By David Pontier
When Goblins Attack is the property of the author, David Pontier and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Email David with any comments and feedback on When Goblins Attack and visit his website at: http://www.geocities.com/piqsid/stories.html.
Chapter 9: The Frost Giant
Entreri ran up the steps with a slight spring in his step. He needed the spring too because each step was two feet tall.
As he left the bodies scattered about in the room behind him, it was nice to know he had not lost it. Granted, since they had been eating and supposedly well protected with wards and spells, none of the goblins had been armed, and the most anyone came at him with was a steak knife. Still, there had been an awful lot of them. He had made as many killing blows as possible with his dagger, trying to regain as much energy as he could.
There had been several different chambers and corridors leading away from the mess hall, but only one of those led up. Entreri wanted to go up. That was where Kron would be. Entreri had not enjoyed waking up shackled to a piece of limestone. And like the Entreri of old, he planned on repaying any slight against him tenfold.
At the top of the steps was a small anti-room. Well, it was designed for giants, so small was a relative term, but it was not very elaborate. There were three rooms and one more corridor connected to the room. If Elliorn had been right, there would be two giants for each room. Entreri hoped he would not have to fight four of them. "Everyone look alive," he spoke up into the rooms. "You have company."
Two stone giants came out of opposite rooms rubbing sleep out of their eyes. When they saw Entreri, they woke up quick enough. They each reached for their huge clubs and came on the attack.
While Entreri waited for them to get close, he thought that if he ever lost access to his treasure cave and needed money fast, he would start a blacksmith shop that specialized in making oversized weapons for giants. He might not have a very big clientele, but he would be providing them with a service they most definitely needed.
The two giants ran right up to Entreri and attacked. They were each over twice as tall as the assassin and they each weighed over six times as much, but they never really had a chance.
Entreri dove to the side as both clubs smashed into the ground behind him. He rolled behind one of the two giants and jabbed his dagger deep into the back of his knee. That leg buckled as planned, and Entreri stepped on the sloped calf as he swiped Cicle up between the giant's legs. The behemoth doubled over and Entreri continued to climb up his back like a flight of stairs. He hooked Cicle around the giant's neck and thrust his dagger into the small of his back.
This sudden pain was well placed and made the giant straighten up quickly, throwing the assassin off his back. Entreri used the strength he stole from his dagger to keep his other arm locked and used the momentum given him from the sudden whiplash to pull Cicle hard across the giant's neck. The cut was too deep and severe for the frost blade to sear shut, and blood poured from the mortal wound. That giant was done fighting.
The other giant had barely registered that his first attack had missed while he watched his partner suddenly fall to the floor, his hands clawing at the gaping wound in his neck. The remaining giant watched Entreri fly across the room and hit hard against the far wall. The little man popped right back up as if he had enjoyed the collision. He waived both his weapons in front of him and smiled.
The giant saw the unique style and bent down to pick up his partner's dropped club so he too held multiple weapons. Entreri walked slowly toward the dual-wielding giant, making himself as plain a target as he could. The giant took the bait and swung both his clubs in from the side, meaning to squash Entreri between them. The assassin just took one more step forward and the two clubs crashed together behind him, stunning the giant's arms and forcing him to drop both of them.
Entreri moved quickly while the giant was still stunned from his own self-inflicted parry. He placed one foot inside the right kneecap and plunged Cicle into the large gut in front of his face. He pushed off from the knee and heaved himself on his secured hilt. He placed his right foot on his sword and stood up to look the giant in the face.
The move was completed too quickly for the giant to contemplate, and as he felt his body growing colder, Entreri smiled in his face and thrust his dagger under the huge chin. Blood poured down his neck, and Entreri shifted his position to keep himself clean. The giant's clumsy arms tried to swat at this offensive man, but his strength was failing too fast and he could do nothing to dislodge Entreri.
The giant fell and Entreri jumped clear so he would not go down too. He pulled Cicle out before the giant was completely frozen. He preferred to let the pathetic creature bleed to death. Entreri wiped his dagger clean and continued up the stairs at the other end of the room.
It was another minute of climbing the huge stairs before he reached the top. The air had a deep chill to it, and Entreri knew he had found what he was looking for. The landing at the top of the stairs extended around a corner and the silent assassin took his time, not wanting to stumble into any more traps. The entrance into the mess hall had been trapped enough so as to keep anyone from entering this area, but it had only been warded against humans. If Kron wanted protection from his lieutenants, he would need something extra.
