A/N: Well, this is going to be my try of a longer Icewind Dale 2 story. And - as you can find out right now in the beginning of the story, it's also about Domi's Icewind Dale 2 NPC Project (which can be found over at Gibberling Three forum). I can only recommend you this mod - it made my play really enjoyable - trust me, you don't want to play Czech version of the game. And they even called it "professional Czech version of the game". I really don't want to know how the game would be, if the version wasn't "proffesional", eh. However, I hope you'll find this story at least partially interesting and will honor me with a review of yours, hm? Also - if you spot any errors (I'm sure there is more than one mistake in it), tell me about it, please. And now - onward to the story!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, just Sindal and this fanfic are all my fault. The game of Icewind Dale is property of Black Isle and IWD2 NPC Project is property of Domi.
4. New mission
... is on continuing mission... to boldly go where no man has gone before!
I think the world had gone mad. Seriously. How other you want explain that just after waking up you get another mission impossible? I swear that Ulbrec would deserve to be hit hard over his head, goddamnit! Huh, I'm starting to talk more like Sir Nord that the Sindal I used to know not so long ago.
Also - I've found out that when it comes to the matter of my well-being, Jaemal can be even worse than my mother. Well, I was secretly happy to find him by my bedside when I woke up in healers' tent - we talked a lot during the times I didn't have to drink potion after potion. Heck, one would have though that the healing potions would at least taste good. But no - the taste was something awful. No wonder Jaemal laughed when he saw the grimaces I was making after drinking several of those potions in a row. I asked him once how I got here when the last thing I remember is me collapsing on the ground. He fell silent for a moment and then replied in sotto voce: "I carried you here." So, that would explain the blood stains he still had on his robe. I quite regretted that I wasn't at least a bit conscious, so I could enjoy the closeness to him. This thought startled me first. But there was something what attracted me to Jaemal since the very beginning. Something in his eyes belied the same feeling, so I wasn't overly surprised when he started conversation after another round of potions.
"Have you ever wondered what makes people fall in love?"
I smiled a bit. "Yes, I did. And I have found no answer to that question."
His eyes focused somewhere between us. "I thought of it just yesterday..."
I swear that my heart skipped a beat when he said that. Yesterday, that means the day when all this fighting started. And just a short time after we watched Northern Lights. Is this the reason why he was watching me so intently after it? I looked into his eyes, so deep and dark and heard myself responding in a dreamy voice: "Yes... yes you did."
I saw the memory flick in his eyes while he spoke: "Falling in love is... Is meeting someone bright... so impossibly bright that when she's not around, your soul will still remember her, just like your eyes, even closed, remember the light after you've looked at it."
With my throat suddenly dry I whispered: "So, that's what love is? An imprint into each other soul?"
Before he got the chance to reply, Valeero came in with the last round of potions, so he just sent me a small smile, stood up and left the tent, leaving me to drink the potions in Valeero's company. Well, nothing against Valeero - but when you can choose between handsome man and pretty woman, I'll bet that I know whom you would choose, when you're a woman yourself.
I was told that I was uncoscious for almost a day - and Jaemal hasn't moved from my side for the whole time. I asked Hildury about what was happening during my "time out". She told me that apart from the fact that Nord finally voiced his disagreement with wooden palisade (which I, sadly, completely missed), Nikosh robbing all the three orc leaders of their treasures, Valeero mixing all the potions I had to drink and Jaemal sitting by my side nothing all that special happened. I was starting to quite like Hildury. She was able to cut her way through the attacking group of orcs - but in some ways she was like a small child. She adored sir Nord, that much I could tell. I wasn't surprised by the fact - he gave her second chance, something, what not many people would give her. I have to say that when I've met Hildury for the first time, she 'scared the crap out of me' as Nord would probably say. But now the situation was completely different.
So, once more we were travelling. And as showed to be usual here in North - the enemy showed up sooner than I would prefer. But this one was Torak, chieftain of Broken Tusk clan.
"Why you here? You want to occupy Torak's river?" His eyes suddenly focused on Hildury. "Wait... What is this? You half-orc. You share blood of our ancestors, sister. Why you come here with weapon drawn, ready to spill orc blood? Join Torak. Join Broken Tusk clan!"
Hildury looked sincerely confused and... scared. However, she gathered her courage and spoke: "I better die as a human, than live as an orc." But then she surprised us all. She started to make her way through the barricade made out of the wooden barrels. We quickly went to help her while Torak yelled curses and run away, leaving the orcs of his tribe to fight. Luckily, we managed to kill them quite quickly. While I was cleaning my sword, Nord spoke to me:
"So, what's your impression of the bloody North so far, lass?"
