Icethorn, Part II

Saelar awoke slowly, opening his eyes to be blinded by white light. A fuzzy bluish humanoid figure stood before him, and he started trying to crawl away. “No. No! I don’t wanna be dead, I don’t wanna be dead…”

“You’re not dead,” the blue figure said softly. Saelar started blinking, and things started coming into focus around him. He realized the blue figure was just an elven priest, the glowing light was just snowblind and a nearby campfire, and that—

Blue elven priest. Varendil.

Slowly, Saelar looked up into the eyes of his cousin, then immediately turned and began reaching for his warblade. Varendil saw the movements and jumped back. The elf grabbed the blade and swung, but the blow glanced off a magical shield, and the one-handed grip on the weapon failed, sending it flying. Saelar growled and extended his hand, and a magical hammer slammed into the side of Varendil’s head, making the priest stumble back, dazed, and buying the Blood Knight time to grab his weapon once more.

Saelar grabbed the blade and turned back around to take a bolt of Light to the chest, sending him stumbling backward and unready for the next three blasts in quick succession. He stopped his backward progress and charged forward with a howl, only to be met by a priest with an outstretched hand that suddenly appeared to be growing, growing, into a tall and menacing shape of shadow. Saelar’s mind felt filled with the screams of the damned, and he froze in terror until the priest, who was really still actual size and simply decent at playing mind tricks, grabbed his staff and walloped the Blood Knight in the side of the head.

Saelar stumbled, then turned and swung mightily, only to have his blade strike the priest’s shield once more. He swung again, a typhoon of Light behind his blow, but it too bounced harmlessly off. Varendil grinned. “You don’t get it, do you? You can’t touch me. You’ve never touched me once in all the times we’ve done this. Stop. Trying. To beat me.”

Holy wings sprouted from Saelar’s back, and he howled as with one final powerful swing, he shattered the magic shield around the priest, who suddenly slumped out of his combat stance.

“Hey, that’s new,” the priest said.

Saelar slashed in, and the priest tried to parry, catching the blow with his staff, which promptly snapped in two, the force of the blow carrying the blade and splinters into the side of the priest’s neck, who wailed and fell. His left arm came up, more pulses of Light bursting forth. Two caught Saelar in the chest, knocking him back, and the third hit the blade of his weapon and sent it flying once more.

“That is the LAST time I skimp by not buying weapon chains,” the Blood Knight said, stepping toward his fallen opponent only for that opponent to hook his foot around the back of Saelar’s leg and pull it out from beneath him, toppling the elf. The priest rose, planting one foot firmly on the Blood Knight’s chest. He panted softly, a glowing hand magically pulling splinters from his neck. “So, you’re a bit tougher. Big deal. Do you forget that you’re dealing with a powerful wielder of the Light here, a—”

Saelar nonchalantly slammed his gauntleted fist down on the priest’s foot.

Varendil yelped and jumped back, hopping on one foot and holding the injured one. “Ow! What the crap?!  I saved your life!”

The Blood Knight hopped to his feet. “After all the times you’ve tried to ruin it, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the one that told them to fire on me!”

Varendil’s face distorted into a silent ‘gwuh?’ before he continued. “No, that was the trigger-happy orc commander. Thought you were a high elf from the pauldrons and the trophy blade. I came and pulled you out of there before you got eaten.”

Saelar pointed a finger and began to yell, but realized he was out of things to say, and so dropped his hand and threatening countenance. “…oh. Well.” A pause. “Thank you.”

A quick flash of healing light and Varendil winced as he put weight on his foot again. “Sure.”

The two stood, awkwardly, facing each other. Varendil spoke first. “You’re right,” he said. “I have tried to ruin your life a bunch.”

Saelar blinked. “Hunh?”

Varendil nodded. “I apologize. For what it’s worth. I’m done trying to torment you,” he said.

Saelar relaxed a bit, picking up his warblade and slinging it across his back once more. “Me too. I’ve said awful things about you. Talked down of you to your own family. I… I’ll stop.”

Varendil smiled a little bit. “Thanks.”

The two then stood awkwardly for a moment before Saelar made the next move. He reached up, and Varendil tensed momentarily before Saelar started unfastening his pauldrons. The pauldrons that had belonged to Alavan Dawnblade, elven swordsman, Varendil’s father and Saelar’s uncle, the ones that had outlived their owner and survived to be taken by Saelar from the ruins of Silvermoon, a point to which Varendil had strongly objected, to which Saelar had strongly said screw you and kept the shoulder armor, igniting the hatred which burned until this moment, when Saelar handed the mantle to Varendil and Varendil nearly fell with the weight.

“You win,” Saelar said. “You have the wife, you have the daughter, you’re the one who’s rebuilt after the destruction. I just… wander around, looking for icethorn. You deserve the heirlooms,” he said.

Varendil stared.

“Now, I can see the Argent Tournament grounds from here. I’m going to go see about getting a ride back to the Pinnacle and trying to find a new mount.

Varendil stared.

Saelar nodded. “Say hi to Lissa for me,” he said quietly, and began climbing down the hill toward the half-built coliseum.

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