Around the corner Entreri could see into the frost giant's personal chamber. The room was bare, but he could not see everything from this far out in the corridor and there had to be several rooms adjacent to the main one. Entreri did not know what time it was, but he and John had been taken captive late in the afternoon, and there was no telling how long they had been out. It was very likely night or early morning, and Kron could be sleeping.
Entreri walked boldly forward, admiring the frosty blue rug that lay at the entrance to the room. There was a nice woven pattern of a white snowflake in the middle of it. He thought it was a bit frilly for a place like this, but if Kron was intelligent, he might like a few frills. Still . . .
The door to his chamber was open, almost as if he was tempting someone to enter. Entreri crouched down in front of the rug before walking over it. It was heavy, but the assassin was feeling extra chipper this morning. He pulled hard on it and it slid back to reveal a particularly large ward carved into the floor. "Almost got me this time, buddy," Entreri whispered.
Pasha Basadoni had made him study wards constantly as a youth. At the time, studying the strange symbols had seen like a waste, but after knowledge of such things saved his life on numerous occasion while creeping through the homes of the wealthy, he understood their value. When they were engraved on windowsills and locked chests, they could be designed to look decorative if someone did not know what to look for. Entreri did.
This particular ward was a paralyze spell. It was non-lethal because it was designed for the stone giants, but it probably also triggered an alarm inside the chamber that would alert Kron to his presence. If the frost giant came out here to find Entreri standing stock still, it would be lethal enough. Entreri saw that there was room for him to slink along the wall on either side and avoid the ward, but he had a better idea.
Most wards had an opposing symbol that did the exact opposite. For example, for every ward that granted great wisdom, there was a ward that granted great stupidity. For each ward that gave you protection from a certain element, there was a ward that made you twice as susceptible to that element. The tricky part was that each opposing ward was very similar to its partner, making it very important for the priest or shaman to be as accurate as possible when drawing it.
Entreri knew what the opposite symbol to this paralyzing ward was. He took out Cicle and leaned over the ward carefully. Pressing the sword firmly against the stone floor, he carefully added two more lines to the symbol. He watched as the activation powder magically swirled into the new grooves and a nearly imperceptible hum went through the floor. Entreri smiled and pushed the stiff rug back into place.
He then walked quickly over the rug and into the room. He gave a startled yelp, and stood completely still. He pretended to be paralyzed, but in reality his muscles quivered as his blood raced though his body. Each nerve was on edge, and he thought he was going to explode. The opposite of a paralyze spell was a haste spell, and since it was designed for stone giants, Entreri thought he might be able to run up a vertical wall if he wanted to.
"I told you never to disturb me?" Kron grumbled as he exited one of the adjoining rooms. He looked at Entreri and was deeply troubled. "You? How did you get up here? Where are my guards?" He realized that Entreri could not talk because he was frozen and stopped waiting for an answer. "You are the one who killed my giants outside, aren't you?" He glanced at Cicle, which was held tightly in Entreri's hand. "Yes you are? You'd think you would have learned by now not to just barge into someone else's home. There are traps where you least expect them."
Entreri could not hold his position much longer. He could feel incredible strain on his limbs and the blood vessels in his head felt like they were going to explode. Unlike the stone giants, Kron had an actual weapon. Hanging on a wall in the room was a huge flail with a spiked ball as big as Entreri's chest. Kron picked it up and swung the massive weapon about casually. "I should have squashed you when I found you, but I won't make the same mistake twice. I don't know how you avoided my other traps and guards, but if you found another way in, you won't live long enough to tell anyone about it."
Stop talking already and kill me! Entreri screamed in his mind. The giant walked over to the frozen assassin. "If you were any bigger, I'd save you for a meal, but you will do just fine as sauce." He spun his weapon by his side skillfully and brought it down with terrific force. The ball crushed the intruder to nothing, and Kron pulled his weapon back to examine the stain. His floor was cracked, but there was no blood at all.
As he bent to look closer, he felt a sudden pain in his calf, almost like a bite. He reached around to slap the area and got another sting in his other leg. Then another one appeared on his side. Then his hand and his knee and his thigh. "What is going on?"
