The horse came to a stop. It was a gentle stream that passed by them as they rode. To where? Nobody could say. They had been following the tracks of the Titan that she sought for almost a month. How a creature that large could get so far, and yet never be noticed by her was a complete mystery. She reached down at petted its mane. This horse had been a very faithful companion to her, over the last few months. Since they had left the village, this was her only companion. The long days, traveling across fields and wood, they had left her very tired, but nonetheless determined. Her quarry wasn’t too far away. She could feel that she was gaining on it. There wasn’t the same kind of age to the tracks of the Titan for which her vengeance was so dedicated.
Her mind and heart were fluttering. The flames of vengeance burned in her heart, and despite her fatigue and hunger, the flames wouldn’t die. But rest was something they both needed, so she dismounted, letting her companion get some water. She dipped her hands in as well, drinking deep of the stream. It was a pleasant afternoon. The trees swayed in the afternoon breeze, as if they were enjoying their day. It was summer, and well into. The grass was green, the trees leaves were full. Even the stream made a sound like it was very happy to see the two of them. This put a frown on the girl’s face. Was it wrong to be feeding into their happiness, when hate was all that she felt? These questions had no correct answer, so she decided not to think about it. There was too much ahead to think about it too hard.
Grunting, her horse looked down at her. It gave her a look, as if he were telling her to lighten up. She smiled, rubbing the end of his nose. She reached into her pack, gently pulling out some bread that she had brought for the trip. This was close to the last of it. Foraging was nothing new to her, but this land was. The trees were different, and so were the plants. Not knowing what was safe or not was a danger. It was very clear to her that she had to find a settlement, and negotiate information, or supplies.
There was a grunt from down the stream a bit. From behind the trees came a rather portly-looking animal. It had a fat body and big teeth. Meat, now there was something that was always safe! She quickly reached over, grabbing her bow from the satchel on the horse’s back. She strung the bowstring, quickly taking aim. The body looked tempting, but behind all the meat, she could almost sense a thick rib-cage. She closed an eye, looking the creature over. The best way to go at it was right through the eye. This was going to be a tricky shot. A smile came onto her face. Now this was the kind of thing she liked! Pity there was nobody around to see her skill! There was her faithful companion, but he never commented, aside from the occasional grunt or whiney.
Her fingers gently released their grip on the arrow, letting it fly! A shaft from the heavens, it struck right through the creature’s eye. It reared back, squealing in agony. The screams only lasted a couple seconds, as it suddenly twitched and fell over. The girl ran over, taking the arrow out. She did a silent prayer at the animal’s fallen body, asking the Spirits to guide this animal’s spirit to the Golden Meadows, and thanking it for the bounty it provided. Now came the really difficult part.
It was nightfall before she had gotten the fire going and hung up pieces of meat. She was drying it off so that it could feed her later. This was a trick that was taught to her by her father. The memory made her eyes sting, so she shook it off. This was going to take some time, so she decided to get some sleep.
The moment her eyes shut, dreams overtook her. There was the village, with the people all gathered around the Elder’s fire. They listened to her tell of the days gone by, and of the people who lived there. The Old World was always an amazing thing to hear about. Their light stones, their moving stones on “rails,” their great flying monoliths, they were stories that she missed more than ever before on nights like tonight. Then it changed to the late summer evening. The harvest was in, and the people of the village were all working to get the crops into their large hovel where they were kept. The next day, they would be sorted and prepared, so as to preserve them and to keep the people fed for the winter to come. Another thing that she missed. The image in her mind turned to winter, and charging through the snow with her friends. What had become of them? Were any of them still alive? She had charged after the Titan on her horse, not even stopping to look back, the blade of her father in hand. The glow of it fading as the creature got farther and farther away. That all seemed like ancient history now.
She awoke with a start. Her horse looked over at her, grunting. She saw that the meat was dry, and she bundled it up in her satchel. It was time for the two of them to get moving. Quickly dousing the fire, she bowed again to what remained of the carcass of her prey. It had given its life in order that she might continue. It was not a sin to her, to take the life of something else, so long as you paid respect to it. Some from the village disagreed.
Mounting her horse, she gave it a kick, and they were off. The moons’ light filtered down through the trees. It was a beautiful night. It was then, running through the trees that she noticed something – there wasn’t a sound! No animals were making noise, no birds chirped. Even this late, there was always a bird or two that was talking. Something had caused them to stop. Something was different. Slowly drawing her blade, the girl looked around. It was then that she felt it – the rumble! The rumble of massive footsteps. This was a feeling she knew! A dark smile came onto her face. I have caught up to you at last! This got the horse to be pushed faster. The tracks were very new. The massive destruction that the circular feet left in the ground, even with how much it tore apart the earth, she could tell that these were new.
