Hidulah's Revenge (storyline)

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Posted 27 November 2012 by GM Marstregorn

"Father, why do I know this kind of magic then?"

Her father turned and glanced away for a moment at the question. How was he going to explain this to her? The entire tribe would fear her if they knew, maybe even kill her. And what would happen to him for keeping her a secret from them? The fact that the tribe elders had not learned of her talents yet was a stroke of luck for both of them. The Wsalmir Arctic Clan have never accepted the use of magical fire, it was taboo, and the punishment was either exile or a brutal and public beheading by your own chieftain.

The young giantman girl had behaved herself since she discovered her abilities, and had avoided using her talents in front of anyone. Children often like to show off for their peers, however, and eventually Hidulah did just that. One day she was playing with her friend in the snow, hurling the perfectly formed spheres of powdery ice at one another. Her friend was named Cyliah, and she was considered one of the best axe hurlers of their generation. Even the boys had a profound respect for Cyliah's abilities with throwing a weapon. Hidulah was the target of many snowballs that afternoon, and eventually grew tired of the one-sided match between Cyliah and herself.

In a moment of poorly timed judgement, Hidualah murmured and gestured, unleashing a stream of fire at a snowball aimed right at her. Her best friend was already aware of Hidulah's abilities, so Cyliah did not panic when this happened. However, this snowball was not one of Cyliah's. It was hurled by one of the tribe's young boys who had heard the two girls playing and was attempting to join in the fun. Terror crept over his face as his feet turned to flee, and he sprinted towards the tents of their encampment before Hidulah or Cyliah could react.

Hidulah and Cyliah snuck around the outskirts of the encampment, looking for signs of trouble. There was definitely something going on. Nearly all the tribe members were outside their tents and some were arguing while others were covering their mouths in shock. Hidulah knew she could not flee without seeing her father. She had to say goodbye to him. After a moment of careful consideration, Hidulah turned to her friend and spoke, "Cyliah, you must run to them and tell of what has happened. If you do not, they will think you have kept this secret from the tribe." Cyliah frowned at the situation, but eventually agreed and gave Hidulah a hug. With tears streaming down her face, Cyliah ran towards the crowd, screaming in mock terror.

Hidulah continued to maneuver around the outskirts of the encampment until she came to her father's tent, where he had raised her for all these years. Her mother died soon after she was born and he was all she knew of this world. With a sudden start, Hidulah realized that a group of the tribe elders were walking towards her father's tent, accompanied by some of their most fierce warriors. They entered, unannounced, and after a moment of struggling they emerged with her father. He was not badly injured, but it was enough to ignite a rage inside her. A feeling she was unfamiliar with, but was mildly amused by. She enjoyed the empowered feeling it gave her. She did not have to hide her talents any longer.

As the elders and warriors took Hidulah's father away from his tent, she went to her bed inside of it. Underneath the bed, she fetched a long hoarbeam staff her father had made for her. To her surprise, she also found a shard of crimson-flecked brilliant white metal next to her staff. She had seen her father whisper phrases of magic upon the crimson-flecked shard before, but only briefly. It was almost as if her father had been waiting for the shard to do something in response to his enchantments, but she never saw anything happen.

"Why would he leave this?"

Hidulah's thoughts raced and she took the staff and shard, and quickly bound the shard to the top of her staff with a length of sinew her father had treated to make leathers for the tribe's hunters to wear. Quickly, she dashed from the tent and caught up to the elders and warriors who had taken her father. Her anger increased ten-fold at the sight she witness. One elder was holding an axe threateningly in her father's direction and was demanding to know where 'she' was. Hidulah's father didn't even move his lips as the fist of the much larger giantman impacted the side of his head.

The rage was too much for Hidulah to contain. She threw her head back and howled a battle cry, charging the group of tribe elders and warriors. Whipping the shard of drakar ahead of her like a spear she forcefully incanted the magical phrases and summoned a great ball of fire. The fireball struck the large giantman who was yelling at her father, and instantly turned his flesh to ashes, blossoming into a larger sphere upon impact. The remaining giantmen, including her father, were set ablaze and began flailing on the ground to put out the flames. Hidulah rushed to her father's side rolled him on his back. He coughed for a moment, and then turned to face her. Grasping her arm tightly he whispered through clenched teeth, "Run, Hidulah. Run, and do not look back! I love you, daughter. But you must run! Run now!"

Hidulah, with anguish and rage chaotically mixing in her mind, turned and fled into the snowy wasteland in a wild and instinctual moment of self-preservation. