Quest 55: Feed the Ducks (Tuppence a Bag)
The warrior turned and stared at the street, which stretched itself deep inside the city. The avenue, and the smaller streets which crossed with it, were part of the commercial district of Cattletown. But if Morionem had not known beforehand he’d have questioned whomever had told him that. After the earthquakes, many of the street’s shops which extended outside their buildings had crashed down, and too had the smaller stores in the outskirts of the district. Despite the damage, many of the salesmen worked on the still standing stores, attempting to gain their wage for the day and be able to rebuild - a third time - their establishments.
But the consumers, on the other hand, weren’t so eager to go on a shopping spree. Asides from the goods necessary for living barely anything else was being bought. The warrior sighed, but kept his search for someone who would buy his magical seeds. “On the other hand I could look for someone who can tell me how much these are worth. A magic bean is worth a cow, so these magic seeds should be worth at least what a calf is in gol-Aaaaahhh!”
He lunged to the side to avoid stepping on a duck, while the bird ignored his existence and kept walking and quacking cheerfully. Morionem passed his left hand on the pouch he stored the seeds to make sure they were still there. For better or for worse, better watch out for these ducks. Who knows what the hell ducks eat? Come to think of it… Where the hell did all these ducks come from?
He glaced around, peering into the countless amount of ducks which filled the avenue. Their numbers surpassed by many the amount of people currently on the road, and far in the distance a flock of them flew as a raging maelstrom, surrounded by running people who trying to bypass them.
Wondering if this wasn’t some kind of public calamity, Morionem entered a store in which a man quickly stormed off the store, while expeling out some birds himself. Although he hadn’t hit any of the birds they still flew away from him, to avoid such fate. Morionem thought there wouldn’t be many ducks inside, but a quick peek into the impressively large market showed him there still were many ducks inside, alongside a few consumers.
He wandered inside looking for any seeds that might be sold here. He assumed checking the price for normal seeds could give as much insight as anything else. That was when Morionem noticed he had to avoid stepping on another duck, but he forgot he wasn’t on the empty street anymore and bumped into another person. “Sorry! I’m terribly sorry mis-Uh… Kiddo.”
Tamar hadn’t meant
to get messed up in anything, of course, but as was often the case with Tamar, he ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that was how he met Morionem. Or rather, how he happened to leap for shelter in the exact same store the aforementioned boy had been browsing when the duck-apocalypse had struck.
It had started out a fairly normal day. The city after all had seen far worse than a plague of ducks in its time. The creatures must have been frightened out of the parks by the earthquake days earlier and now they had filtered through into the main city, just as chickens and, occasionally, the cows did.
Tamar paused for a moment before digging in his pack and throwing a few leftover crumbs of Eliziya’s sweet rolls towards one of them. The duck pecked at them for a moment, quacked, and turned away, as if snubbing the offer.
"Huh, you don’t like that?" Tamar frowned."Quack."
"Trust me, its good stuff.""Quack, quack.'
"...Homemade and everything... well, not by me. I can’t cook for love nor... I’m talking to a duck," Tamar shook his head at his own inanity. He left the duck and rounded the corner into the main square, already expecting quite a sight. Judging by the huge numbers of ducks he had already seen in the streets.
Indeed, the main square was having much the same problem as everywhere else was. There were ducks everywhere
Funny... the more Tamar looked at them, the stranger their behaviour had seemed, and it was when he noticed a bundle of them attempting to assault a cat (which leapt away into the relative safety of the rooftops) that he realised something was very, very wrong with those ducks.
Namely they seemed to have developed a vested interest in eating everything in sight.
They had begun tearing apart signs and display boards in the market stalls outside. A meat merchant selling dried fish and pork in the street had been overrun by the creatures that were now descending upon his cart in a feeding frenzy. A small child ran past with her mother, in a fit of tears, her fingers bleeding. Apparently she had attempted to feed the ducks and they had decided she would be a better appetiser than the bread crumbs she had offered.
"What in the name of..." Tamar started to say, then he leapt away as the ducks scattered through the streets. Their eyes red and beady in the morning light, their quacking coming together into a loud, disturbing chorus.
"...Okaaaay...meat eating ducks," Tamar muttered to himself watching the nearest of the malevolent eyed little creatures snapping its beak. 'Um... right, what’s the last thing I read on ornithology which wasn’t an instruction manual on how to skin and cook them?"