Kron spun around, but there was nothing behind him. More stings struck him, and he spun around again. There was still nothing there. He muttered an activation spell, and the medallion hanging beneath his fur vest shimmered as a protective iceskin covered him. He had peace for about three seconds, and then the stinging came back. "What in Erythnul's name?" he muttered. That iceskin should have protected him from the next sixteen strikes. Nothing could attack him that fast.
He felt a few more quick stabs and then an intense burst of cold. "Ah," he said, as he recognized the bite of a frost blade. He pulled his medallion out from inside his vest as he tried to remember the right incantation for the next protection spell. He muttered the activation word and his body shimmered once again.
Down below, racing around the giant's legs too fast to be seen, Entreri was getting frustrated. He could not leave his dagger inside the giant for any length of time because the shock of energy was too much in his current state of excitement. Also, he could not leave Cicle buried into his enemy liked he did with his less intelligent foes, because Kron would be smart enough and strong enough to pull it free and not touch the blade. Besides, Entreri had a feeling the frost blade was not as effective on this frost giant. It was not leaving its normal line of frost along the wounds.
He knew frost giants were immune to most cold damage, but Cicle's enchantment was as strong as any he had ever seen on a weapon before. The end result was probably similar to if Entreri would stab himself with an icicle. It was cold, but it did not do extra damage. Still, it was sharper and better balanced than his dirk, so he kept using it.
Now, after this last utterance by Kron, he could see that neither of his blades was doing any damage. It was like he was attacking soft clay. Each weapon sunk into the flesh, but the wounds just closed up afterwards. Damn shaman, Entreri muttered.
Kron laughed as the painful stings finally went away. Already they were healing over due to the extensive regenerating items he wore. Still he did not know how this little man was doing it. Wasn't he supposed to be paralyzed? As he thought about this, he felt a tickle run up along his side, and his medallion was cut from his neck. "Hey?"
He watched the necklace fall to the ground in front of him, and reached to retrieve it. Before it even hit the ground, a blur of motion intercepted it, and he heard the metallic clink of his medallion being thrown down the hallway and bouncing down the steps. A blur?
As the annoying, but mostly harmless attacks continued, Kron raced over to his entry and pulled the rug back. He saw what had been done to his symbol and laughed. "That spell will not last forever, oh clever intruder, and when it runs out, you will be very tired, and I will be very angry."
Entreri realized that to and started to change his tactics. The giant's clothing was mostly fur and baggy coats. It was very easy to climb on. Kron swatted continually at his body as the hasted assassin crawled over him. It felt like a dozen spiders biting him continuously. The bites began to hurt more also, as Entreri found more vital parts to attack. Kron was smart enough not to lash himself with his own weapon as one of his stone giants might do, but he also realized he would not be able to catch Entreri with his hands.
Kron grunted loudly as he ran over to the side of his room and rammed his back against the wall. He then flipped around and smashed his chest into the wall. Entreri hastily scrambled around the body, not taking time to attack anymore. Kron predictably flipped around to slam his back again, and Entreri went to his chest, but the clever frost giant turned completely around and caught Entreri's ankle as he slammed his stomach into the wall again.
Entreri fell from his perch and rolled away. Now with a limp in his gait, he moved slower. "Not that dumb after all," Kron laughed, speaking for the assassin. "If only you had known what you were getting yourself into." The frost giant went on the attack now. His huge flail was fast, but not fast enough to hit Entreri even if he was not hasted. Still, it kept the injured assassin on the move.
Kron felt like he was trying to smash elusive gophers in a field full of holes, but he did not grow frustrated. "Time is ticking away little man, and there is no escape." Actually there was an escape route, but Kron spoke another power word, and his enchanted door slammed shut and locked.
Then it happened. The spell expired. Entreri's legs could suddenly no longer keep up with the momentum of his upper body, and he went down in a heap. Kron held his next blow in check, savoring the moment. "What do we have here?"
We have a serious problem, Entreri thought. He could barely breath he was so out of breath. He had never felt this exhausted in his entire life. He did not know if he was strong enough to even stand. He tried to rise, but his ankle screamed in pain and he collapsed again. For the first time in a long time, he felt helpless.
"You have caused me a lot of trouble, I imagine," Kron started, seeing that Entreri was not going anywhere. "I'm guessing I don't even know the half of it, do I?" The question was rhetorical, and Entreri did not know if he was strong enough to reply anyway. "When I kill you and go back down stairs, I'm going to find bodies everywhere, aren't I? I can rebuild, you know. This is not the end for me. But it is the end for you."
This guy liked to talk, and as he went on about how he was going to sack each town he came to, Entreri tried to analyze his situation. This was like no foe he had ever faced. His weapons were so small that it was like attacking Wulfgar with toothpicks. Given an hour or two, or enough time at the giant's neck, he might be able might be able to inflict enough damage to kill the thing, but he was not going to get those chances. The stone giants had been over four feet shorter than Kron, and their 1200 pound weight paled next to Kron's almost 3000 pound bulk. Plus Entreri had a hunch that there were lots more protection devices on Kron other than the medallion he had removed. For as many wounds as he had placed on him, there was almost no blood anywhere.
Each of Entreri's weapons had powerful enchantments as well, that had aided him against the other giants, but Cicle could do no extra damage against this frost giant, and his dagger's life sucking ability was too much in his excited sta- Entreri suddenly had an idea.
Kron had finished his litany of future conquests and added his version of last rites. The wrecking ball of a flail came down with tremendous force, and Entreri willed himself to roll out of the way. The spiked ball pinned his trailing cape as Entreri had expected, and as he worked to free the clasp around his neck, Kron brought his foot up to stomp the stationary target. Entreri freed himself just as the boot came down. He rolled to the side and grabbed onto the ankle, sinking his dagger into the giant's calf.
Kron tried to stomp him off, but with Entreri's strength returning, he held on tight and made sure his feet did not fall beneath the giant's huge boots. The drain on Kron's strength was noticeable, and the giant angrily kicked his leg out hard. The action was too violent for Entreri to retain his grip, and he was hurled across the room, hitting hard against a wooden shelf and bringing the structure down on top of him.
"You are indeed a troublesome pest," Kron muttered as he walked over to finally put an end to the assassin. He brought his flail down to crush his already broken shelf, but Entreri leaped out of the ruble as limber as ever. "Troublesome and perplexing," he added, as he pulled his weapon from the firewood he had created and turned to see where Entreri had scampered off to now.
Hoping there were no other wards guarding his bedroom, Entreri raced in and saw a large window to the outside. Kron heard shattering glass coming from his room and quickly followed. "What trouble are you getting into now!"
Entreri found himself on the side of a wind swept peak. The sun was just coming up, and though it was hidden behind him, it illuminated the scene in front. Entreri tried to figure out if he should go down or up, but as the thin stone wall behind him exploded outward, launching him from his ledge, he decision was made for him.
Kron made the hole a bit bigger and stepped outside. He saw Entreri sliding down the snowy slope in front of him. "Stop playing in the snow and let me kill you!" He screamed into the wind. Entreri reached the bottom of the small valley and looked behind him. Kron was walking down the slope, creating a small avalanche with each step. In front of Entreri was a much steeper slope and he scrambled for it.
He had barely climbed out of the giant's reach by the time Kron made it to the valley. "You think you can climb faster than me?" the frost giant laughed. "You are sorely mistaken."
As it turned out, Kron was mistaken. He reached for the first handhold, but it broke away under his weight. He tried a few more times with the same result. Meanwhile, Entreri was almost running up the nearly vertical slope. In his frustration, Kron jumped and swung his flail up at the agile assassin. It came a dozen feet short, but the spikes sunk deep into the wall and held fast. Kron found that he was able to pull himself up, but once he removed the flail to swing it up again, he just went falling back down.
As he sat up and brushed away the rocks that had followed him down, he saw that he had left a large hole in the wall. If he could reach it, he knew it would support him. He swung his flail six feet up on the wall, and created another hole. He then put another one twelve feet up and started to climb.
Entreri braced himself each time the flail struck, as the tremors almost shook him from the wall. "What is he doing now, chopping down the mountain?" Entreri looked down to find out, and redoubled his efforts. He still made it to the top first, but he was not alone up there for long. As Kron slowly pulled himself up onto the narrow plateau, Entreri hoped his hastily thrown together plan would work.
Return to Campaign Logs