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A Blazer Fairy Tale (Part 2)

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Apparently there's a limit to how much column space a post can take, so here's the end of the story.  Click below to see it.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

It was a few, scant weeks later when the town again was seized by an uproar, this one far greater than the first.  Farmer Joel and the knights were again at the inn when they saw women running through the streets screaming, leading their crying children by the hand.  Men looked grim and were grabbing pitchforks, hoes, and whatever implements they could find, crowding the street.  The three men rushed out and looked in the direction the men were pointing.

 

Suddenly a large head peered over the town gate.  “HELLO?”

 

“What in the name of Bonnie’s Beautiful Blintzes is that?” asked Farmer Joel.

 

“Another fortunate wind, farmer,” said Sir Brandon.  “Once again it blows in our favor.”

 

“How many lucky drafts can there be?” asked Farmer Joel, but nobody heard him.

 

At that point the town wall began rocking back and forth with a rhythmic:  KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.  The huge face spoke again in consternation.  “HELLO?  WHY WON’T YOU OPEN THE DOOR?”

 

Sir Brandon pushed his way through the crowd and ran up the stairs which flanked the gatehouse.  “People…people!  Calm down!  Stop!”

 

A voice rose from the throng.  “What is that thing, Sir Brandon?”

 

Another shouted, “Do you know this creature?”

 

“It’s not a creature, it’s a giant.  And yes, I know him!  Or at least Sir Lamarcus and I know of him.  We heard he was in these parts and we sent out a message saying he would be welcome in our town.”

 

A horrified gasp rose from the crowd.

 

“YEAH!  YOU SAID I’D BE WELCOME!  SO WHY AREN’T THE DOORS OPEN?”

 

Sir Brandon cringed as the voice rolled over him.  “Just a moment, please, Sir Giant!  We must simply prepare for your arrival.”

 

“Arrival?” came another shout.  “Why in the world would we want a giant in our town?”

 

“Why to fight for us, of course.”

 

“Uh…excuse me sir knight.”

 

“Yes, Squire Golliver?”

 

“If it’s fighting men you want I believe I have found one which will be suitable.  He is deadly with his blades, quick as a lightning flash, and can strike from distance as well.  I don’t see why we’d want to take the risk of having a giant in town when we could lure one of the best warriors the world has ever…”  At that point half of the populace fell flat on the ground as an avalanche of noise cascaded down the street.

 

“NOBODY FIGHTS BETTER THAN ME!” the giant shouted.  As if to demonstrate he used his left hand to rip one of the trees which lined the gate road out of the ground, roots and all.  With a quickness that his size could not hint at he swung the tree at the statue atop of the gate--the same one Martell had shot with his arrow months before.  The statue pulverized into powder.  The giant twirled the tree between his fingers, threw it in the air, caught it behind his back with his other hand, and then planted it right back in the hole from which it came…upside-down.

 

“Point taken,” said Squire Golliver.  “And welcome to town!”

 

With that the throng raised a mighty cheer and the giant was welcomed and feted for weeks.  All the townsfolk shared their tables with him and a suitable place was found in the central green for him to rest.  During the day he would dance with the maids and at night he would tell stories of how he would crush the town’s enemies when the time came.  And everybody was happy.

 

                        ***

 

Less noticeable than the giant’s arrival, but no less important to the knights, was the return of Travis and Martell a week later, a donkey in tow.  On this donkey rode an unassuming man of non-descript height.  Knowing the campaigning season was nigh Farmer Joel had moved his belongings into town to defend the city proper.  When he saw the man on the donkey he waved an arm.  The man waved back.  Sir Brandon and Sir Lamarcus strode up a second later.

 

“That’s him?” asked Sir Lamarcus.  “That’s the man you recommended to us?”

 

Sir Brandon muttered under his breath, “He doesn’t look like much.”

 

“Hey, he can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.”

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing, just an anachronistic joke.  Why don’t you see what he can do before you judge him?”

 

By that time the young men and the donkey rider had neared.  Sir Brandon dismounted, as did the man.  The knight extended his hand.

 

“I am Sir Brandon.  I have heard good things about you.”

 

The man extended his hand.  “They call me Blake.  And doubtless having looked at me you’re disbelieving half of those things right now.”

 

“No, no!  I wouldn’t say that.”

 

“You don’t have to.  In any case, your gate is in need of repair, we need to clear a zone in front of the walls for uninhibited bow fire, I’ll want a list of provisions you’ve stored for the season, and I’ll need to meet your company and know all of their specialties.”

