Riding down from Talacre, the bard Cian (known as Gwenith Guaut, or “the wheat of song”) gathered news from Trelawnyd and Rhuallt before finally resting in Denbigh for a spell. It happened that the news from Trelawnyd and Rhuallt piqued his curiosity about some goings-on in Denbigh.
And at this time was an inn called the Black Oak, and this was where Cian set himself up. The publican, Idris, was not displeased to see a well-known bard arrive, and he fronted Cian a round or two of ales as word of his arrival spread throughout the village. Each day he would hold audience with the leaders of the area and perform his dachanu, updating them as to the tidings of the region; each evening he would entertain the laborers with his dychanu, an informed satire of government and church.
“But what’s this I hear of a giantess in the area?” Cian asked his crowd one night.
A farmer looked at a shepherd and sucked at his teeth. The shepherd looked at a farrier and puffed out his cheeks. The farrier look at Idris as he approached.
“Tale for tale, I suppose,” he said, resting a horn tankard by the bard’s elbow. “You’re referring to the ‘girlfriend of the gap,’ I take it?” There was a murmur. Cian put on a wise look and raised his chin. “Well, currently the caravans and traders are rerouting the long way around the mountains to the east, up to Afonwen, which they can’t complain about there, surely. But there was a more direct route to Mold right through a mountain pass, which recently has been haunted by a giantess who has a tooth for the flesh of men.”
“Cares y Bwlch’s her name,” chimed a farmer, “and her boyfriend down at Eglwyseg Rocks, west o’ Wrexham. ‘Tween the two o’ them, they’re splittin’ us off from the world, purt near.”
Cian watched the head of his amber ale settle. “How has His Majesty been managing this?”
The shepherd scoffed. “His teulu is all but helpless. Cares ate two of them for dinner and went after King Gwynedd for afters, and since then they’ve told us it’s our trouble to tend to.”
Cian picked at his harp idly:
The leader is bold and charges to venture
While the craven lord’s given to fears.
Admire the haunch of the big dog before you—
The cheap boss lurks in your rears.
Gruff laughter rolled around the room. “Big talk from a songster,” said Dyfan, the farrier and a royalist. Idris watched the crowd carefully, wary of anyone else whose vocabulary was about to run out.
A warm grin slowly dawned upon Cian’s face. “You want me to take care of this? We’ll let my wrhydri (valor) rest up tonight and I’ll pack up tomorrow morning. You’ll have a solution to work with by dinner tomorrow. This is ridiculous.” The laborers raised their eyebrows at the bard, then at the farrier, who tried to look smug as though he’d trapped the bard into his own demise, yet even he wasn’t sure how this would play out.
The week had been generous to Cian and he tipped the ostler well for stabling and grooming his mottled-gray horse, Wrhydri, and Idris as well for the potatoes and rashers waiting for him. “Don’t let that iron-monger talk you into anything you don’t want to you,” the publican warned him. “You know his type: always looking for someone below him, by which to show his strength.”
“Picking on the weakest to appear the mightiest.” Cian laughed. “Maybe the giant of Eglwyseg has retired to make horseshoes for Denbigh?”
Llangwyfan was less an an hour’s casual ride, and Cian took his time. Trotting toward the sunrise, he watched the clouds, listened to the birds, let Wrhydri graze where he would. Long before the sun was near its peak, he reached the mountains of Bwlch Rhiwfelen and followed the trail where it led down a narrow pass.
“Girlfriend?” he called out in rich tones. “Cares y Bwlch? You around?”
There was a sky-splitting roar, then large rocks and a dead tree flung from the upper peaks of the ridge. Two massive hands planted themselves upon an overhang, and then a huge and shaggy head rose like the fierce and blazing sun. “Who… dares…” roared a voice like a waterfall. Like a tremendous tiger, the giantess crept over the mountainside and crawled at Cian and Wrhydri menacingly, muscles rippling beneath soiled and bloody woman-hide, her teeth flashing, her eyes rolling. She blocked out the sun with her rear, and full-grown trees fell beneath her mere fingers.
Cian played his harp a bit and sang a play on words about men’s genitalia.
