Thundarr The Barbarian in The Wrath Of Crom

Chapter 12

The companions travel well into the night. When the moon is high up in the night sky, shining its silvery glow upon the seven friends, they finally get to the end of the valley. Right at the edge of The Valley of Bones is the famed Giant Wood. The first tree of the forest is so huge that all seven horses standing nose to tail couldn't even hope to cover one quarter the tree's circumference.

"Wow," says Princess Ariel as she looks up at the gigantic tree, "It sure didn't take much imagination to name this place. That thing is huge. You could carve an entire five bedroom house out of its trunk, complete with kitchen, dining room, and sitting room, and not even use up half the available space."

"Yes," agrees Grey Wolf, "it is most impressive. But we must be cautious. The trees aren't the only things in The Giant Wood that grow to such huge proportions. To many of the creatures that call this wood home, we would be little more than a nice light snack."

"It's pretty dark in there," says Conan, "It's too dangerous to take the horses in there. We should camp here for the night."

"Aye," agrees Thundarr, "We can start again at first light."

"Fine by me," says Jezmine as she dismounts, "My backside is killing me."

"Maybe you should try riding bareback," says Ariel, "You might find it more comfortable."

"I think I'll take your word on that," says the acrobat as she begins removing her horse's saddle.

"We need to get a fire going," says Zula.

"I'll go collect the firewood," announces Thundarr, "I can light my way with my Sunsword."

"I will join you, my friend," says Grey Wolf, "My magic might help in collecting the firewood."

Ookla roars a reply.

"Very well, old friend," says Thundarr, "You can join us."

"The rest of us should start making camp," says Zula.

"Agreed," says Conan, "You three stay close together. There's no telling what dangers lurk in these woods."

"Don't worry," says Thundarr, "Just you make sure to keep the women safe."

"I'm a big girl, Thundarr," says Princess Ariel, "I can take care of myself."

"As can I," adds Jezmine.

"Don't worry, my friend," says Conan, "Zula and I will keep them safe."

The two women look at Conan and give a simultaneous 'Humph'. Then they burst out laughing. Thundarr just shakes his head.

"Females," he says as he walks off to collect the firewood for the night.

Ariel and Jezmine start pitching the tents as Zula and Conan begin collecting large stones for building the fire pit. By the time they're finished making the camp, Thundarr, Ookla, and Grey Wolf return with armloads of firewood. Ookla's load is quite impressive, as his mok strength allows him to carry incredible amounts. Grey Wolf flies back to camp on his magical cape, with heavy loads of firewood piled up on the magical garment. Thundarr's armload actually looks pretty lame in comparison. They pile up the firewood next to the tents. Conan takes several jogs and a few branches and twigs and sets up the wood in the fire pit. Then he pulls out a stone and a piece of steel and starts striking them against each other, creating sparks, in an attempt to get a fire going. Thundarr walks up, takes out his Sunsword, igniting the blade, and then touches the blade to the tinder, setting it ablaze. Conan looks up at the blonde barbarian. Thundarr looks down at him and shrugs.

"My way is quicker," he says as he puts his Sunsword away.

Jezmine and Princess Ariel giggle at that, and Zula and Grey Wolf both burst out laughing. Even Ookla begins to chuckle. Conan looks at all his friends' mirth and can't help but start to laugh himself. Even Thundarr joins in. Almost as soon as the levity begins, it quickly ends. Jezmine notices that the horses are nervous, stamping and nickering in anxiety. She grabs a shuriken from her bracer and stands in a ready position, poised to strike.

"Conan," she says as loudly as she dares, "I don't think we're alone."

Conan leaps to his feet and draws his sword. Thundarr once again takes out his Sunsword and ignites the blade. Grey Wolf and Ariel leap to their feet and prepare to start casting their spells. Ookla knocks a stun arrow to his mok bow and prepares to take aim. Zula takes out his bolas and begins to twirl them over his head. They see several sets of eyes in the darkness, reflecting yellow in the firelight. The companions close ranks, standing shoulder to shoulder facing outwards around the fire. The eyes are all around them, surrounding them. Then one set of eyes moves forward, into the light. It's a great wolf, the size of Ookla's equart. Then another wolf steps out of the shadows. Then another, and another. Soon they're surrounded by gigantic wolves, circling them like sharks, growling at them.

"Wait my friends!" says Zula as he puts his bolas away, "Let me handle this."

The Prince of the Wasai drops to his knees and draws a mystical symbol in the dirt. "By the symbol of Jhebbal-Sag," he says, "Master of Beasts! Animal brothers heed my call."

The mystic symbol begins to glow blue. The glow spreads to Zula's hands, then shoots out of his fingertips. Rays of blue light strike each wolf, causing it to stop in its tracks.

"We are not your prey," says Zula, "Please do not attack. We mean you no harm, but we shall defend ourselves if forced to."

