chapter nine: scouting and counter-scouting....
by, 02-13-2009 at 12:06 AM (754 Views)
If it were not such a serious business we were about, the shock and panic displayed by the giants would be almost comical. We watch as the bodies are carted away, and a search is commenced. Soon however, all thoughts of mirth fade away, as patrols in pairs begin to be seen; guards are stationed. These creatures are unexpectedly cunning, and quick to respond! In our experience, the lesser giant-kin tend towards brutality, and a disinterest in any but the most crude of social organizations. They barely cooperate with each other. These are acting more like trained armsmen, than typical giants. Gramblin in particular, is taking great pains in pointing out the atypical behaviors. We conference hurriedly and decide that we need to learn more.
Truth be told, we had not paid overly much attention to the claims of the duke that the giant raids had been highly organized and took only valuable and critical goods. We had thought that he was exaggerating his stories in order to hook us to his need, not realizing that we have our own reasons for attempting this foray. But now, we are witnessing it for ourselves. Something has affected these giants; we must learn what it is.
I draw forth a matrix rod, and send my power through it into a cloak upon Gramblin. The unique structure of the matrix will have the effect of lengthening the effects of my power beyond what i can accomplish for myself. The effect blooms out from him invisibly, as he fades to a transparent image of himself. We open the interface by touching the rope's end to it, and Gramblin drops nimbly down to the floor, disappearing completely from our view as he does so. I quickly pull the rope back in, and we settle down to wait nervously.
The minutes crawl past, in a slow spiky progression. The occasional giant patrol passes by. Finally, Gramblin returns, heralded by a coin sudden appearing on the floor directly below us. We descend the rope to meet with Gramblin and hear his report. Pik is watchfully listening, eying the exits. I am taken by a sudden fancy and wander over to the front doors. Pulling out a scroll I lay a hand upon the doors, and reading the arcane symbols to guide my power, I weave power about the two door panels, binding them together. I smirk as I write upon the wall next to the doors, 'you have been warned!' in the blocky giantish letters, large enough for even them to see. Suddenly Lord Mousehunter stirs upon my shoulder and hoots softly in my ear. She has heard the approach of footsteps!
I hurry to the others and warn them. Sabriel and Gramblin begin climbing the rope as Nadem and I set fire to the doors to the hallway. That should slow them down. Swiftly we climb into the otherwhere bubble, and draw the rope in after us. Not a moment too soon! From the sudden appearance of smoke, a large amount of water must have been thrown onto the doors, for they open as we are frantically pulling in the rope. An entire squad, fully eight well armed giants enter the room and carefully scrutinize everything. After seeing the message on the wall, one runs out of the room. One of them even tries the door, but much to our surprise, does not attempt any violence upon the unmoving door. Any other giant would have tried to force the stubborn door open. Then that giant also runs out of the room. Reporting? To whom? Who is guiding these giants so skillfully? This is becoming more and more ominous.
Turning from the window portal, I see that Gramblin has taken out some parchment and quill and is inking a sketch of what he has seen. We had best find someway of reducing the combat ability of these giants, and fast. Giant prowess at combat with someone who has an obvious grasp of tactics and strategy, and the ability to get giants to actually cooperate and fight intelligently, is a danger of, forgive me-but i can't resist, giant proportions.