pretentious cosmic picture


6. Regirrd's only child was a midget, a fiesty little woman called Merthkry. She would joke that she had lived with "giants" all her life, and dealing with those just a little bigger (the true giants) was no strain. She never spent a minute feeling sorry for herself, and her laughter rang in C'Stepho.

The Cival War resolved, the winning Titan-Emperor resolved to crush any human idenpendence once and for all, and took the battle-scarred veterens of the Cival Wars to crush the humans. They entered Honrar and the freed parts of Reir...and it was like a ghost town. There were very few humans there, and would not tell where the others were. There were some token attacks, but the old guerella tactics did not work as well, since the giants knew what to expect. Much of the population hid out in swamps, that the giants were too heavy to wade into, lest they sink. The armies of Honrar dogged the titans' army without direct confrontation. Meanwhile, a secret fleet, that had begun in Regirrd's time, set sail with every mariner and marine they had, and in the flagship was the laughing Merthkry. Heading north, she took the fleet to the major giant seaport Hymephi. Weary from decades of cival war, and not expecting an attack, the city was forced to surrender. Much treasure was taken, and the humans who were toiling there were freed of their giant companions and loaded aboard the ships. Two more cities were hit, and the humans freed, until they had to build great rafts for the ships to tow to bring them back to Honrar. The giant veteren soldiers back in Honrar, bored at the lack of resistence, longed greatly for their old lands. They finally came to a near-deserted C'Stepho, and took possession, and sent work to the Emperor of the Titans as to what they should do next. As they awaited word, the fleet of Merthkry showed up one fine morning, and the veterens' surrender was demanded. The giant veterens laughed, and stood on the shore taunting the human fleet...but catapults on the boats brought a barrage of spears and arrows raining down on them, arrows that were poisoned. The giants started to retreat but the land armies of Honrar, which had been dogging their heels, suddenly appeared and unleashed their own supply of poison arrows, steeped in centaur's blood.

The Battle of the Shore was bloody on both sides. Many of the freed humans, heady with freedom, attacked the veterens themselves without armor, and died heroically but futilely. But in the end, the giants, cut off from supplies, and in a foreign land between two fronts, died. When the messenger came from the Emperor of the Titans, Merthkry met the Messenger on a shore where the rusting armor of the giants lay.

"Tell the Emperor of the titans that the Empress-queen of the humans will match attack for attack, strategem for strategem. That tiny though I might be, I am still a force to be reckoned with."

She handed him the helmet of the general of the giants, who had led the expedition into Honrar, which he brought back in shame to the Emperor in Setitays, who had also been appraised on the raids on the port cities. The Emperor decided to wait, since he realized he was dealing with a very wily foe, but that the condition that caused her being so short might lead to medical complications. He was right. She died next year, greatly mourned by her people, unmarried, and succeeded by her cousin, Nealta's grandson.

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Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder