The Giants of Xadin
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The three giants of Xadin were coming, step by long step. Each stride was a hundred feet long, but every time they put a foot forward, they hesitated for nearly a minute. Therefore they went slow enough for the army of Gorgs swarming about their huge feet to just keep up. The giants themselves looked like smooth gray stone, like an extra-large statue. Their heads were huge: they appeared to be too big for the rest of their bodies. Their legs, as Sela told Leniel, were nearly as tall as the Great Tree in the center of the palace. Long ago, even before the city of Curnir was established, a powerful wizard named Xadin made them. He summoned all the dark power he could by surrounding himself with evil objects, ancient even then. With a powerful spell he sapped the magic from them and with it made the giants from three hills between which his house was nestled. They were his masterpiece, his pride. At once he wished to test their power, so he caused the greatest of the three to put him on his head, from whence he could look far across the countryside. He put a hollow and a wall, like a crown, on the giant’:s head, and in the walled space placed a black throne. This he sat upon, and commanded the giants to go North, that he might wreck the dwelling of the Dwarves there, with whom he had a grudge against. But he never reached it, for Aldin the wizard came with Michter Vorris, his greatest and most successful wizard pupil, like a thunderbolt. There ensued a mighty battle, and Aldin and Michter stood victorious. From that day forward the Giants returned to stone, and for ages they stood there in the form of three tall hills, asleep. But Wuth Renraw, a powerful witch, woke them with a powerful magic, along with Skylindress: for Skylindress’: power had not by any means been vanquished, only quenched for a time by the Arnulians. The Forest of Curnir was the first place the two witches were planning to wreck, in revenge for the harm Eryn did to Skylindress. When the Giants woke, the two witches were mounted on the head of the largest, which was also the strongest. Wuth Renraw made two more thrones, for the throne of Xadin had been destroyed when the two wizards attacked. This time no wizards had appeared from the sky, so the two went on their way, along with an army of Gorgs, and a few lesser witches. The waking of the Giants had caused three earthquakes so powerful that some of the Gorgs had been flattened, but Wuth and Skylindress remained quite unharmed, though rocks flew all about them as the Giants rose, one by one, from the ground with the rending sound of the earth splitting and Magic at work. So they had traveled south for a long time, nearly three weeks. Then one sunny day, they saw a large hill with two small ones nestled around it. “:Let us climb the hills and see if the Forest of Curnir is in view.”: said Skylindress. The hill was quite tall: it towered even above the tallest giant’:s head. And that was when, at the same moment, the two witches realized something was wrong. Very wrong.