Component 15: Crunchy and Good
“What is that?” Angon asked, as he stared at the gigantic white dragon that had just burst into the chamber.
“That would be an Ice Dragon…” Gavin said, nearly breathless—for the sight of a dragon was one that very few ever got to enjoy—and if they saw it close up, they likely never lived to tell the tale.
The mighty dragon thrashed its head around, looking from humanoid to humanoid in the chamber of Sheeva. It stomped its gigantic clawed feet and roared with such a fierceness, Weiggs could be heard soiling himself.
“Help!” Weiggs cried out, not looking embarrassed in the least.
He looked to Angon, who looked back with helplessness. Gavin had his bow drawn and an arrow knocked, but he knew very well he could do little to such a monster. Lavina held her iron rod pointed at the beast and her eyes darted back and forth, as if she were reading an invisible spell book in an attempt to find something—anything to cast in defense.
The dragon was having a hard time choosing which target to devour first. To such a huge and powerful monster they all looked just as delicious.
“Angon.” Buster said, looking over at the metal man, “Can you kill it?”
The Forge’s jaw fell open and his eyes glowed dim. For the first time, he was afraid.
“Of course he can’t, blasted Dwarf!” Gavin snapped, “Why don’t you do something? You look like a priest!”
The Belltower Dwarf did in fact look like a priest of war, but he was not nearly strong enough to fight a dragon.
“Me goddess just died!” Buster snarled.
Even Gavin knew that a priest gained their holy spells from the power of a divine entity.
“That’s rough…” Gavin said, “That’s really… rough.”
The great Ice Dragon stopped thrashing and took in the entire scene—it had decided—it would kill them all at once.
Its head reared back and icy blue energy could be seen gathering around its lips, and going into its mouth.
“What’s it doing?” Gavin asked.
“Hells if I know!” Buster shot back.
Angon was speechless, and looking from each of them for an answer. They didn’t seem to have one, save Lavina. She looked up at the dragon and her eyes shrank back in terror.
“It’s going to breathe!” she screeched, “Move!”
The dragon thrust its head forward and the cavern shook in a tremendous burst of energy. Blue power came blasting forth in a cone of freezing death. Weiggs was the first to move—he dove forward, grabbed Gonzeelda and Budge by their collars and dragged them behind a boulder, saving them by mere inches—so close that the back of his heel was burnt by the subzero temperature. Weiggs fell to his back, grabbing his foot and holding in a howl of pain.
The wall of freeze did not stop at Weiggs, it continued past and spread out to the rest of the group. Buster dove behind Sheeva’s throne, and Gavin grabbed Lavina, pulling her back into the previous room—but Angon saw nowhere to go.
The Forge threw up his arms before his face and braced himself for the deadly impact.
With the force of a ballista bolt, the ice blast hit Angon. Somehow he held his ground as the cold pressed against him, absorbing him, causing ice to form on his extremities.
All the Forge saw was white—white ice—white snow—white dust. He was sure he was about to be blasted into nothingness. But after several long seconds, the dragon ran out of breath.
From behind the boulder on the far side of the room, Weiggs still rocked back and forth gripping his bare heel.
“Ouch ouch ouch!” He whined, tears streaming from his eyes.
He only stopped his whining when he heard the dragon gasping and then breathing deeply. It had expended its power for the moment. Truly, the Orc should have used that opportunity to grab his allies by their ankles and drag them behind the dragon and out the way they came—but curiosity took him. Had any of his enemies been hit with the blast? If so, what had happened to them?
Weiggs crawled up to the corner of the rock and peeked out. The first thing he saw was the dragon. It’s eyes were half-closed and it looked to be recuperating, although he still dared not to cross its path.
When he turned to the other side, he didn’t see the Dwarf, or the Elves—but he did see the big metal man—the creature his mistress called the Homunculus. It was standing in the same spot it had been before the attack, only now its arms were crossed, guarding its face. It didn’t move at all.
“Is it stuck?” Weiggs whispered.
He peered harder and a smile crossed his cracked, green lips. The Homunculus had icicles hanging from his limbs, and even his feet were frozen to the floor in big blocks of ice.
“Homunc, dead!” Weiggs cheered, and turned back to his mistress and Budge.
Neither of them were in any condition to answer—in fact, he wasn’t sure if Budge was still alive or not.
