Part two of the bungling Elven magician. You can find part 1 here.
The Magician Jaymel, Part 2
Jaymel stepped out of the cave and into the fresh air of the forest. He always felt at home there, elven instinct he called it, but often found himself aching for more. The littered remnants of food and spoor around the cave entrance tarnished the atmosphere somewhat, but after being inside the smell seemed tame.
Helsa followed, stepping over some discarded bones to a good sitting spot. The stripped remains of a wagon made a fine stool. She pulled out a plain leather bound book and flipped through the pages.
“You’re always reading that book, is it the scriptures?”
“Nope. I have those memorized. This is a novel.”
Jaymel perked at that, walking over the rubbish and peered over her shoulder. She glanced back at him, half closed the book to show him the runes on the cover.
The Black Lake? “It’s in elvish. I didn’t know you knew my language.”
She smirked. “I’m learning. You elves make the sauciest stories.”
“If you need any help, I’d be glad to translate.”
“Well if you insist,” Helsa flipped through the book and pointed at a passage. “Read this aloud for me.”
“No sweat.” He leaned closer, squinting at the tiny text. “She wrapped her legs around him, taking him—” Jaymel flushed red. He glanced through the nearby sentences and found some rather incriminating words. “What kind of book is this?”
She shrugged. “A novel. I told you. Did you change your mind? Can you not read it? It’s been bothering me all week.”
Jaymel cleared his throat. “I can read it just fine.”
Helsa watched him with her usual dry expression. She had this habit of hooding her grey eyes, giving her an appealing sleepy look— for a human anyway. He never noticed how nice she smelled. It was a gentle mixture of herbs and spice, likely from her prayer incenses.
“Are you going to tell me what it says or not?” she said.
“Ah, right,” Jaymel said.
“She wrapped her legs around him, taking him into a brutal headlock.” Huh? “Squeezing she ripped his head from his shoulders and spurted blood all over her face and stomach.” What? She let out a moan of ecstasy savoring the moment of his demise.”
“Oh, see that makes the rest of the chapter make sense,” Helsa said grinning. “That explains why he wasn’t talking for the rest of the chapter.”
Jaymel straightened, pushing back a fit of nausea. “I’d say so.”
“Thanks for reading that for me,” Helsa said. She smiled, pulling back a lock of hair behind her ear. “Maybe you could help me reenact parts of it later?”
Is she flirting with me, or planning my murder?
“Maybe. Perhaps the less colorful parts?”
Her scowl returned. “Sort of defeats the purpose.”
A warhorn pierced the silence. Two blasts, the sign of soldiers on the move.
“Those must be king’s men.”
Helsa stood, snapping her book shut. “We should tell Kriss.”
“I’m sure he heard it. We need to make sure we claim our spoils before those tin cans come and ‘save us’ from the Kobolds.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure.” Helsa said, shrugging. “Kriss and Grisa are probably ‘talking’. Loudly.”
Jaymel groaned. Helsa was probably right. “Well we can handle this much. Help me check the bodies for money. I’ll use a spell to distract them.”
“If you don’t blow yourself up trying. You should— Actually, do what you need to. I’ll be at a safe distance.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Jaymel raised his hands, tapping into his arcane gift. He closed his eyes remembering the Kobold pack as they had first laid eyes on them. His memory manifested in solid form, the same pack of jabbering dog men, recreated in illusion.
Helsa nodded in approval. “It works. Just have them run off into the forest.”
Jaymel opened his eyes and pointed to the forest. The Kobolds looked at him blankly, then proceeded to act like any Kobold would: complete disobedience.
One charged at him, lashing out at him with wicked swords and crude clubs. Jaymel sighed as one swung its spectral club through him. It fell over, flopping to the soil.
The others yapped in amusement.
“I’ll have to lead them off on my own,” Jaymel said. “I can’t really control them.”
“Figures. I’ll go tell Kriss to put his pants back on I guess.”
“Yes. Please do.” Another Kobold attacked Jaymel. This one flounced through him, not learning from his peer’s error. He hurried away, the phantom pack chasing hot on his heels with their weapons readied.
Lucky for him, Kobolds tended to target him specifically. Something in their limited intelligence gravitated them towards attacking magicians. In this case, he likely rose their ire by ‘summoning’ them. He hurried through the woods. The warhorn blared again. Good, they hear the Kobolds.
In his haste he tripped over a jutting rock on the forest floor. He slammed into the ground, face first, the world spun around him. The Kobolds circled around yapping and taunting in gibberish.
He picked himself up on his arms, a drip of blood trickled from his forehead. Damn it. Why am I such a klutz.
He stood, eyeing the circling pack of Kobolds. He managed to get far enough away. Now he only needed to act. Raising his arms, he summoned a ball of flame and flung it into the pack. They scattered, save for the one hit directly by the fire. It cowered in place, completely unharmed.
Right, they can’t hurt me and I can’t hurt them.
The others gathered around it, wide eyed and impressed. They fell to their knees in worship and the central Kobold.
Jaymel fled, tanking the opportunity to get to a safe distance.
Soldiers poured into the forest clearing, in glittering plate and brandishing castle forged steel. In a few moments their ‘foes’ would vanish. Jaymel grinned, hurrying away from the bedlam. But something big and metal stopped him dead in his tracks. He flew backwards, slamming hard into the ground.
A towering knight, glared down at him.
“What have we here?” The man said. “A stray knife ear causing trouble?”
“Just fleeing from the Kobolds, sir. I got separated from my band.”
“A likely story.” The knight stooped over grabbing Jaymel at the shoulder. “I’ll escort you to your band after we sort out these Kobolds.”
Dizziness raced through Jaymel’s head. He couldn’t let the illusion fade now. IT wouldn’t bode well for him. “Not needed. They’re close by. I just hit them with a spell and ran.”
“A magician? We have the need of one.”
“I’m afraid I’m not a very good one, sir,” Jaymel said.
“I know. I fell. I fall a lot.”
“Well, go on then. If you change your mind—”
Jaymel stood and ran past him, hurrying back to his friends just as the kobold illusions faded. The confused calls of the soldiers pierced the air, striking panic to Jaymel’s core. Things just went from bad to worse.