The ducks didn’t seem to appreciate this insinuation, assuming they understood what he was talking about, because one of them latched onto his ankle hard enough for Tamar to feel it through the leather of his boot. He staggered backward. In truth, Tamar had absolutely no idea what the base diet of your average water fowl was, but he was pretty certain it was not leather boot soul... or the flesh beneath the leather.
"Ow... ow! Hey!"
He didn’t really want to hurt the thing, but he saw no other choice than to shake his foot violently until the creature let go. It skidded across the cobblestone, then staggered back to its webbed feet, flapping it’s large, strangely moth eaten wings. Tamar lurched backwards in horror as he got a good look at the thing for the first time.
A normal duck it most certainly was not. Sure, it was still a duck
... mostly anyway. But its beady eyes bad been replaced by a mess of writhing, wormlike appendages, which burst from its feathers and beak like a rotting corpse. Tamar hadn’t seen anything so grotesque since ...well, he had been in the underground and there’d been an insane vermin worshipper involved, put it like that.
The duck quacked loudly, and it sounded all wrong. Like somebody had slowed its words down and mixed it up with human screams. It was a duck, yes, but a duck which had quite possibly emerged from the deepest of the seven hells.
It was about this moment that Tamar took the hint from everyone else and ran, however stupid doing so made him feel.
Tamar slammed the door behind him as the streets around him were festooned with violent quacking and screaming. He wasn’t the only one doing so. He had ushered in a number of people in front of him, all of whom seemed very disturbed by the onslaught of violent waterfowl to their fair city. A couple of them were even bleeding, though saints only knew how the ducks had managed to bite people on the face and upper arms.
‘Um... I okay,’ Tamar said, doing his best to sound bigger and taller than he was, channelling his inner-Hector for all he was worth. ‘Um... I-I reckon it’ll be safe in here, everyone. Just... stay calm and erm... keep your eyes open for ducks?’
‘...Out of the walls, man,’ a drunk looking man was mumbling frantically as he stared out of the windows. ‘T-they’re coming outta the goddamn walls!’
Tamar suppressed a sigh. ‘No, sir, I don’t think they are, they’re just panicked because of... of something, I don’t know, but trust me, they’re just ducks.’
‘Just ducks my last bloody copper!’ another woman whined hysterically. ‘The things just tried to bite my fingers off!’ Then she flailed madly, as one of the ducks that had already been in the store climbed out from under the counter. ‘They’re already in here, oh lords!’
‘M’lady, please calm down, I’m pretty sure that’s just one of the normal ducks,’ Tamar muttered.
‘The name of the saints is this about?’ someone called. Tamar looked up to see a burly, bewildered looking shop keeper who didn’t appreciate this invasion of his property. ‘So help me, boy, if you’ve brought a flippin’ bar fight to my establishment...’
‘Uh... n-no, sir, I promise there’s no fight there were just...’ Tamar trailed off. What exactly was he supposed to say? We’re hiding in your store because there’s a bunch of carnivorous ducks outside trying to eat people?
Tamar had no idea what he was going to say to Zi when he got back. He really wasn’t certain she’d believe this, and Zi had a crazy magical being living inside her head. ‘Uh... sorry, but erm, Severed Storm needs to... to borrow your store, sir. For... um... protection of civilians?’
‘Oh yeah? Protection from what, lad?’ The shopkeeper said, with that strange smirk people often gave Tamar. The smirk that said “aww, cute, he’s playing at being a grown up guild member”.
Tamar had pretty much steeled himself against that look by now, though. He looked around at the store, full of bewildered seeming customers. ‘Uh... not exactly there wouldn’t happen to be another mage or anything in here, would there? Or a guild member?’
There was no answer.
‘Oh come on, ANYBODY from a guild? Affiliates, or somet-?’
“Sorry! I’m terribly sorry mis-Uh… Kiddo.”
Tamar winced as somebody collided with his back, after narrowly avoiding stepping on one of the many, seemingly harmless ducks around their feet. ”Damn it, what is it with
everyone I meet crashing into me?”
“Uh... thats fine, mister...’ he stared at the kid for a moment, without actually recognizing him. “I take it you’re not a guild member either, are you?” Tamar was coming to the conclusion he was the only guild member actually in the store right now.
