiery voice spoke in his head. "It speaks to me!" he cried out, and regretted his momentary lapse of discipline.

"What does it say?" Derue exclaimed.

"It says that its name is Kalfashow," Edouard answered in a subdued voice.

"Magic!" Harold cried. "That would be worth a chest of gold."

"It will serve us better in a swordsman's hands, thief," Henri rebuked the halfling.

"What of the other?" asked Derue, eager to claim it as his own.

"Do you swear..." Henri began.

"I swear, I swear..." Derue burst out and grabbed the sword from Henri's hand.

The cleric flushed and would have redressed his hireling but Edouard spoke up.

"Master Henri, my apologies for my brother's haste. Derue!"

"It speaks as well! It says that its name is Ardare and it will burn with flame!" Derue was as delighted as a child.

"What of yours Edouard?"

Edouard rolled his eyes. He would have struck his brother for such a careless tongue but not before the others in the room.

"Your sword seems to be more talkative than mine," Edouard gave Derue a hard shove to break him from his reverie. "Apologize to master Henri," he commanded.

Derue flushed redder than the cleric. He bowed his head and knelt as a supplicant craving his master's pardon. "I beg your pardon master. I acted without thought."

Henri was pleased at such diffidence. He smiled and like a theocrat or a king touched the scout lightly upon his bowed head. "Your haste is forgiven," he said.

"Two magic swords!" Harold moaned. No chance, he thought, of ever parting them from those pale-haired scouts. 

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