“Oh, a bard,” she said. “Awesome.” She straightened up and sat on the foothills, her round hips spreading about her, and she gestured for him to continue. Wrhydri contentedly gnawed at some crabgrass while Cian recited a few selections from the first book of the Mabinogion. The sun very slowly rolled across the sky. When he finished, Cares applauded gently and smiled at him with greater charm.
“To what do I owe the honor of this nice little visit?” Her voice was deep, but the words still flowed like thistle honey down the foothills.
“A series of visits, if you’ll permit it,” called up the bard, dismounting. “You know how my kind is with stories. I’ve heard a few, and this one seems interesting enough to learn more about.”
She tilted her huge head. “You’d like to learn more about me?” He nodded, and so she extended one long and shapely leg down the mountain slope, resting her huge foot before his tiny body. Cian glanced at his horse, who seemed unconcerned, then approached her foot.
Cares raised her big toe twice. Cian respectfully punched the tip of it twice. She dipped her toe once, bending at the last knuckle, and he kissed her nail for three seconds.
“You know your way around a girl,” she said, plucking him up between thumb and forefinger. Placing him in her palm, she sidled her way through the mountain pass and strode to a small river on the other side of the ridge, where she rinsed herself off for company. The sun kissed her pale shoulders and glistened over her thighs as they talked.
“How many legs has it grown?” She wrung out her hair, splashing hundreds of gallons of water across the bank from Cian.
“They say you’re devouring men now, feasting on traders who come through Bwlch Rhiwfelen.”
She sighed. “Holding fairly steady, then. Cian, is it?” He was flattered she knew him. “Don’t they know my kind always devours them, regardless of their best efforts?”
Cian laughed softly, strumming a background melody. “In the fullness of time you at last embrace them with your arms of clay, mash their flesh and bones with the stones of your teeth, and suck them down into the belly of the world.”
Cares paused in her washing and stared at him. “How long have you known?”
He waved her intensity off. “I had a very good mother and a very good grandmother.”
“A little man who listens to women.” Her huge eyes glittered at him like the sun on the river. “I might never let you go.”
But she did. They chatted for a very long time, all the rest of the day, and then Cian promised her he’d return the next day, if she’d have him. Her smile was dazzling.
Cian snuck under cover of night back to Denbigh, so as not to arouse the constabulary, but he found the usuals around the hearth. “Nothing to worry about,” he assured them, though he was cagey with the details. “I’ve a way with large women, you might say. It’s a matter of talking faster than you can run… just like in politics.” Everyone found this well amusing and he put in a couple hours with them, answering their questions with cryptic allusions to larger social problems.
The farrier was the first—and only—to question the veracity of the bard’s claims. “If you’d gone there at all,” the burly man insisted, “it’d be your legs come runnin’ back to town, the top half o’ ya being broken down into essential proteins.”
Cian merely informed him he could fuck right off and continued entertaining the crowd.
Cian rode out to visit Cares not long after sunrise. The trees bent to brush her cheeks as her massive head poked out from the forest, and her broad, soft lips wrapped around his fair head in a gentle kiss. “Good morning,” they said.
The giantess placed the little bard down upon a ledge, high over the mountain pass, across from which she lounged, letting the birds walk over her shoulders and the deer skip between her knees. She talked about what forests look like from her height, and the time some starlings built a nest in her ear. He was fascinated to listen to her describe standing atop the mountains and peer across the landscape at all the little settlements of mankind, little blisters that briefly interrupted the luscious green landscape.
She told him about the teenage boys from Hendrerwydd and Gellifor who came creeping up in the night, daring each other to steal a glance or cop a feel. She tolerated them—curious, selfish, but harmless—but it was the men from nearby Llandyrnog and Llangynhafal who galled her. “They come here with their sweet words and promises, always oh my goddess this and how may I serve you that.” She pursed her lips and looked at Cian. “They’re just after one thing, and after they get it, they drift away like dandelion seeds. They spin stories to their wives about capture, kidnapping, ransacking, blame it all on me, and while those women would never dare poke their heads around here, word still travels, you know?