“Uh… No, I’m not.” He replied speaking each syllable slowly, confused at the seemingly out of nowhere question. Staring down the kid, Morionem wondered if he was a guildmember himself, only to have the train of thought derailed as he noticed the shining - at least for Morionem - magic of the sword on his hilt, linked to the magic inside the boy himself. He knelt suddenly, both the warrior’s and the boy’s eye standing on the same level. Even then, Morionem had his attention fixed at the sword. “Is this a magical sword?” He asked, eyes shining with hope. “Can I touch it?”
Tamar’s immediate instinct was to back off. He was aware of pretty much everyone in the room staring at them. “Um... no, no it’s not magic sword. It’s just got... lots of echos in it.”
The shine of the warrior’s eye vanished, but his hope did not. “Are you sure? It looks
magical for me.”
“I’m... pretty sure. Look, um... eveyrone might want to stay out of the streets, there’s... there’s a lot of ducks out there and...” he paused, clearly thinking before lifting a compass rose pendant from his neck. “Look, I’m acting on behalf of Severed Storm! Everyone here needs to stay calm and not panic about... about the carnivorous ducks mixed in with the regular ones out there, I’m sure the Loremasters have been alerted and-”
“The heck is he talking about?” One of the store patrons muttered. “Carnivorous Ducks? Has somebody been letting this kid into the drinking parlours underaged?”
There was a muttering. “He’s got a guild sign,” somebody muttered, as if trying to reassure themselves.
“Say what ducks?” Morionem replied confused, just after remembering he should stand up again. “Aren’t ducks…” He paused for a few seconds, as if trying to remember something. ”Omnivore?”
“Um... I dunno, herbivore, maybe, but whatever they are,” he lifted one foot up, “these
ones have a taste for leather and flesh.”
“They’re coming out of the walls!” the slightly hysterical drunken man from before continued to moan. Everyone ignored him, save for Morionem who readied his hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to attack anything that could come out of the walls.
Tamar sighed impatiently. “There’s nothing coming out of the walls, Mortimer,” he called reassuringly, then looked back at Morionem. “Um... I’m Tamar, by the way. Severed Storm. Used to be Storm and Drive and Severed Claw, and then things got confusing for a while.”
The warrior’s eyes darted back to the kid, and then the corner of his mouth smirked. “And I am Morionem. Nice to meet you.” He moved closer to the kid to shake his hand… Or to stroke his hair, he wasn’t quite sure how old was the boy.
“Right, erm... okay, so about-”
Anything Tamar was about to say was interrupted by a loud, and rather ominous tapping sound. Tamar (almost with pretty much everyone else who had been ushered into the store along with him) flinched and stepped away from the window.
There was a duck on the other side of the glass. Or at least it looked as if it had
been a duck, at some point, and was still mostly
one now except for all the things which really mattered. It quacked loudly and tapped the glass hard with it’s beak.
"...I swear to god, this is the act of the devils," the shopkeeper murmured, lowering his broom, his jaw dropping in shock.
"Um, well I’m not sure if it’s devils
," Tamar muttered, watching in a combination of disbelief and horror as the ducks swarmed the streets. "...Bad magic maybe, but since when did devils have a vested interest in du—"
"Kid, I don’t give a damn in the seven hells what they are, demons, devils, whatever, they don’t belong in this city!" the shop keeper snapped. “The heck is going on? You’re a guild member, or whatever you are!” the man snapped. “Do something about this!”
As everyone else moved away from the window, Morionem moved closer to take a good look at the duck. The animal, on the other hand, was tapping the glass fiercely, its sharp teeth visible as it growled. “Whoa, this duck has sharp teeth.” The warrior said with his hand still on the sword hilt. Looking more closely at the bird, he noticed some worms digging through the skin of its left wing, dirting the cream-yellow feathers with putrid blood. The shopkeeper looked dazed at the young man’s reaction to the beast.
“H-hey, don’t go near those!” Tamar reached out a hand to pull his new acquaintance (who clearly had the self preservation instincts of ... well, of your average member of Severed Storm, really) away from thre glass. He really didn’t seem at all worried about the fact that a duck with incredibly sharp teeth attempting to break through the window.
At least, not until the duck actually succeeded. A series of thick cracks began splitting outwards from the duck’s beak, spreading across the surface of the window like a spiders web. Tamar gulped. “Uhoh...”
Then, amidst the sound of breaking glass, slashing iron and very loud quacking, the bird broke inside, barely dodging a swing by the warrior. The attack severed part of his left wing, but the bird’s bloodlust kept him moving. It lunged towards the man’s heel and made it bleed with a single bite. “Damn you little…!” Morionem kicked the air trying to make the duck let his foot go, as the boy - ”His name was Thomas or something, right?”
