| "Hey you!" said a snarly voice.
I Looked up from my plate to see a large muscular man leaning on my table with his elbows. His cheeks were flushed with drunkenness. He wore a red bandana with yellow triangular shapes dotted all over it. His face had a large black beard that looked sharper then barbwire.
"Yea," I said irritated. "What is it?" I was trying to enjoy a meal.
The man shrugged and leaned in closer. I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I hoped he didn't see my face squinch.
"Aren't chu a soccerer?" he slurred trying not to draw attention to himself. He paused and looked around, as if expecting a dagger in his back.
I rolled my eyes when his gaze was caught by something. I donno what is was and I didn't care. I WAS EATING.
"So aren't chu?" his attention turning back to me. Spit shot out of his mouth, landing on my steak.
I was shocked. I felt my anger rising. I couldn't eat my steak now, he ruined it! I leaped out of my seat and grabbed him by the collar. Then I slammed him into the hard wood floor.
Taste sawdust bastard!
I noticed that everyone was now looking at my little scene.
I smiled politely and waved them off with a slight amused laugh. "Nothing to see here people. Just messin' with an old buddy of mine." I said still pinning the man down with my fist.
"Yea me ol' friend Janey." the drunk said going along with the story. No one was paying attention now of course.
"Now listen here buddy." I said with tinge of anger. "What the hell are you thinking coming in here and ruining my dinner, huh?"
He made a gargling noise, then looked around incoherently. I shook him back to his senses.
"Oh its chu Janey. How chu been al' deez yearz."
Oh my god he really thinks I'm his friend!
"Listen here. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up!" I said shaking him ruthlessly.
His head must of cleared up some, because he looked at me like he had no idea what had happened or why he was on the floor.
"You're th-that sorcerer, right?" he said with a bit of cowardice.
"Which sorcerer? There are many." I said slyly. It sounded like this guy had a job for me and I was getting a little low on gold.
He looked around again quickly, before speaking. What was up with this guy?
"The Hellfire Con-" I quickly hushed his voice. I didn't need this kind of publicity. And how does this guy know who I am?
"Who told you about me." I demanded.
"Please don't hurt me. I was told by a seer to come to this bar everyday at dusk and I would meet a sorcerer who is known as Hellfire Con-" I hushed him again.
Okay. So a seer told him where I was.
"What is it you need a sorcerer for?" I asked arching my brow.
He leaned in close, after searching the room yet again.
"I ‘ave a problem with a Troll." he whispered, "He is pillaging all the outer houses of the village and leaves nothing behind. He takes the women for himself and kills the men and children. My house is next. My family." he was starting to get louder and more clingy.
"Please I beg ya! I ‘ave three daughters. Two of ‘em of age and my wife is such a sweet woman. I've no other options."
Now I felt really bad. I helped to pick him up of the floor, which I still had him pinned. I dusted off his shoulders while he pleaded still, but I tuned him out because he was getting annoying.
"Okay, okay. I'll help you. But why can't you just move and leave your house behind?"
"I was thinking about this option, but my mother and father are buried in the back woods just a few yards from our house. I know the bodies will be found by the Hobs that serve the Troll. Then they'll be used in dark practices." He was being clingy again, so I shut him up.
"Okay. I'll do it. What's this Troll's name? Where can I find him?"
The man quivered. Then seemingly swallowed his fear.
"You can find him a few miles out of the south gate of the Village. The cave is close to a river." He cut off hesitantly.
"Okay, so what's his name?" I asked sternly. This guy was definitely not used to hiring a Merc.
"His name is Alli'nav. The white troll." Then suddenly everything got quiet. The bar chatter, the clanking glasses, even the smell of smoke seem to disappear. Everyone, and I mean everyone was looking at us like we had the plague.
"Are you gonna try to stop Alli'nav?" asked a woman.
"You! Hell of course he ain't. Look at ‘em he's too scrawny, too little and too weak." someone in the back of the tavern said.
Oh no you didn't pal!
I shot a mean glance at everyone in the room. "Who said that!" I shouted.
Someone pushed and shoved through the crowd and stepped forward. He was muscular and tall. He was shaven and had a large battle axe strapped to his back.
"I am Gerald Dovo-"
I chanted a quick spell and released it. "Explosion."
Then Gerald whatever his name was, was shot up through the roof by the exploding floor beneath him. Everyone looked at me in surprise and awe. Until a voice broke the moment.
"You did this to my tavern!" screamed a very annoying lady. She turned and glared at me and rushed over so fast that I didn't know what to do. But I chanted another quick spell and held it in the back of my mind just in case.
"You did this! You better fix it! I'm-" I stopped listening to her after that. I did know a few spells that might be able to fix her tavern, but it would take some time and I wanted to hurry and get this guys Troll before nightfall.
