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Story Notes:

This is also an ongoing. Yeah, yeah. I'm still reworking Hiding but when inspriation strikes and gives you a new idea, you go with it.

Author's Chapter Notes:

In which our Giantess Nihad meets Maria, the mercenary.

It was quiet. Exceedingly so, save for the winds that blew from all corners of the land. This was a wasteland of sand and stone. Once the site of a powerful civilization, now consumed by the desert it had once rose above. For those seeking treasure and glory, its ruins were a quick way to gain it.
If you didn't mind the death rate.
And in the rural, developing traders point known as Musayf, in a little inn...A figure would be resting at her table. A short break for now, as she attempted to figure out a way that her money problems could be solved. She had once been a guard for a caravan. Unfortunately, said caravan had suffered misrfortunes and she had been forced to break away.
It was tough being a fighter in a world of magic. Either there was a spell for it, or someone would invent such. All she could do was smack people...Satisfying, but very niche-driven. And with a minor sigh of discontent, she finally rose up, paid her dues and headed out...Walking out of town, in the direction of the oasis that travelers and the town used.
Maybe I'll be lucky and a caravan will be there, Maria thought.

Nihad had almost the opposite problems. Wealth she had - it was a matter of finding places to spend it. She had mastered many a spell, but one that would make her... inconspicuous yet not invisible to the people who flocked into towns, villages and cities was not among them.
She'd set up a tent for herself not far from the water itself. The flap was closed. It was, out of necessity, a very large tent. Nearly as tall as ten men, and almost as wide and deep, a circular affair with a peak in the middle. Made of a thick, ruddy material that would be hard for most to identify.
Inside she sat crosslegged, her magical studies done for the day. She wondered if she should make an appearance in town - that could go so many ways. From worship to terror or outright violence.
Nihad was not a violent woman, but when assailed, was cruelly efficient with such, be it physical or mystical in nature. She reached over for one of her treasures - a harp. Designed for much smaller hands, she still managed to be able to strum it, mostly tunelessly because to her, those strings were annoyingly close together. But it was a sound that comforted her in an otherwise largely solitary life.

Nope. Nope...Noooope. Each and everyone of these impromptu campsites were either full up or planning to stay. Nothing that would suit her purpose at least, in terms of a new job. And then she heard the music...A rarity in these parts. At least of the kind it was.  A harp in the desert? Curious, she followed the sound towards a promising looking area. A massive tent, made for a noble who liked his space? At any rate, Maria would approach the tent and call from without. "Excuse me? May I please speak to the owner of this tent?"

A deep, yet feminine, voice echoed out from within the tent, seemingly from above. "You might, but you must first promise to simply enter, draw no weapon, and stand your ground once laying eyes upon me. Speak such an oath and enter."

The mercenary rolled her eyes. Typical nobility paranoia. And with a quiet sight, spoke aloud. "I give my word to do as you say." And then she strode in. Looking up... And up... And up. Oh. That explained a bit...And then her gaze went towards the harp in hands as her mouth made an 'o' in comprehension. "That was your music? It was nice...So you are the owner of the tent then?"

Even though she sat crosslegged, her head was perhaps at half the height of the tent. She probably could touch the top of the tent if she stood and stretched her arms up.
"I am. I crafted it." Nihad set aside the grand harp, it seeming like a toy in her hands, then cocked her head. "You have no fear of me. Most do. I'm not sure if I find this a relief, or vexing."
She was dressed in the sparest of clothing, but still the amount of cloth required for such was staggering. Off to one side on the floor of the tent was a long staff, with an orb at one end of it.

"I would know your name, fearless stranger." the giantess said.

"I could try my hand at screaming and waving my arms if you think it'd help?" Maria said dryly before removing her helmet, letting her features be likewise shown. "I'm Maria Ib-Ahad. Local mother, adventurer father. At least till he up and bit it." She shrugged. "Rock climbing at his age, I tell you. At least me mum managed to hear his last words."

Nihad raised an eyebrow at the summation of a life story in a paragraph, but of course now she'd have to offer similar. "I am Nihad of the Adites. I have lost track of how long I have wandered, surely several years. My people can no longer congregate in large groups - it is seen as a threat. We are builders... but today's people forget and cannot see past our size."

It was said wistfully, and a little sadly, as she studied the human. "I should think I have not spoken calmly with a human in all of my time under the sun. So little is new to me, that I thank you for that now, Maria Ib-Ahad."

Maria waved a hand in dismissal. "Naw, don't worry about it. Like me mum always say's, "we can't help what we are. Only who we are." And crossing her arms, she looked Nihad over again as she added frankly. "I don't see what the fuss is about to be honest. I wish I had your figure though. Maybe I'd have been married off long ago insteading of bashing folk for coin." She pondered and then smiled mischeviously. "Then again, maybe not so much difference, eh? But in all seriousness, I am looking for a job. You planning on staying hereabouts?"

"I do not stay anywhere long, due to the reactions I usually garner. And your compliment is well received." 
The giantess moved slightly forward then, one large hand settling on the ground on either side of Maria as she brought her face closer to her, the sheer size becoming fully realized at this point. This woman was forty feet tall if she was an inch. The face, the height of Maria's whole body.

