Saturday, 12 November 2022

The Giant became a Wolf

First, a brief update; I didn't even have time to post about getting Jez Gordon to do a piece for the book before the Kickstarter for Speak, False Machine stumbled blindly through get another artistic Goal.

We will have Jason Thompson making an illustration for Chapter One - TEENS and Jez making one for Chapter Two - History of a False Machine.

500 copies printed          £9,110.00 
Daniel Grady layout £12,710.00 
Simones interior art £13,270.00 
Scraps Art          £13,430.00   
Maria Ku as consultant £13,990.00
Jason Thompson £14,540.00
Jez Gordon         £14,870.00   <<<< WE ARE HERE
Peter Mullen          £15,370.00 
Amanda Franck £15,650.00 
Daniel Puerta         £15,760.00 
Valin Mattheis           £16,640.00 
Dirk Detweiler Leichty £16,920.00 
Ana Polanšćak £17,250.00 
Alec Sorenson          £17,500.00 

Next up is the magnificent PETER MULLEN

At this rate me might even make it to Alec Sorenson!


By Phaserunner

The giant lives above the snowline in the ruins of an ancient tower, He herds hairy elephants and wooly rhino on the high steppe.

He rarely bothers the world of men but every month he comes down from the high peaks and trades meat, fur and ivory for what he cannot make himself, and every 70 years or so, he comes down for a wife. Sometimes he trades for one, sometimes he just asks, the fact that it happens so rarely, and never by force, suggests that he isn't treating them badly or wearing them out, perhaps being a giants wife is not so bad a thing? There have been no giant children at least.

He rarely stays long below the snowline, he is visibly anxious about his herds. The old men know that pain, many are ex-herdsmen and are free now only as they have handed the herds over to their sons to worry in turn, but even now, aged and immovable, they still sometimes wake up in the mid-night, juddering, dreaming, imagining that "something has happened to the animals", about to throw on their old shoes and get riding until they remember that for them, such things were long ago. So they understand, the old men, when the giant gets twitchy and starts glancing to the high steppe.

The giant marks his herd with brand, dye and carved sign upon pelt and tusk - the tower-and-mountain, though none would dare to mess with his animals, firstly that they would be hard to reach, secondly where is the man who can tame a hairy elephant? or steal a wooly Rhino? and only lastly for fear of the giant.

"He keeps his place and we keep ours" say the old men, "such has it been and so shall it be", and since most think the place they are the better; in particular the green farmland, forests and river valleys over the ice mountains, wild steppe and tumbled tower, they find no problem with this arrangement.

"No doubt He" (for in this country "He" can only refer to one being) "He prefers his mountain as we prefer our farms, such being natural and comfortable to His kind"

If the Giant ever had a kind, or where he came from, or how old he is or what his gods or dreams might be, none know and few care to ask. Once asked if He had a name the Giant replied "called Orox". A terse being, singular, solitary and, so far as they knew, unique, there was little need for a name, and no-one in the country would have considered themselves familiar enough with Him to use it.

Once they said, a wizard came out of the south and asked for the Giant by name and went to see Him, but nothing came of it, and once, about fifty years back, a man said he had seen the Giant drunk in the high peaks, singing a terrible song and hurling stones into a storm, but no-one else saw it.

But the giant became a wolf.

Three months back some goat-herds in the high valleys, who sometimes see the giant about the skyline, and who sometimes bed down for the night near their goats to keep them safe, lost all their dogs, half their herds and went mad in a night. 

Only a few survived, bloodstained and crazed. A wolf had taken the goats they said, not a herd of wolves, or some large beast but one singular wolf, come in out of the night,, killed the dogs, eaten the goats and any who got in the way. 

No hope, no hope at all said the survivors.

How did it kill the dogs?

"Treaded them down."

"how big a wolf?" they asked.

"This big!", they replied, "no THIS BIG, can you see!"

When they went to look they found blood and chaos but no wolf prints. 

Madness perhaps.

Then the next full moon a farm down in the valley lost everything, all the animals, the dogs, even the geese, all gone and the only witness a child and she mad like before. 

"A big wolf!", she said, "As big as a tree!"

Then the next full moon a village was lost. Houses torn open, lanes slick with blood, cellars dug out and families gone. 

Some fought back, brave men. To no avail it seems. Again "a wolf".

But this time they searched deeper, looked longer, and one huntsman up a tree or on the roof of a collapsed house saw tracks, wolf tracks indeed, the tracks of only one wolf.

They had not seen them , in the hills or at the farm, for they had not been high enough to see. These tracks a man could nearly lie down in each one.

The people thought more deeply. The survivors;  a dog with a silver charm on its collar, the child at the farm with a silver comb, the goatherd with a silver ring.

It is clear what this means, and there is only so much silver in the valleys, even stretching it to cover each family might not work, and nowhere near enough for the herds, the sheep, the houses.

Full moon is only a week away.

Has the giant become a wolf? It has happened to men, eveyone knows, so why not a giant? Does the giant know he has become a wolf? Men often do not when they are so cursed, or so its said in stories, and who would tell him? His wife?

Who on this earth could stop the wolf? A curse-wolf alone is bad enough, but a skinwalker giant?

If the wolf cannot be defeated, what about the giant? Would He listen? and even if He did is there a cure? or a potion large enough to heal Him? Where would we find such a thing? How might be be restrained, even if He were to consent? Nothing in these lands could hold Him, let alone the thing He might be.

Could we even murder Him? Giants are mortal, and not magical beings or walking curses. It might be done, perhaps it could be done, but should it be done? After all He has never done Us harm, or wounded us at all, though he might have extorted us and ruled us if he wished. Almost the opposite for His presence has likely kept off worse things, this has been a peaceful country till these last three terrible moons, and there is only a week left before the next full moon, and the month is November. It is too cold to move the people, too cold to try to shift the herds.

Someone must go up the the mountains, to the tower of the giant (and perhaps his wife, if she still lives), and seek him out, and by force, or guile, or kindness or murder, stop these terrible raids.

If the giant can be cured and things go back as they were, that is well, but how this might be done, none know, and if not... The danger must be stopped before the moon is full.


  1. This is such a simple but also such a difficult problem. Yes, all these questions - how to even feed Him the cure, where to get the potion big enough if one to even know how to make it? Occult, alchemy, force and logistics, talking to his wife (if she still lives), talking to the Giant, and all of that against elements of harsh mountain November. Will they try to lure the Wolf to his death in a ravine with a herd of goats? Will it even work (i.e. how far the giant wolf can jump)? What if the Giant is a deterrence against a very nasty lordling, won't killing it makes things worse for people here for generations to come, now that lordling can roll in and claim the place?

    Very, very nice concept.