Of Pork and Venison
While the rest of the troop were out scouting for giants, Seymond was growing worried. Crone Meroe seemed to be putting an awful lot of lethal ingredients into the brew, including nightshade and several toxic mushrooms. When he asked if they were necessary the crone replied “Oh no need to worry. The poisons cancel each other out”. Unconvinced but without much option, Seymond went back to collecting firewood and doing the endless list of tasks that were apparently essential to make the potion, but felt like suspiciously like household chores to Seymond, including a repairing a ‘crucial’ door and washing some ‘very important’ pots.
After a few days of searching for giant tracks, which is surprisingly easy if there are any to be had, the group returns back to the Crone’s shack and declares that they had found the giants lair. “Is Parim dead then?” asked the Crone expectantly. Most of the men stared at their boots, but Daffyd swiftly explained “He was out”. This seems acceptable to the crone and she called over to Seymond who was busy digging an ‘integral’ new latrine. She told him the potion was probably ready now, and as the men followed her gaze, they saw unholy coloured smoke rising from the chimney and even the doorway of the shack. She hobbles inside once again excited like a little girl, but much more sinister. Seymond rejoined the rest of his companions and said nothing. He was sweating.
The crone emerged back out of the house with a crude mug filled with murky brown liquid with the consistency of half congealed blood. She passes it to Seymond and he gags. “How much do i have to drink?” he whispers, his voice hoarse. “As much as you can” comes the reply.
Seeing his nerves, Bain and Issa start to sing an old drinking song and, as he had so many times before, Seymond succumbed to peer pressure. He almost vomited after his first swallow, but it got easier the more he drank and the more the song wore on. Until suddenly his stomach cramped and he bent double, the mug flying from his hand. Crone Meroe said “You might want to get away or get ready” and a couple of the men realised she had already retreated to behind a tree. Sir Brychan took his place between Seymond and his wife, and the other men-at-arms closed in, arms spread as if to catch a greased pig, but with looks of apprehension on their faces.
Seymond’s cramps only grew worse, first in his belly, then a blinding pain in his back, next his legs, especially his feet, then all at once. To the men at arms, it looked as if Seymond wasn’t so much in internal agony, but was going through the most intense growing pains any of them had ever seen. He somehow had a larger presence than he had before, and the circle that the men had formed around him was now too small, and within reach of his flailing limbs, some of which looked different now, his trows didn’t seem to fit his legs as well as they had, but not because his legs had grown, although they certainly had. There was something else about them. And then there was his head. Seymond had always had an open and friendly face, but right now he looked awful. Grimacing in pain to the extent that his whole face seemed elongated and when he showed his teeth he jutted his jaw out like a village idiot.
After a few minutes, but felt like longer to Seymond, the cramps ended. He lay still for a while collecting himself and catching his breath. As he stood to get up, the men at arms whoa-ed as if they were around a wild-eyed colt. He put his now stumpy, hairy hands on the ground and tried to get his legs under him, but they were not the same as they had been. The men surrounding him now saw the true extent of the potions effects, Seymond’s legs were like that of an animal, and they ended in a grim looking mass of toenail and hard horn that looked like a poorly formed cloven hoof. Seymond’s body and arms had grown not up but out and he was now much more intimidating physically then the largest member of the group. But his face was the worst part. His nose was flattened and at the end of a long snout which was covered in bristles. His eyes were the same colour, but now were tiny on his much larger head. and from his mouth came some horrifying tusks. He had been half transformed into a boar and the men felt sick to look at him.
After a few minutes of wary silence, Seymond managed to persuade the men that he was not wild, despite his appearance, and was safe to be around. The crone, upon hearing this, emerged from behind the tree laughing. She strode up to Seymond and pinched his fat with a proud look on her face. “I didn’t expect that to work at all. I’ll have to remember this one!”
When the men had settled down for the night to set off the next day, Sir Brychan gathered them around him and announced that he would not be able to join them when they set out tomorrow. He had to stay behind and look after his wife; he said he had come so far to find her and would not be separated from her again. The men had no choice but to follow orders, although some of them questioned whether the wolfsbane had become less brave, while others assumed that Sir Brychan thought this to be suicide and did not blame him from not wanting to join them.
The next day they set off and Seymond found moving difficult at first, with his new legs, and speech was now difficult with his new tusks and guttural voice. The men did not want to sleep near him or ride next to him, except for Bain, who took pity on him. Although their conversations were one sided, Seymond appreciated the companionship. One day Bain asked him if he could smell truffles now, and so that evening, eager to win back the favour of his colleagues, he went out sniffing the ground for truffles. It turned out that Seymond could not sniff for truffles, and the men trusted him even less for sneaking off during the night.
During their week long journey to Parim’s encampment, the men fervently discussed strategy. Their discussions would go in circles. They needed the hair, so they could cut it off then he needed to be asleep. But the giant needed to be dead, so they could kill him in his sleep. But that was suicidal to even get that close to the giant. So they could just cut off some of his hair when he was asleep… and so on.
Eventually, they arrived at his camp, tying up the horses a little ways off, Daffyd sneaked off to see if he was home. The men saw a plume of smoke coming from the direction of the camp, and so were not surprised when Daffyd confirmed it. Although they were unnerved when Daffyd reported that the giant had been roasting a fully grown deer on a spit, and that it looked like a light meal.
The men had already decided on their plan; First Daffyd would cut off some of the giant’s hair when it was asleep, then three of them would sneak, attack the most vulnerable parts of the giants body, and then run off.
So, Issa, Petyr and Seymond sat and waited until several hours after Daffyd reported that the giant was asleep and then crept into his camp. They could hear the thunderous snores of the giant long before they saw him, and when they saw him it was a sight to behold, a thirty foot tall giant sleeping like a baby in a clearing big enough to hold all of Sarum inside. The men overcame their awe and crept closer, determined to do the job at hand. Daffyd stepped as lightly as a shadow in the moonlight, and easily cut a hank of hair from the slumbering giant. Like a coiling red rope the hair fell into his hands, and he quickly withdrew to let the rest of the unit carry out the remainder of the plan.
Issa and Petyr moved like ghosts in the night, but Seymond stomped and snuffled without much real control over his new body’s involuntary noises and ungainliness. However the snores rumbled on and the men got closer and closer, and before they knew it they were ten feet away from the giant, they could smell it’s horrific breath and see the deer blood staining it’s lips. The men made eye contact, nodded and began to move in.
Then the giant opened it’s eyes.