|Chapter 17: Tull's Tale|
Compelled by the ancient passion of the Bloodguard, Korik asked, "Why did you not fight?"
"We had become the thing we hate. We are better dead."
"Nevertheless!" Korik said. "Is this the fealty of the Giants? Does all promised faithfulness come to this? By the Vow, Giant! You destroy yourselves, and let the evil live! Even Kevin Landwaster was not so weak."
In his emotion, he forgot caution, and all the Bloodguard were taken unaware. The sudden voice behind them was cold with contempt; it cut through them like a gale of winter. Turning, they found that another Giant stood in the doorway. He was much younger than the Giant within, but he resembled the older Giant. The chief difference lay in the contempt that filled his face, raged in his eyes, twisted his mouth as if he were about to spit.
In his right hand, he clenched a hot green stone. It blazed with an emerald strength that shone through his fingers. As he gripped it, it steamed thickly.
He stank of fresh blood, he was spattered with it from head to foot. And within him, clinging to his bones, was a powerful presence that did not fit his form. It slavered from behind his eyes with a great force of malice and wrong.
"Hmm,' he said in a despsing tone, "a Lord and three Bloodguard. I am pleased. I had thought that my friend in the Sarangrave would take all like you--but I see I shall have that pleasure myself. Ah, but you are not entirely scatheless, are you? Black becomes you. Did you lose friends to my friend?" He laughed with a grating sound, like the noise of boulders being crushed together.
Lord Hyrim stepped forward, planted his staff, said bravely, "Come no closer, turiya Raver. I am Hyrim, Lord of the Council of Revelstone. Melenkurion abatha! Duroc minas mill khabaal! I will not let you pass."
The Giant winced as Lord Hyrim uttered the Words of power. But then he laughed again. "Hah! Little Lord! Is that the limit of your lore? Can you come no closer than that to the Seven Words? You pronounce them badly. But I must admit--you have recognized me. I am turiya Herem. But we have new names now, my brothers and I. There is Fleshharrower, and Satansfist. And I am named Kinslaughterer."
At this, the older Giant groaned heavily. The Raver glanced into the back of the cell, and said in a tone of satisfaction, "Ah, there he is. Little Lord, I see that you have been speaking with Sparlimb Keelsetter. Did he tell you that he is my father? Father, why do you not welcome your son?"
The Bloodguard did not look at the older Giant. But they heard Keelsetter's pain, and understood it. Something within the Giant was breaking. Suddenly, he gave a savage roar. Leaping past the four, he attacked Kinslaughterer.
His fingers caught the Raver's throat. He drove him back out of the doorway onto the headrock of the piers.
Kinslaughterer made no attempt to break his father's hold. He resisted the impetus until his feet were braced. Then he raised the green stone, moved it toward Keelsetter's forehead.
Both fist and stone passed through the older Giant's skull into his brain.
Keelsetter screamed. His hands dropped, his body went limp. He hung from the point of power which impaled his head.
Grinning ravenously, the Raver held his father there for a long moment. Then he tightened his fist. Deep emerald flashed; the stone blasted the front of Keelsetter's skull. He fell dead, pouring blood over the headrock.
Kinslaughterer stamped his feet in the spreading pool.