Edna and I had traveled most of the day when we reached the site of the goblin attack on us from way back in chapter eight. Though it was still quite a few hours from sundown, the overcast sky made it seem later than it was. It was just the sort of time in which to expect a goblin attack.
I looked at my daughter and said, “This is just the sort of time in which to expect…”
“Yes, that is the right of it.”
“No, Father! There! In the road! Goblins!”
“Really, Edna?” I shook my head. “Four exclamation points?”
“Five goblins per,” she said.
Sure enough, there was a horde of some twenty goblins rushing toward us. I am sure that there are some among you who will scold me for my use of the word horde, there being only twenty or so of the snotty little gits. Normally, I would not ascribe horde to any number less than a hundred, mass to no number less than two hundred, and throng to a group that did not consist of at least a thousand. It was certainly not a multitude. In reality, I would say that this was halfway between a gang and a crowd, but the fact that in addition to myself, my daughter, in a brand-new blue dress I might add, was being born down upon by these goblins, armed as they so often are, with knives, razors, and sharp sticks, made them seem more numerous than they actually were, which is to say like a horde.
“Get behind me, Edna,” I ordered.
In reply, she whipped out her bow, seemingly from thin air, and fired off three arrows, all of which hit their marks, assuming those marks were the head, throat, and kneecap of three goblins respectively.
Hysteria reared up and stomped down upon a couple of goblins, and I swung my sword at a couple more. It was, all in all, something of a repeat of the previous goblin attack in the same location. That is to say, it was something of a repeat until a hulking form stepped out from behind a group of trees. It would not have been difficult to identify this new figure as a frost giant, even had I not had encounters with a number of them recently, which is to say discussing the life story of one, kneecapping another, and stabbing the manly bits of a third. This one was a hulking fellow of about seventeen feet in height, clad in a mix of gigantic armor and furs and carrying a huge war hammer.
This is not as odd as it may sound to those of you who are not trained monster hunters. Goblins, being tiny, sniveling little creatures often team up with a larger humanoid of some type. Often it is a hobgoblin or a bugbear. Many times, I have found groups of goblins throwing their lot in with an ogre. A frost giant was somewhat unusual, though hill giants are not, but then, this was the edge of frost giant territory.
The giant took three great strides towards us. This was one stride too many for my brave and noble steed, who bucked once, sending me falling to the ground, and then took off at a gallop to the southwest.
There were three or four goblins on me by the time I could get to my feet. I could hear their little knives and razors clanging against my armor. One sliced me across the cheek with its knife. I shook them off and cleared a path around me with broad swipes of my sword. By then, the giant was upon me. With a mighty thrust, I stabbed right up into his manly bits, only to hear a very loud clang. This was the smartest frost giant that I had ever encountered. He was wearing a codpiece, which is to say armor over one’s family jewels. Then I was hit along the entire left side of my body by the enormous war hammer. I went flying through the air, and lost consciousness before I hit the ground.