Devan and Galadar: The Final Conflict
“So long Cow Face,” said Devan sadly.
“Good-bye Shoeless Freak!” replied Manitoba.
As Devan returned to the elevators, he waved to Talbot and Mercedes mouthing the words, Good luck. Once on board, he thought back to the many years he worked as a member of the now disbanded adventuring group. Although Roland would be expecting him, he was anxious to get back to Furfoot and see his mother and brothers first. He also hoped to see Sierra; provided she wanted to see him. Last time they were together, he abruptly left for adventure and certain things were left unsaid. Devan spoke a silent vow that he would make everything right this time.
He turned left towards the walkway to the Tower of Earth and then proceeded right to then next walkway and on to the Tower of Air. As he waited for disc ’54’ to arrive, he made another vow to quit adventuring for the time and make sure his family, friends, and loved ones were cared for first. It would be great to see everyone again. He also hoped that he wouldn’t have to contend with the giants from Panzington, especially Galadar.
Yes, the famed children’s story of Devan and Galadar was about him and his confrontation with the giant. However, it was the giant’s version that got the most circulation; when Devan hit Galadar in the head with a small, smooth stone; the giant pounded the halfling into ground. The halfling version had Devan defeat the giant and was supposed to be a source of encouragement to shorter races to always stand up the bully regardless of size. Hardly a copy of the halfling version is even seen. Even in other halfling villages, he always found the giant’s version. From that version, all halflings are taught never to go up against a giant with just a stone.
At Floor 54, he got off the disc and opened the lone door. It came out of a tree in the woods near the village of Furfoot. Immediately, he heard cries for help and a sinister laugh that could only come from one person.
“Galadar!” His mother’s house was on the other side of the village, the last one before the road to Panzington. That meant they were the first house to encounter any giant coming in, which is also why Devan was bullied the most. That, and the fact that he stood up to Galadar each time. “This time, I’m making sure he doesn’t bother this village again!”
Devan stayed to the trees and skirted the village over to his mother’s home. He spied a bush shaking and quickly investigated.
“Oh, Master Ambercrombie!” a halfling peered out from behind the bush. “I’m so glad it’s you!”
“Morrie? Is that you?”
The bush nodded in response. “Galadar arrived this morning looking for you. He’s taken your mother and three brothers to the lake near Panzington Mountain.”
“Aloysius, Gremble, Tonkin, and Mother Lily,” said Devan under his breath.
The bush nodded in agreement. “He said that he wanted to end this fairytale nonsense once and for all.”
“What does he care?” asked Devan. “All copies of that story that exist are with the giant winning.”
The bush shook in disagreement. “Not true. All copies with the halfling being victorious are in Panzington. They know of no other version.”
“No other version? That’s it!” Devan instantly knew what he must do to maintain peace in the village of Furfoot. He ran back to the center of town and rang the bell of the church. The ringing brought everyone in the village to the church knowing that it was one of distress.
As the halflings gathered many were surprised to see Devan back in town. Some attempted to welcome him home but he stood up on the steps of the church to get everyone’s attention.
“Please, please! Yes, I am very grateful to see all of you as well but there is a more urgent problem affecting us. It appears that Galadar the giant has kidnapped my mother and brothers in an attempt to have a final encounter with me.”
Many of the halflings seemed uninterested in that the encounters with Galadar were always with Devan and his family. They expressed their opinions in that fashion.
“Yes, I do realize that he is the only giant from Panzington who comes down here to Furfoot and yes, I do realize that I am the only halfling that he encounters. But who’s to say that he will be the last and, if my family and I aren’t here, who will stop the others?”
“That’s only if any of the other giants come down here,” said a halfling who extracted himself from the crowd. He was dressed in more authoritative clothing that the other.
“Mayor Furfoot, I was informed that all of the fairytale stories of Devan and Galadar that exist in the town of Panzington are the ones where the halfling is victorious. If all of the giants read that version of the story, there is no stopping them if they should come down here.”
This bit of information alarmed the villagers. Many were in a state of panic as Mayor Furfoot ascended the steps to address the town.
“Now now, calm yourselves,” he said. “We can hold our own against the giants if need be. We have several who are trained in battle skills and can meet any opposition that comes our way.”
