Aug. 12th, 2011

The Angry Giant stood at one end of the Plaza of the Eternal Spring in Beth Shamon. There was no evidence of a spring, or even a fountain, eternal or otherwise, in that dusty and odd-angled square, and that was unfortunate, for a little water would have come as a welcome relief to the Plaza's thirsty frequenters. But Beth Shamon was old, exceedingly so, and time has a way of swallowing all things.

The Angry Giant was a two hundred foot tall colossus appearing as an armored man wielding a club in each hand. Whether the giant was an animated statue, a mechanical construct, or a living being under a magical curse, is unknown. What is known is that it was angry, and it tried its best to smash everything around it with its weapons. It would have undoubtedly succeeded, too, were it not so slow. The tip of the club it was in the act of swinging at the eastern spire of the Temple of the Two-Headed Phoenix moved at a rate of roughly one foot per year. In fifty years, if the temple still stood and hadn't gone bankrupt, they would be obliged to tear down that spire and rebuild it further to the north, but the priests were understandably interested in deferring such an expense as long as possible.

Most people ignored the Angry Giant, which for all practical purposes was just a large gray statue covered in bird droppings, in favor of the marvel on the other side of the plaza: the Horolog of Piyan. This magnificent edifice was a tourist attraction for the throngs of pilgrims who visited the holy city year after year. It was a clock tower as tall as the Giant, covered in gilt and beautiful statuary, with four clock faces. Each told a different time, with a dial that counted a different number of hours, and one that spun the wrong direction, and another that didn't spin at all. It was clearly a work of ancient magic, poorly understood but apparently harmless, and therefore of interest to those who craved exotic stimulation.

It was also obviously richly appointed, and tales told of even greater riches inside it – unconfirmed tales, as nobody was ever allowed inside, but appetizing tales nonetheless. It was such tales that, on this day, attracted a different sort of tourist.

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