"Look I'm sorry I got a little carried away. My mom always said I had a temper." I smiled childishly.
"Don't give me none of that nonsense." her face puffed up almost as big as her body, and she was no small lady, I tell you. "Tell me how you're gonna pay for this." she demanded.
I almost released the spell I was holding just to shut her yap, but I took the high road and decided to give her the remainder of my gold, which was sufficient enough and then some
I hiked out of the town and headed for the river. It was almost sun down and Trolls, Gobs and Hobs were most active at night, on account of the sunlight turning them into stone. There was a small trail that led to the river. It looked like it was used a lot by the townsfolk... or some hungry gobs. It was about a forty minute walk to the river. But along the way I found some plants I could use to make some good alchemical workings and I got to try out a new spell I recently learned that let me se in the dark.
When I got to the river it took a little bit of searching to find the entrance into the cave. As far as I could tell, nothing had exited, but my tracking skills weren't so good. But my magical skills on the other had. I quickly chanted a tracking spell and released it on the entrance of the cave. Slowly some tack marks appeared. The small and large feet of the Hobs and Gobs. Then some really large feet of the Troll. The troll feet were huge, almost the size of a Minotaur. The tracks glowed faintly, indicating they were made a while ago. So it was safe to assume they were all snug in their cave.
It was a bit nippy outside, so I hoped to have this done quickly so I could get back to my bed at the tavern. My breath looked like smoke as I entered the cave. I had never felt so unnerved in my life. Every step seemed to echo loudly. Not to mention my little night vision spell made everything look green, which was really annoying. I tripped a few times over some bones of what looked like human legs. Both times I shot up quickly ready to bring the cave down And this was all in the first five minutes. This deed was definitely taking years off my life.
How stupid was I to take this mission. I mean come on, I'm just eighteen festivals old. I haven't really done anything bigger then a few Hobs and some wild animals. My reputation is solely based on the one thing I'm ashamed of. In the midst of doubt I heard what seemed to be fire crackles. I ducked behind a well sized stalagmite. I turned off the night vision spell and saw small bouncing shadows on the wall.
That's a camp fire!
I peeked around to try to see what made the fire. I stretched and could see nothing. So I did something stupid. I stretched a little more and fell over with a Humph!
I chanted a spell as fast as I could. I looked up and found a blade almost touch the space between my eyes. If I had looked up any further... I don't wanna think about it.
"Who are you?" asked a calm stern voice. I couldn't make out the face, but by his attire I could tell he was a Merc and a swordsman. I also made out a bow strapped to his back.
"I am a fellow Mercenary." I managed. I must look stupid kneeled out on the ground like a worm. "My name is Auracle Maika. I am with Hilfer's Guild." I added as calmly as I could manage, which probably sounded pretty bad.
"Hilfer's you say. Me too." his voice had changed from "I'm going to kill you" to "Come have some tea".
He helped me up and we sat by the fire. I got a better look at him. He was a foot or so taller then me and was handsome. He had a clean shave. His hair was black and his skin was light. He was built more then I was.
"So what are you doing here?" I asked nervously. I kept my eyes on the fire.
"Same thing you're doing here." he smiled. I shot up and looked at him.
"Who hired you?" I blurted, then covered my mouth. He seemed to enjoy my display with a smile.
"A drunk at the tavern."
"What!" I said with a cringe. My eye twitching.
"Don't tell me that you were hired by the same man."
I nodded my head. "I was. Damn. I guess you can take the money, but I still wanna help." I said trying to compromise.
"I don't think this was a case of drunken mistakes."
"Are you saying you don't think he hired us both on accident because he was drunk?" I asked, pondering the situation.
"Well, lets examine the facts. What did he tell you when he asked you to do the job?"
I started thinking about what he had said to me.
"He said the troll was pillaging the outer houses of the village and that his family was endangered and something about his parents being buried in the back." I gave him the gist of it.
"Yea me too."
"Oh wait!" I snapped suddenly remembering. "He said that a seer told him where to find me."
"Yea, he didn't say that to me, but if he went there looking for you, why did he ask me?"
I thought about it for a second. "Maybe he got tired of waiting for me?"
"Yea, but he approached me yesterday." he said, trailing off into his own thoughts.
I sat quietly, thinking about it myself. When suddenly I remembered why we were here in the first place.
"What about the Troll?" I asked. He looked at me snapped out of his daze.
"Oh well I figured waiting here for them to come out would be easier to kill them. You see down there are places to for them to hide. This way they are trapped in a narrow pass and can be picked off." He concluded the speech and I was dumb founded.
I would have never thought of that. Damn he is good. But he so young, younger then me I believe. Feeling embarrassed I looked away and started to think about what spells to use so as not to cave in the tunnel. After a few moments of thinking the swordsman gasped and jolted up. He grabbed a small sack I hadn't noticed and ran towards me. I jumped up, ready to attack, but instead of unsheathing his sword, he grabbed my arm and practically forced me with him to the exit of the cave. While I was being dragged across the floor I noticed some shadowy figures where the campfire was.