"I would be lying if I were to say I would need protection by one of your stature, but perhaps we can work together, in a fashion. I am forming an idea.  That is, if you would be interested."

"Be like the housecat guarding the lion, wouldn't it?" Maria replied dryly, remaining in place as her curiosity grew unhidden. "What did you have in mind?"

"As you may well see, I have many items of value about me. I would trade some of these for more useful goods or even coin, but when I come into a town, no one sees me as a trader. If you could but be a herald for me, and sell some of these accumulated riches for things I truly need, I would not have to live as if I were a pauper yet surrounded by wealth..."

"Cor!" She exclaimed, eyes wide at the idea. "Me, the trader? Errr, It's not exactly my strong point." She admitted freely before adding with a rueful smile. "On the whole, I prefer to bash people....But I can do my best to do right by you."

"And between us, woman... if we were both approaching a merchant, who would get the more favorable reaction?" Maria leaned back then moved over to a stack of pillows, sitting upon them.

Suddenly the sky over Maria darkened as a pillow the size of a bed landed right beside her tossed casually by Nihad. "I am sorry I have no seating for one of your size."

"That's alright." Maria said amiably, hopping on as best she could before adding. "And if it was me? I'd be a bit distracted myself. Especially in that outfit."

"I've not been able to purchase enough fabric, and even if I did, I am no seamstress. Who would sew such a thing? I have not seen any of my own people since my small village broke apart while I was but a teenage girl."  Nihad blushed somewhat, taking the compliment well.

"You have remarked upon my appearance more than once in our short interaction. If I did not know better, I would think that you were expressing attraction toward me."

"I'm not blind." Maria said dryly before suddenly smirking. "Besides, were I to make a move, you would know instantly. Or was that wishful thinking aloud?"

The giantess laughed heartily at that. "I suppose you would at that..." Then Nihad sobered some. "I have lived a lonely largely solitary life. Any attention is more than I have received prior to this day."

"Oi! None of that now!" Maria said sharply, struck suddenly by the need to say something as she actually wagged her finger at the giantess. "There will be no depressing talk in my presence. You are a paragon of femine power and you are mighty!" She then shrugged and added. "Besides, you got me now. I like the looks of you and you seem nice enough. Both reason enough for me to accept."

"I've got you now..."  Nihad grinned an maneuvered on the pillows to face her, chin on her hands. This afforded not only a face to face look at the giantess, but, from Marias angle, one that would travel the length of her cleavage. Nihad was either unaware or uncaring that she was revealing herself this way. "That could have quite a few interpretations..."

"Only if you're willing to act on em." She said cheekily, grinning in reply and not minding in the least at the view afforded, the silent challenge hanging in the air.

"Oh really?" Nihad sat back again and stared down at the - to her - doll-sized woman. "Granted there would be I imagine, quite a bit of imagination required to get around the size differential, but I do admit this is not the first time I have considered a dalliance with a human.  But that being neither here nor there... you would perhaps be more comfortable if you were not wearing that armor, yes?"

"Actually, now that you mention it..." She said and would move to remove it until she was in a simple wool shirt and breeches, her boots put to the side and her hair tied back with a leather cord as she sighed and stretched out on the pillow. "Ahhh, that feels much better. Thanks."

"And now, I get to appreciate your form, but I'd need to do that close up..." Nihad moved one hand toward Maria but paused short of her intended goal. "...that is, if you do not mind."

"By all means." Nihad said, giving her permission as she added with a lavicious wink. "On condition that I can return the favor."

Then those fingers wrapped about Maria's form, her back pressed against the giantess' palm, tightening to a firm yet gentle grip. Then she was brought close enough to Nihad's face that her breath, still smelling of some sort of spice, was a breeze across Maria's face.
"You've pretty eyes." She said, then slowly sat the woman back own on the pillow she'd set aside for her, resuming her previous postion, chin in hands once more.

Now for the first time, she turned red. Looking at her hands as she mumbled. "Awww." Maria was used to flirting. Actual compliments was new.

"It is the truth. So... your life. Wandering about, selling your martial skills. You may not have thought terribly much of it but it is a life I would take in an instant. Though I spend my days studying and learning, wandering to learn new things... it was, until now, quite solitary."

Shadows almost cause Maria to start as Nihad suddenly turned over, lying on her back and staring, now aligned upside down, at the warrior woman. "I think that finding food is still the most challenging part, because I will not do what I could, and simply go take what I need."

"Hmmm....Well, I've heard tales of other lands. Of places where giants live and raise great, furry elephants for their tables? Maybe we can visit em someday, like as not? A desert isn't exactly brimming with food." She admitted, leaning on her elbow.

"I've heard those rumors too..." Nihad replied, blowing a bit of hair from her face. "But there is some part of me who does not want to be among those my own size. The part that likes being big and the respect and awe that brings.  What I wish most for is a way to live among those of your size however briefly. But even the best spell I've researched merely cuts my size in half, for a scant hour. Perhaps there are two goals now, find those other lands, and find a way for me to spend a day every now and again in the world I have to view from above now."

