"Harold! Harold!" Ivo called. "Where is our thief?" he asked the others.
"I saw him," said Gytha. "He was attacking that giant from behind. I saw him stab its legs." She pointed to the headless corpse, a vast body lying on its side, the ranger standing nearby leaning on his sword. The giant's head rolled several feet away, wedged beneath a kitchen storage shelf.
"Harold," said the ranger, shaking himself, still recovering from the rage that had overcome him. "Where is Harold?"
They all began to look about the room. It took only a few moments for Ivo to find the little thief, unconscious, a small crumpled form soaked in the giant's gore. Gytha ran to his side, and the ranger crowded in beside them.
"Is he all right?" asked Harald with a worried voice.
"All this blood, I don't see a wound but I can't tell if any of it is his own," said Gytha. "He does have a lump on his head."
"Ow!' the body spoke.
"Good, maybe he has had some sense knocked into him at last," Harald said relieved.
"What was this the third or fourth giant you have attacked since we have come to the steading, and that ogre. I thought you were a thief not an assassin."
"Shut-up," said Harold, "both of you. Gytha I don't mind seeing two of you but please tell that fat old human to get out of sight. I'm feeling sick enough already."
"Seeing double eh," said Ivo. "That is quite some lump you have there."
"Gracious Saint, this small one has your brave spirit," Gytha prayed. "Grant me your power and your healing strength." She laid her hand atop his brow and cupped his injured head with her other. A green pleasant light glowed across his wounded head, like the sun seen through a canopy of leaves.
"I suppose I will owe your order quite a tidy sum by the time we leave these lands," said the little thief. He stretched and rubbed the back of his head and yawned. "Can you do something about this mess?" he asked holding up his blood covered hands.
* * *
"Up the stairs," Derue told the orcs. "Anyone who doesn't want to come can stay behind."
"I go," said Boss. "Most stay, go get others. We all go when you come back."
"You come with me then, tell them to guard those cells. Anything happens to my brother and they will wish the giants had found them, understand."
"Yes," the orc nodded and then told the others what had been said.
* * *
"What a mess," said Harold. "Fire or no fire someone is going to come stumbling in here and we can't hide these giants the way we could hide that orc."
"Yes, they won't fit down that garbage chute," said Ivo.
"We need to get Talberth and Telenstil up from below," Gytha said glancing at the opening over the pit.
"Harald, if you please, can you pull them up?" asked Ivo.
"Sure, but they better come up this time. Those cursed bags and that thrice cursed chain could have waited till the last." The ranger unlaced the bags from the end of the line and tossed the rope back down again, then waited for the signal from below.