A Study in Stone

My uncle John was a giant. Seven foot-two inches of no-nonsense, corn-fed muscle. Everything about him was gigantic, the way we think of gods as big. He was diagnosed with diabetes before I was born, but they didn’t start cutting on him ’till I was about six. Once they started, they never stopped.

I’m certain he held on well past his expiration date just to see me graduate. Sad to say, he didn’t last that long. In the years since, I’ve thought a lot about what that experience must’ve been like, trapped in a body he didn’t recognize, waiting out the clock.


When Haswell’s army smashed through the magical wards of the Thornhelm, they took little notice of the statues in their way. Some assumed they were the effigies of minor gods left behind to give an eerie quality to the setting, and scare off intruders. Others saw them as a gauntlet of unexpected obstacles left behind to slow their advance. Whatever the case, the soldiers of Nine-Spires pressed on with ruthless efficiency, hammering through until only rubble filled their path.

“… effigies left behind to decorate the setting.”

Had those three divisions paid closer attention, they might have noticed the subtle way those stone figures moved and writhed as they fell or perhaps caught a glimpse of flickering Arcanis peaking out from beneath their wounds. Hell, they might even have noticed something familiar in those old stone faces as they contorted in agony.

Unfortunately, they saw nothing at all and continued forward with uninterrupted speed. Only when they reached the entrance to a vast network of tunnels did they halt their advance. Unwilling to leave this potential threat uninvestigated, they split their forces, with half staying above ground to press on, and the other proceeding cautiously into the dark below.


Now, the Tyrin intellect is a vast and cool and unsympathetic thing. To them, gestures of peace and war are often two sides of the same sword. When Haswell violated the sovereignty of summer, the Tyrin had to respond. But making an example of an ally without letting tensions devolve into wholesale slaughter is no easy task. So, they encased the intruders in layer after layer of giant living stone. As their bodies grew and their features distorted, their insides crystalized. When the process was complete, gone was the form of man, replaced instead by the inhumanly strong and often dim-witted violence of monsters.

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