Gobs! He's trying to save me!
With a new appreciation for him and pulled free and got to my feet. I ran close behind him and we soonly found the entrance to the cave. We ran out and kept running until we got to the river. The cold stabbed at me like spears. The river had some frozen spots littering it. Out of breath I rested on my knees. I noticed the swordsman was hardly showing any signs of running. His attention was in the direction we had just come from.
"I thought we were gonna fight them off in the tunnel?" I said regaining my breath.
Still gazing towards the cave he replied. "I think we were set up by that drunk."
"Come again?" I asked.
"I believe that he offered us as sacrifices to Alli'nav to keep is home safe."
Could he be right? Did that bastard drunk set me up, set us up?
"But we still could have fought back."
"Not if they knew we were going to be there. They would have torn us to pieces."
Damn, he's right again.
"So what do we do now?" I asked walking over to his side. I looked at him, his face was deep into thought and concentration.
"We should go back and visit our drunk friend, but first we need to fend off these-"
Before he could finish a horde of Gobs and Hobs jumped out at us. Short nasty looking Gobs. They were bone skinny with skin like slimy velvet. They ranged in shades of green and brown. They wore torn up clothes and small badly made armor. Some were armed with bows and arrows, some with daggers and some with their bare fists.
The swordsman ran to the closest one and slashed him in two with one swing. Then turned and deflected an arrow with his blade. I'm no expert, but I think what he just did was really hard. I hadn't noticed the pair of Gobs heading my way. They shot an arrow that zoomed past my head. I woke with a glare.
"Explosion!" I shouted at the pair. The ground beneath them exploded and sent them flying into the river. I started another chant. "Glacio." the water froze instantly trapping the Gobs underneath the water.
When I turned around I noticed a Gob coming up behind the swordsman. I chanted another spell and released it.
"Fireball." the Gob went up in flames and burned away into ash. The swordsman turned and gave me a quick smile meaning "thanks". I gladly accepted and moved on to the Gobs behind me.
It flung at me with a sword and I quickly dodged. Again and again I dodged, then when I seen an opportunity I struck with a kick to his face. He flew back and landed on his ass.
I triumphantly held up my arm and blew the other Gobs away with an explosion spell. But my feeling of victory passed when I saw the swordsman laying face down on the ground. He was limp and the Gobs were tying him up.
I started a chant, but by that time one of the weaponless Gobs had released a sleeping spell. The yellow sparks hit me and knocked me unconscious.
I came too slowly. My eyes didn't open right away but I could feel my arms tied above my head. I think I was maybe strapped to a stalagmite. And without my hands I could properly cast a spell. But I could still cast, so maybe it wasn't that bad. I managed to gather enough strength to open my eyes. The swordsman was strapped to a stalagmite across from me. I could also see blood stains covering them. He was unconscious still. I assume I woke faster because of my higher tolerance to magic.
Great, we're sacrifices.
I looked around to examine the surroundings. Looked like a large room in the cave end, with one way out. It was in the farthest corner from us and was guarded by some Hobs with large spears. Hobs were smaller then Gobs and were yellow-brown. They were also extremely fast, for being fat that is. They wore the same crappy armor as the Gobs.
"I like the small one." I heard a harsh, high pitched voice mutter. That sent a chill through my spine. All I need is to be de-virginized by a Gob.
"I donno Ghal that swordsman is a bit larger is you get my drift."
That is sick!
Did they ‘look' at us when we were out cold? Those bastards. Now I was pissed. But I had no other options, if I cast a spell it would bring the ceiling down on us. Come on Swordsman, wake up and think of something.
"Hey young one." Ghal said, trying to be nonchalant.
"The boss said I could have my way with you. Whataya say? Can I?"
I thought for a second. "No!" I kicked as hard as I could and sent his ass flying into a another Gob.
"Get off me." the Gob said pushing Ghal to the ground. Ghal got up, pissed off and ready to kill.
He crept up to me and whispered in my ear, "Now I'll make it hurt." He grabbed a plank of wood next to the campfire the lit the room and slammed it into my face. I think I felt some teeth fall out. I don't know for sure, there was too much pain, and throbbing. He struck again on my chest and right shoulder. Blood trickled down my lips and nose.
I am going to kill this bastard!
I saw slight movement in the Swordsman, which gave me hope. Until Ghal gave his orders.
"Strap him down. We'll teach him yet." He snarled.
Some of the Gobs were using some kind of binding spell to keep us straped to the stalagmite, they moved me to the floor where I was pinned on my front side.
Damn! Damn! Damn! This cannot be how "it" happens!
