Giant Trail

Sixteen Jotunns traveled in a line through a dense winter forest. The bare trees went on forever in all directions. Tall spires of black needles. The trail was narrow and twisted through the landscape.

Chieftain Akat’s heavy black eyes surveyed from left to right. His immense mass filled the pathway, his already huge shoulders bulked up from his mammoth hide cloak.

He followed at the second-last spot in the line, as all Chieftain’s should.

Only here can I see all that goes on. His wife, Kata, was immediately in front of him. The rest of the Clan lumbered forward. The Elders and children disbursed throughout. He kept a watchful eye on them.

His back was watched by his younger brother, Rame.

Both carried long-barreled cannons on the shoulders and pick-axes on their belts.

“I don’t like this place,” said Rame. “We’re vulnerable. Only the children could get through those trees.”

The implication was clear. If they were ambushed, especially if by humans, they would be vulnerable and almost unable to move. The foliage was too dense for a Jotunn to move effectively.

Humans, like vermin, could attack and vanish.

Akat thought of the children. He agreed with his brother and leaned to Katka to double the Clan’s pace. The children would complain, Elder Almon would struggle, but they needed to move.

The line hurried. They didn’t panic. They trusted their Chieftain. Their gigantic feet booming through the forest. Jotunns were strong, they would make it.

The path swerved left and right, before halting. Katka gasped, clutching their baby to his chest. Freshly chopped logs piled into a rudimentary palisade blocked the trail.

Akat drew his cannon. His shark-like eyes searching for threats.

Something snapped.

#

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