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    Yeoldebard
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Stories in this Fandom are works of fan fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Recognized characters, events, incidents belong to Owlcat Games, Deepsilver and Pazio

The Troll Hunter - 10. Diplomacy

I am posting a content warning in this chapter for assisted suicide.

CASSIEL

 

“There,” Amiri said, pointing toward a strange footprint in the dirt. “Lightweight, he barely left tracks.”

The barbarian took off quickly, following footprints in the mud that soon intersected with strange claw marks. The group followed close behind, Regongar scowling at Amiri.

“Does anyone else think it’s weird that we just happened to come across the boy’s tracks along the river?” the half orc demanded

“Not if he was raised properly. If he got lost, he would have followed the river just as we did,” Theofrid frowned, looking at the claw prints. “I’m just thinking we need to hurry at this point.”

Following the tracks, they made their way through the mud, nearing a palisade of wooden pikes surrounding a low hilltop. An aged lizardfolk passed around the pikes, Amiri raising her sword in challenge.

“Not now Amiri,” Cassiel frowned as the lizardfolk approached them.

“Warmblood, welcome. We been expecting you. You search for youngling, yes? We eat any other time, but not now. Tribe crazy. Maybe you save him, maybe not save anyone…”

“Yes, we’re looking for the boy,” Cassiel frowned. “Where is he?”

“In village. Alive, dead, Kagar doesn’t know. Kagar not enter village in long time.”

“Ooh, were you banished?” Linzi asked, almost excitedly.

“Not banished, chose to leave. Spirit come, pretend to be ancestor, ruin Longtails. Kagar leave, village take new chieftain. Kagar search for tribe wisdom, find none. Kagar make spirit visible with magic, but spirit make villagers kill first, so Kagar doesn’t.”

Cassiel frowned, looking at his companions. Regongar flashed a toothy grin at him, a hand on the hilt of his scimitar. Tristian shook his head subtly, motioning for Regongar to leave his blade sheathed.

“We need to retrieve the human child, unharmed. If your tribe allows us to take him safely, we can come later to help you with your trouble,” Cassiel said.

“Kagar don’t know what tribe do. Warmblood welcome to try, tribe stupid,” the lizardfolk spat.

“We have no quarrel with your tribe at this time, if we can resolve this peacefully, we will.”

“Cassiel, he openly admitted he would have eaten the brat. For all we know, they did eat him,” Regongar growled. “I say we kill him here and now, and storm his tribe. Leave no one alive.”

“And that is why you are not in charge of planning,” Linzi scoffed. “We’d be slaughtered. Fight an entire lizardfolk tribe? No thank you.”

“We will resolve this peacefully,” Cassiel asserted.

“Kagar wish luck, tribe not wise any more. Kagar wait in woods for win or fail.”

Kagar moved away with a breathy groan, Cassiel letting out his own sigh. Motioning his party toward a small bridge between the pikes, they were confronted by a pair of lizardfolk guards.

“Halt warmblood! You answer, friend or foe?” one of the guards grumbled.

“We’re here for the human child. We can offer food in trade,” Cassiel said, making a split second decision.

The guards glanced at each other in surprise, one clearing his throat uncertainly.

“Trade good, but child need talk to Chieftain Vesket. He know where child is.”

“Can we enter then?”

The guard nodded.

“Braza show way,” he said, turning into the village.

They followed the brown scaled lizardfolk through the village, the guard motioning them into a large hut. A bare chested lizardfolk covered in scars sat in a chair, muscular body covered only by a surprisingly ornate loincloth for a lizardfolk. He let out a low growl at their entrance, Cassiel stepping forward to speak with him.

The half elf hid a frown as he took in the slightly slowed movements and shallow breathing of the chieftain. This lizardfolk was exhausted, sleep deprivation well hidden by a mask of strength. Whatever the spirit was haunting the village, it was sapping Vesket’s sanity slowly but surely.

“Why you here warmblood? Vesket no call for you! Speak quick or die!”

Cassiel stood firm under the threat, meeting the chieftain’s eye. He began speaking in Draconic, his years of study at the Academy in Kyonin coming in use.

“We come for a young human. His mother misses him, and we wish to return him to her.”

“You cannot have him! The great Shtichak claimed him for himself! You will not anger the great one!” the chieftain roared in Draconic, Regongar letting out a snort.

Cassiel shot the half orc a glare, silently warning him to keep quiet.

