Chapter Fifty-Three

Tortoises come home to roost

It was rare that Garfan was left verbally insensate. He might hold his tongue, letting some foe go on about how it was prophesied that he would fall this very day, yada, yada, yada. But then he would banter back and forth (he really did enjoy banter) and then he’d dispatch the enemy and as likely as not, banter with Lockford for a bit. Again, banter was big part of the experience.
The fact is, “ghuh” simply is not banter. Even the Savage Beast Men of the Razor Forrest of Ensnar, whose language is but a series of howls, snarls and sniffs look down their snouts at “ghuh.”
Everyone looked at Garfan who in turn looked at the pale blue Troll Tortoistaur. Weird and awkward would be simplest way to describe the moment. But truthfully words were not adequate to express the nuance of uncomfortable silence that had settled over our heroes.
The Goblins who manned the walls of Citadel of Darkness had noticed the intruder because, well, how could they not, and took swift and decisive action. A volley of arrows flew out to the huge monster and promptly turned to butterflies that fluttered off into the fog. They were used to fighting things that retaliated with furious violence, demons and those sorts of things, so they tried spears, which became silver cranes that sailed about the towers then flew off. Third times the charm, they thought, and shot flaming boulders, which just sprouted wings and flew off into the fog, to wherever flaming boulders go.
The Goblins looked at each other and retreated, because they did not want to be turned into something and the next thing they would fling at an enemy was themselves, as per the standing orders of the Masters of Evil.
None of this concerned the pale blue Troll Tortoistaur, who looked unblinkingly at Garfan.
“Do you two know each other?” asked Caliric.
Garfan began to tap his armored boots, rolling his shoulders and smiling.
Lockford cleared his throat and said, “I believe he resembles a Troll that the Chosen One fought somewhat recently.”
Garfan continued to move rhythmically and grinning.
“What are you doing?” asked Tarnah.
Garfan didn’t respond but he did flash her a huge grin.
“Does this happen often?” Hubert inquired.
The rest of them looked at Lockford who said, “No. Hardly ever.”
Kelph, again listened to something that only he seemed to hear and said to no one in particular, “Well I didn’t mean now, what with that out there,” as he pointed to the massive creature looming above them.
With an throat clearing that sounded as if two mountains where being shoved into the space for one mountain, the vast creature said, “If you don’t mind?”
He empathized this point with a subtle foot tap that opened a new chasm in front of the Citadel of Darkness.
The Valet touched Garfan on the shoulder, gently shook and said, “Sir, you need to focus on the situation.
Garfan turned to his old friend and shouted, “I’m free!” Then continued to dance. It was clear now that he was dancing. From shear joy. Over what was less clear, but the happiness was unmistakable.
“Sir Garfan, are you all right?” asked Caliric, who hoped this was a cunning plan of some sort.
“I’M FREE!” was the only reply.
The Valet sighed and said, “Sir, I apologize in advance for this.” Lockford struck his master across the face with a slap that while was not anywhere as loud as a crack of lightning, was just as startling.
Garfan blinked, rubbed his face where he’s been struck, and said, “What the Hells Lockford?”
Lockford tilted his head in the direction of the huge blue being that looked upon them.
“Do I have your attention now?” enquired the massive being.
Garfan nodded.
“Good, let us begin,” said Tug.

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