Griff . . . My guidon! You understand don't you? . . . This grand old fortress has been my home too long . . . I'll not see her brought to her knees by that that silk-tonged ape!”
A crisp breeze blew in and whipped the Scarlet and Gold into the air. “As you say, Sire . . . And I'll be with you, to show that 'silk-tongued ape' just who's cracking his skull!”
“By Gad—I think you will!” Uthor called for his steed, only to discover it was already tacked up and ready to mount. In fact, his whole corps of knights were mounting up. Somehow they seemed less haggard when girt and seated for battle. The garrison's men-at-arms, and recruits stood primed and ready to march.
Brownie led a saddled palfrey over and handed the reins to Pax, who accepted very reluctantly. “Today is your riding lesson, 'Griff,” said Uthor, the grit back in his voice. “I can't have the royal guidon 'walking' my knights into battle!
“Trumpeter—make some noise!” Uthor roared. “Open the gate! Guidon—Hoist those colors and follow me!”
Once aligned upon the field in front of Armordell, Uthor bid the troop to lay back, while he rode on alone to 'reason' with Hungrid. Close enough to read into the giant's long leering eye slits, he halted. An ego as swollen as his height, surmises the Red, pinning all hope on pricking the giant's one gaping weakness—his vanity.
“Well—Here I am then,” said Uthor to the giant, bold as brass. “Not to roll over for you, but to pick up that 'gauntlet' you so rudely dropped on my doorstep.”
A wide, wicked grin opened up like an abyss across Hungrid's cold gray face. He remained silent as a mountain while Uthor hurled his challenge. “What say we spare these knights of mine still standing—and yours? My hills have tasted their fill of ogres' blood. Let's you and I bang it out here and now. Winner take all.”
Hungrid began to drool.
Just the reaction Uthor was counting on. It spurred him on. “Don't be scared of disappointing that thicket of gray ghouls behind you . . . No matter if their swaggering champion—a towering, brawny-limbed oak—is toppled by a weedy little twig like me. Wouldn't bruise your thick bark, would it? . . . Would it—”