The Winter Witch: Part 3

Story by The Nimrodellian Tale-Spinner

Meanwhile, back at the campsite, his traveling partner was returning. Aqualondo brushed snow off of his shoulders and hair as he entered the make-shift lean-to that he and Mericc had hastily constructed in a ring of trees. The Elf was aggravated, not only was his usual immaculate appearance disheveled and wind-blown, but the guardian was not even there.

Aqualondo snorted at the nerve of Mericc, taking his sweet time while Aqualondo was out for a day proving that the path he had argued for taking was not in fact the way to go and that the guardian’s path was the correct one.

Not that Mericc would see it that way, Aqualondo thought as he stared out into the storm and weighed his options. His companion was strong and skilled, but had the tendency to be quite unimaginative and dull and the wood elf had to remind himself why he traveled with him in the first place.

Finally, when Aqualondo had decided on staying in the tent and dreaming of loose elf maidens, he reached into a pouch on the inside of his leather jerkin and came to a horrifying realization. He had given his flask of Mirkwood’s Finest to the Guardian to ward off the effects of the cold that humans felt. In an instant the wood elf was outside and making his way up the pathway that Mericc had taken, sometimes one had to make sacrifices for what was right.

Back at Briana Frost’s cave, the sorceress stood over the man she had captured. Her initial test of the warrior’s strength and willpower had yielded some promising results and Briana was pleased that she had been fortunate to fall upon such a perfect specimen for her plans. Certainly the guardian’s apparent inner strength would make the process take longer, but this only meant that the final result when she broke him, would be that much better, and Briana had all the time in the world to work.

All she needed to do, was find that chink in his mental and emotional armor, exploit it and then wait while her dark plans came to fruition. Briana placed a pale white hand on the chest of the man and began to whisper strange words, the smallest flicker of a smile crossing her face.

A child, Briana never thought in her life that she would be excited by the prospect, dismissing it as a weakness of lesser females. But this was different, this was months of warmth to slowly feed upon and enjoy. And if the child proved strong enough, and looking at the man under her, she had no thought that it wouldn’t, something to influence and shape into plans and designs more lofty than Briana could ever hope for.

Also, she had to admit, it would be nice to have someone besides her frost grim servants, to keep her company. Even if she would not confess to such a weakness, Briana did at times feel a pang of loneliness that even her hatred of other people and cold hard heart could not wholely assuage.

Briana continued to mutter her incantations, occasionally taking her other hand and drawing complex symbols above her captive’s head. Then, her first spells complete, she placed her fingers on the sides of his face, bent down so that her lips were a mere inch away from his and took a deep intake of breath.

The man began to glow with a faint aura that centered in his chest and began slowly to make it’s way up towards his mouth. Brianna stared straight into his eyes and continued to inhale, drawing out his life essence, sucking out that warmth that was so important to keep the spirit going and the body strong.

She could feel the warmth passing into her, increasing her strength, feeding that constant biting need that hounded her in her solitude. The aura surrounding the guardian grew fainter and Briana pulled away with difficulty, fighting the urge to siphon off every last remaining ember of human life out of her victim. She wanted him weaker, not dead, at least not until she had gotten out of him what she wanted.

Feeling fresh power and energy flowing through her, Briana took a step back from the altar and contemplated. She could force herself on the warrior, but something told her that it was central that the man succumb to her willingly, that he be a willing participant in the proceedings for success to be assured. The sorceress, realizing that her current appearance would make seducing the man impossible, walked towards one of the faintly pulsing dwarf runes at the back of her cavern and raised her arms.

A fresh wind started to move it’s way through the cave, making it’s way towards the witch as she started to once again mutter soft words at the rune which glowed with an evil light. The wind, while at first faint, began to pick up and was soon a swirling maelstrom, surrounding the sorceress who continued her slow soft incantations.

Changes began to happen to the sorceress’s appearance, starting with her skin which began to lose it’s pale, slightly blue tinge and turn a healthier pink. Her long hair became once more lustrous and full, her eyes lost their emptiness and turned once more into their former crystalline blue. Finally her normally gaunt form, filled out and Briana stood as she once had, a beautiful maiden, young and alluring.

The man on the altar began to stir from unconsciousness and Briana made her way over to him, an unwholesome light shining in otherwise bright blue eyes.

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