Orchard

The Chieftain’s gardens were indeed beautiful. Spiraling rows and trails of titanic spruce, pines, oaks and hardy sequoias. It wasn’t the delicate gardens of the Franco nobility or the colourful opulence of the UpTowns of the Underground.

It was a place of worship, ancient tribal royalty and rugged beauty. As close an imitation of the Chieftain’s homeland as could be managed.

The Chieftain sat on a stone block and bid Lord Janis to sit.

The Lord and the Chieftain, men of power, decisions, regalia and the Sword of Damocles.

They sat along a perfectly round pool. The water like black glass at the base of an especially huge sequoia.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said the Chieftain, his voice as harsh as storm winds.

He was ten-feet tall. A Jotunn from beyond the seas and snow. A long way from JotunnHeim, but assuredly as powerful and respected as any lord of this continent.

“Aye, it is,” said Lord Janis.

“My Clan came to this land as traders on a single longship a century ago. I’ve only known this continent, but I always felt trapped. Caged in the land of smallfolk,” he exhaled. “This place helps.”

His boulder-like fist rested on his knee.

“You are your family are assuredly mighty and wise. I am honoured to share in your company.”

The Chieftain shifted on the boulder. He wore a wrapped tunic of fine cotton and furs, swirled in the rugged Jotunn designs, pinned with a sabre-tooth broach. His face was as heavy and worn as the sequoia bark.

“I know the Undergound is a realm of colourful cloth and wagging tongues. I imagine it helps in the dark, but this is not some tunnel.” His black shark-like eyes narrowed. “Cut the crap. What business would you like to discuss with a Jotunn Chief.”

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