“We came hoping for a peaceful resolution. We need the child, and we are willing to trade for him.”

“No, you cannot take him or trade for him. YOU WILL NOT HAVE HIM!” Vesket roared, lunging forward.

Amiri leapt forward to meet the enraged lizardfolk, the entire hut filling with tribesmen eager for blood. There was no time to plan, no time for orders. Cassiel had tried peace, but now, only war would serve the young baron.

A pair of arrows leapt from his bow, one covered in acid. They connected with a lizardfolk’s chest, the beast brushing off the assault as his claws slashed at the half elf. Sounds of battle surrounded them, Regongar rushing off to deal with a pair of lizards as Amiri went toe to toe with Vesket. Linzi weaved through the fight, yelling insults so vulgar they seemed to ignite the very air around her, and not a few of the lizards attacking them.

Even Tristian offered his support, Sarenrae’s faithful hounds fighting off lizards as Theofrid worked his fiery magic. Of all days for the gnome to be fiery, it had to be the day ice would have been a boon. But Cassiel couldn’t complain about that while fighting for his life.

Calling a speck of ice to his bow, the half elf spun, his chainmail taking a vicious hit from the lizardfolk around him as he loosed the freezing arrow at Vesket. The chieftain let out a massive roar as his entire chest erupted in frost from the strike, Amiri taking advantage of his distraction to slice through the chieftain’s left hand. Turning back to his own fight, Cassiel launched another pair of arrows that struck two heads, dropping his assailants and giving the magus a moment to breath.

He began picking his targets more strategically, a lizardfolk behind Tristian dropping before a large lizard fell with a mouthful of summoned hound. Theofrid mouthed a brief thanks as the gnome backed toward the magus, a trio of shimmering violet missiles flying from his outstretched hand.

Amiri cleaved through Vesket’s torso, the chieftain falling to the ground as her sword swung around to cut through a lizard at her back. She let out a victorious yell, lizards scattering toward the door as Regongar and Amiri chased them down.

“Let them go!” Cassiel snapped, staring at the dead bodies around them. “Catch your breath… and then we need to go house to house until we find the boy. If anyone attacks, end them. If they flee, let them go. Tristian, if you could use an invisibility purge if we run into the spirit, that would probably save our lives.”

Tristian nodded, taking a moment to move through the group, a soothing warmth passing through them, healing bruises and broken bones with his magic. Linzi and Theofrid moved through the bodies, claiming anything that would sell well as Amiri and Regongar wiped the blood off their blades.

Their strength collected once more, the group stepped back out of the village, and were almost instantly beset on all sides by lizardfolk and their pets. Cassiel let out a groan as he pulled a wand off his belt. Six fireballs left, and this fight looked like it was going to use them all up.

“Amiri, Regongar, keep the casters shielded. I’ll slow the reinforcements down,” he said, stepping toward the village gates.

Stone erupted through the village, crushing the lizards that crawled along the ground and slowing the ones that survived. A pair of fireballs burned most of the survivors, Cassiel grimacing at the wailing screeches of burning lizardfolk. They had brought this upon themselves, but the baron felt an ache deep in his heart, realizing that every lizardfolk dead meant their hatchlings would die too.

They were wiping out this tribe, and all for a runaway child.

 

THEOFRID

 

Death had taken the village in the form of fire and lightning, magic leaving charred corpses behind as the group moved toward a large hut. Pausing just outside the door, the gnome took a deep breath, grateful for even the briefest pause. This all could have been avoided, and every lizard who fell to his flames remained in the gnome’s mind, a silent prayer to Sarenrae on his lips.

A hand settled on his shoulder, Theofrid turning his head expecting to see Tristian. Cassiel stood behind him instead, the half elf offering a sad smile.

“Come on. We have a kid to save,” the baron said. “I need you to help me finish the one who started all of this.”

“I’ll follow you my… Cassiel…” the gnome said.

“Tristian, did you get that spell figured out?”

The cleric nodded, holding up his holy symbol.

“Sarenrae granted me the ability to purge invisibility, but it won’t last long,” he warned. “We’ll need to be fast.”

Cassiel pulled out a cat shaped wand, frowning at it before casting three spells from it, on himself, Theofrid, and Linzi. Tristian called down a blessing on the group, as Linzi worked up a song. They passed into the hut, ready to do battle.

What they found brought the entire group up short. A boy stood motionless in the middle of the room, pale and thin, his eyes flickering in terror as he took in the people rushing into the room. His mouth opened, but an older voice came out, full of confidence and derision.