- pulled him away from the window.
The warrior let a surge of curative energy flow into his foot to lessen the pain, but that was all he could do until the duck stopped biting his ankle. To turn that into reality, Morionem tried to kick the bird (using the same leg it was biting) while trying to stab it. “Stop! Moving! Damnit!” The people around the store started fleeing for their own safety, some accidentally running deeper into the shop, others straight outside.
There was a hissing sound, clowsely followed by a rush of hot air... then Tamar hesitated “Can’t use fire in here,” you’ll burn the place down, and if you use ice you’ll just freeze his leg off,”
he thought. So instead, he went for the duck with the blade itself. There was an ugly sound as he brought the blade down, severing the creature from Morionem’s leg, and from... most of it’s body. The rest of the store reacted with the appropriate level of disgust at having a demonic duck decapitated in the store.
“Oh, ew, that ‘s disgusting,” Tamar grumbled.
“I hope somebody's clearing that up,” the shop keeper muttered. Given that he had been living in the Floating Castle all this time, this perhaps wasn’t as major a concern for him as it might have been anywhere else.
“Thank you.” Said Morionem as he knelt down to take the bird’s head away from his foot. ”Those were some strong teeth.”
He thought as he slowly removed the same teeth from his skin. The blood which flowed out from the bite marks quickly stopped, and the warrior sighed, relieved. “Was that it?” He stood up again, and noticed the people around were looking weird at him. “Uh… Did I do anything wrong?”
“Uh...” if it were possible, Tamar’s face had just gotten whiter than it already had been. “Did... did you see what that thing was trying to do to you?” A dull grey, tinted dark red, worm and snake-like creature crawled out of the duck’s head, around Morionem’s arm and was biting, albeit very weakly when compared to the bird, the flesh.
“Aaaahhhhhwhat!?” He yelled, as he swung his arm twice, throwing the worm away. The gruesome critter hissed and trailed its way out of the store, its long, slender body moving swiftly, leaving scarce blots of blood that rapidly dried behind. “What the hell was that!?” Morionem yelled again, confused. He could feel the adrenalin spike in his veins keeping him alert. ”What… What was that trying to do!? Whatever… Whatever it was that was a close one.”
“Don’t touch them!” Tamar yelled, abruptly serious, his eyes wide. Contrary to Thomas’ advice, Morionem rushed out of the store and stood shocked at the sight his eyes saw. The worm promptly pounced at a duck, as if it were a viper, gnawing forcefully at its neck. A single bite was enough to rip the bird’s flesh. As the red liquid dripped from the wound, the worm became… Worms, almost ethereal, a miniature flock of vermin which entered the bird’s body through the lesion as if they were being sucked inside.
The duck’s limbs twisted and convulsed, and the lesion closed, leaving exposed the worms which crawled in and out the body. The bird turned towards Morionem and lashed out a daunting growl. The other ducks around, which were already distressed at the predator, panicked all at once, confused and stormed in a convoluted living maelstrom.
Tamar was having a hard time believing any of this was actually happening. No way in hell would Eliziya believe him when he got back home and told her about the onslaught of carnivorous possessed ducks in town. He swung Echo, trying to force them away but the possessed creatures seemed to have as much awareness of their own mortality as Morionem did. The other patrons of the store had backed off with a panic but Morionem was still besides him, clearly attempting to fight the creatures off.
“Aaahdahhhhhyuuuuu!” Was the best curse the warrior could yell at the birds while screaming for his life at the same time. Normally he’d his magic to ward himself, but despite his many tries he felt empty and tired deep inside. “Crap, I must’ve spent most of what I have with the spell to protect the city. I don’t think I have enough power to shock them away, better stick to healing then.”
Morionem danced, or better yet, shook his limbs around the best he could while being hit by the storm of birds. He could swing his sword, but not reach his shield or move around. Under the deafening quacks, as loud as a thunder at this point, Morionem could hear a different one, which almost creeped into his soul, and each time it roared the storm got worse and worse.
Each step the warrior did with his wounded foot proved him how weak was his magic right now. Each one sent chilling pain through his leg, and too much strain would eventually make him unable to walk properly, he figured. He needed either help or a quick source of magic to fend off all these birds."That's right!"
