The lady with red hair

It had been a long road that Amdir had traveled that day, and still she had very far to go. Lady Amdir Elgarain was on her way to the Elvish lands. It had been many years since she had last visited them, but she she needed a rest and some shelter from the Empire’s agents. They had become increasingly powerful as of late, and even one as powerful as she could not fight all of them alone.

Amdir was one of the last of the legendary Ulthgar, men that had interbred with the elves to produce a race of powerful warriors and just kings known. Sadly, the Ulthgar had seen by the Empire as a major threat, and were wiped out in countless battles.

Amdir had few allies, and even fewer friends. But she had fought the Empire all her long life it seemed, and in the process had become a legendary ranger and warrior in her own right. She was known as “Flame-hair,” due to her long locks of red hair. Many thought she was long dead, and just a myth. But any enemies she ran across would quickly find that she was not only very alive, but also full of fight.

Amdir has stopped to rest for the night in a small clearing off one of the main mountain passes when it came. She heard the dragon long before she saw it. Its enormous roar echoed across the mountains and spooked her horse Misty. The mare reared up, whinnied, and prepared to bolt, but before Misty could get the chance Amdir pulled down hard on the reins, bringing her horse back down to earth.

“Easy, Misty, easy.” Amdir said, while firmly holding on to the horse’s bridle to keep her from running off. Amdir knew Misty was normally a calm, steady mount, so what ever it was the roared, had really scared her hose. It was then they both saw the dragon. As it soared over, Misty again tried to bolt, but Amdir’s grip was solid. But even as she did so, Amdir stared up in awe and terror at the same time. Even in the lengthening shadows it was still majestic, huge, frighting and powerful all at once. Amdir shook her head in wonder and remembered back to the stories her father used to tell her about dragons as a child. She never thought in all her long years she would see one for real.

It was then she heard the rustle of trees behind her. Amdir whirled around just in time to see three battle scared armed Orcs step out into the clearing.

A patrol, thought Amdir. They must have heard Misty.

“Ho!” grunted the biggest of the three orcs, hefting his battle axe. “What do we have here? A pretty lady?” He smiled, showing his yellowed and crooked teeth. The orc knew his odds against even an armed traveler were good. There would be man flesh for dinner tonight. And, as a bonus, horse meat.

The big orc motioned and began to advance, the other two spreading out, swords and shields in their hands, ready to do battle.

Amdir stood her ground and pushed aside her cloak to draw her blade, loudly speaking the the word “Nixe,” elvish for frost, at the same time. Her sword glowed blue, and a thin coat of ice covered her blade

“If you want me, come and get me!” she shouted to the orcs, daring them to attack her.

The three orcs hesitated for a moment, seeing what was obviously a magic sword of some kind in the female human’s hand. But hunger, and the rush of battle overtook whatever reservations they had, and they charged Amdir.

The battle did not last long. Amdir was very skilled with a blade, something she had to learn out of necessity over her long years of travel. Each thrust or swing of the orcs’ weapons was either met with a dodge, or the clang of metal on metal as she parried their attacks. And when her first strike hit home, the unfortunate orc, one of the smaller ones, was not only wounded, but screamed out in pain from the now frostbitten flesh surrounding the wound.

“It burns!” he screeched, moments before Amdir cut him down. She dispatched the other small orc just as quickly. The big one proved a bit tougher, even successfully parrying her once before she rammed her sword deep into his chest.

The orc looked down at the deadly wound and dropped his axe. He sucked in one more breath and stopped moving as his heart and lungs froze into blocks of ice. A look of fear was forever etched the orc’s face as he died.

Amdir stared at the now dead orc for a long moment, before pulling out her sword. As she cleaned it, Amdir thought over what had just happened. Things had taken a strange turn in the last few minutes. she mused. First a dragon, And now an orc patrol where there shouldn’t be one. Something very strange was going on.

All the more reason to visit the elves, Amdir concluded.

It was then she realized with a start that the dragon was heading the same direction as she was. Towards the elf lands.

Amdir sighed and pulled the hood of her cloak up in preparation to continue on. Dragon or no, she really had no choice but to continue westwards as quickly as she could. Even through the night. She couldn’t stop now to rest with orcs about, and she couldn’t go back to face the Empire alone. Not anymore. Hopefully nothing had happened, but she wouldn’t know until she saw for herself if her elvish friends were ok.

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