“All right, whaddya got for me.”
Entiscu gently lifted her chamber to the top of the cliff. She thumbed the brass latch open, with a great squeal of metal-on-metal, and lowered the front wall. Eóten peered inside at the Victorian artistic studio, a room lifted wholly from its original building and reinforced for transport. The heavy brass handle clanked against the roof from the giantess’s fingers, but that wasn’t what surprised the people inside. They were used to the clatter and thunder of being hauled around the countryside at a giantess’s hip. They reared in fright at Eóten’s broad face racing up to their room, how his fleshy brow bunched up to squint at them, how his forefinger stroked his lower canine, protruding from thick, frowning lips.
“You been to Europe recently,” he murmured. His large eyes rolled wetly in their sockets, from the little people’s perspective, flickering from this jacket to that pair of shoes. “There’s a little desk in here, too. One of these a writer?”
A brunet in a yellow madras shirt started to raise his hand; the woman next to him smacked it back down. He looked a question at her and she glared her response.
Eóten snorted. “I’ll have the writer and that feisty one next to him. I’m guessing they go together. What does she do?”
But Entiscu shook her head, massive waterfalls of dense auburn shoving the wind in the warm autumn air. “No, the writer’s not available. I just got him and his escritoire, like, a month ago.”
“What about the woman with him?”
She shrugged. “I picked her up separately. If they’ve hooked up, it’s not my business.”
The fearsome-looking ogre stepped back and folded his arms. “So, what do they do?”
“She’s a dancer,” she said, pointing to the tall, brown-skinned woman protective of the writer. “The other two women are a singer and an actor. That other guy’s been my little lover for about half a year. If he does anything else, I don’t know about it.” She shrugged, drumming her fingertips lightly upon the roof.
“He could be my little lover.” He laughed, leaning into the room once more. “Would you like that, little guy? You know what to do with a big, thick ogre cock?” He made a show of peering into his loincloth, stitched together of dozens of tiny beasts. “Shit, I think it’s bigger than you. Let’s hope you’re a top.”
The tiny lover in question nearly passed out, and the singer and actor struggled to keep him upright. The writer looked thoughtful and took a seat to compose some notes.
“Don’t be foul, Eóten,” she said, feinting to knee him in the groin. He fell for it, jumping backward. “They’re artistic-types, they’re delicate and vulnerable.” The tiny people looked at each other, not entirely approving of this assessment. “Anyway, what did you bring? I’m not giving anything up until I see what you’ve got.”
Grunting, Eóten untied a large leather sack from his crude belt, each of which required hundreds of animals to compose. As soon as he loosened the neck of the sack, however, a chorus of screaming and wailing arose. The people in the Victorian studio stared in horror as the ogre dumped a few haggard-looking people into his callused palm. “Eh… I got two Blacks and a Chinese girl. A couple of Whites.”
He ducked as if his friend had lashed out at him. “Sorry! For fuck’s sake! I got another artist, this guy says he’s just a student, but he won’t say what he’s studying. The Chinese girl’s a therapist and this other woman’s a nurse.”
“You said you had two Whites,” Entiscu commented, peering into his collection.
“Yeah, one’s an athlete. He’s wrapped around my cock right now. Either he’s into it or he doesn’t want to fall. The other one, he keeps saying he misses his wife and kids. I don’t know what he’s good for, he just cries all the time. I shoved him up my ass.” Eóten shrugged. “I don’t think you want him.”
The giantess extended one finger and poked through the man and women in his palm, apologizing to them softly. “You really have to start taking better care of these guys, Eóten. They’re dirty, one’s holding her arm a weird way, and when’s the last time you fed them?”
The ogre looked up and licked his thick lips. “Aw, shit. That’s right.”
“Goddess damn you, Eóten. Hold on, there’s an apple tree on this cliff…” She turned, and the tiny people in the ogre’s palm screamed in terror as her massive breasts swung just above them. She twisted the trunk of the tree, snapping it free, and shook it over the tiny people. They cried out in pain beneath a shower of apples. “They’re a bunch of complainers. I don’t think I want to trade you any of them.”
“That’s not fair! I wanted to unload these and head down to Northern Africa! What’m I supposed to do, eat them?” He looked disdainfully at his collection, who looked back at him both horrified and offended.
“Well, who’s going to want a bunch of grimy, whining little grubbers? You have to take care of them.”
They looked up as footsteps thundered louder and louder. Entiscu grinned at the new arrival, yet she rested her arm protectively around the Victorian studio. “If it isn’t Thyrs,” she said. “You want in on this?”
The new giant smiled and swept his golden hair back. “Sure, I just got back from seeing Fífel. I scored a few sailors and a musician off him, but I’d be willing to upgrade if you’ve got anything nice.”
“I got a nurse and a therapist.” Eóten bunched the screaming people against one immense pec. “Don’t ask to see them.”
Entiscu rolled her eyes. “He’s an idiot. He was going to eat them instead of starting a village.”
Thyrs scowled at the ogre. “Do you even know how this goes? Are you sure you want to play?”
Eóten’s eyes glowed redly. “You disrespecting me? You judging me? I’m just as good as you two fucks!”