Please not while the Swordsman can see, please.
Ghal sunk down to my face, and kissed me with his dark green slimy lips. With breath like rotten meat and cold saliva. He bite my tongue and took a small piece with him. I screamed and tried to flail, but was currently bound.
Ghal disappeared in my peripheral vision and I felt his cold, small hands touch me in a place where no one should touch me. I could feel tears in my eyes running down my face, into the dirt.
Just what the doctor ordered!
This was all I needed.
"I'm sorry, Ghal was it, but I have a drunk to meet."
"What nonsense are you speaking boy. Maybe I should punish you some more?" He grabbed the plank and pulled down my pants.
"Earthly mother grant my wish and bring peace to the warring tides." I said the chant flawlessly and my fresh tears on the earth started glowing as bright as the sun. A wave of pressure flowed through me and the swordsman and we were free.
I jumped up to my feet and pulled up my pants. I quickly glanced around and saw that the Gobs and Hobs had hidden behind wagons and crates from the bright light I summoned. I didn't summon just a bright light. It was a counter spell that negates spells in a certain area of the caster. Genius I know.
I found Ghal, hiding under a broken wagon.
"Elido!" I chanted and the wagon shattered to pieces, a large piece impaled and killed the Gob.
When I turned to fight the others, the swordsman was up and tearing one of them into with his sword. He turned and waved his hand in a thanks. Then continued to stab another charging Hob in the head. Two Gobs running to the exit were no match for the force spells I sent towards them. They were sent flying into the air and impaled by some stalactites.
After a gruesome battle I checked the place fro some loot and was surprised to find twenty gold pieces on Ghal and a small ivory hilted dagger on a Hob. The swordsman approached me.
"Thanks. I'm not sure what you did to free me, but thanks." he said sincerely. He was like a total different person compared to when he was fighting.
"It's no problem. Lets get going so we can kill the troll and see our drunken friend."
We ran out of that room and into what seemed to be labyrinth of tunnels. After trying a few somewhere along the way the swordsman took the lead and I was following him. A few left turns, right turns and I was lost.
"Do you know where we're going?" I asked as we paced.
"Nope. Not the slightest."
I almost fell on my face.
"What do you mean you don't know where we're going. You mean you've just been making turns as you see fit?"
"Yea sorta." he said with a charming smile. Part of me couldn't help but forgive him.
"Let me try now. I know a spell that can help, but it'll take a few minutes to cast. SO guard me." I gave him a wink and sat down and pulled out some ingredients from a small pouch.
I mixed them in a small clay bowl I kept with me and lit them ablaze with a fire spell. The scents of the plants and mixtures swirled and glowed faintly in hues of blue, red and green.
"Lord of the light tower. Mistress of the Woods. Send us your guide to take us where we desire." I chanted the incantation and was sent into a trance filled with lights. Now it was time to weave the spell. I imagined lights like thread that weaved and came together to from a tight blanket. The weave itself wasn't very hard, but must be done right or something unwanted may be summoned instead.
I opened my eyes and a small ball of light floated near by. The swordsman seemed to be awed by it.
"Amazing." he said, staring at the ball. "What is it?"
"A will'o'whisp." I said matter-of-factly. "They guide people to treasures and such. They are servants to the Lady of the forest and swamps. They usually lead people to drown in bogs and bodies of water. But not if you plead to their Lady for help. When I get back to town I'll have to sacrifice some gold to the forest or face some dire consequence."
The swordsman looked completely lost, but to my surprise asked what kind of consequences. After that brief conversation we followed the light through corridor after corridor and finally reached what looked like a badly made circular thrown room surrounded by torches and a poorly made thrown in the center.
The small light orb disappeared with a crackling sound. We slowly approached the thrown, ready to fight. While waiting for the climactic entrance of the troll I figured I'd take some time to find out more about the mysterious swordsman.
"So, uh., what's your name?"
"Oh, I didn't tell you?" he said, sitting on the thrown.
"Nope." I smiled as he imagine to be a royal emperor. "I guess it never came up while we were fending for our lives."
"Yea. Well you did some good fending. you're quick to think. Not like most sorcerers I've met."
"Yea. I never thought I was very good. I just started my life as a merc not too long ago." I smiled when he pulled out his sword and tried balancing it on his hand. It wavered and fell. He was definitely not like everyone else. Which was good.
"I wouldn't mind fighting beside you if we were called to war. How old are you?"
Here it came, some pains of embarrassment. Surly I looked younger then he did, even though I was older.
"God really? I would have said sixteen, same as me!" he looked shocked. "But I guess its good to look so young. Your enemies don't know what to expect." he smiled.
It was true, a lot of people did underestimate me, and paid the price. Like that Gerald whatever it was in the tavern.
"So what is your name?"