“If it pleases thee, Mayor Furfoot, I have a suggestion that could avoid any unnecessary confrontation and bloodshed,” Devan said.
“Say on, Master Devan,” Furfoot replied.
“If we were to gather all copies of the fairytale where the giant is victorious and trade them for the copies where the halfling is victorious, we can end this peacefully.”
“That is a capital idea! But who among us will take on this task?”
“I will, of course,” Devan said. “But I can’t do it alone. Do I have any volunteers to assist me in that endeavor?”
Many of the halflings looked away and mumbled in fear and disinterest. One young halfling bravely stepped forward.
“I’ll go with you,” Morrie said as he brushed off twigs and leaves from his clothes.
Devan smiled knowing that he might just be one of the braver halflings in all of Furfoot. “Thank you, Morrie. I knew I could count on you.” He turned to the rest. “Please return to your homes and collect every copy of the fairytale that you have and bring them here. Time is of the essence!”
The villagers dispersed to their homes. The mayor and another halfling went to the library and returned with four copies of the fairytale. Soon others arrived with copies of the story and the total amount was fifty. Morrie drove up in a horse and wagon and the copies were loaded in the bed.
“I’ll take these to Galadar and offer an exchange of the books for my family and, if possible, their copies of the fairytale as well. Wish me luck!” Devan climbed aboard the wagon and they sped off while the villagers waved goodbye.
On the far side of the lake the giant, Galadar, had his captives tied around an Acacia tree. He had a fire going and was cooking a wild boar.
“You’re not going to win,” said Tonkin, the youngest brother. “Our brother, Devan, will be here soon.”
The giant laughed heartily. “I do hope so for your sakes. I heard the bell ringing in Furfoot and I’m guessing he’s return and knows I have the four of you.”
“Galadar, why must you always fight with Devan?” asked Mother Lily.
“It’s because of that stupid fairytale! All I ever heard was Devan the halfling defeating the mighty giant, Galadar. It’s so annoying! I will prove to my people in Panzington that giants always prevail.”
“Devan wins?” Gremble asked. “All we ever hear about is Galadar winning over Devan.”
“You speak lies! You just want to trick me into thinking that this is true so I will let you go.”
“But it is true,” said Mother Lily.
“She’s right,” said Devan as he came around the lake with Morrie as his side. He held a copy of the fairytale story up to show the giant. “See for yourself. Every copy of this story in Furfoot has the giant winning over the halfling.
“Let me see!” He walked over to Devan and snatched the book from his hand. Morrie quickly hid behind Devan.
Galadar thumbed through the whole story and seemed unimpressed. Then when he got to the last two pages his face lit up and he smiled from ear to ear and then laughed out loud.
“I love it, this is great!”
“You see, Galadar, the halflings have only heard one version of the story and my friend, Morrie here, told me that Panzington has copies of the other version. I have fifty copies of that book in my wagon on the other side of the lake. Let’s make a trade. Free my mother and brothers and you can have those copies of the fairytale.”
Galadar appeared to be thinking it over as he looked at the book and then over at the halflings tied to the tree. “It’s a trade!” He stood up and let the halflings loose. Devan went to hug his family as Morrie looked on. “Now take me to those books.”
“Follow me!” Devan led the way around the lake to the wagon. His brothers and mother all talked at once wanting to know about his travels and what brought him back to Furfoot.
Once they reached the wagon Devan turned to Galadar.
“As a sign of good faith, I’m allowing you to take this wagon full of books back to Panzington. I hope that this will end any confrontation that you and I have and that we might become friends.”
“Friends with a halfling? Not likely.” He climbed into the wagon and then drove off toward the mountains.
“How could you let him take the wagon?” Aloysius asked.
“A small loss to keep the peace between the two races,” Devan replied with a shrug.
“Will you two become friends?” Mother Lily inquired.
“That’s up to Galadar. I kept my end of the bargain as did he. I even went one step further allowing him to drive the wagon home. If I know Galadar, he’ll realize that I’m one up on him in favors and he’ll want to return to make us even.”
“He might give us their copies of the fairytale,” Morrie suggested.
“That’s what I’m thinking,” Devan agreed. “For now, let’s return home and celebrate!”
“By the way, Son, Sierra has been asking about you,” Mother Lily said.
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