An idea snapped inside Morionem's head. Using his free hand, he took hold of the pouch tied to the side of his backpack, and, carefully tried to open it. Despite his efforts, the chaos around him alongside the fact he was still holding a sword turned that into a complicated task to perform without spilling the seeds.
Crouching, he finally managed to open the sack. He took out a single seed using his fingers as pincers, and then closed the pouch right away. Now, with a seed, a pouch and a sword on his hands, he stopped to think his next action."Okay… Now how do these work?"
He stared bluntly at the grain which shaked in the same rhythm as him because of the mayhem. "Maybe if I think really hard about it?"
The warrior stared blankly at he unresponsive seed. "Go seed! Go seed! Gooooo!
Tamar wasn’t sure exactly what had happened in the chaos. all he knew was that one moment Morionem had been besides him, and the next they were being trampled by ducks.
The fact was, Tamar thought as he struggled, most of them were actually pretty normal duck. They were simply panicked and running around like headless... well, ducks, as they tried to figure out exactly how their lives had gotten so scary and complicated in such a short space of time. Tamar actually felt sorry for them as he slashed Echo madly into the air in an attempt to seek out their evil counterparts (Saints damn it, evil ducks, no way was Anji going to believe this).
Then there was an almost imperceptible creaking. Like the noise of a tree in the wind. Like roots sprouting under the ground. The duck directly in front of Tamar – which did indeed turn out to be a demonic one – was knocked aside by a suddenly appearing vine, spiked with thorns, that wrapped itself around the creature and crushed it.
Tamar glanced around in the suddenly receding panic to see Morionem, standing hunched over, with a small pouch in his hands, the vines trailing around him through the floorboards.
“Oh bloody hell, enough with the sorry already!” the frantic shop keeper yelled. Tamar ignored him, as well as the other civilians who had now gathered in a huddle to the back of the store, seeming disturbed. “...Morionem? Y-you alright? What the... how did you... where...” Tamar trailed off shaking his head. “Where did THAT come from?”
The vines trailed on the wooden floor, and whipped the air like a wild animal, searching for more things to grab onto. At least four ducks were grabbed asides from the monstrous one, and they now yelped in pain as the thorns pierced them. "See? I said
these seeds were magical!" A small pause by Morionem was unheard, while the vines still wriggled around and the ducks yelped. “Wait, I think none of you are the innkeeper, or are you?” He stared back at the people who looked at him, who were Thomas and the shopkeeper. Closer to the boy, the demon duck was still being crushed by the vine, which hold tight its beak after it tried to eat its way into freedom. Its terrifying growlings were muffled, but still noticeable.
...Tamar looked at Morionem and shook his head/ Alright, so it was entirely possible that this guy was a few arrows short of a full quiver, but all the same, an idea was forming in Tamar’s head. The vines, while incredibly violet towards the ducks, did not appear to be much of a threat to people. They were too small for that... yet they seemed... intelligent, aware to a degree, of what was going on so…
Tamar had his doubts about trusting any kind of wild magic he didn’t personally create himself (or that Eliziya wasn’t around to help him deal with) but right now there seemed to be little choice. Tamar turned to the window, drawing his sword from its sheath with a hiss. Stay back,” he said, turning the sword blade down, kneeling, and stabbing it into the surface of the wooden floor boards.
A thin blue sheen spread across the ground in front of him, thickening and growing as it spread up the window frame ad across the walls. The air chilled as the ice covered the fresh hole in the glass, spreading further and thicker until it had created a solid ice wall where the window used to be, - “I said
it was a magical sword!” - keeping out any and all ducks that might try to get in. Tamar got slowly to ho his feet, trying not to stagger. ”Ow. That was a lot more than I should’ve used right now... stupid Kraken killing tower.”
“There,” he gasped, turning to the rest of the room. Now everyone, stay in were. Don’t come out until it’s safe! Stay away from any vines, and stay away from the ducks. Does everyone understand?”
There was a murmur of agreement. “Safe from what?” somebody snapped. “The apocalypse of ducks?"
“Well, no probably not, look most of those ducks are perfectly normal,” Tamar glanced at Morionem. “It’s just a question of figuring out which ones are dangerous. Can you keep up that trick with the seeds? We need to deal with this before it gets out of hand.”
Smiling, Morionem nodded in agreement. “I guess so. If we can’t gather them all in the same spot it’ll be much easier, though.” He glanced at the possessed bird still tyring to escape it’s thorny prison. “I think it’d be safer to just freeze that one over here first. If we kill it, it’ll just possess another duck.”
