Two moons over, p.31
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       Two Moons Over, p.31

           Levi Shipley
the center of. From where he was, he thought it might be a perfect circle. From edge to edge the diameter was two hundred yards. Give or take a hundred, as he was never talented in guessing bigger distances. The floor was made of that same gray rock. There was nothing else of note here, but he thought he smelled something pungent.

  Then the pungency revealed themselves as boulders the size of sheds blocked the exits on both sides. Two giants that might have been ogres at one time burst from a false wall to Cecil’s left. Their heads almost reached the top of canyon some thirty feet up. They wore a crude ensemble of bones and animals skins that thankfully covered up their worst. One was covered in what were either tattoos or imprinted runes. The other’s grey complexion was replaced by a blue. Their faces were covered in boils and scars. Cecil couldn’t tell if either was male or female, but he thought they might not be either. They came rushing forward so far and stopped when they saw the sword on Cecil’s back.


  The blue one was the first to stop and pointed at Cecil with an arm made of shining steel and spinning gears. It looked at its friend and bellowed something incoherent. The runed one carried a sword ten times larger than Cecil’s, but it seemed to be made of some kind of battle glass and not crystal. It held out its sword, which was longer than its wielder was tall, in Cecil direction. The length of the thing bridged half the gap between Cecil and the giants. Then the runed one rushed forward, mighty sword drawn back.

  Cecil had heard of the Infused and the Altered, experiments that often went wrong even if they went right. Most of them ended up disfigured and beyond saving. They would just die. Others would be mutated badly but live, but these were useless. And a few would take the augments well and grow into powerful monsters such as these, but their minds would always be ruined in the process. Cecil was under the impression that Dahzir stopped such experiments after taking Hodge’s body, since that was what he was after all along. But to see the things in person was quite different. Their minds had melted down to primal insanity, and Cecil just hoped he could put them out of their misery quickly. As he was certain that if any bit of their old selves still lived in their oversized skulls, it would be suffering at the sight of what had become of it.

  With still twenty feet between Cecil and the runed giant, the enormous sword swung from left to right. Cecil held out his sword and blocked the blow on his right. He slid back but managed to keep his ground. His boots grew hot under him, and Cecil was sure that they’d be well worn by the time he reached Fraushein.

  Another swing came. This time from the other direction. Cecil didn’t bother to block and leapt over the blade and closed distance. The moment he landed Cecil jumped again, planning to come right down on the monster’s head and split its skull before this became cruel. Instead the giant put all its strength into an upward slash. The blade of its sword struck Cecil’s blocking one with tremendous force. The sword was indeed glass and shattered at this impact.

  The giant looked at the colossal hilt in its hand that now attached to nothing but air. Cecil meanwhile was sent flying upward. He looked down at his attacker, sword drawn and position held. As he started his descent, the giant looked up at him with yellow crooked teeth. As Cecil came down, the mutant readied its right arm to strike the falling werewolf.

  It thrust its arm up at the traveler as it would have any other. The success it suspected was instead replaced by its hand being lopped off. As a mercy though, Cecil’s sword went through the thing’s skull and all the way down the center of it. The giant split in half before realizing that its hand was cut. There was a spray of rank orange blood, and Cecil moved away from it before getting drenched. It was as if the giant’s very blood had been curdling for some time.

  The second one with its gleaming arm never moved. It only watched as its comrade was defeated by a bug. Cecil waited for this one to rush forward also, but it did not. That was fine. He didn’t feel like killing a second, although he did wonder if that would be a mercy for the thing. At the moment, its gnarled blue face seemed to gain composure, something Cecil thought it hadn’t had in years.

  The giant beckoned Cecil to come forward, and Cecil did. The werewolf thought if he didn’t, the stupid mountain in front of him would charge him to its death. When he was ten feet from the giant, which might as well have been face to face, the ogre held up its mechanical arm. This was one of the better experiments even among the giants that were made. At the very least it would have been expensive to give the thing a cybernetic arm like that.

  Though much of it was covered in bad leather, Cecil could see all the scars on its living arm and the scratches on the metal one. There were open sores on its face that were as big as Cecil’s fists, and he wondered just how painful they must be. Its left eye was rotting right out of its socket and looked black and dead. The odor emanating from it was beyond foul, and Cecil thought he’d come as close as he felt comfortable. He hadn’t noticed so many ills on the other giant, but he was in the heat of battle.

  The giant made a grunting noise and proceeded to point at Cecil. It sounded like the whines of a wanting child, but it also sound nothing like that. It began to make swinging motions while it held an imaginary sword. All the while looking right at Cecil. That wasn’t right, however, it was looking at Bane Edge.

  Cecil sighed. He knew the creature wanted to hold the sword and probably lick the blood off. But he thought it would leave him be if he let it hold the sword, so he unsheathed it and held out the handle. “Don’t look for too long. I need it back, and I need to be off.” The mutant didn’t respond to this, but Cecil hoped it understood.

  It reached out its living arm, the one that could feel, and grabbed the hilt. Even though it used only one hand, the sword was just a dagger to the blue cyborg. The handle was too small for its hand, but it seemed happy. It looked over the buster with its living eye the same way one might inspect a diamond. It seemed to have retained more intelligence than Cecil gave it credit for. After looking at the colossal dagger and every facet of it, the giant gave Cecil a thankful smile. It then turned to a frown and looked away.

  The giant turned the blade inward and held the handle with both its living and unliving hands. Cecil didn’t bother to stop it, as he was just absorbing what it was about to do. Then it did. The giant blue ogre plunged the double edged dagger into the center of its chest. An expression of pain came over its face, but it made no scream. A few moment passed, and its knees buckled. It fell forward and turned to land on its back. Another few seconds went by, and Cecil shook his head. The cybernetic arm made a few buzzing noises and stopped spinning its gears.

  Cecil took pity on the giant, because he knew it was living with what it was. He took his sword from the thing’s chest. The sword that was no more than a dagger a moment ago again became colossal. He shook the blood off and sheathed it. Cecil looked behind him at the remains of the first which now stained the gray rock floor. He sighed again, a pointless habit, and turned to leave.

  But he stopped and looked at the giant’s silver arm. There was some writing on the last stretch of steel by the shoulder socket. How it attached to the giant’s nerves was hidden, but the stamp on the upper arm interested him. It read:





  “And here I really thought he had just retired.” Cecil walked over to the false wall the two had come out of. A large tarp was draped askew. It was the same color as the rock, and noticeable when up close. “I hope I get a better retirement plan.” He said to and walked in.


  The inside was lit by the afternoon sun. It reeked far less than he expected, but there was still a musty scent drifting through the air. The walls were covered in little trinkets. There were boxes along the back wall fil
led with armor and weapons too small for the giants to use. In the middle of the chamber was a large stone table. On top of it were hunks of raw meat covered in flies.

  On the wall to the right of him and in a break between knick knacks, was a caveman sketch of a series of different dwellers. Though it was crude, Cecil could see that the last two and freshest seemed to be of one with tattoos and one with a very odd arm. He gathered that there must have been other giants here before Titus and his companion.

  Before he walked out, a small white paper sticking out from under a rock caught his attention. It was behind the table and almost touching one of the loot crates. Cecil lifted the rock and grabbed the paper. It was a photograph of an aemon man and woman standing in the courtyard of the war museum in Mirwa. There was child in the middle of them with a bow in her hair. They were all smiling.

  He walked back to the inhabitant wall and held up the picture. The man had three horns that all pointed to the center of his forehead. And on the wall was a figure with three lines coming off of its head, though they weren’t pointing the same way as in the picture. He had been the last here before Titus and the other, if the wall held chronology from left to
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