The Clash

“Ho ho ho!”

The Green Giant laughs because he will not weep. He holds the ruined bodies of his clan.

“Ho ho ho! Green Giant!”

He stands in a metal house lit by smoky torches. The great wooden table is before him. All around him are dancing shadows and the bodies of the dead.

It is as if they were struck by a razor wind.

The entrance to the Clan Hall gapes open like a wound. And all around him is the blood: splashed on the walls like the gruesome work of some great mixer.

He has gathered them in his hands, his great large hands, with their dangling heads and their stiff blood-dark bodies and their staring eyes. He is putting them on the table.

They are vegetable men, compost corpses, whose bodies know the trick of taking root and stealing a tainted life force from the earth.

He is chopping them up so that they will not rise.

When he is finished he emerges from the Clan hall and he stands there, head bowed, a giant with no purpose but revenge.

“I will strike south across the lands of men,” he says. “To Greyhawk, that blighted city, whence the killer must have come.”

Ho ho ho! Green Giant!

He is alone now, the giant green survivor of a small and humanoid tribe. The ways of the samurai, that once he practiced, do no longer suit.

He hides his green face behind a mask and he practices a cowardly ninja art.

Men and women in their taverns and their castles, sitting before plates of withered grey vegetables, startle. “Ho ho ho!” booms a voice.

A green shape slides out from the shadows.

“Ho ho ho! Green Giant!”

And everywhere there is red.

The giant moves through the land called Geoff and the dukes and princes of the lands of men fall victim to his sword. Behind him there are other giants whom in his wake grow bold: Hrulgar, the hill giant, whose booming laugh signifies delicious hills. Jarl Jack Frost, the giant of winter. Even Surt, who had given for a time more attention to the preparation of delicious Muspellheim-brand chili peppers than to the destruction of the world, moves in the Green Giant’s wake.

That is why the King at Geoff calls forth the wolf.

The King is a grizzled man on a black iron throne, tired and old and wrapped in winter furs that make the King seem small. The wolf is a woman, short, lean, and intense, with blind eyes and a scar on her face.

“Did you kill the Green Giant’s clan and bring this devastation upon us?” asks the King.

Jane, the wolf, looks shiftily this way and that.

“Look at me when I’m calling you forth,” says the King.

He drums his fingers on the black iron armrest of his throne.

Jane sighs. She makes a face. She looks up at the King. “I did,” she says.

“That was bad,” chides the King.

“It was my iron raker,” says the wolf. “A powerful sword move that explodes enemies in all directions. I developed it to scatter the vegetables from my plate but it works as well on vegetable men.”

“It’s not okay to kill the Green Giant’s clan and bring devastation onto everybody just to avoid eating your vegetables,” the King argues.

Jane hangs her head.

“It was an excess of youthful exuberance,” she admits.

“Then you must clean up your own mess,” says the King.

The wolf slips out.

In the wilderness there is a fire. A caravan has stopped. Its company is eating and singing around the fire. Then a strange chill comes over them. They look around nervously. There is something in the night.

“Ho ho ho!”

The eyes of the caravan master go white with panic.

“Ho ho ho! Green Giant!”

Then what they believed was simply the trees and the night is among them. Then his teeth are grit and he is readied to make his bread from the bones of men.

Then there is Green Giant.

But there is also the wolf.

On the other side of the caravan fire, she casts aside her cloak and says: “Iron raker.”

Enemies explode in all directions, including a mosquito that had intended to bite Jane, a monstrous ogress in a distant hut who’d been planning to curse her, and an evil bee that hadn’t really intended anybody any harm. But the Green Giant does not die. He seizes a wagon from the caravan and uses that to block the force of the wolf’s blow. He skids back. The wagon explodes, showering its cargo to all sides. His chest breaks out in blood. He is alive.

“Green Giant Ninjutsu #9,” he says. “Incarnate Devastation!”

He throws a can of incarnate devastation into the air. Striking its pressure points, he bursts it, showering the wolf in devastation.

“Ow!” says Jane.

She staggers back.

“You got devastation in my hair!” she says, wildly scrubbing at it.

“Ho ho ho! Green vengeance!”

Then he has torn a tree from the ground. Then he is wielding it as a club and it is rushing down towards Jane’s head.

Jane looks up.

“I should probably take responsibility for the death of his clan,” she thinks to herself. “Just stand here and take it. Let the blow land.”

CRUNCH.

But Jane is not between the greenery and the earth. She has rolled forward and she is under the giant and she is whispering, quietly, “Iron raker.”

And it is like a Chili’s Blooming Onion only instead of fried onion curls there is the passage of her sword; it is a death blossom and it opens for the Green Giant; and his head does not stop its rolling to ask her, “Why? Why did you kill them?”

And Jane says, “The clash of vegetables and wolves is savage, on the frontier.”

11 thoughts on “The Clash

  1. I feel the need to come out of hiding because nobody noticed that the Green Giant [i:20eec19776]literally[/i:20eec19776] opened up a can of whupass on Jane. :D (Not that it did him much good in the end. Such are the harsh realities of the savage frontier.)

  2. Oh, Jane is powergaming again! And mixing RPG genres! Such a naughty girl.

    …I wonder why she’s blind?

  3. [quote:ab0b2a7585=”rpuchalsky”]I wrote an Audience story that quoted from a James Branch Cabell story about evil bees. So even the audience shares this anti-bee prejudice, I suppose.[/quote:ab0b2a7585]

    Don’t think that escaped my notice you… you…. Anti-Apidate!

  4. Another evil bee.

    All the bees in hitherby seem to be “terrible” or “evil” or “killer” or “Robber” “or “Desolation” or “suicide” or “telepathic” they’re doiing things like not existing, or making universes or web mining or killing the allergic, or deflowering robot flowers, or spelling or encouraging the squashing of precious little insects…

    The negative portrayal of bees in the Hitherbee media is endemic of sytstematic anti-bee prejudice.

  5. I wrote an Audience story that quoted from a James Branch Cabell story about evil bees. So even the audience shares this anti-bee prejudice, I suppose.

  6. The image of Jane standing literally beneath the Green Giant and killing him reminds me of a really bad joke:

    Q – What do you get if you have a large green ball in your right hand and a large green ball in your left hand?
    A – Complete control over the Jolly Green Giant.

    Of course I would never lower the tone of Hitherby by printing such a crude joke on these pages.

  7. Hm, Jane is the wolf, so … is Martin the King? He certainly seems to fill a similar role, and I can easily see Martin saying those things. I think I shall imagine that it is so, even if it is not explicitly said. ;)

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