In the light of the desert sun within the arid wastes, a lone figure in a cloak with a broad and lengthy wrapped object on its back journeyed, braving the heat and the winds. The hotness was intense, yet the figure carried on as though the harshness of the land didn’t exist.
Eventually, the lone figure arrived before the opening of a vast rocky ravine. Multitudes of pointed rocks jutted out into the sky, interlocking the top of the ravine as though it were a massive ribcage that covered the region.
The lone figure looked on and continued to enter the ravine. Several steps from where the figure entered, two boulders seemed to shuffle and stir suddenly unto life, and rose up to form two massive twelve-meter clay-colored humanoid figures covered in worn rags and leathers.
“Hol’ up there, stranger. Ya can’t pass any further unless ye want trouble.” said the lankier and long-haired one of the two humanoids.
“Back there is tha’ home of us folk. I’m afraid we don’t take kindly ta strangers. Unless o’ course ye can prove ya have proppa business wiv our kin, aye?” added the stouter and short-haired one of the two.
The figure seemed to stare up at the two giants that dwarfed its already impressive height of almost three meters, but then started to giggle in a flowery voice as it pulled down its hood to reveal a head full of bountiful flaming-red hair and a face of seemingly finely sculpted bronze skin.
“Uncle Ayers, Uncle Radhai, it’s good to see you two again after so long!” voiced Ellen, beaming at the two giants.
The two giants collectively stared at the familiar-looking and familiar-sounding figure before them then suddenly gasped and cheered.
“By the voided hells, it’s little Ellie! Hahaha! What a joyous day!” clapped the stout one known as Radhai.
“We missed you so, little El! It’s been so long since you returned, that we started thinking about going out to find you!” said the lanky one known as Ayers as he picked her up and rubbed his face on her as though she were a little kid.
The change on the two was so drastic upon recognizing Ellen, that their dull speech and earlier countenance seemed to have been a lie.
Giggling, Ellen patted the giant’s hands as she smiled at him, “Put me down, Uncle Ayers, I miss you too, but I’m not a youngling anymore.”
Reluctantly, the giant complied and let her down. He then looked towards his companion as they both nodded at each other. The two turned around as they each pulled out a large ram horn and blew onto it while facing towards the ravine.
The sound echoed towards the inner depths as more horns sounded in response until it continued further within the ravine.
“Everyone’s been dying to see ya, little El. It’s been quite lonely ever since you left.”
Ellen could only shake her head in response. The giants as a whole are a very reclusive race, mostly preferring to keep to themselves in small communities. Because of this, not many accounts of their race as a whole are accurate, and because of their fearsome looks and size, they are often painted as an image of fear or violence.
However, the true reason for their reclusiveness is that the giants’ size often became an inconvenience for most races, so they grew tired of interacting with the other races due to dealing with their complaints.
Another peculiarity of their race is that female giants are quite rare. A giant’s lifespan is among the longest of the races, second only to dragons and above even that of elves, so many scholars attributed this type of low reproductivity to their race’s longevity.
Because females are rare, children are even rarer. Due to this, giant clans treat women and children as absolute treasures, regardless of race. This usually meant the women in giant clans have the biggest voice, and could often times overturn even the clan chief’s decisions. In Ellen’s clans’ case, no one could stop her mother from choosing a human man as her husband, to the disappointment of most of the clansmen.
Much to her embarrassment, this was also why Ellen was treated like a princess by her entire clan. Being half-human meant she was the entire clan’s eternal little girl.
“Little El! She’s finally back!”
“My darling Ellie is finally home!”
“You mean OUR darling Ellie, you senile old coot!”
“*sniff* I’m so happy I get to see our little El one more time before my time’s up.”
“Gahahaha! You ain’t fooling anyone, old dog! Everyone knows you’s still got five hundred years in ya!”
“Booze! Bring out the booze! Ellie’s home!”
Suffice to say, this was why Ellen tried to avoid coming home too often. It usually turns into a festival that gets blown out of proportion since there are just too many “uncles” that treat her like their little angel. If Camus were to ever find out, she’d just die from embarrassment.
She shivered at the thought and gave out a sigh as her uncles refused to let her walk and carried her over their shoulder, still treating her like a child. When it came to the point that she was passed around like a doll, she finally became furious and started beating up the giants that had a hand in the humiliation. Unfortunately for her, they were still all smiles as they simply let themselves be beaten for her little tantrum.
While she was in the middle of smacking one of her uncles, the crowd suddenly quieted down due to the arrival of a very old and hunched giant along with a “human” couple at his side.