The largest wolf from the pack cautiously approaches Zula. Zula bravely extends his hand to the giant lupine. It carefully sniffs Zula's hand. Then its ears come up, it begins wagging its tail, and it knocks the dark skinned warrior onto his back and begins licking his face. Almost immediately the other wolves in the pack begin to jump about like a bunch of playful pups. Some of them even approach the other members of the party and lick their faces too. Zula laughs as he scratches the lead wolf behind the ear.

"Thank you, my animal brother," says the Wasai prince, "but my friends and I are hungry. Could you help us find something to eat?"

The alpha wolf gets off of Zula, sits back on his haunches, throws his head back, and howls. One by one the other giant wolves in the pack stop their playing and join in the eerie chorus. Soon the entire pack is howling at the night sky. Then the alpha male runs off, the rest of the pack following after. Thundarr offers his hand to Zula, helping him back up to his feet.

"Where did they go?" asks the barbarian.

"To find us some dinner," replies Zula.

"Will they return?" asks Conan.

"If they can find food," says Zula, "absolutely."

A few hours after they had left, the wolf pack returns with dinner. Three of the wolves each have a single rabbit in his mouth, which they happily drop at the feet of the Wasai prince. Like the wolves, these conies aren't the typical size of your average hare. They're each about the size of a full grown sheep. Even with Ookla's hardy appetite, just one of these rabbits was enough to feed the lot of them. Thundarr and Conan take one and haul it over to the tents, where they begin skinning and cleaning the rabbit. As they do this, Zula turns to the wolves, which are looking at him expectantly.

"We thank you, my friends," says Zula, "But I'm afraid we can't possibly eat all three rabbits. We will take the one my companions are preparing now. You can have the other two, with our compliments and our gratitude."

The wolves let out a series of barks, then tear into the dead rabbits. It's not a very pretty sight, watching the pack devour the two giant hares. But better them than his friends and their mounts. This night they enjoy a lovely meal of roasted coney, although it did take considerably longer to cook this one than it would a normal sized rabbit. In fact, their meal was actually cooked very rare. Still, it was the first hot, fresh meat any of them had eaten in a good long while. That alone made it a meal worthy of kings in the minds of the seven friends. They spent the night quite peacefully. The wolf pack had stayed around the camp as they slept, and few creatures would willingly attack a pack of giant wolves. When the friends wake up the following morn, they eat a quick breakfast of leftover rabbit, pack up the camp, and then continue on their way. They make sure to leave the scraps leftover from their previous meals for the wolves, which seem quite grateful.

Much, much deeper in the forest, a family of giants sit about a campfire. There's a male giant, his long mane of hair and thick beard are gray with age. Next to him is a younger giant, with long black hair but no beard or mustache. And finally there is a female giant, with long wavy brown hair. They're all wearing clothing made of patchwork animal skins. The female giant is poking at their fire with a short (for them) stick. The older giant places a hand on his stomach as it growls in protest.

"I hungry," says Greybeard, "Why you not put meat on that stick?"

"Meat all run away, Papa," says the younger male, "We not catch any for days."

"But I hungry," says Papa.

"We hungry too," says the female giant.

"We not be hungry if you and Boy Son catch meat," argues Papa.

"We no catch meat 'cause there no meat to catch" shouts Boy Son.

"I know where you can find lots of meat," says a sultry feminine voice from out of nowhere.

"Who say that?" shouts Papa, "That you Wife Girl?"

"I not say nothing," says a surprised Wife Girl.

"I did," says the voice again.

This time they see where the voice is coming from. Out of nowhere appear three more giants. A red haired male, and two females. One of the females has long golden blonde hair, the other has long raven black hair. They stand before the giants completely naked, making not even a token attempt at modesty. The three giants that were talking back off cautiously. They were leery of magic, and these three appeared out of thin air. No giant could do that without mystical aid. But the three of them are so hungry, they can't quite find it within them to run away. Especially after these three strangers had promised them meat.

"You say we can have meat?" asks Papa.

"There is lots of meat heading this way," says Delilah.

"Humans," adds Glasya.

"Riding horses," says Gideon.

"Me like human meat," says Papa.

"Horse meat good too," adds Wife Girl.

"Human small," says Boy Son, "Not much meat. They carry sharp ouchies."

Papa picks up a huge log, "We carry big crushies!" he says.

"Boy Son smart," says Wife Girl, "He know humans. He try eat them before."

"Some humans throw rocks made of fire," says Boy Son, "and breathe winter. Humans dangerous."

"Me dangerous!" shouts Papa.

Glasya, Delilah, and Gideon each stare one of the giants in the eyes. The giant sized succubi and incubus each summon their innate magic, causing their eyes to glow red. The eyes of the giants then glow red as well. The squabbling amongst them ceases immediately. They each pick up the largest logs that they can lift, as well as the largest and heaviest rocks they could find. Then they storm off to find the humans they were searching for. The three demons smile as the giants leave, then revert to their natural size and forms. All the while they hear the giants chanting, "Meat. Meat. Meat," over and over again.

Later in the day, Thundarr is leading the troupe of adventurers through The Giant Wood. Aside from the fact that everything in this forest seems to have grown to enormous proportions, nothing seems to be really out of the ordinary here. That is until the ground begins to shake. The three giants step out through the over-sized trees.

