Derrek could not deny that he felt a sting of envy as he watched his friend gazing over the moonlit fields from the tower where they stood watch in the fresh breeze. Yashen had agreed to tell Derrek about the events that had transpired when he was away, but presently he was searching for the words unsure of where to begin.
– Our lords are tireless, he said at last smiling – they led us along the country side like cattle. They had decided to patrol the lands and fight any packs of goblins we may find; I think it was Lord Tonlim‘s idea to bring us along. I suppose they wanted us to get some real battle experience, while the rest of you were holed up here.
He paused and grinned at Derrek who felt like he had just been punched in the stomach. Apparently, it seemed to Derrek, his friend knew exactly how to take advantage of the situation.
– And then? Derrek asked without masking his annoyance. Yashen shrugged.
– We left early in the morning and arrived in Taniville around midday. The Lords decided to pay the village a visit expecting perhaps to hear reports of goblins or similar dandruff in the area. They also took the oppertunity to meet with the village council at one of the elders houses, who offered them beer and food. I think they wanted them to make a ruling in some village case, but I did not pay it much attention.
Yashen paused and frowned as if unsure of what he was about to say was appropriate. Derrek, being sensitive to such gestures by nature, looked at his friend.
– Go on.
– Well, don’t pay it much heed, but it was very peculiar. Tonlim actually wanted us to sit at their table in the elders house, but was stopped by the other lords sending us to berta’s insted. Yashen shrugged
– He is too soft, Derrek replied. – At least too much so for his own good.
– You think so? Maybe that’s because you haven’t been training with him yet. Yashen smiled. – But I think he is just a villager by heart, he laughed. – Lordship probably doesn’t come naturally to him.
Derrek smiled, sensing a sore spot in his companion.
– Unlike how it comes to the two others. Lordship seems to fit them like a well-taylored suit.
There was a pause and neither of them said anything. The wind was echoing in the valley.
– It was when we battled the goblins on the evening of the next day, that we lost Atmel. He was badly wounded in the fight and Darlien could not save him from his injuries, though he managed to save Gibb. I wonder how many would have died if our lords hadn’t planned the attack so carefully. They smoked out the goblins from one of the smaller entrances where Tonlim was standing guard. Atop from the cave mouth our archers were standing by ready to shoot at the goblins as they would appear, running from the smoke. Fizban was to lead the rest of us and charge them head on.
– How did it go?
Yashen shrugged again.
– We hadn’t been ordered in formation when the goblins came for us. When we got the order to stand in a line we just barely made it, but it went well. Those creatures may look weak, but they are fierce. Incredibly so. Before I knew it, Gibb and Atmel had fallen right next to me, but I just kept stabbing at them. It is strange to think about.
There was a moment of silence. Derrek was watching his friend carefully, like one examines paint to determine if it is dry or not before placing a hand upon it.
– You have seen real battle, you are more of a man now than when you left.
At this Yashen laughed.
– What do you know? He said.
Again there was silence.
– We had been patrolling near Vainwood Forest and eventually arrived in Iceforge, where Gibb was left to heal and we were accomodated. Here we drank with the dwarves. In the morning we left. The lords decided to patrol along the Gorge to see what danger was isolating our trade caravans from the rest of the kingdom. Since they had heard something evil was lurking there, Darlien volunteered to scout ahead while we would follow an hour or so behind him.
Yashen smiled again.
– It was a priceless sight when he later returned sprinting at us with a panicked face. At that same time we heard the footsteps of the giant, it is a terrible sound. When the giant came into view shortly after Darlien, our lord Frizban jumped on his horse and shouted everyone run for your lives!. At this Yashen couldn’t contain his laughter and neither could Derrek.
– No! Derrek exclaimed.
– Yes! He fled the battle. For some time. The rest of us would probably have followed if it wasn’t for Tonlim. At the sign of the giant he merely shouted Giant! and ran straight at it.
– Perhaps you are right that he’s a villager, or at least a simple man at heart. Shouting the first word coming to his mind and then attacking.
– Nay, it is a dwarven thing, the hatred of giants. That battle was incredible. We charged the giant alongside Tonlim. I didn’t notice at the time since everything went so quickly, but it had already been wounded and partially blinded by two arrows before we got to fight it. It was Darliens cunning that had saved us! I don’t know if we would have stood a chance otherwise. Before I knew it our wizard had returned and was hurling great orbs of flame at the giant’s chest, and the battle was soon won. What a fight! We could not lower our arms out of sheer excitement.
Both men smiled, but Derrek did feel another sting of envy. How many men can say they have battled a giant?