Icy Mountain Breakdown

(16 Charlatos 5115, On Glatoph)

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the ancient ice troll approaching … and it was on!

She’d had success here with the ice trolls; the snow crones, however, were quite another story. But if everything went well, she could put a snow crone down before the creepy hag hurt her too badly. Once before, she’d taken on a job to put a particularly dangerous ice troll out of commission.

But she was alone this time.

For a moment her confidence wavered, wondering if she could do this without his help. She was determined enough to do just that, though, as she drew a deep breath and stood a little taller. She’d had additional training since the last time, when it was far more difficult than she expected. Surely the training would make all the difference. The rest of the regular ice trolls she was fairly matched with, at least in her mind.

The troll’s first thrust at her looked harmless enough and missed all her defenses neatly. First, she tried to sing the creature her lullabye. It stood there mesmerized by the tune. For …. a matter of seconds. She tried to disarm it with vibrations … she tried to distract it with a song. Both musical tricks failed. Evidently this old troll was tone deaf.

“Swell,” she thought, and attacked it straight on.

She missed entirely. It registered in the part of her mind that analyzed things, but she stayed in the fight.

“Maybe the creature will dance,” she wondered to herself as she shifted her position on the icy under-footing of the cave. It turns out this ice troll was female, and had no intention of becoming any sort of dancing partner. The speed that she moved with was daunting to the bardess.

It was already going bad; the bardess simply had not admitted it yet. The troll’s weapon connected, twice, as she swung her handaxe for a little welt on the troll. She tried vibrating the weapon out of its hands again, without success.

“Ouch!” she exclaimed outloud, then realized she probaby should not have given her opponent that satisfaction. She put her brave face back on and stared back at the thing, moving back to the center of her defensive posture as she looked for an opening and tried to remember everything she had learned up to that point.

“Those won’t stun,” he had told her last time. Oh, yeah, that was the part she forgot all about before taking this on. So, even if she could connect and the fire in her weapon flared up … the creature was just going to keep coming after her without a break.

Then the thing blew its icy breath at her, and almost hit her. So she had to worry about those, too with this big one. She sighed as her mind reeled over all the things taking on a new perspective with this task against the ancient ice troll.

She tried an advanced stance and swung at it. Then it hit her again – and again. Her sonic armor literally swirled to her defense for one of them. She did not even have time to wonder about that as she hunkered back down and just stared at her formidable foe.

Now she realized she was in a great deal of danger, and felt the chance of success was pretty hopeless. Hurt, bleeding, and sporting bruises and cuts in three places, she wondered if she should call for help – and then realized with a sinking heart that there was nobody to call for help. She said a silent prayer to the Lord of Dreams, asking for guidance.

The troll advanced again and she retreated to gather her wits. She was flustered, and ready to break into tears. Taking numerous bites of the acantha leaf she carried with her for emergencies, she mentally reviewed what was left of her options.

The troll came in, chasing her down, and she tried to strike at it again; she didn’t connect, but it did, once more. Panic was clouding her mind, and she knew it.

At that moment, a man she had never seen before stepped through the opening to the ice cave and passed her. Maybe it was the blood on the ice under her that made him come back, she did not ask, but there he was, again, smiling at her, and reaching for her hand.

Then she heard a mystical phrase from somewhere over the man’s shoulder, and she realized he was not alone.

“Come,” he told her. She didn’t even question him, she just followed. Who was she to question the people that appeared out of thin air to rescue her? This couldn’t get much worse, right? He was Sylvankind, and did not look creepy. His hood cloaked his face, but at that moment, she was very sure those would be grey eyes under that hood, the mesmerizing grey eyes of her visions, of all dreams.

He tracked down the ancient ice troll, seeming to know exactly what was happening, what needed to be done; and then she watched through eyes that could barely see, let alone believe, while he tried to sweep the creature off its feet. She got ready to attack the troll,

That was when it went from bad to worse as the troll’s spear was thrust right at her head, and suddenly started to glow. Her armor sang and swirled to life, but only partially deflected the attack. She was stunned. Stunned silly.

She was vaguely aware of magic nearby as the man gestured, and a thorny vine leapt at the creature, pinning it down on the ground. At least someone in the area had their wits, because hers were long gone. Maybe they were spilling on the ground for all she could tell at the moment.

A quick snow crone added insult to injury with her icy crooked finger, and the bardess grew even weaker with that injury. The invisible lady that was with this man must have been a wizard; she cast a Thurfel’s Ward on the bardess, and the man led them both a few steps back. He nodded at the wizardress.

“I am just not up to this job,” the bardess spoke when she finally could, just before the man stepped through the shifting portal the woman opened.

Suddenly in a tavern she had never seen, the wizardress vanished and the man quickly and silently led her into the Landing to get healed. Town square was a mob, and an assault on her reeling senses. She had to look several times to focus enough to find a healer she could ask for help, but she spotted Itanic there, and handed him all the money in her pocket. It wasn’t enough, but she would remember to give him money on the morrow for this significant kindness.

Miss Sirona was talking about the end of the world and the bardess wondered just how much worse this week was going to get before it was over. Her quiet guide stood until Itanic completed healing her; seeming to know just when to leave. He led her out of town with a quick, purposeful stride.

He was taking her back to Glatoph. She was too rattled and numb to react one way or another to that. When they arrived in the ice cave, she drew a breath and remembered her manners.

“Er, so, Hello, my name is Luxelle, I am an aspiring bardess,” she introduced herself to her rescuers.

That was when the ancient ice troll spotted her again and the fray began once more, but this time with the assistance of the ranger and the invisible wizardress.

Her lullabye did not utterly fail this time. There was a flurry of activity as her rescuers set to work disabling the worst that this nasty beast had to offer as the bardess hacked at it. Thorns and spells flew and then suddenly the world itself grew slow, sluggish. At first she wondered if she had been hit again, and this time was going to perish. But no, she recognized the spell of haste upon her every move.

In short order, the impossible hit the ground in front of her, and the ancient ice troll was dead.

“Ohmygosh,” was all she could get out of her mouth at first as the situation registered to all her senses.

“You folks just saved my life,” she told them with a grateful smile.

“I be Tyteus, of the Forest,” the man offered, “That’s Shay,” he gestured towards wherever the Wizardress might be unseen at this moment, “and my lovely lady Lalieh is about here somewhere.”

“Lucky we’s were in the area,” the man named Tyteus said.

“I would say you were more like saints sent from the Lord Ronan Himself,” she replied, being honest with them in her relief.

She had prayed, and she never did get a close look at his face, at his eyes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GSBardess

Author: GSBardess

A young bardess named Luxelle is currently learning her trade and hoping to one day make a name for her songs in GemStone IV. Follow along with her adventures in life and song.

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