"Demon Dogs!" cries Thundarr.

"Meat!" shouts Papa, and he swings his gigantic club at Thundarr, narrowly missing the barbarian.

"Crom!" says Conan as he draws his Star Metal sword.

"Mitra!" says Jezmine.

"Scatter!" cries Princess Ariel as she starts throwing magical balls of energy at the giants, "Don't bunch up! We're harder to hit separately!"

"Lords of Light!" says Thundarr as he takes out his Sunsword, igniting the blade, "Look at the young giant!"

"What about him?" asks Zula as he ducks under a flying boulder.

"He looks just like Conan!" says the barbarian.

"By the gods!" exclaims Grey Wolf, "He is right!"

The female giant swings her club at Ookla, missing the mok by inches.

"Who cares what they look like?" says Conan, "Just slay them before they make a meal out of us!"

"I don't think your wolf friends will be able to help us out of this one, my friend!" Grey Wolf says to Zula.

"Even if they could," says Zula, "I don't think I'll get the chance to call them here!"

Ookla leaps off of his equart and dives behind a large tree, just as Conan's giant sized doppelganger throws a rock at him. The boulder cracks against the trunk of the tree. Ookla steps out a second later and fires off two stun arrows at the giant. Both strike the giant, but are so small that they don't affect him. Papa charges at the mok with his giant club. Ookla dashes away just in time, letting the club practically knock over the tree he was hiding behind.

Zula fires a crossbow bolt at the old giant, Papa. The missile digs deep into the old giant's flesh, but is so small in comparison to his body that it does almost no real damage. Jezmine throws her throwing stars at the female giant. The shuriken all strike home, cutting into her flesh, but Wife Girl hardly notices them. She swings her club at the acrobat, nearly crushing her. Thundarr rides by and cuts the club in two with his Sunsword.

"Grey Wolf!" calls Princess Ariel, "Go for the eyes! It's our only chance!"

"I'm ready when you are, Princess!" replies the wizard.

"NOW!" she says, and the two of them blast Papa in the face with their magic, each of them focusing on a different eye.

Papa roars in agony, clutching his injured eyes as he staggers backward. He trips over a fallen tree and falls hard on his back. Ookla picks up one of the giants' discarded boulders and hurls it at Boy Son. The heavy stone catches the black haired giant right between the eyes. He stands there for a moment, his eyes crossed, and a peculiar expression on his face. He drops his club, falls to his knees, and then collapses face first into the ground. The others all cheer.

"Like a scene right out of David and Goliath!" says Ariel.

"Who?" asks Thundarr

"Never mind," replies the sorceress, "Forget it."

"Hey!" says Jezmine, "Where's Conan?"

As the others look around, they see that his horse, Thunder, is walking around without a rider, and his Star Metal sword is stuck in the ground up to the hilt. They also notice that the female giant is also missing.

"Oh no!" says Zula.

They quickly find the giant's tracks and follow them back where they came from. It wasn't hard. Something that size couldn't possibly move with much stealth. As they approach the giants' campsite, they hear strange noises coming from up ahead. Afraid that they might be too late and the giant was already eating their friend, they quicken their pace. However, nothing could have prepared them for what they were about to see.

They enter a clearing in the woods, expecting to find the giant maid eating a meal. Instead they find her lying on her back, naked, pleasuring herself. From their angle, they can just see her hand moving back and forth over her privates. What's more, sticking out from between her fingers are what appear to be Conan's legs. He seems to be kicking in desperation, although whether it’s to get away or to breathe is difficult to tell.

"Oh . . ." says Ariel.

"My . . ." says Zula.

"Gods . . ." says Jezmine.

"I guess we should help him," says Thundarr, "somehow."

"Maybe we should borrow a page from the Lilliputians' playbook," says Ariel.

"Lilllll . . . eeee . . . pewwwww . . . shunnnns?" Thundarr asks, pronouncing the new word slowly.

"Forget it," says Ariel.

She points at some of the trees and rays of yellow energy leap from her hands and strikes them. Their giant roots come out of the ground and wrap themselves around the female giant, pinning her to the ground. She points at some more trees and uses her magic to animate their roots too. Then another tree by the giant's head wraps its roots around Wife Girl's head and neck. Then more by her legs wrap around her ankles. They pull her legs apart as Thundarr and Ookla run up to the giant's crotch. The mok forces the giantess to release her grip as Thundarr pulls his friend out from inside of her. Conan is completely drenched in feminine fluids, desperately gasping for air.

"This . . . never . . . happened," he says between breaths.

The raven haired barbarian walks back to his horse, where his sword and shield are both strapped to his saddle. Thundarr and Ookla follow, both trying their best to stifle their laughter. They mount up, Conan glaring at the others, to silently tell them that he sees no humor in what had just happened. Conan rides off in the lead. The others all wait for him to get safely ahead of them before they all allow themselves a good hard laugh at his expense. Then they quickly move to catch up with their friend, before he gets too far ahead of them.

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