Fantasy Serial Story – The Angel’s Halo – Part III

“You shall not pass,” he spoke in a voice that was as deep as a chasm, then he cackled, as if aware of how corny he sounded.
“I am a holy paladin of God,” said James, trying, and failing, to make his voice as deep as the wildman’s, “You shall not block my path.” He started to walk forward towards the man, trying to look cool and confident. The man drew his short sword and assumed a fighting stance. James paused considering. He had been taught the way of the sword while in sanctuary but he had never thought that he would have to use the one he owned.
“Can we talk about this?”
“Never,” shrieked the wild warrior, “I am a dark human, opposed to the church in any form. We must fight to the death.”
“Mine is longer than yours,” taunted James, as he drew his sword, “En garde!”
He was about to engage the dark human in mortal combat, prepared to give his last breath in striving to complete his quest. His opponent rushed to join the battle, a wicked and crazy light flashing through his eyes. Then a bee hummed by James’ ear and the dark human crumpled to the deck, rolled into the water, and slowly sank under the weight of his armor.
“Darnit,” swore Wain, “That was my favorite arrow!”
James’ mouth dropped open, “You shot him!”
“Yeah,” Wain agreed.
“But what about honorable combat?”
“Oh, that is all well and good, but winning is important too.”
“I would have won!” said James, outraged.
“You were about to get your butt kicked,” sneered Wain.
“Humph,” since James happened to agree with that idea, although secretly, he couldn’t argue. After all he was a paladin and always told the truth.
The island they had landed on was mostly a large meadow, with a stream running through he middle of it. Peaceful breezes gently swayed the graciously green blades of grass. The southern side of the island was cloaked with oak trees, their branches waving peacefully in the breeze. Small pretty birds twittered peacefully and fluttered back and forth through the trees as they pursue each other in a pleasant game of tag. A stone bridge gracefully crossed the stream that divided the island.
“Let’s see if there is any clue at the bridge,” James started off in that direction.
“Ok,” Wain glanced nervously over his shoulder as they walked, “This place is to peaceful.”
“I think its nice,” replied James, as they reached the bridge. Sure enough, there were some footprints in a small patch of mud at the foot of the bridge.
“Look at these,” James knelt to examine them, “Can you track them?”
He looked up when the silence started to grow awkward, “You can track, can’t you?”
“Well,” Wain looked embarrassed, “I only made it to the Cubscout level, but I’ll try to see… LOOK OUT!” He drew his sword and swung it wildly at James.
“You treacherous punk,” cried James, as he rolled to the side, “You’ll pay for…” He stopped short as he saw Wain was not attacking him but the ten foot troll that had snuck up on them. James changed his tune quickly, “That’s it, get ‘im Wain. Ooh look out, he’s strong. And now the left slash… and thrust!”
Wain drove the troll back under the bridge and disappeared after it. James sighed. The first rule of fighting trolls was that you never entered their dens until after they were dead. He heard Wain yell and swiftly peeked under the bridge. Neither Wain nor the Troll were present. James said a short prayer for his friend, no… I am not his friend, just his associate, muttered James angrily, and started towards the woods. He figured that if anyone else was on the island they would have to be there, because he could see everywhere else. He walked through the oaks and soon caught the smell of a campfire. Following it led him to where a man and a woman were cooking some form of food for the midday meal. He instantly recognized the woman as Gertrude.
“Thank you,” he told the man, “For keeping he safe. There is a monstrous troll on this island and it must have been a difficult task.”
“Don’t thank him,” Gertrude glared at the man, “He must be returned to the Holy Isle to be burnt. We must save his soul. He is a runere!”
Sir James Flickerflame gasped.

* * *

Wain gasped, filling his lungs with air before the troll pulled him back underwater. When he had pursued the monster under the bridge it had disappeared. He had walked cautiously into the cave that it had hollowed out only to find out that there was a pit deep enough for the troll to hide in. The monster had grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him under. Only by biting the troll very hard had he managed to get away long enough to get that breath of fresh air. But it was enough.
Back underwater Wain came to grips with the monstrosity and, with one hand around its throat, choking as only a barbarian can (which is extremely hard), drew his unting knife with the other hand. He slashed and cut at the troll until it got one hand around his throat and choked him as only a troll can (which is a lot harder than a barbarian can). With his vision going dark and his movements feeling sluggish Wain let loose the rage that constantly boiled within him, and convinced the troll to become a professional swordswallower. (Now you may ask how the troll, without prior experience, could become a professional swordswallower so quickly. Unfortunately for the troll his career ended swiftly with his first attempt as a long piece of steel got stuck in his throat.) As he faded into the realm of unconsciousness Wain floated to the surface of the flooded pit. He took a long shuddering gasp of air. Then another. Then another and another and another and he regained consciousness. Shaking his head, he crawled and splashed into the trolls cavern where he found a small stash of money and the Angel’s Halo.
Careful to not even accidentally put on the Halo, he counted the money and slipped into his pouch, “No need to let James know about the money. It’s not like he drinks!” Wain reasoned with his keen barbarian intellect. Then he slipped out from under the bridge, only splashing a little, and studied the tracks to find out where James had gone. Satisfied that he had got it right he set off for the trees, towards the source of all the screaming and yelling.

**********

Read Part II
Read Part IV

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