The Mountain in the Clouds, Part Thirteen
I was there.
At the giant party from hell.
I was in the clutches of Gumpelthwomp, the head taxman, who had carried me from Titanton not long ago and marched me to my doom.
Or so it seemed at first.
My captor held me up before all the giants in that rocky, barren valley. He said, “Gumpelthwomp get Magi god!”
The whole crowd of giants exploded in applause. The sound not only deafened me, it rattled my bones. And my captor’s grip tightened as he laughed.
Then one of the terrifying women giants asked, “What Magi god? And so small…”
“Uh, Giggazzibar,” answered the head taxman, who loosened his hold on me as he stumbled forward. “Magi god say he make all the world. He create everything. With his friends.”
“With the eight other Magi,” I picked up, putting on an air of importance. “We Magi are the original creators of this world you know. We even created the rest of the gods.”
To my great joy the crowd of oversized, peanut-brained brutes ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ in response. There were many heads nodding and eyes lighting up.
“So Gumpelthwomp ask friends what do with Magi god?” said my captor proudly.
“Eat him!” shouted one in return.
“Fight, fight, fight!” bellowed another.
“Nonsense,” roared the one called Giggazzibar. “Why eat god who create us? And you are fool who fight him. No, we should ask for wish. We give Magi god sacrifice and get wish.”
“Excuse me,” I interrupted, surprising Giggazzibar. “I, uh, we Magi do not accept sacrifices. A gift is fine. My freedom is enough.”
“Gift then,” continued the giantess, barely paying me any mind and returning to the others of her kind. “We give gift and Magi god give wish. What we wish for?”
“Well,” I offered, “wishing isn’t exactly as you may think it is. So, you know, I just say that so you don’t get your hopes too high thinking that you will see your wish right away. The world wasn’t made in a day, after all. It’s takes time for wishes to manifest. You’ll need some patience and faith that it will come, when it is ready to.”
“Magi god talk lot,” Gumpelthwomp commented.
Giggazzibar joined him, “Yea, seed take long time make plant. Nothing new. Wishing faster doesn’t grow faster.”
I was pleased she was going along with it.
“Ok, what we wish, Gigga?” Gumpelthwomp asked her.
“What we need?” Giggazzibar returned, looking to the other giants for input.
“Food!” shouted out one.
“Food!” Gigga repeated. “Always need food. Good.”
“Bad,” my captor intervened. “Always have food. Make better wish.”
There were grumbles and nods of agreement among the group of giants.
“Fight!” another giant intoned.
“Fight,” returned Gigga again. “Fight always good.”
“Bad,” Gumpelthwomp grunted, more annoyed. “Look around. Always fight for giant. Magi god can do more. Anything we want. Even impossible thing. Better wish!”
“Good point, Gumpel,” the intimidating female giant responded. “Better wish. Ah. Make giants invincible.”
The others nodded and chattered in agreement.
“Yes, make giants invisible. Good. Yes, good,” Gumpel said, eyes narrowing.
“Invisible. Yes, that’s what Gigga say. Invisible. Make giants invisible.”
I laughed inside, but didn’t make it apparent to my captors. Sure thing, I thought to myself, invisible giants… no one will ever hear them coming.
“Well,” I began. “It’s not easy to make giants invisible. But I am a Magi, so it can be done. Lucky you have the Magi of the Air element.”
“Oh!” Gumpel answered as if he knew what I meant. “Yea.” Then, “Why that?”
“Right. Well, the air…” I fumbled. Why did I say that? “Well, the air is where you are seen. So to make you not seen, air is the element that is needed. To make you invisible I need to make you not in the air.”
“Oh, right, right, right,” Gumpel muttered and the whole tribe of giants responded with nods.
Gigga erupted, “Make us invisible, Air Magi god! Make us invisible now! Or I’ll eat you.”
“Aha!” I called attention to all the giants… I’d counted at least thirty by then. “To make you invisible will take a bit of conjuring on my part. Just sit back and allow me to do my work. It may not make sense or look like anything you’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t make it any the less powerful. Sometimes the strongest forces are the unknown.”
Nothing happened, so I nudged Gumplethwomp’s knuckles with my elbow and coughed. “I need to be put down so that I can cast the invisibility spell.”