As I anticipated the answer, guess who came bulging in? Go on guess!
"Who dares sit in my thrown?" in came stomping Alli'nav, the white troll.
He was huge. Twice as tall as a man and with limps as thick as tree trunks. He had a huge battle axe that was trimmed gold on the blade and hilt and the rest was pitch black. When he stepped, I think the ground shook a little. His face was a contorted mans face, but with a light green shade and dark green shaggy hair topped his head. He wasn't exactly white, more pale green, but in the dim light I could see how he would be mistaken for white. He also fashioned poor armor.
"We were hired to kill you for pillaging the village and-" the troll cut him off. Mean while I chanted a spell.
"You mean he hired you." the troll snapped and pulled up the severed head of the drunk.
I didn't see that coming. But luckily I had a spell ready.
"Das Brando." I released the spell. Small orbs of blue fire appeared all around the troll and exploded, making a large flash of light. "Lets see you walk from that!" I bloated, foolishly.
"Uh-" the swordsman said pointing at the blaze. "He kinda is."
No way could he do that. He was a troll and the spell I just cast attacked his spirit directly, it should have annihilated him easily. Unless, was he maybe warding against astral attacks?
"Nice try witch." the troll gargled. "You see I am a white troll. Your puny astral spells do not effect me either."
My heart raced. I hope the swordsman didn't notice my pale figure. I glanced over and saw the swordsman looking lost about our exchanged words.
Note to self: inform swordsman on trolls and magic.
"Now lets try this again, shall we? Dur Bragg!" the troll shot his palms forward and released his spell.
I powerful wave of invisible energy was shot towards me and the swordsman. Lucky I placed a barrier up in time, to save me that is. The swordsman was shot back and hit the thrown chair and broke through it.
"You- You broke my chair!" Alli'nav screamed bloody murder. It was just a chair.
"It was just a chair! It wasn't even a good one." I shouted. "Are you okay?" I directed to the swordsman.
"Fine." he said with his face in the ground, giving me a thumbs up. I nodded my head.
My spells are basically useless since trolls are not harmed by most spells. Astral spells do the trick, but apparently white troll are not even effected by that. So maybe, a strong spell, but that could cause a cave in. Before I could evaluate more, the swordsman was already running up on the troll.
The troll swung and the swordsman dodged. The rolled past another swing and sliced the trolls arm.
"That hurt!" he shouted.
"Swordsman, keep him busy so he can't chant spells."
"Okay, no-" he dodged an attack, "Problem" he finished.
I will work on a solution. Trolls are not harmed by spells, but they can be harmed by physical attacks. I looked over at the scraps that made up the thrown. That will do. The swordsman was hit, slammed into a wall. Thank goodness he got up immediately and continued to be a nuisance to the troll.
Meanwhile I ran over to the scraps and started working a spell. I drew a magic circle around my chosen scraps and added some symbols devoted to the metal elementals and earth forger Dyran.
"Riano!" the swordsman shouted at me.
"What!" I said half heartedly, distracted by my spell working.
"My name is Riano Durag'nosh Elps'it Troash."
Damn that's a mouth full.
I wasn't really paying attention, but I got the Riano part.
"That's really great." I said.
The sounds of the fighting set me in a trance. It was like a stubborn song that gets stuck in your head.
"I hope I got it right." I said to myself, lifting up my accomplishment. A long metal spear.
"Give me an opening." I ordered. Riano ducked past an energy ball the troll sent towards me. It buzzed past my head and singed my hair.
Then I smelt my burning hair.
"You son of a bitch!" I gave him a look that must've scared him because Alli'nav jumped back and Riano stabbed him in the chest. But the troll knocked him back and pulled the sword out with ease.
"Pettimitto!" the spell I cast on the spear I forged, sent the spear flying in a blur to the troll and successfully impaled his head.
Riano got up and dusted himself off. He then went and picked up his sword, wiping the green blood off on his leggings.
"That was fun." he said sarcastically.
"Yea." I sighed. "Riano? Your parents named you after a spell?"
Riano is the name of a spell that shoots a beam of energy through your hand. A spell that I happen to know.
"Yea. It seems my father met my mom in a tournament. He won the tournament with that spell and she fell in love with him when she saw him win."
"That's romantic." I said honestly.
"Yea. I'm proud of it. Lets see what this poor sucker has and continue to investigate the drunk." Riano said, nodding to the severed head of the drunk.
"Aye aye, sir."
We headed back to the town of Gru'deka. (you know, then town I was in previously) It was cold and I was in no mood for walking a few miles, but it had to be done. Riano and I didn't really speak on our little walk, but I was okay with that. I felt my tongue for the spot where Ghal had taken a piece.
