Fall of the Ice Wizard, Overview - Global Challenge 3 Winning Entry
The sudden bone-chilling blast of ice hit Caelan’s giant wooden shield like a tidal wave, almost knocking him over. The Ice Wizard’s incantation spilled over the shield’s edges and began to freeze everything, even the air around him. If it wasn’t for the wooden shield in front of him, or if it had been metal instead of wood, he would have been frozen instantly, just like Lord Bajads and his staff had earlier been frozen solid. Even with the shield’s protection he began to shiver and lose focus, slipping into a daze, with memories flashing in his mind.
Everything the spy had told them back at Durrough was true. Unfortunately the expedition leader, Lord Bajads of Durrough, not only didn’t believe him but publicly embarrassed Sir Caelan for consoling with a lowly, Outlaw spy. Caelan and his fifteen men were placed in reserve, the least honorable position. Once the joint Lenfel-Loreesi army had landed on the beach of the northern-most point of the Island of Lost Souls, Lord Bajads led the way with his three dozen men. The Loreesi contingent of two dozen was placed second in line, with the very capable Sir Emdell of Loreos in command of that element. During the entire venture Bajads refused to listen to any suggestion of caution by Caelan or Tavish, his wise archer. He did consult with Sir Emdell, who advised a screen of Lenfel archers to go on ahead of the main force.
So Caelan was forced to make do by ordering his men to avoid metal shields, just as the spy had said, and wear leather armor coated in animal fat where possible. He himself had procured a giant wooden shield and dragged it along determinedly. He also went without his usual metal helmet.
The Lenfel archers were the first to report the news of a force of Outlaws, twice their numbers, awaiting them in a glade between a jagged peak and a large oak tree. Lord Bajads happily declared they move to meet them and confidently predicted their victory, even after a strange man clad in white had emerged from a cave to stand on a ledge which commanded a view of the entire area. The first wave of Lord Bajads’ Lenfels charged forward only to find out this man was indeed Jens Valtyr, the Ice Wizard. The wizard chilled them with a wave of oppressive cold so that they could barely hold on to their weapons. Then the Outlaws swept forward and the results were ugly. What made the situation so perilous was that the Lenfels’ famous archery skills were of no use against Valtyr. The wizard had some kind of incantation running which allowed him to cast his spells while simultaneously deflecting any shot that was taken at him.
Lord Bajads was a courageous man, and he immediately charged toward the wizard, but then Valtyr released his ultimate spell, the ice blast, and froze him and his retainers on the spot. The Outlaws moved in and the rest of his staff perished trying to protect him. The Lenfel line wavered, but then Sir Emdell ordered his Loreesi in and they bravely took the fight to the enemy. Even with the Ice Wizard’s spells it looked like the joint force was making headway, but then Valtyr sent in his bodyguard, a large and brutal minotaur. The vicious beast went straight for Sir Emdell and hammered him mercilessly. They wounded each other, but Emdell got the worst of it and staggered back to the shelter of the oak tree. The minotaur pursued him, intent on finishing the Loreesi nobleman. That was when Sir Caelan acted without orders, charged his entire retinue in reserve and made straight for the beast.
Caelan had never fought a magical creature before, yet he instinctively knew what he had to do. Pushing the great wooden shield before him as a distraction, he let go of it just as it slapped into the minotaur and drew out his dirk. The longsword in his other hand barely held the beast’s battle axe in check, and aiming for the same wound Emdell had previously given the creature, Caelan drove his dagger into the minotaur’s gut all the way. It was over in a moment; the giant beast fell back in agony and lay writhing upon the ground. There was no time for any joy however as Caelan looked up to see a horrific sight: that of the Ice Wizard intent on revenge. Caelan barely had time to pick up the shield and duck behind it before the blast hit him…
“Wake up...stand up and get some blood flowin’ while I build a fire.”
“Wha-wha-what?” Caelan was shivering so badly he barely managed to speak.
“You were hit by the ice,” Tavish said as he began to pile up wood and shavings. “Looks like the shield did it’s work. How are you?”
“Over. I shot him in the knee and he fell.”
Tavish grinned. “Anythin’ we shot directly at him flew off. I got so frustrated I started shootin’ at rocks at his feet. One deflected and hit him in the knee sudden-like. He maybe a great wizard but he canna take any wee bit o’ pain. Crumpled like a little girl and fell off the ledge. We have him alive and tied up over there. Makes for a nice present to the king. The Outlaws were so shocked they turned and ran after they saw him fall, and our men chased along right after ‘em. How about those Loreesi, eh?”
Caelan stuttered, “They fight even harder than they party. How are our own men?”
“Murdoch took a battle axe to the head,” Tavish stated soberly. “Good that he had no relatives. Five others wounded but not bad. They’ll see green Lenfald again. The Durroughsmen are much worse off.”
Caelan shook his head in disgust. If they had only listened.
To cheer him up a bit Tavish congratulated him, “That bull-man was a true bit a work. I’m havin’ the lads lop his head off for stuffin’. You can mount him over the fireplace when we get back.”
Having gotten the fire going, Tavish helped Sir Caelan over to it and whispered conspiratorially, “Ya know, with Lord Bajads an icicle and Emdell wounded, we ain’t got no orders.”
“Well, that spy was right on ‘bout that wizard, an maybe he’s as right on ‘bout that tower full o’ silver too.” A gleam crept into his eye.
“You want to go on a treasure hunt at a time like this?”
“Of course,” the always practical archer stated. “After all, you owe that spy fifteen more Draken. An you ain’t got even ten to your name now.”
Caelan scowled, “Can I warm my bones first?”
“Ach, now you’re whinin’ like that wizard. Fine, warm the cockles of your heart.” Tavish nodded slyly, “Then we be after that tower.”
This is the first land battle scene I’ve ever done, so I'm fairly amazed it won LCC's Global Contest 3. The whole ice spell set up was the most challenging part.