Tiva let out a sympathetic groan. “Overshrunk too? What were you, an eighthling?”
“…I got better,” Gigas shrugged.
“I can see that.”
“Plus,” he pointed out, “I got to ride my familiar into battle. I don’t think I ever had such a noble steed.”
“You were that small?”
Gigas nodded. Then he sighed. “I miss Hup sometimes,” he admitted. “Every now and then I see a lizard and I think, what could have been…”
“What happened to him, exactly?” inquired Tiva. “You never really explained properly.”
Gigas closed his eyes. “I lost him,” he said flatly. “Literally, lost him. When the zombies attacked the city, I ran for cover, and Hup couldn’t catch up. Afterwards, I was too busy trying to find… trying to find my parents to look for him.” It was difficult to articulate.
“I’m sorry,” she said, sympathetically. “You could have Called him again with the proper ritual, or gotten a new…”
“No,” Gigas said, a lump in his throat. “After that, I was too busy learning how to kill undead, practicing casting positive energy spells like a bard. Didn’t have time for a familiar. Still don’t. Besides, I don’t really need the, uh, reminder.”
Gigas hopped off of Hup, and patted his lizard friend on the head affectionately. At only a few inches tall, he stood eye level with his familiar. “Well done!” He had to shout to make himself heard over the sound of a fireball exploding far overhead in the night sky. “Now get clear! I’m going up there!”
“Gigas!” called a gruff voice attached to a pair of enormous steel boots off in the distance. “Where are ya, peldangit!?”
He couldn’t answer. He wouldn’t answer, even if he didn’t have such a tiny voice. Gigas turned to the massive tower in front of him, tightened his slippers, and began to climb. He climbed vertically as if it were a flat surface. Up, up the boots. Up the thigh, up the summoner’s robe and out onto the peak that was his high shoulder. The summoner, unaware that he was being scaled by a sixteenthling, managed to land a spell on the elf that made her drop her bow and clutch her arm in agony. Bashsweckler came over for the charge, and a massive steel sword blocked out Gigas’ view of the moon as it came inches of the summoner’s skull, only to be stopped by a field of magical force. As Gigas turned to climb the neck, he heard a thunderous crash of metal that sounded very much like a falling paladin.
“Filthy halfling rat,” the summoner spat. Gigas froze, feet planted on the lower side of his jaw, afraid he’d been spotted.
“I’m a gnome, idiot!” called back Zookle. He tried summoning a wolf to snap at the summoner’s heels, but the human made it vanish with a wave of his hand and a scoff.
The summoner began an incantation, preparing a spell to finish off his final foe for good. “Take this, you hmmmph,” retorted the summoner. He had probably meant to say something really withering at the end there, but he put his foot in his mouth. Or rather, Gigas’ put his whole leg in his mouth.
It must have been an interesting sight: a miniaturized halfling, his leg in the man’s mouth, clinging onto his nostril with one hand for dear life. The halfling’s other hand was pointed straight at the human’s eye… a ray of scorching hot fire burst from Gigas’ fingertip and met its mark. “Guess you didn’t see that coming.”
“Ouch!” moaned Tiva. “…see that coming… terrible!” She gave Gigas a rueful grin. But her halfling companion was looking completely glum. “Okay, the pun wasn’t THAT bad…”
“I shouldn’t have done it,” Gigas said, sadly.
“Blinded him with fire. I meant to get to his temple. I could have shot a ray straight at his brain. Would have downed him on the spot.”
“So… so why didn’t you?”
“Cause of Zookle,” Gigas said, making it sound like a sad excuse. “I wasn’t at the temple yet, I was only at his mouth. If I’d taken the time to get over to the side of his head, the wizard would have gotten his curse off, and Zookle would be dead.”
“I see. Then… why was saving the gnome a bad thing?”
Gigas managed to get a second beam of fire into the human’s other eye, blinding him completely. In pain and rage, the human clawed his face, grabbing Gigas away in the process. He tried to squeeze him dead, but in a slick move, the mini-halfling spun around to the back of his giant hand and began to run down his arm.
“Splendiferous!” cheered Zookle. “Way to go, Gigas! Now let’s see you fight, human.”
The human stumbled, but a sneer had come over his face. He had no retort. Instead, he closed his ruined eyes, and began a slow chant.
The air started to tighten and crack.
“What’s he doing?” cried Xanathis, still clutching her wounded arm.
“He’s starting the summoning!” cried Zookle. “Don’t be a fool, human! We’re next to an inn, not at your summoning spot! The magic is too unstable, you can’t create a portal… not here! Not in town!”
Sure enough, what ought to have been a portal-opening spell caused an enormous number of tiny rifts in the air. They were too small for anyone but the two-inch high Gigas to see. They looked like cracks in midair. Each one was leaking a black, cloying miasma of dark magic into the air — Negative Energy. It simply hung around like a cloud. The barriers between planes were weakening…
“Fireball him!” cried Gigas in a tiny voice.
“No!” Zookle shouted back, frantically. “If I hit a planar rift, it’ll crack open a hole into the Negative Energy Plane!”
Gigas moaned. He couldn’t use attack spells… there wasn’t enough time to grow himself huge again… What could he possibly do?