My captor dumbly nodded and placed me onto the rough terrain of valley floor.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. They were being fooled so easily. Now, to figure out where I was taking this impromptu escape plan.
I rolled up the sleeves of my travel robes and rubbed my palms together, then waved my hands around as if casting a spell in the air before me. I twirled and swayed, adding movement to my hips to give more credibility to my magic. The giants seemed to take to it right away, offering me looks of intense fixation and awe.
So I built my momentum.
First I jumped to the right and waved my hands above me, drawing energy from the heavens and pouring it over myself. Next I turned quickly, a half circle to my left and carried my fingers towards the ground, uplifting the power of the earth and sweeping it towards the sky.
I heard gasps of excitement from my captive audience. Within I felt a huge grin creeping over me. I held it back just a little, evincing only a small crinkling of amusement from the edges of my lips.
“Ahzoo!” I resounded.
“Balabaloo!” I decried.
“Ohtah! Nana! Jembalana!”
These were magic words I had heard once. Or at least I thought they were, as best my memory could recall. They had seemed so foreign but powerful the first time, but now when I said them again they sounded ridiculous.
The behemoths standing all around me in the valley did not think as I did. They were nothing but impressed by the show I was putting on. One set of giant hands began a slow clap.
“Quiet!” I bellowed. “It’s not done yet.”
I brought my left hand in front of my face and rounded my thumb and forefinger together in a small circle. Placing this little ring to my lips I blew as if it were a whistle. Here and there, in different directions in the air I blew that magical, invisible flute.
Then I opened my arms wide and heaved in a huge breath of air, puffing up my lungs grandiosely, and billowed forth a powerful blast of Air Magi magic in a huge arcing circle around me, back and forth, over and over until my blood felt thin and my head light.
Ok, I thought, they’d better buy it.
“There,” I announced as I caught my breath. “You are now invisible. Behold!”
All of the giants looked puzzled, staring around at each other, then at their own bodies.
“Behold what, Magi god?” Gigga complained. “I still see everyone.”
“Me too,” said another, then another of the enormous monster people.
“Uh, that’s because,” I delayed, “well of course, it takes time for the full effects to take hold. Give it at least half an hour and you will all be invisible. The first invisible giant clan in all the world of Paelstor.”
Gumpel and Gigga rolled their lips and nodded in acceptance of my explanation, and the others followed suit. Some shook hands or patted each other on the shoulder triumphantly.
“So, now that you are invisible, what will you do?” I queried my captors. “Surely I am free to go and return to the Magi home with my brethren…”
“Breath her in? What that?” Gigga furrowed her brow.
“Never mind,” I returned.
“We smash Titanton!” Gumpel suggested emphatically, throwing his weapon overhead, a massive spiked mace.
“Why settle for Titanton?” I tried to shift his attention away from the town I believed had just been saved from that very fate. “Why not head for the capital? You could rule the world from there. You know, invisible as you will be, they wouldn’t even see you coming.”
“Very smart Magi god,” Gumpel admired. “We be invisible giant warriors. We go to capital. Tell king smash smashy buh-bye. We be king of land. We have gold and glory and cattle. We be mightiest giants of Paelstor.”
To hear it said was confusing and amazing to me. What a wonderful experience it has been, I thought, meeting these giants of my childhood fairy tales in person. Still, I would be much happier to be done with it altogether now.
No sooner had I imagined it then I began to get my wish.
“Giants, we know you are in there!” said a voice I recognized.
“How you know?” Gumpel asked.
“We see you standing there,” the familiar woman’s voice continued.
“Oh yea,” the head taxman acknowledged. “We be invisible soon. Magi god made it so. You better run, commander, we finish job now. We smash Titanton.”
I was able to make out Riley’s voice answering from the hills. “Corporal, not commander. And I am not actually the corporal that you think I am. I am a Magi also. I am here with the others and we know that the one before you has made you invisible. We are his brethren after all, and we have simply come to take him home. We are not here to meddle in your affairs, and suggest you take up his suggestion to head for the capital.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Gumpelthwomp contested. “It was one thing that this man I not know tell me he Magi god. I trust Magi god man. Now you want me believe that you are, too? The annoying pest I deal with every week when Gumpelthwomp come for taxes?”
