Life with the giants was dull, at best, which suited Scaldo fine. The whole time he was attended to by the brother of Chamsar, Tintil, and Scaldo could not help but feel like a pet rabbit. No need to say, he took advantage of it. He slept and ate all he wanted, and although he could not leave, why would he want to? There was too much food to be eaten: river fish, pan bread, stews, honey, nasty tea that Scaldo drank anyway, and so on.
He did try to wheedle more information about the Dwarf out of Tintil, and slyly he introduced the topic during one luncheon, and had to afterwards pat himself on the back for his success. (Well he tried to pat his back but had to settle for patting his stomach.)
"They had been friends, long ago, and I cannot speak of it--" Tintil's eyes popped in terror. "Forgot I said that!"
"I will," Scaldo lied. Tintil was more tight lipped after that. Even so, Scaldo learned enough to make his blubberous head spin, as in another conversation.
"We call ourselves men."
"But you look giant!"
"Maybe; but then you are very short."
"What, now!!" Tintil spent a minute explaining himself. "And you mean there are more of you?"
"Oh, yes," Tintil looked relieved at changing from the subject of heights. "In towns, great cities..."
"Wait. Actual towns of... mens... like Bobbing or Sackville?"
"Yes, I suppose."
Scaldo knew Tintil was stretching the truth, but was polite enough to let it drop. He then dared to ask a question he was somewhat afraid to learn the answer to.
"Do you have knives? Black sharp ones, for throwing and other mean stuff."
"Nay. We have slings. Very practical with the ford stones."
Well, it was sort of relieving they were not the ones who tried to pierce him with flying knives.
Although Scaldo lived in comfort, it was not always cushy like back home, for Chamsar instantly snuffed out any hint of laxness. Everyone had some task, be it searching for spies in the trees or polishing acorns. Chamsar also had so many rules that it was difficult just to breath the right way: no leaning on trees and no yawning before sunset; he who came too early or too late to dinner was punished. (The latter never one of Scaldo's problems).
So things went on smoothly for several days. One afternoon, Scaldo was helping Tintil tally hens, a task Chamsar ordered to be done twice every day, if not thrice. Tintil did the actual tallying. Scaldo just clutched at the hens to keep them still, an endeavor that rarely worked, for Scaldo's looming bulk frightened them mad. If Tintil thought the process annoying, he did not say so.
After another fruitless scramble, Scaldo looked up, holding feathers and no chicken and was irritated that his hard labor was for nothing. Tintil was not counting; rather he was looking across camp. Scaldo looked too and squeaked.
The Dwarf strutted into the circle of tents, blue hood bobbing, face fiercely hidden within it.
Scaldo hid his face in the feathers.
Several fingers pointed at the quivering feathers, who said, "Not here!" All fingers were stashed away, however, when Chamsar flung open his tent and marched out.
"He is my prisoner of battle, stunted one."
"I ain't going to argue with yer bloody laws, sausage face."
Chamsar's skin turned deeper and deeper shades of russet.
"You have no right to take what I captured. You are in my territory. But then, you have never respected the laws of anyone."
"Bla, bla, bla. Stop being such an idjit. The Chubb comes with me."
"Not as long as I stand. I have spoken with him. I KNOW ALL NOW."
The entire camp of men had, by now, gathered around their leader and the Dwarf, and Scaldo and Tintil had to bowl their way to the front. Once there, Scaldo tried to get his opinion in. That was not working, as could be noticed. So where vocal force fails, body force will do, and Scaldo huffed his way into the center, between the two contenders, just as the Dwarf pulled loose his knife and Chamsar slung his stone.
The large pebble hit Scaldo, but curiously he felt no pain: it felt only as though he had been poked. Next he knew, Chamsar was wailing. He knelt over an awfully still Tintil. Scaldo gaped, choked, and froze, and the Dwarf took hold of his collar.
It took a while for Scaldo to denumb, and by then the Dwarf had tugged him a long way.
"Stop! I will listen to you no more!"
The Dwarf stopped. Scaldo trembled at what might follow, but as ever the Dwarf's gazeless gaze was unreadable.
"I can't let yeh do that, Chubb."
"Then I'll make you!"
The Dwarf laughed and laughed. And laughed. "Are yeh going to fight me?"
Scaldo did not know how to answer, so instead he raised a fat fist. Quicker than that, a knife was to his chin-entangled throat.
"I told yeh to stay by me if yeh want to live. Yer as dumb as yer father."
Now Scaldo was really speechless. His mouth moved like a fish's, letting no sound escape.
A terrible, echoing yell slapped the air, though not from Scaldo's mouth, and he leapt from his flab.
The Dwarf frowned from somewhere behind his beard. "No it ain't"
And they both ran. Waddled. Whatever.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.