“Well, whatever,” she sighed, tracing her huge index finger upon the rocks around the bard. “The moral victory is mine, even if my reputation’s being dragged around the public forum.” While playing gently upon his harp, Cian hung upon every word and added it to everything else he knew. The perspective of a giantess was lofty indeed… and lonely.
“Maybe you’re not even talking with her,” said Dyfan that evening. “Maybe you’re just fucking off to Llanrhaeadr.” A couple farmers looked over their beers at him, then at the bard. Encouraged, the swarthy man went further: “Maybe you’re up at Afonwen all day, eh? Takin’ what you learn here out to those enterprising new businessmen on the new trade route.” There was a murmur among the patrons of the Black Oak.
Cian shrugged. “You’re invited to come out with me any time, you know. In fact, any of you are. Anyone want to come out tomorrow, join me and Dyfan?” His face was casual but his eyes were sharp, and he never lifted his gaze from the farrier, who shifted in his seat and looked around his erstwhile allies.
“Just you, then, Dyfan,” said the bard, getting up. “You might want to hit the hay: we head out first thing.” The farrier drew a breath to rebuke the outsider, but Idris shook his head at him from behind the bar. Cian pretended not to notice any of this.
“Straight on toward the sun, there,” said Cian.
“I know the way to Llangwyfan,” barked the farrier, walking beside the bard and his horse.
“I was speaking to Wrhydri.” The horse snorted and nodded.
Dyfan laughed. “You like chatting up the lower animals, do you? Good company for ye?”
“I don’t always enjoy it, but when you ask me a question, it’d be rude not to answer.”
Dyfan growled and drew back his fist, but Cian struck a sharp chord that surprised the man on foot, causing him to flinch for no reason. In this moment Wrhydri danced to the side, out of Dyfan’s reach. The farrier grunted and started at the bard once more.
“Dyfan?”The giantess’s voice rang out from the foothills.
The farrier’s arms hung limp at his sides and he gibbered. Cian only narrowed his eyes. “Good morning, Cares. Looks like you already know my guest?” Seizing the farrier’s doublet before he could sprint off, he urged his horse on at a light trot to greet the gigantic woman.
Nude and cleansed, glowing in the morning sun, Cares knelt before the trio. Her smooth knees were larger than houses. “Oh, we’ve met quite a few times, haven’t we, little man?” She smirked at the farrier, who refused to meet her gaze. “I’m sorry, is the sun bothering your eyes? It’s not usually up when you see me, is it?” Cian couldn’t help but notice a new purr to her voice.
He planted a boot between the farrier’s shoulder blades, urging him forward while he dismounted. “So you’re one of the moonshine boys, then. Why is it you’re so keen to have her destroyed?”
Dyfan shifted from foot to foot. “Look, it’s not like I’m into this or anything.”
Cares’s laughter pealed throughout the valley. “You’ve been quite into me a few times, Dyfan. Very… deeply… into me, and don’t you dare deny it.” She lowered her head and brought her face right up to the tiny men, for now they felt tiny rather than that she was gigantic. Dyfan laughed quietly, blushing, both meaty hands folded chastely before the crotch of his pants.
Cian only regarded the two of them, tuning a string and testing his harp for harmony. “That’s all I wanted to confirm,” he said to the back of Dyfan’s head. “Well, that and: why exactly do you want this lovely woman destroyed?”
Cares only rolled her eyes as the farrier stumbled over his words, saying things like “temptation” and “wayward” and “perversions.” Big words for him, but pretty much what he’d heard from Father Eurion each week.
“And how many others in town are being led ‘wayward’ by these ‘temptations’, Dyfan?” Cian let his voice turn darker, and the farrier responded to it well.
“I don’t like to name names, of course.” He shrugged. “Maybe a few others, what gots business in Llangwyfan.”
“Llangwyfan… which specializes in gloves. Gloves are doing brisk traffic in Denbigh right now?”
The farrier was stupid enough to begin to forge an answer, when Cian sent him back to his village alone. “Mind, not a word of this to anyone, or you’ll see how far a bard’s words can carry.”