He erupted in laughter and so did his fellows, filling the valley with thunder.
“If you really Magi, prove it!” the taxman dared.
“Ok,” said corporal Riley.
What happened next surprised even me.
From the edges of the valley, first from one side, then from many others, rocks began to roll. The tumbling took on a catapulting effect as other stones and rocks were knocked loose, joining the fall down the cliff sides encircling the valley.
Within moments there arose a cacophony all around us. The earthen stampede crescendoed into a low rumble that moved the ground below. In the wake of the demonstration dusty clouds of smoke swelled up, making everyone cough.
“Do you yield?” shouted the accented voice of the scimitar man, even as the last tumultuous sounds of the rock falls came to a clattering finale.
“Fancy rock slides,” Gumpel grunted. “So what?”
“We thought you’d say that,” said Riley with a hint of amusement in her tone.
Without a moment to wonder there appeared flaming projectiles from all sides of the valley. They shot right towards the middle of the crowd of giants.
Several stories in the air above their heads the burning darts exploded into a chorus of flashing orbs of light and color. The air filled with bursting noises.
The event didn’t seem to pose a threat of any kind, but it certainly caught a lot of attention. All of the giants were gaping with wonder at the sight of it.
As the twinkling spectacle faded a cloud of smoke settled in over our heads.
A smell of sulphur singed the hairs on my nose. The smell bothered the giants tremendously, who all held their huge nostrils shut with their fingers and thumbs.
“Ok, Bagi god. We see your bagic,” Gumpel said through his muted nose. “Bake the spoke go away, it burds by dose.”
“The smoke will go away on its own, momentarily,” I heard Gill’s voice call out.
“Sbell bad, Bagi,” Giggazibar joined in. “Dot dice sbell, dot dice.”
I almost burst out laughing to see such powerful foes leveled to this. But I held it in. I didn’t want to bring any doubts to my disguise.
“Now, I am free to go?” I asked my captor.
“Yes, Magi god,” Gumpel replied, letting go of his nose. “We thank you for invisible spell. Now we be king giants of Paelstor. Hahahaha!”
“King giants!” Gigga called, and “King giants” was the response from the others. They continued this call and response as they marched out of the valley.
When the echoing of their enormous footfalls faded into the distance, I was aware of someone talking not far from where I stood, dumbfounded by the events that had just occurred.
“You ok there?” asked Gill. “You kind of got into more than you’d asked for, huh?”
“Yea,” I said, turning around to see her walking towards me along side corporal Riley. The two were followed by Jax, Hayn, and Bion as well as the scimitar man.
“I’m ok.” I continued. “I survived. I mean, I’m a Magi after all!”
My grin was met at first by blank stares from my companions. Then they all burst out laughing.
“How in Paelstor did you convince them you were a Magi?” Corporal Riley wondered of me.
I shrugged. “I just told them I was.”
Her look of amazement said all, and my inner guidance agreed. It was almost unbelievable that my ruse worked.
“But I have a couple questions for you guys,” I pondered. “How’d you get here so fast? And what were those flashing lights?”
“The lights were firecrafts,” the scimitar man explained. “In my country they are a used for amusement, for a shows, for a holidays. Just a light and flash, that’s all. No harm, right?” He smiled and cocked his head proudly.
“And your travels?” I still wondered.
“We have the fastest drake horses in the region,” Jax answered. “We were on your trail as soon as that giant grabbed you from the guard tower. Uh, after we got out of the rubble of it.”
“Yea, and good work leaving that bit of shirt in the woods,” Hayn added. “Really helped us track you.”
Bion grunted in agreement.
“Well, shall we head back to Titanton?” Riley intoned.
“Couldn’t be more thrilled to,” I replied.
And we began to make our way back, riding atop the backs of the six mighty drake horses.
I believe that should conclude my trial of strength. I think… I guess I will find out at Titanton.
Stay tuned next Thursday to the next chapter, Trial 3, of The Mountain in the Clouds, an Epic Adventure.
Thanks so much for reading.
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Blessings to you,