“No one happy…” Weiggs muttered, “No one ever happy.”
The disappointed Orc spotted movement from behind the throne of ice in the back center of the room. It looked like the Dwarf. He crept around the side of an ice stalagmite and got a better look. Yes, it was the Dwarf—and he was kneeling, rubbing his arms up and down, trying to keep himself warm.
Again, it was likely a better idea for Weiggs to quit while he was ahead, but he spotted a sack on the Dwarf’s hip. And he knew what it was.
“Mistress Beauty…” Weiggs whispered, his eyes growing as wide as saucers.
The Orc knew he would get special treatment if he could acquire that sack again. And if he didn’t, and the Mistress found out, he knew she would kill him.
“Blasted cold!” Buster hissed. He never felt cold, but the breath of the ice dragon had changed that fact. It was so cold he thought his bones had frozen over and were sure to shatter if he made any quick movements.
“Angon, no!” Lavina cried out.
Had the metal man been destroyed in the blast? Buster sure hoped that wasn’t the case—this humanoid was meant to kill gods. All hope would be lost if he had fallen to a dragon. No matter how powerful, a mortal dragon was nothing compared to a god. Thus, why Sheeva had an Ice Dragon in her temple to begin with.
Buster crept over to the side of the throne and looked around the front of it. The half-elf girl was trying to rush back into the room from the hole in the wall—but her full-blooded companion was holding her tight and not letting her move. He clearly recognized the danger at hand.
Then the Dwarf looked for Angon, and he found him. It didn’t look good. The metal man was frozen to the floor with a huge build up of ice, and even his body was frozen stiff.
The Ice Dragon roared again, finally recovering from its breath attack. It shook its head and glared down at Angon. The golem with a soul would never stand a chance if the dragon went in for the kill. It was up to Buster to intervene.
“Fetter!” Buster growled, and with Hellsmasher In hand he was about to dart out from behind the throne when a fat, green missile bombarded him.
“Wha!” Buster grunted as he hit down onto the ice, and skidded into the wall where he conked his head hard.
The only thing he could see were stars.
“Gimme back Beauty!” Weiggs shouted.
Buster’s hand whipped to the drawstring of the sack, and he slapped away the ugly Orc’s grubby paw.
“Ye can’t have it!” Buster snarled, rolling over and flipping Weiggs away.
The Orc was back up in seconds and coming in with a ferocious glare.
At the front of the room, he could see the dragon’s head going for Angon. A choice had to be made—save the metal man, or fight the Orc. As much as Buster loved killing Orcs, and he felt this one should have been dead already, he turned on his heel and darted from the throne. He winced as he felt a tug at his hip, then it was gone.
Buster ran up to Angon and skidded before him, swinging the mighty Hellsmasher, just as the Ice Dragon’s maw came in for a chomping kill.
That poor ice dragon.
The hammer connected with the side of its face, and despite weighing tons upon tons, the power behind Hellsmasher was magical and great, backed up by the Dwarven Runes carved into the block.
The Ice dragon’s head whipped to the side and crashed into the wall with a loud bang. The poor monster had no idea what had hit it.
Buster quickly raised the hammer back and smashed it down into the ice block holding Angon. With one swing part of the magical ice shattered—but not all of it, and the dragon was coming back in for another bite attack.
“Sheeva save us.” Buster said, purely out of habit.
Lavina cried out as she saw the mighty arcane dragon launching its next attack, which would surely bite both Angon and the dwarf in half.
She cast the only spell she could think of.
The girl thrust her rod forward and cried out, “Firebolt.”
A beam of fire, no more than a foot long shot out like a missile and crashed into the dragon’s face. With a small puff of smoke, the bolt was gone, and the dragon was turning its head toward her and Gavin.
“You fool!” Gavin snapped, “Now it’ll be after us.”
“That was the plan!” she said, smiling.
The dragon reared back its head again, thrust forward, roaring so loudly that Lavina’s hair shot out behind her.
“What’s the next step of your plan?” Gavin asked, not even bothering to aim the arrow at the creature.
“Um…” Lavina whispered, taking a step back, “How about… run!”
She spun around and darted into the next room, followed closely by Gavin.
“That’s a dead end!” Gavin called after her, but Lavina found that out the hard way—she skidded and smacked into the wall.