“Dude, you haven’t even started a village yet. How’re you going to compete? Entiscu, how’s yours coming along?”
She drew herself up to her full height, a head taller than the ogre and almost as tall as Thyrs. “We just organized a full guard for the manse, we started our crop rotation last spring, and we’re building a performance plaza in the center of town.” In her chamber, the three women stood a little straighter and tried to stifle their enthusiasm. “How about you?”
“I’m straight-up investing in a castle and curtilage. I’m hoping these little guys will bring in some trading.” Thyrs pulled a thin gold necklace from beneath his crude blouse: three limber little men, suspended by their waists, tried to hang with dignity and meet the eyes of the enormous naked goddess before them. “I also got a ship’s doctor, but I don’t know how good he is. I’m hoping he can cook.”
At Eóten’s downcast expression, wheels began to turn in Entiscu’s head. “I’m probably going to hate myself for this,” she muttered, “but this big oaf’s got a nurse with maybe a dislocated shoulder. If you take her, maybe your doctor could help her out, and then maybe she can help him out.”
A tiny woman with reddish-brown skin and brown hair bound back in thick braids poked up between the ogre’s thumb and forefinger. She looked as though she were about to throw an apple at the redheaded giantess, but she caught a glance of Thyrs and turned visibly amenable.
Thyrs looked down his nose at her. “She’s cute, but I don’t think so.”
“She just needs some food and a bath.” Eóten looked surprisingly sheepish, for someone who could kick a barbican to the ground.
Thyrs was unconvinced, so Entiscu drew a long breath. “All right. I was really hoping to staff my theater troupe, but I’ll throw in my actor if you help out Eóten.” From above, she pointed at a tiny redheaded woman in a defiant stance, looking for all the world like a miniature version of herself.
“She’s cute.” Thyrs leaned in to examine her, and it appeared the tiny woman didn’t mind: she stepped forward, stretched out her arms dramatically, and paraded herself for a couple seconds. “An actor, huh? Who are these others?”
“A singer, a dancer, a writer, and the one in the blue shirt’s mine.”
“I thought you weren’t trading the writer,” said Eóten.
“You sure? I’m thinking my soldiers would appreciate a dancer, most nights, or else a singer on holidays,” said Thyrs, glancing at each of the tiny figures in the decorated room. “But I really could use a gazetteer.”
“I’m not giving up my writer, or my lover.”
A rumbling chuckle stampeded its way up Thyrs’s throat. “Okay, tell you what. I have something special.” He undid his necklace and rested it beside the studio; the sailors hauled their necklace over to look at it, and the artists bunched up to chat with them. Thyrs carefully plucked a rangy old man from his blouse pocket, presumably the doctor, and set him with the sailors; he dipped inside once more to procure the ostensible musician. “This is my special prize, but if you give me your writer and actor, I’ll take Eóten’s injured nurse and you can have this beauty.” So saying, he swept his long, blond hair away from his right ear and exposed a gleaming ear cuff with a short chain, from which dangled a furious little woman. With great care, Thyrs tugged the cuff from his cartilage and suspended the bangle before Entiscu’s eyes.
The tiny woman was dressed in lavish silk blouse and skirt and a leather bodice, trimmed in red and black, with striking knee-high boots and a wide-brimmed hat. Exotic birds’ feathers were jammed into its brim, and glints of light betrayed accents of jewels about her person. “She was the captain of a trading vessel that Fífel had scuttled. These five are the last of its crew: I’m unable convince him in any meaningful way that these wretched beggars can’t breathe water like he can. But you can see she’s a little fighter.” Turning slowly in space from between the giant’s fingertips, the minuscule woman produced a cutlass and swiped symbolically at the redheaded giantess. “I’ll be honest, I was hoping to break her into a lovemaking role, but I’d be willing to give her up. As a favor to you.” He brushed the back of his hand against Entiscu’s cheek.
Eóten glanced back and forth between them. “Hey, what do I get outta this? I’m down a person in this deal.”
Entiscu shot him a dark look. “You get a clearer conscience, knowing you only starved four people to death instead of five.”
“But I have six.” The ogre clenched his buttocks, looking thoughtful. “Oops. Nope, you’re right.”
Thyrs groaned quietly. “So? What do you say?”
Entiscu’s lavish auburn locks shimmered in the autumn sun as she shook her head. “I’m sorry, I’m not giving up my writer. It took forever to find one I liked.” The tiny man in the yellow madras shirt looked up at her with a huge smile; the sailors hooted and called him names. “And I really want to build this theater. But I’ll tell you what: if you hand off your doctor to that ugly bastard, to take care of the poor bastards in his grip”—Eóten protested this characterization—“then maybe we can share this feisty little lady.” She draped her long arms over Thyrs’s shoulders and drew him close; he lowered the fighting captain into his friend’s plunging cleavage and made a great show of begrudgingly agreeing.
After several minutes of watching them roll around, shaking the earth with powerful thrusts and deep-throated bellowing, Eóten gingerly plucked the old doctor from the studio on the cliff and crept away as quietly as he could.
Based on an idea by a2inchlich.