“For shame. You come into my village and kill my lizards. How barbaric, even for the barbarian. I take it you are here for the boy?”

Theofrid gritted his teeth, silently mouthing the words of a spell. The boy was clearly possessed, but he wasn’t sure a spell would be enough to free him. They needed to talk the spirit down, try to free the child.

“Who… or what, am I talking to right now?” Cassiel demanded quietly, Theofrid shivering at the tone.

“Oh how rude, you don’t even know who you’re fighting. The Count Shimmerglow, Your Excellency to my friends, not that you may consider yourselves among that number. But don’t be sad, it’s a small number.”

“But what are you? A spirit? A ghost? It’s hard to be diplomatic when I can’t even see you,” the half elf pointed out, Theofrid letting out a small breath.

Maybe it would work, maybe this would draw him out… and maybe he was already out…

“You’re not possessing him, you’re controlling him telepathically,” the arcanist realized.

“Oh, very perceptive. But who could I be? A ghost, a spirit, there are so many options, aren’t there?” the voice giggled through the boy. “I am the last of a court of influential beings, and that is all you need know.”

Cassiel looked back at Theofrid, a silent question in his eyes. The gnome nodded, and the magus turned to Tristian.

“We don’t negotiate with monsters. Purge him.”

The cleric stepped forward, a prayer on his lips as a glowing skull appeared over the boy’s shoulder. Glowing purple light filled the hut, Amiri and Regongar charging forward as Theofrid raced for the boy. An ember struck the boy’s arm, the pain freeing him from the wisp’s bonds, and Theofrid pushed him toward the edge of the room, a shimmering robe of force covering him and protecting him from assault.

‘No! I cannot lose!’

The voice blasted his ears as Amiri cut through the wisp, a blinding flash following.

‘The boy comes with me…’

Theofrid stared in horror as the boy fell flat on his face, blood pouring from nearly every part of his body.

“Tristian! He needs healing!” the gnome yelled, the cleric falling to his knees beside the two.

A gentle hand ran over the body, Tristian faltering for the first time since Theofrid had met him.

“His soul is stolen away… There is nothing I can do for him,” Tristian said quietly.

“Kagar knew once why you come…”

The rumble of the old lizardfolk filled the room, Theofrid standing up in alarm. Kagar stared at the group, nothing but pain and sorrow in his eyes, such human emotions for one with such cold blood.

“Kagar knew who you are when you come.”

“And who are we?” Cassiel asked, pain filling his own voice.

“Ashashas-ta-ha. One who brings death. You take whole tribe… take Kagar now.”

“I did not want this. I didn’t want any of this. I’m not killing you,” Cassiel said tightly, turning back toward the fallen boy.

“Wait… why go? Why leave Kagar alive? Pain and suffering Kagar’s life… Death… mercy…”

Cassiel pulled out an arrow, staring at it silently. Theofrid stepped up to the half elf, pulling Cassiel’s arm down. The gnome silently approached the old lizardfolk, raising his hand to touch Kagar’s chest.

“Ixen.”

Fire shot through Kagar’s chest, his heart exploding. He dropped with a long exhale, the last of the Longtails.

I feel I need to explain the actions in this chapter. I'm playing the game as I write this, and I am not save scumming fails, meaning if I fail a check, I will not reload to get a better option. This was my first time in the lizardfolk village, and I had no prior idea that Tig could die. The game itself offered no actions for Kagar beyond leaving him behind to starve or putting him to death immediately. I tried, but I saw no other option within the game, and as I'm trying to stay as close to the game as possible, Kagar met his end as quickly as I could make it.

© 2020 Owlcat Games, Deepsilver and Pazio; All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2021 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Stories in this Fandom are works of fan fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Recognized characters, events, incidents belong to Owlcat Games, Deepsilver and Pazio
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So...just where did they go???

‘No! I cannot lose!’

The voice blasted his ears as Amiri cut through the wisp, a blinding flash following.

‘The boy comes with me…’

Theofrid stared in horror as the boy fell flat on his face, blood pouring from nearly every part of his body.

“Tristian! He needs healing!” the gnome yelled, the cleric falling to his knees beside the two.

A gentle hand ran over the body, Tristian faltering for the first time since Theofrid had met him.

“His soul is stolen away… There is nothing I can do for him,” Tristian said quietly.

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