“Uh... right. Sure,” Tamar winced a bit. It felt kind of mean, to just freeze the thing, but the vines wouldn’t hold it forever, and even if they did, they would probably have just traded one problem for another. he walked over to the creatures and tapped the blade of cho against the vies. The whole thing froze over with a hissing burst of ice, the air chilling around it. “Okay,” Tamar said, nodding at the shopkeeper and turning to Morionem, who looked utterly unaffected by this whole duck-freezing incident.
“Let’s go, then. Also,” he said, turning to the door and gesturing to Morionem to follow him. “Not a magic sword.”
It wasn’t that hard to find the other unholy ducks, Tamar and Morionem had only to follow the panicked yells of common people and ducks alike. The hard part came when they noticed the yells didn’t come all from the same spot. “So...” The syllable was pronounced for a long moment. “Who’s going to be the bait?”
Tamar hesitated. “Um, well, you’re the one with the seeds, so... me... I guess?” Possibly not the most sensible thing he’d ever volunteered to do.
“You don’t need to if you are afraid to.” Morionem replied sporting a comforting smile.
Tamar did his level best not to bristle indignantly in response. He had a tendency to freeze the hairs on his neck accidentally when he did that these days, in much the same way Eliziya had an uncomfortable tendency to set her hair on fire whenever she got annoyed. “Hey, it’s fine, I can handle it,” he muttered. “How bad can it be? it’s just a bunch of ducks.”
Still he found himself taking a deep breath as they approached the horde. Of all the things he had expected to do today, facing down a bunch of abominable waterfowl had most certainly not been on on the list.
Tamar figured, as he stepped out in front of the ducks, Echo drawn, and aimed a magical burst at the nearest of them, that this would be something he looked back later and laughed. “Hey, ducks! Over here! Look! Moving target with really tasty leather shoes here!”
Yes, Tamar thought, as he was abruptly fixed in the glare of a couple dozen beady red eyes, ducks definitely had a taste for leather. They went for him like starving gannets descending on a fish, but before they could taste their prey, vines bursted from the ground beneath them, entangling many instantly. Their quacks quickly turned from “hunger” to “anger”, and more vines sprouted and wrapped themselves around them. Given the large amount of targets on a single spot, the result was a large ball of thorns and feathers, which shaked as the encaged birds reluctantly tried to escape. “Do the icy thing!” Yelled the warrior.
Tamar took the hint. He drew Echo, through the angriest thought he could, and slammed the blade into the ground so hard that the world around him seemed to shake. The patterns and symbols he had garnered from Asha’s memories traced icy blue patterns in the ground as they spread outwards, catching the ducks with their icy fingers and swallowing them up with clouds of ice cold.
Amazingly enough, it seemed to be working. Echo was quaking in his hand, and Tamar knew that was bad news. Lately he’d been getting information through Echo that his body didn’t realise until a few seconds later. He wasn’t sure if that was Asha’s influence, or some other Evoker-type development, but it hardly mattered at this point in time. He kept swinging trying to focus on wherever Morionem was, using quick, small blasts of ice sent directly through the ground and into the target.
Morionem watched as the orb of frost shaped itself in front of him. As he walked closer to the massive sphere, he could feel the air quickly becoming more gelid. The warrior knocked on the surface of the massive ice crystal, and gazed inside at the ducks which still twitched their limbs. To the side, now away from both Thomas and himself, he noticed a duo of escaped critters with tiny frostbitten legs, growling their horror-inducing song. “So, let’s go to the next ones?” He stared at the kid, and now noticed the boy should start to feel tired after this powerful spell.
“R-right,” Tamar pulled himself together. As impressive as it was, maybe the spread burst had not been the best choice of attacks for magical energy conservation. He got to his feet, shaking. “Okay... um... this time I use SMALLER ice blasts, that was way overkill.”
“You better. Don’t try too hard, not only we need you to keep going you also might end up harming yourself that way.” The older man tried to give his best supportive smile at the boy. “And if you harm yourself then I’ll have to take care of both you and
the ducks all without magic. We need to stay strong to help the city!” Although he tried his best, he was almost sure he missed his point, as he wasn’t even sure what his point was.
And so the next hour or so continued.
