A Storm is Coming

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

Featured Review on this writing by hullabaloo22

Four adventurers are off to find treasure when a storm blows in

The old man stopped and looking up at the clear blue sky let his nostrils flare. Licking his lips he scanned the horizon for a second. “There is a storm coming.”

Maldar looked over at the old man and then up at the sky. “What are you talking about old man there isn’t a cloud in the sky.”

“I feel it in my bones, boy. It is coming and it is going to be a whopper of a storm.”

Shulhug the big orc walked past them barely giving the pair a glance. “Keep moving.”

Maldar hurried to catch up with the orc. “The old man says there is a storm coming.”

The orc glanced over at the elf and grunted before he lengthened his stride. He glanced at the sky and seeing no clouds shook his head. He left the elf and old man behind him as he quickly caught up with the human leading them.

“Old man says a storm is coming.”

Jacko looked up at the sky and laughed. “Told you that old man was crazy.”

“We needed a wizard unless you suddenly developed magical abilities,” The big orc growled.

“I know, but just so we are clear, as soon as them two do their jobs we kill them and split the treasure fifty-fifty.”

The big orc grunted and nodded.

Jacko’s lips parted revealing rotten yellow teeth. He knew the orc was planning to kill him too. The orc talked about orcish honor and loyalty but Jacko knew Shulhug wasn’t above stabbing a partner in the back. He continue to smile as he thought two can play that game. It was going to be a long trip back to Karkarmach, with plenty of chances to do the big orc in.

 

“They are going to kill us, boy.”

Maldar glanced at the old man. “They need us.”

The old man chuckled, “Only until we get them to the treasure. Watch your back.”

The elf shook his head. He hadn’t wanted to come on this job, but he had debts and this would get him the money. Three days on the trail and he was missing the comforts he had left behind and now this crazy old man was talking about storms and the others looking to kill them. He started walking faster when he noticed a trickle of water coming down the dry river bed they were in. He glanced back at the old man who just smiled as he moved closer to the steep side of the gulch.

Maldar looked down at the water and saw that it what was a trickle was steadily increasing. He hurried forward. “Shulhug, Jacko have you two noticed the water?”

The big orc glanced back at the elf and then down at the ground. “There is probably a spring ahead.”

“It is no spring. I may not be experienced as you two in the wilderness, but this is increasing, maybe the old man is right.”

Jacko spun around glaring at the elf, “I’m the woodsman here not some stupid old man. I say …” The sound of thunder in the distance cut him off.

The old man cackled. “We best be getting out of this here riverbed or we are going to be swimming.”

Shulhug tramped over to the steep embankment splashing water that was now around their ankles. He struggled up the slope and dragged himself over the edge as storm clouds appeared as if by magic. Lightning flashed and the sound of thunder rolled over him as the sky opened up and a torrent of rain soaked him. Turning back he saw the others were struggling to get up the muddy wall.

Jacko felt the water around his knees as he struggled to pull himself up the slope. He felt a hand grab his and he was pulled up the slope and dumped on the ground. He took a moment to catch his breath then he pushed himself to his feet.
“Come on Shulhug leave them.” He shouted out the noise of the storm as he turned away from the flooding riverbed, but the big orc didn’t follow.

Shulhug snagged the elf by his hair and dragged him up the slope. The elf screamed as he was flung to the ground, but the orc was already bent down attempting to get a hold of the old man. The old man fought against the current of the water trying to stay where the orc could get him even as the water reached his waist. Glancing up he saw the orc reaching for him and extended his staff. Shulhug grabbed the end of the staff and grunting began to fish the old man out of the river. The old man’s grip slipped and he fell, but he was able to grab the edge of the embankment and hold on long enough for the elf to grab his arms and pull him the rest of the way up.

 

Jacko led the way through the trees muttering to himself as the storm continue to rage. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure the others were back there. He came to stop under a tree that offered a little protection from the downpour which didn’t really matter since they were all soaked to the bone by now.

The elf came stumbling in holding his satchel to his chest, his backpack gone. Behind the elf came the old man leaning on that staff as if it was the only thing keeping him upright, he had also lost his pack somewhere. The big orc came in hanging his head and dragging his feet. He at least still had his pack Jacko thought. They had cut their supplies in half with the loss of two packs, but he already decided that only one person was going to be coming back.

“Why are you stopping?”

Jacko glared at the big orc, “I can’t see five feet in front of my face in this storm. We have no chance of finding any kind of shelter in this rain.”

