Nate lay quietly in his hammock with his eyes closed. He was lost in his nightly ritual, reliving the anguish of the death of his parents. Every night when he closed his eyes and sleep sought him out to give him rest and peace, the images flickered through his mind. The burning bodies and pieces of farm animals strewn about. He had learned to move past these visions, but could never forgive. He was ok with that as forgiveness would have robbed him of his will to fight.
A cry of alarm from above brought the skinny pale man back to reality. He quickly rolled out of the hammock and grabbed his greatsword as he sprang down the hallway and onto the deck of the Wind Raven only seconds after teh first call.
“Wildlings in the post below,” called the on-watch sailor as he emerged.
Nate felt his blood run icy at the name. Wildlings. Not the same that had killed his parents and ripped him from his life. He had killed that batch long ago. But Wildlings all the same. He felt the cold permeat his flesh and the streaks of condensation that attached to him from the warm jungle air.
Most people in the wider world thought Cryomancers slow, but Nate was not.
He reached his mind out through the chill in his flesh into his sword Almarageth. A quick push and he felt the weight of the great blade diminish, Aether suspending in it at his will. Runes on the blade pulsed blue in response to the magic. Nate grabbed a rope that had been tied to the side of the ship and leapt overboard, his sword trailing one handed behind him.
Below, the logging camp was being ovrerun by vine creatures. Nate swung from the rope and leapt at one brown-green mass which was eating one of the metal towers of the camp. He landed on the creature and felt his skin revulse at the touch of a Wildling. And yet he felt the cold anger grow at that revulsion, which he channeled into his hands and legs. The vines under his touch stiffened and solidified as his ride began to freeze. He fell from the half frozen creature and swiped at it with his greatsword, shattering half of the creature.
Even before he could appreciate the fall of the frozen chunks, lances of hot pain crossed his back. Nate fell to the ground, his grip on his sword the only thing keeping him from being face down in the leaves.
He regained his feet, whirling to face his new attacker. This Wildling was made of vines as the others but took more the form of a beast than a man. Thorny tentacles extended from its back and weaved back and forth, tips dripping blood. Nate’s blood.
His back still blazed in agony, but even now the chill of his body was cooling the pain. He felt warmth growing in his chest and legs, leaving only the chill clarity of Aether in his arms and hands. This he channeled once again into his sword, which rimed with frost and grew even lighter to hold.
His Aether spent for the moment, Nate advanced on the new creature. Tentacles darted out from the beast without any warning. With or without warning, Nate’s sword was there. Holding it first in one hand then swinging it into the other, he spun the massive blade lopping off tentacles as it spun. In a break between waves of vines he took a moment to reached a strike out and attack the creature directly, scoring a hit across the thing’s shoulders.
As he approached the creature, he noticed something underneath it. A woman, lying face down but red streaking her arms, head and back. Even as Nate watched still deflecting attacks without much thought, the woman’s arms moved. She was still alive. This brought another wave of chills to his skin.
He would not let someone else’s mother, sister, daughter die if he had a choice. He allowed the Aether to surge through his own blood infusing it rather than just running in the veins. The burst of speed he used to hew at the Wildling in front of him, faster than the creature could respond. Nate chopped at it in an almost surgical manner. If a surgeon wielded a scalpel the size of a lamppost. In just a few seconds, the creature had been reduced to a pile of weeds, though neatly separated around the person lying below. He exhaled, his breath forming a pale cloud despite the warmth of the jungle.
Almarageth slumped to the ground, its runes now dark. Nate let go of it and reached to touch the figure he had saved. The wounds didn’t look serious, though there was a lot of blood. He reached out and collected the middle aged townswoman into his arms careful not to touch any of her wounds. It wouldn’t stop his nightmares, but he had saved one. He feared nothing would stop the visions until they drove him mad or he managed to save everyone.
“Some call it the heat of battle, but I find it more chilling.”
— The Cryomancer is an offensive combat spellcaster. Aether is used to enhance their combat abilities.