"Sounds good to be sure." Maria agreed, before suddenly sliding off her pillow to walk calmly towards her...Climbing up to rest on her stomach like a cat as she sighed and grinned if looked at. "You did say I could return the favor."

Nihad watched the girl climb her like a hill and stared at her throughout.  "I did agree to that, yes."
And, reflexively, one hand came up to rest atop Maria as she repositioned herself to be able to gaze down at her stomach where Maria lay.

"You're warmer than I expected. Though I suppose that could be the sun that baked through your armor." An absent stroke or two across her happened before the giantess moved the hand away, keeping a curious eye upon Maria.

"I am to assume that, when it comes to... personal physical activities, you prefer the company of your own gender? Or is this just idle curiosity?"

"I happen to like both actually...Both have their good points to offer. And you find all sorts of good folk in both camps." Maria said, enjoying the stroking.

"Interesting. As I said, the size difference poses some obstacles but... I think it also opens up some new possibilities as well."  Nihad brought that hand up to rest on her again. The weight of it alone were it to be fully rested upon her likely enough to prevent her escape or even impede breathing, should she wish it, but the giantess was being careful.
"You are very lucky to be lying on top of my stomach, as opposed to within it. Some of my kind would do that you know. It is not something I condone, but it has been known to happen."

"So I've heard. And orcs eat their own kind, Elves are proud and prissy and humans will fight with everyone. We all have our little problems." She said frankly, showing with words her acceptance.

"Hmm..." She left her hand on Maria as she shifted again to a full  seated position, then maneuvered about so the woman was reclining in her hand, her fingers becoming the 'back' of the chair Nihad's hand was providing her.  "So, in addition to helping me procure a few more staples and occasional luxuries, you're willing to be a more physical companion as well?" Not that Nihad needed permission, she could pretty well do whatever she pleased with the human, but it was not in her nature to be cruel. This was another reason she was alone. So many of her race, betrayed by the humans and others they had so dutifully built massive monuments and buildings for, were bitter and would use their size to its full, terrible effect. The gaze that rested upon Maria was one of curiosity and hope, instead.

Maria hesitated... Then turned around, putting her arms around the hand as she rested her head. Her  own manner shy now as she  spoke. "If you  don't mind someone small like me..."

"It is not as if I have a line of suitors outside my tent awaiting turn to woo me." Nihad brought her very close to her face, and those massive lips, which could smile a smile a yard wide, barely brushed across the woman's shoulder, citrus-scented breath wafting over the human's body, warmth all encompassing before she withdrew  and smiled.
"I've some ways around that, if only partially. The best spells I've learned can halve my size for a few hours, or double a human's. The combination of the two castings, I imagine should, for a few hours bring our sizes so close that you would be about waist high to me." She explained.
"However, I have to memorize the rituals and seal them in my mind daily, and I had done neither as of this day. Perhaps on the morrow or sometime soon we can discover how close in size we can become."

"Sounds like a  date then." Maria cooed at the kiss, shuddering briefly as she laid out once more. A smile on her face as she sighed out with bliss. "It was a good day when I heard your music."

"Music? I can barely strum that thing, the strings are too close for my fingers to play less than a few at a time. You flatter me.  I grow hungry. I have bread I have baked some fruits into if you would like to join me for that."  She commented, and without waiting for a response moved to a low table she had fashioned from some of the natural slate in this desert and set Maria upon it, before reaching across to open the still-warm oven, which she too of course had fashioned.
"When I move on, people will wonder how a large table and an oven got here from nowhere. If they get used again, my heart will be gladdened."
Nihad drew the warm loaf of bread over. From her vantage point, Maria could see that whole figs and dates had been baked into it, and the honey smell was evident as well, before, from somewhere out of Maria's vision, a knife was drawn down across it, making a neat slice, which was placed on that stone table near Maria. Nihad sat, legs curled under her, at that small table, smiling her approval at the situation.

Well, she had never been one to turn down free lunch. And it did smell quite delicious from where she was. More so, lifted and put  down as easily as a doll at the table. She did wonder where the dough came from and how much it must have cost her. No matter.
For now, Maria was a guest and she would act as such. And so she would inhale with culinary appreciation as she said aloud. "Thank you for sharing what you have. It smells delicious."

"I cannot imagine in comparison you'll eat much. I've no utensils so break off what you wish. I realize I've included full fruits inside so that may be problematic for you."  She brought that knife down again, cutting away a slice from the side, still about the size of a regular loaf, if you discounted the fact that half a dozen dates and a couple of figs took up part of that bulk.
She then broke off a piece from the opposite end of the slice and ate it herself. "I think I may have over sweetened this batch. Adding honey as well as the dates and figs may have been too much, but... I simply have to bake or cook what I can manage to obtain, being that I am no hunter. Meat is very, very rare for me, because I am never able to buy it in quantities that would be adequate and no animal is ever near where I tread."

Chapter End Notes:

Fixed some of the wording to make it more clear who was speaking. This rolled out of me so fast I realized I'd been too vague...

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