I looked up to him and raised my eyebrows questioningly. "You mean apart from the snow, snow and more snow part?"
Nord just grinned. "Bloody observant are we, eh? Now, how does North feel to you?"
I shrugged. "So far the only feel I have from this lace is the fact that it's just one big battlefield. Just look at it - if it's not yetis, you can always meet some barbarian. If it's not barbarian, it's orcs. And if it's not an orc, it's the weather. All of those are trying to get you, if you know what I mean."
Nord looked quite pleased while looking around over the endless woods and snow plains. "But hells - the challenge, the endless battle!" Seeing my not overly enthusiastic expression he patted my shoulder and added: "Heh, lass - let's get moving and see who buggers whom."
I swear that these orcs had much more intelligence then I would give them credit for. The idea of kegs of blasting was a really good one - I just wasn't sure if I'm more burnt by the explosions or cold and drenched from all that jumping into the snow in an effort to not being burnt. But our good luck showed again - we could get dry again and spend the night in the cabin of resident druids, Derek Springsong and his wife Sabrina. While I and Valeero, both wrapped in a dry blanket - sat closer to the fire, Hildury and the others were choping firewood outside. I glanced at Valeero: "Are you feeling so stupid like me right now or not?" Valeero shot me a quick smile: "Yeah - Hildury works hard and what are we doing? Just sitting in comfortable warmth and doing nothing. We'll have to think about something what we can do for her." I nodded and snugggled more into the warm blanket. It was really nice to feel warm again. The others came with the fresh wood and made themselves as comfortable as they could. Derek and Sabrina were good hosts, so it was no wonder that I slowly drifted to sleep right where I was sitting. The only thing which interrupted my sleep was that during the night someone lifted me from my sitting place to carry me to my bedroll. I started to drowsily ask, if it's time to get up, when the gentle voice of one unnamed man calmed me again. "Shhh, it's just me, Northern Light. No need to wake up. Just sleep..." Smilling, I let sleep to claim me again.
Next day we continued to the Shengarn Bridge. However, as always it couldn't be without trouble. Torak gathered his tribe and captured the whole village of woodcutters - if we won't go away, he will kill them all. But... he made one serious mistake - he sent one of the hostages to meet us, Kaitlin Silvertongue. To our great surprise she also brought some news about the orcs here - "They are building a huge dam on Shengarn river," was what she said. The problem was how to save the villagers, since they were kept in a circle made out of the blasting kegs. Solution was as easy as it was dangerous; in the destroyed village was a house of an alchemist - and in the debris we have found a potion of invisibility. Truth to be said, Nikosh wasn't overjoyed by the fact that he has to go to the orc camp and open the doors to the saw-mill - however, only he was capable of moving silently as we needed. And even then he got another thing to do - to kill the firestarter, while the rest of us take care of the fighters. Not that I blamed Nikosh for lack of enthusiasm - I would give almost everything to be back in Luskan right now, since the whole situation was scaring me. To calm down a bit I sang several of the magic songs I was taught to raise the party's luck. Nikosh was pale but my songs had surprisingly good effect on him.
We were prepared by the wooden palisade whic surrounded the saw-mill. After hearing a faint noise Nord carefully pushed the gate open. Unnoticed we entered the area. Hiding behind the small trees we observed the saw-mill; women and men sat together in the circle of kegs, orcs surrounding them, the firestarter sitting nearby but not too close, ready to fire an arrow. I turned to Nord. "Nord? Any ideas about what to do next?"
He though for afew moments. "We need someone," he glanced towards the place where Nikosh was supposed to be, "to take care of that damned firestarter before we get to the circle." I bit my lower lip. "All right. Nikosh?" Only a silent "Eh?" was my answer. "You gonna take care of the firestarter." I've heard groan. 'Yeah, Nikosh, I'm not surprised you don't want to do it - but there's no other chance,' I thought to myself. "Jaemal? I need you to cast some infirmatory spells on the orcs - and most important, silence spell, so Torak won't know what's happening here. Is that clear?" He simply nodded. I finished the orders: "The rest of us is going to attack them openly. Remember, no war cries, try to make as little noise as possible, otherwise we have the rest of the tribe after us."
Nikosh sneaked away, Jaemal following him closely to cast the first of his spell. I, Nord, Hildury and Valeero slowly crept toward the circle.