It was bigger then I thought, although the pain made it seem like he'd taken my whole tongue. Marching through a thick tangle of bush, that clung and ripped my shirt and leggings, we found Gru'deka just a short distance away. We could see the lighting spells that lit up the town. We could also hear loud party sounds coming from the tavern. By the looks of it, someone had already fixed the hole I had made with that Gerald guy.
That is very weird.
"I think some thing's wrong." I said.
Riano turned to me. His eyes were sharp as he examined the area.
"So do I. Something doesn't feel right. I think we should be careful in town."
I gave him a nod of agreement and we continued on our way. The town was completely empty when we arrived. The streets were dark. No lights were on in houses. Instead everyone was gathered in the tavern, drinking and carrying on. When we walked into the tavern, everyone turned and looked at us with unexpected horror. They all, I mean, ALL of them looked like they were seeing ghosts.
What the hell are they looking at!?
We moved slowly to the man behind the counter.
"Hey what does a guy gotta do to get a drink, huh." Riano said, breaking the silence.
Oh god! That was lame!
I looked as the people slowly resumed they partying, but with a less enthusiastic aura. The singing was dull, the laughs were half hearted and the talk was empty, like a façade.
"What would you like?" the bartender asked me, listlessly. He caught me off guard for a sec, but I recomposed.
"Um, tea please." I said not really paying attention, I was listening and scanning the room. As a witch I had special sense that let me know certain things. Such as when someone is about to attack me, or when someone is lying. I say witch, but there are many names for it, the government has us labeled sorcerers. But my home town called ourselves witches. Though we're pretty much the same, we have also been labeled as races. Witches live longer then humans, so technically I am a witch. Sorcerers are usually humans with magical capabilities and mages are usually working for Kings and people of importance.
I noticed that Riano had ordered some ale. That was such a waste, someone his age should not be drinking. I don't drink and don't plan to.
"So how long have you been drinking?" I asked with a slight snarl.
"Oh what?" he smiled, "Not long. Actually, just now."
I almost hit the floor in dumbstruck-ness. Was this guy serious? Man the people I associate with. Actually I guess we really had no reason to associate after we find out about that drunk guy that hired us. A slight pang hit my heart.
"Here goes." he said, sipping his ale. He made a sudden continence of disgust, then spit out the ale on the bar counter. "Uck! That stuff is awful!" he said, the taste obviously stuck to his tongue.
"That's what you get. Someone your age shouldn't be drinking." I said taking a gulp of tea that the bartender had set down sometime during Riano's little experience. It tasted like water with black coffee mixed into it. "Yuck!" I spit it out all over then bar tender, on accident, of course.
"What's the big deal?" he snapped, covered in the nasty tea. Which stained his white work shit and red vest.
"Sorry." I said looking around to see who noticed. To my surprise, no one. "I'll make it up to you."
"Oh yeah you will." he said with a smirk. Riano was busy playing with coins he found on the counter.
I spent the rest of the night cleaning dishes until closing time. Riano went to the room I had rented. No sense in paying for two rooms right?
After cleaning the kitchen I sluggishly marched up the stairs to the room I rented, which happened to be the last room on the right side of the hall. The door opened with a squeeeeak! My heart jumped at the sudden noise. The light orb was still on in the room and the shower was on.
I walked over to the bed, which had remained untouched since I had seen it this morning or yesterday. However long ago I was here. I guess Riano didn't touch it then.
Then Riano walked out of the bathroom.
Speak of the devil!
Only he was half naked. A towel wrapped around his waist. He had a nice body, built firm and solid. It made me feel slightly self-conscious. His body was still wet and glinted in the light from the orb in the middle of the roof. His hair was longer then it looked now that it was wet.
"I left the water on for you." he said. I broke my daze, hoping he didn't notice.
"Thanks." I mumbled. He proceeded to the bed side and sat down. He stared blankly at the window, opposite the door.
"You can have the bed. I will sleep on the floor." he finally said what he was thinking. I lost my breath from the sudden statement.
"No its okay you can have the bed. You're probably more worn then I am." I said, not really knowing what to say at all.
Before he could reply I sprinted to the wash room. The room was filled with warm mist from the water. The tub was small. The small glowing blue orb attacked to the shower head spurted hot water. It was pretty modern for a tavern out in the country. Usually they had manual water, pumping it from a well outside. But this place had modern technology. Light orbs instead of candles and water orbs instead of a well.
I slipped of my clothes, which really made it easily noticeable that I was a Sorcerer/Witch (I‘ll just say sorcerer from now on). The water was unbearable at first, but felt good on my aching body from today's work and fight. I rested in the water and almost fell asleep and hit the floor. I caught myself on the side of the tub. I quickly got out and dried off.
I went into the room and seen that Riano was laying of the floor, next to the bed. His sack of goods were resting against a table near the bed. And so was his bow. I had totally forgotten about the thing. Though It wasn't surprising, it wasn't very attractive weapon. It was plain wood, although bigger and thicker then most bow. And in the center where the arrow would be placed, a hole about the size of a coin was drilled through it. Both ends of the bow curved into spirals and some weird symbols were carved all over the thing.