“See you tonight, Dyfan!” Cares called out cheerily. He only glowered at them over his shoulder and hustled on back through the plains of heather.
“That’s how it is, then?” Cian asked her as they hiked back up the foothills, her massive ankles turning slowly beside him as he ran. “It’s not the threat of life and limb you pose, but the threat upon their immortal souls they’re so concerned about? Have you ever actually eaten a man before?”
“I’ve devoured a few,” she laughed, plucking him up and setting him on his ledge, leaning in to blow a kiss at him. “Just not with these lips…” She reclined upon the mountainside, watching him pick out a popular song on his harp. “But none of them really care about who I am, you know? You’re the first little person who’s ever asked me any questions.”
Cian looked up. “Surely not the first?”
“Okay, King Gwynedd, maybe. But just to learn what it was about his subjects that I found so tasty.” Cares stretched her long limbs high up into the sky. “Not a very long conversation.”
“Oh, beautiful monstrous woman!” called out a tiny voice from the base of the mountains. Cian stopped playing and peered down. There was a peasant waving up at them from a trail leading from town. “Please, permit me to pleasure your feet!”
Cares rolled her eyes at Cian. “It’s like this all day. One moment.” She propped herself up on her elbows and adjusted her voice to something a little gruffer. “Very well, little worm, but be sure and do a good job lest I grind you into a paste.” The far-off man let out a cry of delight, took off his clothes, and disappeared behind her sole. The giantess snorted and smirked at the bard. “I can’t even feel anything, you know? I just let them go at it and they go away soon enough.”
“Huh. Yeah.” Cian studied the daylight glowing on her cute toes, off in the distance, shining on her powerful thighs. He watched her gently rounded belly rise and fall with her breathing, as did her tremendous breasts. She reclined upon the trees and closed her eyes, an expression of calm happiness on her broad face, her pink and glistening tongue poking out long enough to wipe her puffy lips. Cian took a long, deep breath. “But otherwise, they have no curiosity about you? They just come up, and… woink-woink-woink?” He made a quick thrusting gesture.
She chuckled, her breasts bouncing gently in the late morning air. “No curiosity whatsoever, despite what they claim. I’m just here for their pleasure, as they see it.” She turned her head slightly, the mountain peak rumbling with casual destruction. “I’m glad you’re here, though. It’s nice to talk to someone.”
“What about the giant at Eglwyseg Rocks?”
“He’s no different than all these little guys, trust me.” She reached out and gently ruffled the bard’s head with a huge fingertip. “He swings by to make sure the little people aren’t giving me any trouble, he says, but it always turns into woink-woink-woink, like you said.” She laughed and said she liked his phrase. He said he was glad, though he couldn’t picture a dozen-storeys-tall giant going woink-woink-woink.
Cian performed another piece from the Mabinogion for her, which she deeply enjoyed. He rattled off a dozen jokes for her, most of which she laughed at, some of which needed explaining (for giants have an entirely different sense of humor than tiny people do, insisting their own jokes “go over everyone’s heads”).
That night at the Black Oak (none of the regulars spoke a word as he went straight up to his room), he lay awake in his bed for a long time. He watched the stars crawl by his window, and he relived the noises Cares made in the back of her throat during certain moments. Sighing deeply, he pulled on his pants and stalked outside to dunk himself in a chilly horse’s trough a couple times. Again, no one bothered him with so much as a glance when he came back in, drenched and shivering, stomping upstairs to his room.
A few moments after his door slammed, a shepherd did comment to a farmer, “I don’t understand bards very well.”
The next day ran quite the same: Cian racked his brains for the best songs to perform for Cares y Bwlch, and she was delighted. She lay upon her chest along one mountain ridge, while across the mountain pass he performed little dances for her, such as were gaining popularity in court lately. She demanded that he teach her, which he was willing to do, but her massive feet swept threateningly through the air above and around him, crashing into the mountaintops like meteor strikes, giving him frightful pause. When he suggested she hold him in her palm and lift him to her face, the instruction went much smoother. She imitated his movements as he stepped and spun, inches from her swollen lips, awash in her sweet breath, beneath the gaze of her huge, alluring eyes. His tiny heart pounded in his chest, and not from his exertion.
