The Tall Tale
Pigs can fly!
A stride or two from the giants face our mighty were-pig stands as he is confronted by an iris the size of a shield boss: With no hesitation, and a surprising lack of concern for his own longevity, Seymond raises an axe in his puissant trotter and delivers the fiercest blow he can full in the face of the rousing behemoth! Cleaving into the giants chin does little more than propel him to full alertness. His flailing arm swipes at our porcine hero, and knocks him the length of the clearing. Seymonds landing is a boneless thud moments later. The lack of any cry of pain, and his disturbing stillness after the heavy impact, do not bode well for the were-pig.
Issa and Petyr meanwhile, having just witness first-hand the flight capabilities of pigs, valorously withdraw from the fray as they and the rest of the men at arms hurriedly seek hiding places in the undergrowth around the clearing.
The startled giant lumbers to his feet, a dull cry of pain rising in his throat as he clasps his chin and looks about franticly for his attacker. Stumbling in the darkness, no doubt unnerved the by the attack whilst he was sleeping, he steps into his own camp fire! Wiping the embers from the calloused sole of his foot, his inhuman roar echoes through the night time forest. The men at arms are slowly slinking back into the darkness away from the giant, all except one: With a suicidal rush of blood to the head, Pump Eurion-Gulpa strides manfully into the clearing. His spear grasped in a seemingly casual manor he shouts out to the giant…
Wasting no time on backward glances at the cacophonous din coming from the clearing, Daffyd has hared along to deliver the giant tresses. Day and night he runs back to Sir Brychan. He is at first greeted warmly, but the knights pleasure soon turns to barely suppressed rage as he realises that not a single other man follows Daffyd back to the witches hovel. Quickly Daffyd relates the shocking news that even the ensorcelled were-pig was easily brushed aside by the giant, and there is little hope that the rest of the men can do anything more than die valiantly in a vain attempt to kill it.
Meroe cackles gleefully and snatches the hair from Daffyd, but is obviously disappointed that the giant may well still live. There are some tense negotiations as Meroe and Sir Brychan discuss if the terms of the contract have been fulfilled. The cost has been incredibly high, and at last the Crone relents and agrees to transform Sir Ursal back to himself. It seems the death toll has been high enough to satisfy her, even if her intended target of Priam the Giant may still live.
“Get comfortable My Lord Brychan, become re acquainted with you wife, this will take a while” with a leering grin she heads back into her pitiful shack to work her dark deeds. Over the next few days Meroe busily collects various plants and other less wholesome items to include with the giant hair. The smells and sounds coming from her home are noisome indeed, and the smoke emanating out of the chimney sometimes bellows in the most disturbing way, almost if it were trying to get back into the building it has just been forced from!
At last, after several days all is ready. The haggard Crone giggles uncontrollably as she approaches the caged bear, a wooden bottle carved from a willow branch clasped in her knotted fist. “How the hell are we supposed to get a bear to drink that?” the nervous Daffyd asks, knowing full well that if anyone is going be ordered into a cage to force feed foul potions to a bear, he is at the bottom of the pecking order.
“Oh it’s not for the bear dearie” cackles the witch, and with that she unstoppers the bottle, and chokes down the vile smelling brew. Coughing and hacking, for a moment a faint hope rises that the hideous old woman has poisoned herself, but she soon stops. Her shoulders straighten, her back seems to unfold a little and her gimlet eyes glitter as they dart around madly. “Oh yes, OH YES! It’s worked; the hair of a giant is potent indeed!!!” and with a manic laugh raising the hackles of all who can hear it, she dives into the bear cage without hesitation.
Oddly calm the bear does nothing as the chortling woman approaches. In a few moments he seems visibly bigger, as every hair on his massive frame seems to stand on end blue crackling spirit candles can be seen flickering like salamanders between the points of his fur. The blue light becomes brighter and more intense, to the point that it is impossible to look at, like a lightning flash but sustained far longer than any natural effect. With hands raised to protect their eyes, no one sees exactly what happens next, but with an ear splitting roar the light suddenly dims.
The cage has been blast asunder, and the witch is crouching in the remnants of the cart. As she hobbles slowly back into her hovel, her ragged cloak slides back to reveal a somewhat confused and completely naked Sir Ursal!
The lady Jenna rushes forward to grasp her father, and Sir Brychan drapes his own cloak around his shivering father in law. The dazed and confused lord of the Hundred of Chalke struggles to comprehend events he has no real memory of as Sir Brychan and his wife relate what has transpired. Listening once again to the now familiar tale, Daffyd wonders if they will head straight home, or if they will perhaps take the time to try and recover whatever may be left of his friends and comrades at the giants camp; even such a vast figure as Priam would struggle to kill all of the men at arms without serious injury surely? His mind plays over the bellows he heard on the night when Seymond was obviously slain by the giant, but the cries of the giant in night were arguably ones of pain…