As I went to pick up the thing, Riano snapped awake and grabbed my arm so hard it hurt.
"Ouch! What the hell is wrong with you?" I snapped in outrage.
Riano looked up apologetically. He let go and grabbed the bow.
"I'm sorry. it's a reflex. This is a family heirloom." he said holding up the bow as if it were on display at some fancy museum.
"I'm sorry I didn't know. It looks kinda shabby for-" I cut myself off. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to insult your heirloom." I quickly blurted.
He smiled an understanding smile. "It's okay I know it doesn't look like much, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."
I Smiled at the statement. It must be nice to have something like that. Me? I wouldn't know, I was an orphan most of my life. It was now that I noticed how blue Riano's eyes were. They were captivating and I was sure both men and women would think so. After he flashed me a smile he set the bow down and went back to sleep. I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't. I felt slightly uncomfortable sleeping in the same room as a stranger, but I managed to fall asleep a few hours before sunrise.
I woke with a start, as a sharp howl echoed in the room. I jumped up and saw a short, fat silhouette. My first thought was
I chanted a spell and readied to fire. The silhouette stepped forward and revealed itself as a little boy. I almost blew up a little kid. Great.
"What the hell are you doing in my room?" I asked.
"Um that man you were with wanted me to tell you to meet him in the town hall." he whimpered.
I looked over and noticed Riano WAS gone. When did her leave, why didn't I notice?
"Why did he go there?"
The boy jerked back like he was scared. "I don't know, he just sent me after you."
Something was very odd. Especially with the way the boy was acting. I was a sorcerer after all and I could sense these things. I decided to peer into the boys aura. He was worried, lying and very scared. I sensed a scheme, a plot of sorts. His aura fluxed and faded. Someone was blocking it.
"Okay take me to him." I figured that's what the boy wanted to here.
We walked through the dark, empty town. The town hall was a large wooden shack, kind of shabby like the rest of the town. Which made me wonder why they had such advanced magical technology. As we approached entrance to the town hall, I felt a sudden sense of danger. I quickly turned around so fast that the boy flinched. I started chanting a spell and a taller, older man made himself know from the shadows from the town. He was wearing a robe and hood. Cobalt blue robes contrasted his pale white beard the hung a foot lower then his chin.
As I released the spell he released his own.
"Fire ball!" I said forming a ball of flame in my right hand, then threw it like a ball in a game.
"Rescind." he snapped his fingers. My fire ball was extinguished before it could touch the man.
Great, a white magic specialist.
"Who the hell are you and why are you sneaking up on me?"
"You attacked me first." he said calmly.
I blushed in embarrassment. That was true after all.
"That's no excuse to sneak up on me." I said in anger, and pride.
"I have only come to see to it you don't put up a fight."
"What do you mean?" I asked thrown off my game.
"Well I can't have you hurt any of the villagers can I?" he said politely.
"And what does that mean exactly, why would I hurt any of them?"
"You'll see soon enough." The man chanted a spell quickly. I started a defensive spell. I wasn't sure what kind of magics he had, but I assume it wasn't all fluffy white magic.
"Maa Kilpi!" I released my spell and a wall of earth, slightly wider and taller then me shot up from the ground.
"Umbra Clasp." the sorcerer chanted.
I hadn't herd of that spell. It sounded like black magic. As I pondered on what surprise he had for me I felt something grab my ankle. I looked down to see a skinny hand and arm stretching off the ground wrapped around my ankle. It was a shadow.
Wow! That was a cool spell!
But I didn't have time to geek out over a new spell, because as soon as I thought that about fifty more shadow hands stretched off the ground and wrapped my entire body. Binding my arms to my side. My legs were clasped together so fast I fell and hit my head on the wall I had summoned to protect me.
My vision faded and so did all noises.
When I came to I was strapped to a wall with chains. They were wrapped around my arms, binding them behind me. The chains must have had some kind of enchantment on them, because i could feel my energy being sapped by them. It was like having throwing up, but through my wrist were the chains were. The side of my head was throbbing with pain and heat.
"Dammit." I sighed.
Caught by the enemy twice.
I managed to get my eyes opened and saw what looked like the entire town gathered in the town hall. They were looking at me and someone else.
He was strapped like I was, but he was in worst shape. He was bleeding from his lips and nose. He had a black eye and bruises covered his body. His regular light armor was off and he had nothing but a thin sleeveless shirt on. His muscles were showing, it must be putting stress on him to be bound for so long. Who knows how much longer he was bound then I was. I didn't even know how long I was bound.
"Whats going on?" I whispered to him.