Ellen turned and beamed as she saw the couple and the old giant, running towards them.
“Mom, dad, grandpa!”
In her stride, she easily reached them and picked up the smiling couple in a big hug. The old giant in turn patted her head as he gave a smile.
“It’s good to see you again, El. Feels like you’ve grown stronger once again.” said the fiery-haired middle-aged man who hugged her in turn.
“You’ve also grown more beautiful since we’ve last seen you.” added the blond-haired woman whose beauty, musculature and proportions didn’t lose out to Ellen’s.
The old giant nodded, but then hummed as though he had suddenly only become aware of something.
“Little Ellenora, I sense the blessing of the Earth Father within you has fully matured. I take it that you’ve finally found yourself a man?”
Either the old giant was oblivious to the surrounding clansmen or he simply didn’t care, what he dropped was simply a massive bomb that echoed to all the giants within the vicinity.
The festive mood died down so suddenly as if the previous merriment was just a lie. Silence permeated the area for a time and an icy chill seemed to have descended on the entire clan. Suddenly, a massive surge of bloodlust rose that was so dense that it seemed to crack the entirety of the ravine.
Ellen face palmed while her mother gave out a deep sigh as the giants cried out in a collective voice.
What followed was an eruption of outcry and angry yells as the entirety of the clan got riled into a frenzy.
“WHO DARES TRY TO STEAL OUR BELOVED EL!?”
“I WILL FEAST ON THEIR BONES AND WEAR THEIR SKULL AS A HAT!”
“NO ONE MAY TAKE FROM US OUR LITTLE EL”
“BROTHERS! WAR IS UPON US! CALL TO ARMS! FOR ELLIE!”
Just as the clan seemed to be on the verge of losing control, one blonde-haired female giant finally lost her patience and got very upset.
“Dear, will you please hold on to this for me for a moment?” she said with intensity as she handed an earring over to the nervously sweating red-haired man.
With the earring removed, she then began to grow in size until eventually she rose to the height of a full-fledged giant. The yelling began to stop as her aura dominated even that of the intense bloodlust of the entire clan. Finally realizing who they’ve angered, the clansmen collectively began to go quiet while having cold sweats.
Ellen’s mother wasn’t simply just one of the rare female giants; she was their clan’s champion. This was the main reason no one challenged her when she made her choice of husband.
“I see all you boys need to cool your heads, hmm?” she asked with a cold smile while pulling out a large maul from seemingly out of nowhere.
What ensued was nothing short of a massacre as many giants were strewn all around, either out cold or hiding and pretending to be one of the bodies.
“Did you really have to say it out loud in front of the clan, dad?” she sighed while turning towards the old giant who had a smiling expression.
“Gahahaha! Don’t blame me. I wasn’t entirely too happy about the Earth Father’s decision, so think of this as me getting back and letting off some steam.” he replied eyes smiling while stroking his beard.
“On that note, Ellen, why don’t you go pay the Earth Father a visit? He’s been continually pestering me to call you ever since he knew you were coming back, so please do your old grandpa a favor and ease his suffering.”
Ellen could only sigh at the shameless request after what he just did. Besides, the main reason she returned was to meet the Earth Father in the first place after she had met Camus, so she could only comply.
“He also said not to bother with the formalities and to just go straight to him. Whatever happened in your adventures, it seems to be very important.”
Normally, one was required to dress in ritual clothes and offer a prayer along with a token in order to meet the Earth Father, but it seems this time he’s willing to make an exception.
Ellen could guess why, but she didn’t think too deeply about it and entered the clan’s temple.
There, she stood before a great altar with the depiction of a large wingless dragon that seemed to control the earth. Just as she tried to get closer, the altar glowed an earthen yellow and a rotund figure appeared from within the light.
The large round humanoid figure stood before her in yellow robes and stood a good two heads above her. The figure had the appearance of a portly man of the cloth, only his head was that of a dragon.
“Earth Father.” greeted Ellen as she bowed before the figure.
“Ha ha! It’s great to finally see you little Ellen!” he said in a jolly manner, then with mischief in his voice added, “… or would you prefer… sister-in-law?”
A few seconds before the old giant dropped the bomb.
I was about to answer my brother with the decision I’ve made, but suddenly an uncontrollable shiver ran down my spine.
I couldn’t explain it, but for a few seconds I felt that my life was in danger and couldn’t help but break out in a cold sweat.
Was this some trick or new ability to sense danger? Whatever this was, for some reason I couldn’t help but think of Ellen and could only hope she’s safe. Yet, for some other reason, I can't help but feel she's responsible for what I'm feeling. How odd.