“There, there,” I said, as I held Elleena.
“Careful,” she said. “Keep your hands off my naughty bits.”
“The virgin queen, apparently, despite having two children,” said I.
“Girls don’t just want to be jumped on,” said Thurid. “They want a little romance first.”
“That has not been my experience. They just seem to throw themselves at me.”
“And he is pretty good at catching them when they do,” sniffed Elleena, pulling away and wiping her tears.”
“You should talk. I have scarcely had opportunity to meet any women the past seven years,” I said. “Women are not interested in a man with a small child.”
“That has not been my experience,” said Elleena. “Ellwood Cyrene is a kind and loving father, and women find that appealing.”
“Do they find his lack of manly bits appealing too?”
“Who is this Ellwood Cyrene,” said Thurid.
“What is your story?” I asked, turning to her. “I thought that you had been banished.”
“I thought that you had been captured and brought back here against your will.”
“I see you are sitting there unbound and with an assortment of knives next to you.”
“That is correct.”
“So, can I assume that you have come to some sort of understanding with your fellow giants?” I asked.
“Yes, indeed,” she said.
“What is the meaning of all this then?”
“They banished me but found that they missed the pies that I made,” said Thurid. “They sent out a party to bring me back so that I could be the chief piesmith of the tribe.”
“Apparently the frost giants are far more intelligent and cultured than they are given credit for,” said I. “Can you take one of those knives and, reaching between the bars, cut these bonds, which is to say the ropes around my wrists and ankles.”
She picked up a butcher knife that would have made a good two-handed sword for a large man and freed my hands and feet.
“I really feel bad about this,” she said, “but they have asked me to make a special pie for tonight.”
“No need to feel bad on account of that,” said I. “A reunion does call for a special pie, and indeed, so does a promotion to chief piesmith. For the former, which is to say a reunion, I would recommend a cherry pie, and for the latter, which is to say a promotion, I would recommend a transparent pie, which is a pie that is transparent.”
“The kind of pie they want tonight, is a pie with the two of you baked in it.”
“That does sound delicious,” I agreed.
“If I can time things right,” said Thurid, “it might allow you to escape.”
“How so?” asked Elleena, for some reason, giving me an evil glare.
“If I can prepare some alternative form of meat beforehand, I can slip it into the pie, just as I allow you two to disappear. It all depends on if there is some suitable substitute in the storeroom.”
“To replace Eaglethorpe,” said Elleena, “you need only a great ham.”
“Well,” said I. “You might as well look for some fat ugly cow too.”
I don’t know what happened next. Something hit me on the head, and I awoke some hour and a half later.
“Get up,” said Elleena. “Thurid Njärlbjörnsdöttir has broken down two hog carcasses and has them ready to go into the pie. She is now making the crust.”
“Be sure to keep the butter cold,” I recommended. “It ensures a flaky crust.”
“We are on the icy slopes of The Skagarack glacier,” said Thurid. “The butter is always cold. Right now, I am working slowly, in hopes that the others will leave.”
I glanced back over my shoulder and observed that three other giantesses were engaged preparing food. Soon however, two of them left. The third stepped over to Thurid and gave her a giant hug, which is to say a hug between giants as well as a very large and expressive hug.
“I missed you so much!” cried the newcomer. “Thank the gods that you are back.”
“This is Thalia Góðurrisisdöttir,” said Thurid. “She is the love of my life.”
“But you two are both females,” said Elleena, her eyes wide.
“Forgive my naïve companion,” said I. “I have visited the Island of Stratios, where such relationships between women are common. In fact, I once had the pleasure of vacationing there for a fortnight.”
“And you two understand,” said Thurid, “because you are in love.”
“We are not in love,” said Elleena.
“We are like two ships that passed in the night,” said I. “Then they both sank.”
“Never mind,” continued the giantess. “We must make haste. I will get the pie assembled and Thalia will guide you out and see that you have supplies for the journey.”