The old man slowly turned in a circle muttering to himself and the others looked at him. He stopped pointing out into the storm. “That way is shelter.”

“How do you know?”

“Magic boy.” He held up his hand, his fingers pressed together and suddenly a ball of golden light appeared resting on them. “This will show us the way.”

The others look at him like he was crazy, but after flinging the ball out into the raging downpour he shuffled after it.

It took twenty more minutes of trudging through the storm to find the shelter the old man promised and it turned out to be a cave. They huddled together in their soaked clothes shivering trying to share body heat until the old man with a gesture conjured a magical fire. The flames soon warmed the cave and dried their clothes. They each moved apart and Maldar came over to sit beside the old man.

“Can you teach me magic?”

“Haven’t you been paying attention boy? We lost half our supplies this job is over so tonight they two are going to slit our throats.”

Maldar leaned close and whispered, “Why save us from drowning if they were just going to kill us?”

“Maybe they hoped that we would be able to continue or to get my staff and your tools boy. Selling them will get them a small profit.”

Maldar looked over to where Jacko was stretched out on the ground his eyes closed. It looked like the human was asleep, but he couldn’t be sure. The big orc was leaning against the wall near the cave mouth, guarding them against something coming in or making sure they didn’t escape.

“What should we do?”

“I’ll keep the first watch, you get some rest and I’ll wake you later. When they make their move let me deal with them.”

Maldar nodded and found a spot to rest his head.

 

“Where is he?” Jacko screamed pulling Maldar from his sleep.

Jacko was standing by where the magical flame had been burning. Shulhug was by the mouth of the cave, but the old man was missing.

Jumping to his feet Maldar pulled his dagger. “What did you two do to him?”

They looked at the elf and then at each other. “What do you mean,” Jacko asked?

“He said you two were going to kill us and split the treasure.”

“Look around boy, there ain’t no treasure here and neither is that old man,” The big orc growled.

“You killed him and now you want to do the same to me.”

Jacko laughed, “Why would we wake you up if we were going to kill you, I could have slit your throat the second I noticed that old man was gone.”

Maldar slowly lowered the dagger as he thought about it. “If you two didn’t kill him then what happened to him?”

The three of them turned towards the cave mouth and looked out on the storm that still raged outside. “Why would he,” the three of them asked at the same time?

“Check the supplies boy. Jacko sees if you can find any tracks.” Shulhug growled as he paced back and forth.

“Most of the supplies are gone.”

The big orc slammed his fist into the wall as he watch Jacko. The woodsman was down on his hands and knees going over the cave entrance. Finally, he stood up and shook his head.

“What?”

“I can’t tell.”

“So what do we do now?”

“We wait out the storm and then head back to Karkarmach, boy.”

“Yeah, kid we can’t do this without a wizard.” Jacko walked over and draped his arm over the elf’s shoulders. “You are part of the team now so no blabbing about the treasure when we get back.”

 

The Raunchy Wench Tavern and Whore House was packed when Maldar came through the door so it took him a moment to spot his companions in the back. He worked his way through the crowd and fell into the empty chair at the table and looked at the other two. “Any luck finding us a wizard?”

Shulhug shook his head, “After we returned without the old man no wizard will work with us.”

Jacko chuckled, “Speak of him, I heard something and went to The Broken Staff to ask if it was true.”

“What did you hear,” Shulhug demanded.

“The old man was an average wizard except when it came to storm magic.”

Maldar shook his head. “I think we can give up on that treasure he got it.”

The other two men at the table stared at him.

“I heard that the old man was once a thief so I went asking around. Turns out it was a damn good thief back in his youth.”

 


Submitted: February 28, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Alex S. Foley. All rights reserved.

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Comments

hullabaloo22

Oh, an excellent and unexpected twist!

Tue, March 1st, 2022 6:34pm

Author
Reply

Wait until you find out what happened to the old man (really need a name for him). I think these characters are going to be at least background characters in my book. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Thu, March 3rd, 2022 3:41pm

Celtic-Scribe63

You brought the storm to life in this tale.
I also liked the dialogue and banter between the characters.
A good little vignette, Thank's for participating in this prompt.

Regards
CS63

Sat, March 12th, 2022 12:59pm

Author
Reply

It was a fun story to write. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Sun, April 3rd, 2022 1:21pm

niah

That's the trouble with these young ones. They always think that they are smarter than older adults. They forget the experience of older ones.

Tue, April 26th, 2022 2:55am

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