Suddenly, Jaemal's figure appeared in the sights of the orcs, moving his hands in the complicate icantantions of the spell. "... mortis... fiat!" The spell was finished, the orcs opened their mouths to cry - but no sound came out from their throats. We rushed towards the circle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Nikosh emerging from invisibility, daggers aiming towards the firestarter's back - but at the same moment my blood went cold in my veins; the firestarter was already releasing a fire arrow. The panic must have made me quicker than usual I guess because in the next second I was sprinting in a way which came upright to the trajectory of the arrow, just to perform something what some plane travelling friend of my mother called robinsonade. During the jump the arrow hit me in the shoulder. 'What a cliché injury,' run through head. Through the pain I felt a relief that the arrow didn't make it towards the kegs. The pain was paralyzing first but somehow I managed to stand and attack the nearest orc. Luckily for us the silence spell affected not only the orcs but the vilagers as well, since several of the women were starting to be really hysterical.
Finally the last of the orcs fell. Valeero rushed to my side. "Are you all right, Sindal? I've seen you to take an arrow before..." I gave her a wry grin and followed her to the building where I sat down, while she inspected the wound. The arrow was still sticking out of it, and since it was a fire arrow, not only it pierced my flesh, it also burnt my skin which was starting to let me know it was burnt. Others had several scratches but luckily nothing serious. 'Must be the beginner's luck of mine,' I thought. The villagers were calming down quickly as the spell wore off. And then Valeero jerked the arrow out. She did it so quickly that I didn't even had the time to yelp in pain - and as i know myself, I would be pretty loud and that would bring Torak on us sooner than we would like. Quickly bandaging my shoulder, Valeero went to check on others.
Carefully we led the villagers to Kaitlin, instructing them to leave the area until we get it rid of Torak and his tribe. I have to say that I was quite looking forward to kill the orc. If nothing else, we were going to be paid for it - and I always hated to do a poor job.
So, here we go again.
Killing of Torak and the rest of his clan was just a start. Then we had to go throught the damned pass to the orcish dam, fighting our way through wererats, harpies and the "king" of the pass, wererat called Garnaet the Sharptooth. Pretty annoying fellow, if ya ask me. Long was our way to the bridge over the river Shengarn. Huh, my bardic side is showing more and more often, I see. Must be the scenery of Spine of the World, the constant danger and the closeness of death. It simply makes your Muse to work harder, since there may not be another day to sing, play or perform.
As we neared the bridge, we were trying to stay unseen, hiding behind trees and such. I felt like a child playing hide-and-seek with his parents. Well, but my parents wouldn't attack me on sight during the game, eh. Hiding behind a small snow hill, or how should I call it, I observed the bridge. I could clearly see several ogres, bunch of orcs and... and a woman? Yes, my elven eyes weren't deceiving me - there was a woman dressed as a mage commanding all those monsters. From her height and overall stature I would say she's either human or half-elf, although I couldn't be completely sure. I returned to the others to tell them about this and to set the orders.
The presence of a woman commanding the orcs and ogres was surprising to others, too. Valeero looked quite uneasy about the presence of enemy here, on the bridge which should be used by the reinforcements from Neverwinter and Luskan. As much as she obviously disliked Luskan (she made it clear enough during the short time we were travelling together), the soldiers sent by the city were needed, otherwise the whole Tentowns could fall. The woman on the bridge was an elven mage of name Xuki. Just when we arrived close she ordered the ogres to destroy the bridge. The situation became even more critical.
Xuki tried to distract us with offering us money, appealing that she was elf just like me. Fool of a woman. I may be the only elf in the group but that doesn't mean I will be making a deal wih someone like her. The fight started and was long and tiring. My lungs and throat hurt from all the singing I was doing, magic of the words swirling around me and my companions, healing some of their wounds, strenghten their muscles or disrupted offensive spells casted on us. When there were only a few orcs still standing, I turned to look how Jaemal was doing. He waved at me and started to cast another spell. In that moment one of the injured orcs struck him and Jaemal fell to the freezing Shengarn River.
I felt the panic rise in me. I run to the orcs who dared to do that to one of my companions and with one cut of my sword managed to kill him. Next thing I did - almost unknowingly - was to throw my weapon and small shield aside and jum after Jaemal. Sweet Mystra, the water was cold. I was desperately looking around when I finally saw a flash of violet. Kicking my legs I swam to him, catching him in my arms and ascended from the depths of freezing river. My lungs burned from the lack of air - after ascending from water the crisp air felt almost like a balm.
Luckily, Jaemal was breathing. Another problem arose, however. How to keep him warm, when you are in the middle of snowy nowhere? And not only him, I thought, my teeth starting to chatter. In the middle of my thinking Hildury showed up with a big smile on her face. She found a cave we could use.
A/N: Eh, took me quite long to update, right? No idea why, since I found this chapter sitting in my Becoming Heroes folder for at least half a year...