Seventh Circle (Chapter 7 - New Realm, page 2 of 3)

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The girl picked herself up and staggered off, evidently disoriented. Fury rose to follow but his sudden movement attracted the attention of the giant. He ducked down and the giant lurched forward. After a few steps, the big man stopped, placed a hand on his belly and gave a huge burp.

Two more burps followed. After that he wiped his mouth and stared about him: first up the slope then down towards where the girl was sitting in a state of confusion. He burped again and looked a lot better for it. His complexion improved and he pulled at his trousers, near to where his sword harness would have been buckled if he'd been wearing one. Thunder watched as a neat slit appeared in the garment then ducked as the big man strode towards him.

There could be no doubt about the fellow's intentions. Thunder sought protection beneath a thin covering of branches and leaves. His warrior training had failed to prepare him for such an encounter. He was well versed in procedures for tackling and disembowelling a big opponent and had taught them on many occasions. But the present situation didn't call for such drastic action. The man's intentions were scarcely hostile.

He peered up at the huge figure, which was about to urinate over him and saw the man dither. The fellow glanced towards the girl then swivelled round to put himself out of her line of sight. It was the sort of gesture Thunder appreciated: something that placed the newcomer in an entirely different category from Morgon, who had no concern for female sensibilities.

He began to warm to the giant. The man was a bit flabby but he was powerfully built and had the bearing of a forceful individual. He reminded Thunder of a warrior who had gone to seed through too little exercise and overindulgence in the good things in life. Such people could be brought back into service and made to perform a useful function.

The man sang as he discharged the contents of his bladder. It was a light-hearted little tune with an appealing lyric. Something about sucking where bees sucked and flying on bats' backs, clearly an illusion to making love.

His next impressions were not so favourable. A determined trickle ran down his neck. The stench was appalling. The man had clearly drunk a vast amount of beer and his choice of tipple wasn't good. Thunder looked past the source of his discomfort to the cheerful grinning face.

The giant was staring happily into space. He looked like a herdboy who had been given a day's holiday. Everything about him told a tale. He was the sort who could be recruited. He could be manipulated and tamed. He could be bribed with beer and women and used against Morgon.

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