Her companion could feel this too, and it also seemed determined to make tracks quickly. They came to a clearing, at the top of a cliff. She pulled on the reigns, bringing her friend to a stop. Letting out a breath, she looked over. The view was breath-taking! The forest went on for what looked like an eternity. There were all kinds of trees among it. The stream that she had left merged with others and there was a great river flowing through there. Then, right as she was admiring that, her eyes found it! The beast for which her anger burned, the creature that she felt so much rage towards, the one that had burned down her home, and kill her family. It was here!
Truly, it was a titan. It stood almost as tall as the cliff on which she stood. Like a man, it stood on two legs. There were large patches of hair that were on many parts and growths that were stone coming from the body! What kind of monster is this?! She quickly dismounted, drawing her sword and her knife. She threw the knife into the ground, letting out her war-cry. It echoed through the land, and sure enough, it got the creature’s attention.
“I am…going to kill you!” she screamed at it, staring across the vast void, into the glowing red eyes. The creature started to move. She pulled her knife from the ground. The challenge had been made. According to the laws of her people, when a warrior threw their knife into the dirt and made their proclamation, the duel could begin. If nothing else, she was a follower of the laws of her people. The titan was coming right at the cliff face. The smile on her face grew. It was coming to its doom. She knew this. The closer it got, the more massive it became. The will that drove her did not buckle. It was a called a Titan. That naturally would make it massive in size. The grip on her knife tightened. It would be that weapon which would kill the beast. For her father.
It arrived at the cliff. Without speaking a word, it reared its arm back. There was sweat running down her face. How to avoid that? That’s when she saw the skin, furry and long. The fist came forward. There was only a second to react. She leapt back, digging her feet into the dirt and finding her grip. The fist smashed into the cliff, pounding through the rock. The entire face shook. Her horse didn’t want to leave, but moved out of necessity. With lightning-movement, she moved. She jumped up and grabbed the first. The fur on the fingers was easy to grip. She had to move fast. The hand opened, and the creature began to shake it. Holding on was unbelievably hard. It was straining both her hands and her arms, but she moved forward. Off the fingers, on to the hand itself. The creature raised its other hand, preparing to smash her like a mosquito. It wasn’t moving! Now was her chance! Its size was its own weakness. A creature this large couldn’t move very fast. The hand was coming down. She saw the shadow of the fingers above her. Coming between the shadow, fear gripped her. It was like an earthquake was slamming in front of her! Her legs buckled, dropping her to her knees. That was when she knew what she had to do. Reaching forward, she grabbed the fur on the other hand. The Titan was raising it up!
Its eyes searched where she had been. It didn’t see her. Confident in its victory over her, it began to move away. Her horse was following. Did he know that she was alive? She was certain that he did. He had seen her get through crazy situations before. Plus, for reasons she didn’t know, whenever they got separated, he always found her. As the arm was lowered, she began to trek up. She was smart, staying in the shadow of the arm, so as to avoid any casual gaze. It was a long trek. Felt like an eternity. She had climbed up rock faces before, during hunts, but never one that moved! Each footfall send a tremor through the body. The fur was getting thinner, as well. But where there wasn’t fur, there was rock! The truth about this monster was still eluding her. Thought that was immaterial, at the moment. It would still die, all the same.
Over an hour passed. The fur was gone, but there was the rocky skin. Her hands had been toughened by years of living as she did, so they had calluses that were thick as scales, and she was still moving. Indeed, once she got used to the tremors, it was easier to not worry about them. The climb went on, for what felt like an eternity. The sun was out in earnest, and it was hot. Very, very hot. Thankfully, the higher she went, the cooler the air. She knew better than to look down. Indeed, the very thought about the creature falling had given her pause, more than once. But one thing at a time. She was at the top of the arm! The shoulder had this weird mark at the top. What was it? Her knife was reacting! It shook and glowed! This was a weakness! Drawing the blade, she silently prayed to the Spirits, to grant her strength. Raising the weapon back, she plunged it forward. The Titan screamed out in pain. Why would a weapon so small cause this creature such distress? Then she realized – it was some form of magick! The markings of her people on the weapon, she saw that they were shining red! The mark got smaller and smaller, the longer she left the blade in. The creature was moving! Its arm was coming back! Once-again, it was raising up to flatten her. This was bad! The palm was closed!
