Kingmaker

Out of the Frying Pan

...and Into the Freezer

Rigg Gargadilly sped through the quickly (ha!) deteriorating party to his bedchamber. Running up the circular chamber’s walls in three quick laps, he vaulted onto the rafter where he kept his secret stash of valuables. Looking into a ceramic pot, he quickly made sure all of his gems—his most precious possessions—were accounted for.

“One…two…twelve. Perfect,” he said smiling, holding up a sapphire as wide as his thumb.

His smile evaporated when he felt the portal open. “Home…” he thought wistfully, feeling the pull of the First World from atop the tower, its beckoning reminding him of the much better world he had left behind.

He shook the memories away. “No, not anymore. Besides, humans are much more fun to torture,” he smiled wickedly.

And then came the otherworldly scream.

“Time to go!”

Wrapping his arms around the ceramic pot, he raced from the chamber and out the front door, zooming by the two kobolds and Reginald the Maestro. “You don’t have to be the fastest faerie,” he thought to himself. “But it sure helps!”

Running through the dark woods, Rigg slid under low-hanging branches and bounded over bushes, the ruined observatory quickly fading behind him. There was no root nor rut that would catch Rigg Gargadilly, even in the dark of night. No sir, not the fastest quickling in the—

Before he knew what was happening, Rigg was spinning head over heels, his grasp on the ceramic pot lost and all of its contents bouncing through the underbrush.

“What in the names of the Eldests?” he scowled, coming to his feet quickly.

He scoured the dark woods through glaring eyes, trying to find the cause of his tumble when he came upon a most curious sight. Kneeling before him was a damned brownie, one of the meekest and, in Rigg’s eyes, most worthless of the faeries. What stopped Rigg from ripping the mewling fey apart then and there was the dark ice that enveloped the creature. Its eyes, frozen in terror, stared past Rigg, and its hands reached out futilely for mercy.

Rigg admired the fine sculpture before returning to business. Catching sight of his favorite sapphire at the foot of the frozen brownie, he reached down to retrieve it.

A hoof came down right next to his hand, the crunching of autumn leaves quickly replaced by the sound of ice cracking. Rigg looked at the hoof without moving, mesmerized by the ice quickly forming beneath it. The fell beast snorted, and Rigg felt the icy chill of the winter wind upon his neck. His breath fogged in the darkness.

He looked up slowly and caught his eyes. “Oh great,” he sighed in resignation.

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