He turned with closed eyes and swollen face.
"I don't know." he managed to say. It looked like it pained him to talk. "I was ambushed when I came to the hall. That kid told me to come without you." he added.
He didn't need to say which kid, I already knew who it was. He had lured me here as well. I searched the crowd for his face. Couldn't find him, it was too dark in the farther back of the hall to tell.
"I'm sorry." Riano mumbled.
"It's not your fault." I said, sadly.
I cant cast spells with these chains on. So what do I do. How good is a Sorcerer without magic. I saw the sorcerer that had subdued me. I felt anger grow inside me, but quickly doused it. That kind of anger was the deadly burning kind. I'll explain the deadly burning later.
"We are gathered here to burn the traitors to the Gods." the sorcerer said. The crowd seemed to go wild. I sensed the bloodlust. They wanted blood.
"They have sinned. They have angered the Gods beyond redemption and must be sacrificed so that we may not suffer." he was preaching, like a servant at one of the Gods temples. But he was more, I don't know, CRAZY!
"How have we sinned?" I shouted. In reply, he dashed over to me and punched me so hard it made me forgot about hitting my head on the wall. I felt my vision fading.
No I won't, I won't go out now!
"They don't even see the error of their ways. But we will show them. We will burn them with the sacred flames of Lord Galf'Nok." and as he preached the bloodlust grew stronger, strong enough to make me sick. It was like drinking a bucket of blood.
Great I was going to be sacrificed to the demon lord of fire. That was very great indeed. If you haven' noticed, I'm being sarcastic.
The sorcerer pulled up a staff covered in burning red jewels. It was as long as a man, gold and had a large ruby at the tip near the spear head.
"Lord of flames, we beseech thee, summon your might to burn away the unfaithful." and as he spoke the words. All the red jewels glowed bright red and flames spewed from them and swirled around the spear to the tip, where it gathered into a ball.
I was speechless.
"Time to burn." he said to me alone.
He walked boldly to Riano and ripped his shirt off, revealing his body, which was sweating and marked with bruises. He had a scar from his belly button to his left nipple. I wondered how he got it, before I realized he was going to be firewood in a second.
I tried chanted a spell, but the chains only sucked more or my energy, and it also made my head throb from wear I hit the wall, and was punched my the preaching sorcerer.
He readied the spear, pointing it at Riano's chest. I was all but ready to give up. I had only one option. With no magic, I had to give into my anger. I had to use the one thing I was most ashamed of. My gift... my curse.
I let my anger rise. I tough over all the things that had happened over the past few days. The gob that was going to rape me. Biting a chunk of my tongue. Losing a tooth from when the gob hit me with a plank of wood. Being tricked by a drunk and now this, being held hostage by a town full of crazies. It all amassed and formed a power. Darker then twilight and deadlier then any demon.
Bright white flames appeared on my body. Like tattoos of white flame. The fire sprung to life off my skin and wrapped around the chains, burning them away before they could melt or get hot. It was a mystic, demonic fire. Everyone in the crowd gasped as I fell free. The preacher jumped back as the evil white flames lit up my features and gave me a crazed look. I focused on the chains that bound Riano and burned them away like mine. I shot a look at the preacher, he screamed something indecipherable. White flames combusted from thin air and burned away the staff he was holding, this time I didn't care to burn it away quickly, I let the flames boil and scorch his hands and arms. He screamed and dropped the staff. The crowd broke up and people were running and screaming out of the hall.
"How can you burn a weapon of the gods? What are y-you?" he cried in a maniacal howl. He took off running. The flame that had been gathered on the staff exploded and caught the hall on fire. It was quickly set ablaze. This was ironic, they followed a fire god after all and now fire was there downfall.
In a crazed state I sent a wave of heat and made a large hole explode in the side of the hall. The preacher grabbed the burning staff, sacrificing his arms and hands even more. He charged at Riano to kill him.
Persistent little bitch, isn't he? I thought, darkly.
I burned the man away with the staff before he could get close enough to scratch Riano. He didn't even have time to scream. I continued to wreck the building, in a state of power hunger. I grabbed Riano and carried him outside. I obviously had superior strength when in Hell mode as I called it. In the darkness of the town my glowing white flame tattoos lit the roads. I could see people looking out windows, trying not to be seen. I grew angry again. How could they just stare, they were about to kill us and now they were afraid.
I started to gather power again, until.
"Please stop the monster." a little girl had screamed to a man who was running away with her.
I was snapped out of my trance. The white flames went away and so did my tattoos. I was a monster. I am a monster. She was right. How could I do such a thing. I killed that man without hesitation. I barely pulled myself out of the trance this time and it was getting harder and harder to do so. The hall collapsed behind me as I laid Riano on the ground. I started casting a healing spell.
I am a monster, I thought. I am the Hell Fire Conjurer...