Tamar knew he didn’t have much power left – Echo was incessantly reminding him whenever Morionem didn’t– but it didn’t take much to send out quick, small bursts of ice energy into the ground, letting the magic drift naturally towards its target, almost as if it had a mind of its own. It was Morionem who would finish them off, he was the only one who still had the power to do so, mage or otherwise, so Tamar left it to him. Pick your battles
something told him, as he challenged the creatures that managed to avoid Morionem’s attacks.
Ducks were quite literally freezing where they stood in the street. A couple of them were knocked over and smashed to pieces by frantic passersby, or by the continually growing vines of Morionem’s magic.
It worked. It was a strange and confusing mess, but somehow it worked. It was easy to predict Morionem, to figure out what he was doing. Strange as he was, he seemed to knew his way around a fight in much the same way, say, Hector or Anjali did: he’d just figured it out over time, without teaching. He was clumsy in a way that reminded Tamar of himself roughly six months ago, and he had to smile as Morionem staggered away from the ducks, throwing seeds over his shoulder.
“Okay… So that was the fifth? Maybe sixth ones?”
“Seventh,” Tamar grumbled, and... yep... he was officially out of decent magic now. “I counted. I might manage a couple more icicles, Morionem, tell me we’re nearly done?”
“I… I think so. Or certainly I hope so.”
He told himself. The truth was that walking around, fighting hordes of animals - and that poor confused drunk - with a hurt ankle had wore energy of more than he thought it would. Surely he could keep going - or so Morionem told himself - but his foot on the other hand could not, and walking was the second most important step of fighting ducks.
The first most important step was not to get bitten by them. That was more important than Morionem had the words for.
So they kepty going, avoiding bites, swallowing ducks up with more vines and less ice as the hour went on. People had begun to atch on to the creatures behaviour now and were simply trying to stay out of the streets.
And then, what seemed quite suddenly, there were no more ducks.
Well, no more evil possessed ones anyway. There were a few terrified and perfectly normal ones hiding underneath benches and stools with no idea what on earth was going on.
Tamar staggered to sit on the nearest object he could find, which just so happened to be the rim of a fountain he had just accidentally frozen hlf the surface of, feeling the last threads of magic fading. That was it for a while, it seemed. If there was one major problem with his magic, then it was its tendency to cut out at the worst moment. He looked around for Morionem, smiling sheepishly. “W-well... that was... weird. What do you suppose are the odds of anybody believing this happen... You alright?”
The warrior sat down besides Thomas, and caught his breath. “Yeah…” He took the pounch to his hand and started counting how many seeds are left. ” Well, with giant balls of ice and ducks laying around I guess someone ought to believe it. We should at least try to warn the Guard or something to take care of them before they melt.” Ten seeds, he counted in his fingers. His dream profit had just halted, but for a greater good. ”Gotta find another way to pay for the inn then…”
Glancing back at the boy, Morionem stared at him from head to toes. “What about you? Feeling okay?” The magic on his sword was merely a spark right now, fighting to stay up and burning.
Tamar paused for a second before making a decision. “You did something to your foot. It’s just... my girlfriend Zi knows her way around a healing poultice,” Tamar smiled shakily, standing and holding out a hand. “Amongst other things. Come on. You ever met anyone in Severed Storm? Trust me, we’re not all
“Not personally, no. The closest I got from meeting a guild integrant were… The guildmaster from Phantom Thieves Anonymous and the guildmaster of Heroes Unlimited.” As soon as he finished saying that sentence, Morionem realized he had never noticed he had met two guildmasters and how unbelievable that sounded. He blinked his surprise at himself away and resumed talking, putting the seeds back into the pouch one by one. “Well, I can heal myself, but I’m kind of out of energy at the moment.”
“Oh, good. Then you and her can compare notes too,” Tamar said, with the kind of tone that suggested he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He still had his hand outstretched for the handshake he hadn’t accepted earlier.
Morionem looked back at him and grinned. “Okay, okay then...” He went for the handshake they couldn’t do before. “But only if you tell me how did you make your sword magical.”
Tamar resisted the urge to sigh. “It’s not a magic sw... tell you what, why don’t I explain on the way back?”
The young man’s eyes shone with glee. “Thanks!” He went for a hug.
Unfortunately he wasn’t to know that Tamar reacted as he reacted to pretty much anyone
attempt at physical contact and as the boy jolted backwards,they fell into the fountain. Which was still fairly cold.
Tamar was not all that sure what he had just gotten himself into, but he had a feeling this wasn’t going to be the last time.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.