“So, they told me to stand in the middle of this clearing in the Forest and shake the bell on the stick to flush out the Quarg, at which point they’d leap out of the bushes and capture it in a net. I did say to them that I could just use my powers to confuse or even freeze the animal and I’d be much better placed being one of the ambushers, but they seemed adamant that I should be the one who had the privilege of seeing the beast first.”
“I see,” said Short-arse, barely paying attention.
“Anyway, I don’t know if it was mating season or if we were just unlucky, but I was stood there for hours and hours and I never saw hide nor hair of the creature. Sad really, I was looking forward to it.”
“Uh huh,” replied Short-arse, her impatience growing.
“The others must have been even more disappointed because when I went looking for them, they’d already gone home. They were good hunters though, I’ll give them that. I didn’t find one trace of where they’d been hiding all day, not a broken branch or leaf out of place.”
“Fascinating,” said Short-arse, who had started breathing in deep breaths.
“Are you alright?” enquired the Wizard.
“I’ve been working on ways to store my anger and release it in battle,” said Short-arse, “I find it quite an effective mechanism when I’m forced to deal with life’s little annoyances.”
“I see,” replied the Wizard, oblivious, “Well as it turns out when I got back to the City I had a bit of good fortune in the gambling den and won a small fortune from a Dwarf Miner. Gave me enough money to buy these fine robes. What do you think?”
Short-arse had gone crimson with silent rage.
“Leaves you speechless, I know,” said the Wizard.
The Warriors had been transported to the slopes below an impressively large Dwarf Hold in the World’s Edge Mountains North-East of Karaz-a-Karak and were now making their way towards the ruined entrance some way up Mount Gunbad.
“There is a narrow pathway not far but it is blocked halfway along,” said Jandyr, who had returned from scouting ahead.
“Can we go around?” asked Trogdar, shivering in the cold air.
“I’m afraid not,” replied Jandyr, “This is the only way.”
“Fair enough,” said Trogdar through chattering teeth, “We’ll just have to climb it somehow when we get there.”
“You really should have bought more clothes than that leather jerkin,” said Short-arse, “I know of a fine tailor who could have got you some trousers that would almost have fit.”
“What you talking about, I’m fine!” lied Trogdar, his extremities turning blue, “Let’s just get on before it turns dark.”
The Warriors pressed on for a while until they reached the blockage. A large pillar of stone had collapsed across the pathway and presented a sizable obstacle.
“Throw me the rope,” shouted Jandyr, who had successfully scaled the pillar.
Short-arse tied the rope on itself and threw it high into the air. It overshot the waiting Elf and landed on the far side of the pillar. Jandyr stared down scornfully.
“I will not get angry, I will not get angry,” muttered Short-arse to herself, starting to breathe deeply.
As Jandyr disappeared from view to fetch the rope, an ominous howl sounded echoed through the mountains.
“Err, Jandyr!” called Trogdar, “Time to go now!”
Another howl answered the first, followed by another, and another. Snow began to cascade down the side of the mountain, dislodged by some unseen creature from high above.
“Could really do with moving on now Jandyr!” shouted Trogdar with some urgency.
There was a blur of motion as something moved through the falling snow. It was becoming heavier, and there was more movement behind it. The Warriors readied their weapons in anticipation of some vast creature. Suddenly, from out of the avalanche, a crazed Goblin riding on the back of a large grey wolf came bounding across the rocky terrain, followed by another, and another. 6 in all came for the Warriors, the scent of flesh hungry in their nostrils.
As they prepared to pounce, a rope came fluttering down next to Trogdar, and Jandyr quietly dropped next to the freezing Barbarian, his sword at the ready.
“Where’ve you been?” asked Trogdar, preparing to meet the charge.
“Sorting out the rope for our glorious escape,” replied Jandyr.
The first wolves were upon them and pounced at the Barbarian and Elf. Trogdar reached down to his side and pulled out a sword from a battered leather scabbard. He flashed it across the Wolf’s neck, missing it completely and punching Jandyr in the face as the impetus of the strike continued.
“I see that new battle technique is working out for you,” said Jandyr as he calmly dispatched the Wolf who had leapt for him, carrying on the stroke into its’ green-skinned rider and dealing him a mortal wound.
“GERRIMOFFME!” screamed Trogdar as the Wolf bore him to the ground, its’ powerful jaws snapping at his neck. The cruel Goblin rider laughed as the Barbarian kicked and thrashed in desperation, hitting Short-arse flush on the back of the head.
“Now I’m angry!” said Short-arse, hefting her axe as a Wolf came bounding towards her. She waited until the creature was scant inches from her, the hot breath turning to vapour in front of her face before bringing her axe down to make the killing blow…
The snow from the Mountains blew over like a tidal wave, turning to blue ice as it came towards the Wolf riders. The deadly ice wave broke over the small band, dealing severe wounds that killed most of the Wolves and crushed Goblins, sweeping them over the side of the Mountain.
Short-arse stood frozen, frost coating her beard, her Wolf opponent swept away by the ice wave. “THAT WAS MY KILL DAMN IT!” She turned on the spot and brought her axe down through the Wolf attacking Trogdar, neatly beheading it and narrowly missing Trogdar’s flailing arm, then brought her axe back in an upwards stroke, cleaving through the Goblin rider.
The remaining Wolf riders and unseated Goblins milled about in confusion, shocked at the sudden turn in fortune the battle had taken.
“TROGDAAAAAAAAAAR!” Trogdar needed no further invitation. He scrambled to his feet and charged into the melee, wielding his sword left and right. The Wolves and Goblins took several wounds from him, but Trogdar was a man possessed, and he left a bloody red ruin in the white snow.
An arrow plucked a Goblin from the back of one of the Wolves as Jandyr unsheathed his Bow, quickly taking aim at another. Trogdar’s frenzied attacks however made aiming impossible and the shot went wide, narrowly missing Trogdar’s leg which was beginning to coat in ice, the healing ministrations of the Wizard evident.
“This is how you do it,” said Short-arse, charging into the fray. She whirled her axe as she went, slashing at Wolves and Goblins alike. Yelps and screams rent the air as the Dwarf and Barbarian brought death to the Mountain.
Soon it was over, the last Goblin being put out of its misery with a stamp to the head from Short-arse’s boot.
“What are you doing?” she asked as she turned to see Trogdar skinning the pelts from the Wolves.
“Making a pair of trousers,” said Trogdar, whose temporary blood lust had subsided, the cold returning in its place.
Another howl came from afar, followed by the chorus of many more.
“Forget the trousers, let’s get indoors,” said Trogdar, dropping the pelts and running for the rope.