 

“Well, you don’t waste any time, do you?”

 

“Do you have much to spare?  The season is already late.  Look…this will work best if we work together.  Sometimes I will lead, sometimes you will.  Whatever the situation calls for, we’ll do.  Agreed?”

 

“Agreed.  Did you know we have a giant?”

 

A wry smile crossed Blake’s lips.  “I had heard.”

 

“Perhaps you’d care to meet him…”  A man running in through the gate interrupted Sir Brandon’s thought.

 

“They’re coming!  They’re coming!”

 

“Quickly!” said Blake, “How many and how far?”

 

“It’s a big lot, and I’d say two days at most.”

 

“We need to get organized.  Get some men working on that gate and…what now?”

 

The men turned to see townsman running from the other direction.  “Sir Brandon!  Sir Lamarcus!  You’d better come quick!”

 

“What is it?” asked Sir Lamarcus.

 

“I told them not to do it, sir!  I told them, but they didn’t listen!”

 

Sir Lamarcus grabbed the man by the shoulders.  “Told them what?  What happened?”

 

“They were dancing ‘round the maypole, sir!  I told them not to, that it was foolish, but they did it anyway!”

 

“Did WHAT?  Out with it man!!!”

 

“The giant, sir.  He’s been hurt.”

 

                        ***

 

The campaign season was long and hard, but the men of the town fought valiantly, even without the giant.  They didn’t gain any ground, but they didn’t lose any either.  Compared to recent history the townsfolk considered it a success.  They still had their homes.  More importantly the hope and belief had returned to their eyes.  They knew now that what they had lost was slowly and surely being returned.  Once again they embraced the men that fought for them and assured them that they always had a home.  The scars of the past were gradually being erased.  Even Farmer Joel was pleased with his crop.

 

The fame of the town was beginning to spread as well.  It wasn’t long before new fighters were coming to join the company.  A burly warrior named Jerryd brought his mighty whacking club and his stout armor.  He was known for charging directly into the ranks of the enemy no matter what the odds and emerging victorious.  A swift runner named Rudy wielded throwing daggers, tossing them fast enough to make the enemy cower in fear.  Another wounded warrior limped into town, calling himself “Ike”.  His strength appeared unmatched, should he find himself fit for battle.  Soon after that a young defender with a swift shield came through the gates.

 

“What is your name?” asked Sir Brandon.

 

“Zey call me Batum.”

 

“Bate-ummm?”

 

“No, no!  Bah-toom!”

 

“And what can you do?”

 

Just then a group of maidens walked by.  They noticed the new addition and immediately began casting glances and tittering behind their hands.

 

“Oh no, we’ll have none of that!” said Sir Brandon.  “Come on, we’ll find a use for you.”  And he dragged him off by the earlobe.

 

As Sir Lamarcus and Travis were practicing the next day, the knight noticed movement in an upper window of one of the towers.

 

“Travis!  What is that?”

 

“Oh, that’s just old Raef’s room.”

 

“Old Raef?”

 

“Yeah.  He’s even bigger and taller than you, but he’s not much good for fighting anymore.”

 

“Well fetch him down here.”

 

Travis did just that, and Old Raef presented himself before the two knights.

 

“What shall we do with him?” asked Sir Lamarcus.

 

“Don’t know,” said Travis.

 

“I have an idea,” said Sir Brandon.  “Let’s dress him up like a princess, put a veil over his face, and send him out to all of the other towns proclaiming what a wonderful town this is for fighters to come to and how many striking maidens there are here.  Hopefully we can get someone else who takes about the same amount of space that Old Raef does to move into his old apartments up there.”

 

“But what about me?” asked Old Raef.

 

“Oh, just stay in whatever town sends a fighter our way.  He’s got to have old quarters just like yours, right?  Just move in there.”

 

“For how long?”

 

“I’d say about a year ought to do it.  Then you can do whatever you want.”

 

And so they did.

 

Best of all, despite all of the craziness, the giant recovered before the next campaigning season began.  With Sir Brandon and Sir Lamarcus at the forefront of every charge, Sergio and Channing working magic, Webster and Rudy flinging daggers and arrows from long distance, Travis tumbling, Jerryd clubbing, Ike on the mend, Batum keeping the ladies busy, Farmer Joel smacking people in the face with his shovel, and Blake organizing it all, it looked to be a successful season.

 

                        THE END