Once, they were interrupted by a hiker who begged permission to worship her. She laughed: “The labors of a beautiful giantess are never done, are they?” and she rubbed his little head deep into her erect nipple as he masturbated. Another time, a shepherd had simply wandered too near. Cares chuckled about her new servant, and rubbed him gently between her soles while she fondled her own breasts directly overhead.
“Now, where were we?” she asked the bard, sending the shepherd stumbling back down the hillside. Cian shifted uncomfortably in his seat by the rocky ledge: there was a scent in the air that moved him, and his mind raced with images he struggled to push aside.
A voice called out, “Hey, how about some sex?” They turned to look: the village idiot from Llanynys was standing at the entrance to the pass. He wore a slouching, stained hat, a pair of pants badly in need of repair, and an expression of dull incomprehension.
Cares laughed. “You talked me into it, you charmer!” She pinched the tiny figure, bathed him completely in the caresses of her thick tongue, then thrust him repeatedly into her labia, right there on the mountainside. Cian stared in surprise, then turned his back modestly. But clapping his palms over his ears did not block out the deep slurping noises that echoed up the valley, nor the throaty moans Cares let loose at the sky. The bard hummed to himself and counted to 200 before the giantess asked him what he was doing.
He looked up. Cares was smoothing out her hair. The tiny idiot was plastered to the side of her breast; she saw the bard looking at the tiny mess, laughed, and peeled the village idiot off like a fruit rind, placing him gently upon the trail home again.
“These… interruptions must be awfully inconvenient for you,” Cian ventured.
“They’re relentless!” She settled back down upon her peak and grinned at him.
He cleared his throat. “You know, if you ever have such urges around me…” It was difficult to meet her gaze, but he did it.
The giantess laughed. “I’d so much rather− Oops, hold on.” She tilted her head and listened for a moment. She trotted down the other side of Bwlch Rhiwfelen where she found a couple traders on horseback. They appeared to have been riding the new trade route, winding far too the north. Nevertheless she caught them, chastised her seductive new worshippers playfully, then squatted and brushed them and their horses with her bare, spherical buttocks while fingering herself.
Cian pursed his lips, nodded, and hiked his way back down the mountainside, through the foothills, and back to his patient and understanding steed, Wrhydri. He petted the horse’s velvet nose, tied his harp up in its leather satchel, and steered off toward the sunset and Denbigh village.
“Oh, leaving already?” he heard Cares’s voice echo from the peaks. “Okay! I had a lovely day, my little adorer! See you tomorrow! Now… oh, where’d you come from? Ha ha ha!”
Wrhydri’s hooves clomped into the beaten dirt streets of Denbigh while there was still light in the sky. He doubled what the ostler normally earned, instructing him that his horse must be ready for a long journey tomorrow morning. Then he went into the Black Oak and ordered a trencher of the ordinary and a pint of plain, then dumped off his saddlebags in his room. Idris said nothing but went to work, bringing it all within a quarter-candle to where the bard sat by the fire.
“You take care of the man-eating giantess, then?” asked a young farmer.
“Oh, she’s taken care of, all right.” Cian tried to catch the farrier’s eye, but Dyfan wouldn’t look away from the logs ablaze.
“She gonna keep bothering us?” asked an old shepherd.
“Not if no one bothers her.” He laughed darkly. “But what are the odds of that.” He staved off further questions, an isolation enforced by the publican himself. The regulars grumbled but returned to drinking, a popular pastime.
Idris pulled up a chair across from the bard. “None of my business, but what’s next? Where ye headed tomorrow?”
Cian folded some roast beef in stout wheat bread, chewed on it fiercely, then washed it down with the plain. “I hear good things about Wrexham, if anyone asks.”
“Doesn’t answer my question.”
“Gonna take my time getting to Pentrefoelas.”
Idris blinked. “That’s the opposite direction entirely!”
“Not opposite enough.” Cian nibbled at an egg and stared into the embers until Idris remembered he had a bar to run.