"Harold," Ivo called quietly to the halfling. "Harold."
"Shhh!" Harold hissed back. He ran from the stairwell to the pantry door where Ivo, Harald and Talberth padded slowly in. "I'm glad you've come, there is something going on below. I can hear the shouting."
"They are in trouble," the ranger shook his head. "Come on, we better go help."
"We don't know what is happening down there!" Talberth exclaimed with in an unexpected squeak.
"Then we had better find out," Harald shrugged the chain from his shoulders and let its length come crashing down.
"Watch that!" shouted Talberth.
"It'll be alright, come on!" Harald cried to them.
"Talberth, prepare a spell," Ivo told him.
"I can do better," answered Talberth taking a wand from a sheath he wore on his arm. "I have magic enough left in this to give anyone or thing we might meet below quite a shock."
They ran to the steps, both Ivo and Harold looked askance at the deep treads the giants used for stairs.
"Follow us as quick as you can," said Talberth.
The ranger was already dropping down the steps with reckless speed.
* * *
Gytha stepped from the cell. She left Jalal sleeping, healed of his wounds, but weak and tired. She felt weary herself, being a vehicle for the Saint's grace and power enriched her spirit but took its toll on her strength.
"Gytha," called Telenstil, "please give us a hand."
The two elves struggled with the heavy beam. Gytha set aside her metal staff and ran to them. With her help they set the bar in place.
"Phew!" said Gytha letting out a small huff of breath.
"I concur," said Telenstil.
"And I," added Ghibelline. "How is my friend?" he asked Gytha.
"Asleep, but I believe he will be fine," said Gytha. "That was a nasty blow he took, and he is frail."
"The giants use up their slaves, at least Nosnra does," Ghibelline told them. "The dwarves last the longest."
"We saw no dwarves," said Gytha.
"No, they are kept at the forge. It lies somewhere among these passages," explained Ghibelline. "It is near their chamber of pain. I have been there many times. There are a pair of huge giants at the forge, the kind that are kin to fire. They look like creatures of that plane, burnt skin and hair like the embers in their forge."
"That," said Telenstil, breaking into the elf's rambling speech, "that is very strange. Fire Giants you say, hmmm..."
"Yes, I have heard them talk, but I do not understand their words, it is not like the speech of Nosnra or his kind," said Ghibelline, "but Jalal might be able to tell you more. He has become close friends with one of the dwarves who they hold at the forge. They use them for the finer work that the orcs cannot do, the giants of stone find them useful as well and make sure that Nosnra does not kill them out of hand, but still they work them close to death."
"Giants have little feeling for those smaller than themselves," said Telenstil.
"Those are kind words to describe such evil monsters," said Gytha.
"No, there are giants of all kinds, some are cruel and some are not," said Telenstil. "I have met worse than Nosnra, both giants and those of our size."
"You are right," said Gytha. "The Saint teaches that the body is but a shell, it is the spirit inside that matters."
"Wise words," said Ghibelline.