She looked around desperately. Where to go?! There was a crevice where the blade had been! How did that work? Had the weapon sucked something out of the monster? Whatever the case, she had little choice. She jammed her small frame into the crevice. It was strangely cold in here. As the hand smacked into the shoulder, the force sent ripples through her. It was painful, yet not. Like some force had just landed on her chest and made it hard to breathe. The hand was moving! Guess the idea was to make certain this time that it had crushed her. It moved back, and she knew that she had to move too. That impact was too much. Another one and she would be dead, or worse. It looked at its hand, this time not seeming satisfied. She looked around the body. What about the other shoulder? Perhaps there was another mark. This time, she wouldn’t have to climb the Titan. The body was like a man’s, and up this far, she would just have to siddle across, like moving along a rocky mountain slope. The smile was back. But she had to move fast. The arm was coming back up. Breaking into a run, she went along the shoulder and to the neck. The hand was coming down!
She gripped tightly to the rocky skin of the Titan. Another impact. For a second, she felt like she was going to fall. That caused her to look down. Not a good idea! There was an eternity between her and the ground. The fingers of the Titan were searching the shoulder! The monster was smart. It knew that she couldn’t have gotten far, so it was moving around. She had to do the same. The head was moving too. That made this even more perilous. But now she was committed. It was injured. She would see how much more it needed to be killed.
It was about fifteen minutes of moving quickly and surely along the rocky body before she got to the other side of the neck. It was moving everywhere! The Titan was sure that she was still on it, and it wasn’t going to just let her kill it. It didn’t matter. She had made the challenge, and she was not about to let what had murdered her people get away. The knife was rumbling again! Her smile came back. No you will die! She almost broke into a run, drawing the blade and sliding in to the next mark. She looked up, and there she saw it! It was looking at her!
“You dare to kill a Titan, hume child! You know not the forces which you are fouling!”
Rearing the knife back, she snarled at it. “I don’t care! You killed my family! My friends! My people! For that, you shall die!”
“We Titans do not forgive transgressions. If you strike me down, my brothers shall find you, and destroy you in this life, and the next!”
“Then I shall kill them as well! Destroy you completely, so you can hurt no one again!”
The Titan raised its arm, preparing to strike.
“Die!” In a flash, she plunged the knife into the mark. Once-again, it started to make noise and be sucked in to the blade. The Titan screamed in agony, desperately shaking its shoulders, trying to dislodge her. It took all the strength she had to keep the weapon in place, but her will was driving her on. The mark was completely consumed, and then something happened.
Shimmers went through the Titan. It stumbled and fell forward. She climbed as fast as she could to the back, lying as flat as possible, waiting for the tremors. They hit and she was knocked into the air. Falling back down, right on her stomach, her whole front hurt. Standing quickly, she sheathed her knife. The body was changing! The fur was falling off, revealing the entire body of rock. The Titan let out one last gasp, then went silent. The change wasn’t done! She looked around and saw the forest all around her. They had landed right in the middle of it! The plant life was growing all around the Titan, like it was being consumed by the forest. Such a massive corpse, which, in just a few years time, would look like just another series of hills. It was like the Titan had never existed at all. What was this?! Did these monsters have a connection to the world? For a brief moment, she had doubt. But then she remembered the fires and screaming. The resolve came back, and once-again, she let out her war-cry. Her people were avenged. It was time to go home and see what remained. It was many hours before her horse found her. She petted its neck gently, with her horse whinnying in appreciation. After what had happened, she was utterly exhausted. Finding a grove, she found the nearest patch of soft moss and fell to sleep.
Dawn came too soon. She was sore in every way that a person can be sore, but the day was brighter. But there was doubt nipping at her. What would she do now? If the Titan was telling the truth, then there were others. And they would be coming for her, to avenge their comrade. Does that mean that other villages have been attacked?! The thought put a pit in her stomach. In that moment, she realized what she must do. She had to kill the Titans. All of them. Once they were dead, and no more people were in danger, could she return home to whatever remained of her people. She owed them that much. The fight was just getting started. After eating some dried meat, she mounted her horse.
“Let’s get moving!” She knew where to go. There was a path that she had seen, on her way down. It cut through the forest. If there was a path, then it led somewhere. She could follow that and begin her search. Instead of waiting for them to find her, she was going to find them first, and kill them. The fight had just begun.