Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Hill Giant Chief - Nosnra's Saga - Part 39

Harald came running back down the hall. Inside the room the others stood and argued about what next to do.

"Telenstil!" he called to the elf. "The fire has spread above us. The room where you found the map must be burning."

"That is good news," Telenstil looked pleased.

"What do you mean?" asked Talberth. "We are trapped down here then."

"Nonsense," said Telenstil. "My friend you have become gloomy and hidebound since we last met. There is that gate and beyond that some beasts which we can tend to. I feel sure there is some way out beside those stairs. And worse comes to worse we can use the magic chain that you have found."

"What is it that you want to do?" said Talberth. "It is this map, isn't it?"

"You read me like a scroll," said Telenstil. "Yes, now that we need not worry about giant visitors from above let us unroll this map and see what it shows."

Harald came over to the stone chest and looked inside. He lifted out the chain letting the cold links run through his hand. "Strange treasure this," he said.

"Careful there!" Talberth nearly shouted. "That's a magical device."

"Looks like iron mongery to me," the ranger said. He held the long chain in his two hands and put it carefully back into the box.

"Look at that," Talberth called to Telenstil. "He can carry that chain easily. We need not leave it behind."

"Yes, one forgets that heavy is a relative term," said Telenstil. "Harald, that chain, would it weigh you down?"

"That?" Harald glanced into the stone box at the metal chain. "Oh, it's heavy enough, but I can carry it if you like. It's magic you say?"

"So it seems," said Telenstil. "Harald, while you are there please pull out that map from the barrel next to you."

The ranger grabbed the tall barrel and pushed it to its side. It crashed to the ground and rocked back and forth. He pulled the map out, it was rolled up like a carpet, and spread it across the floor.

"What does this say?" Harald asked.

"I thought you understood the giants' tongue." said Talberth.

"I can understand, yes, but I only know a little of their writing. Some of this I can make out," the ranger pointed to a symbol here and there. "That means cold or snow, and that means bear, that's the symbol for guard, and that," he pointed to the center of map, "means big bug. It looks like some kind of valley with ledges and caves all around it. That symbol means slippery and next to it means ice."

"This is the home of a frost giant lord," said Telenstil pouring over the monstrous map. "A Jarl, Grugnur, lord of the north, it says. This must be Nosnra's ally to the north. Those giants you fought before, they must have been sent from him."

"This map, it is for Nosnra," said Talberth. "It's written in the hill giant script and there, look, it is a guide to guest's chambers and an audience hall, but it shows little else."

"It is disappointing," said Telenstil. "No need to worry about leaving it behind. Talberth, you have a good and steady hand, please copy what you can of this."

"But Telenstil, we do not have the time," the mage protested.

"We have a little time, and I will lend my hand to opening that gate across the way and putting down those manticores if need be. That will give you some time to make a rough copy of this map."

"All right. I have a charcoal stick and a blank scroll sheet in my pack," Talberth said and went to retrieve both. 

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