Lightning and thunder danced through the sky in a symmetrical glow, roaring through
the cliffs. Gararic hurried up narrow winding paths of loose shale. It would take him a morning’s
time in good weather to get up the path to the Perch. With the storm riding the edge of the sky,
he needed to be there sooner and by the looks of the storm clouds, their darkening, heavy weight
would not hold for long.
As lightning continued to arc across the sky, illuminating his way in intervals, each step
grew more precarious as the small stones beneath his feet crumbled and the incline grew steeper.
Halfway up the rocky path, the heavens opened up, unleashing the storm in all its fury, pelting
Gararic with sleet and rain and soaking through his garments within moments.
Thor’s Hammer! He quickened his pace, all the while keeping the opening to the cave in
sight. In a flash of light bright enough to warm the heavens, a shadow appeared in the opening of
He paused to watch the light dance around the mountain, giving him an excellent view
of the cave’s opening. Staring in disbelief, he cursed Dianaria freely. “Witch! I swear by Odin’s
blood, if you have brought this storm to torment me, I will kill you with my bare hands.” His roar
echoed off the mountain.
Is that not your wish?
Startled, Gararic turned on the trail, certain he would find her on the path beside him. But
the path he climbed was empty. No one followed up the winding rocky pathway. No one could
be seen in the valley below.
He reached for the hilt of his sword, certain the devil’s army was on his trail. When he
looked back to the opening of the cave, it too was empty. He stood silent on the path; the icy rain
sluiced down upon him, staring at the empty opening of the cave in disbelief.
“What do you know of what I wish, Witch?”
The wind silently whispered her seductive reply. Come and tell me, Gararic, Leader of
the Chenia River Clan. Leader of the Wolf People of Elnorn. There are many things to know this
Chills of desire flowed over Gararic; her soft words danced over his body. “I’ll not barter
with a dead woman!” He tightened his grip on his sword, angered at his body’s response to her.
Are you so sure? Your father was not so quick to turn me away. Her voice was sultry as a
Gararic cursed under his breath. An image of her in all her naked beauty, alone in the
creek with winter surrounding her, instantly filled his mind. Cursing himself for a fool, he tried
to let his anger rule him and turned his thoughts to his father’s death. He tried to let his rage turn
to molten lava and spread through his veins, knowing it was the one thing that would keep her
from affecting him.
She had killed his father. She sought to kill his people. Yet even now, she wished to
barter with him for his soul. If he wished to be the victor of this battle, he could not let his baser
needs affect him. She would use her womanly wiles against him if she could. And that he could
not allow if he wished to live.
Amazed at her audacity, he vowed he would defeat her. He would see who was more
cunning; the Witch, or the warrior. Aye, he would play her game. But it was a game that he was
certain she would never win.
Bounding up the path, his anger fueling his every step, Gararic hastily made his way
up the remaining length of the mountain through the snow, ice, and rain. By the time he finally
reached the entrance, there was no sign of Dianaria, the cave appearing as dark as his mood.
“Too afraid to face me, I see?” He wiped the rain from his face and wrung it from the
length of his sable hair.
The back of the cave burst into a brilliant red flame. Gararic jumped back, drawing his
sword before him. The fire died down to a single flame. He was able to see the shadow of a
woman reflected on the wall of the cave. Next to the fire stood the Witch, in all her dark glory.
At first he was unsure if she was real or another image, this time from a waking dream.
His eyes narrowed, taking in the voluptuous figure before him. With her back to him, besides her
lush curves, he could see the rich fall of her waist-length black hair.
She wore no cloak, and through the length and thickness of her hair he could see the
glorious stretch of her legs, encased in boots to her knees. He recalled the visions from his
dreams, and wondered absently if she ever wore clothes. Her feminine laughter startled him from
“Do you intend to stand in the cold all night, warrior?” Her voice was soft and sweet as a
gently flowing brook.