“Up there!” the half-elf girl said, and pointed up the tunnel they had fallen down.
“And be sitting ducks?” Gavin said, shaking his head, “I’d rather die fighting.”
Then the wall into their chamber exploded, sending ice boulders at the pair. Lavina and Gavin both ducked and dodged, but the Dragon was already there, a dozen yards away, which its head could easily reach.
Lavina stared up at the dragon and pointed her rod.
“Firebolt!” she cried.
Another beam of fire shot out, and hit the dragon square in the nose. And just as before the puff of smoke appeared, as the spell had no effect.
“Well, Fetter.” Gavin cursed and then sighed, “I knew we were gonna die today.”
Weiggs couldn’t believe his luck. He thought surely he’d have to kill the Dwarf to get the sack containing Beauty, but no—the Dwarf had emotions, and they had caused him to go to the aid of the homunculus.
The Orc tied the sack to his belt loop and rushed back across the cavern to where he had left Gonzeelda and Budge. As he made his way, the Ice Dragon exploded through the far wall, going after the elves.
“Hehehe good.” Weiggs smiled, looking back—then he turned back to his companions.
“Let’s go.” Weiggs said, and reached down, first grabbing Budge’s ankle, then grabbing Gonzeelda’s.
The dragon was busy, and so was the wretched smelly dwarf, so Weiggs had no trouble at all pulling the other two orcs out through the hallways, and into the Underworld caves where they had come from.
Back out in the cavern with the lake, Weiggs stopped to catch his breath.
“You heavy.” He muttered, and let go of Gonzeelda to wipe the sweat from his dirty forehead.
“I’m what?” Gonzeelda grumbled.
“Uh oh.” Weiggs whispered, knowing he had been caught talking badly about his mistress.
The Orcess leaped up and reached for her daggers, but when she found she had none, she leaped onto Weiggs and grabbed him around the throat.
Weiggs gasped for breath, but she didn’t care. She had just a huge battle—and her Beauty. She needed to make someone pay for such a travesty.
For all he was worth, Weiggs tried to spit out that he saved her—that he saved the broken magical weapon. But his mistress wouldn’t let go. In fact, she tightened her grip, and gritted her teeth.
“I lost it!” she snarled, “I lost my Beauty!”
Weiggs eyes darted around, trying to find a way to tell her.
Gonzeelda was sure she was about to crush her minion’s neck, and she no longer cared—she’d just find a new mate. Weiggs was the weaker lover of the two she had. It was time to replace what was broken.
“Mistress…” Budge whispered.
Gonzeelda looked back over her shoulder, and spotted one open eye on the swollen face of Budge.
“You’re alive…” Gonzeelda said, “Good.”
“Yay.” Budge mumbled, “We leave now with Beauty?
“I lost Beauty…” the orcess whispered, eyes flaring in rage as she snapped back to continue her attack on Weiggs.
“But Weiggs have.” Budge said.
Gonzeelda’s eyebrows furrowed, and then raised up. She looked down at Weiggs’ side and spotted her trademark, dark colored sack.
“Weiggs you fettering imbecile.” She said, and let go of his neck.
He sat up and began gasping for air.
“I sorry.” Weiggs choked out.
“No…” she said, “You did good.”
“I did good?” Weiggs asked, looking confused.
“You did very good.” Gonzeelda said, then grabbed Weiggs face and forced her lips to his, and her tongue down his throat.
Weiggs enjoyed every moment of that long passionate kiss. He was being rewarded for doing something right for a change, although he had almost been killed.
Gonzeelda would have taken Weiggs right there and then, for nothing aroused her more than a minion doing a good job, but it was possible that the damn Belltower Dwarf could find her and try to take the weapon shards again. She could not allow that to happen again.
“Sorry to interrupt…” A deep, raspy voice spoke from several feet away.
Gonzeelda pushed Weiggs away from her and she stared at a group of four dark cloaked figures.
“What do you want?” she snapped at them—she knew who they were, they were the direct underlings of Lord Reischerr, the terrible Lich Lord who had hired her.
“We have come to check on your progress…” All four spoke from under the darkness of their hoods.
Gonzeelda tried to slide away the sack containing her magic weapon, but then all four figures held out a hand and wagged their fingers.
Together they spoke, “Yes, you all did good.”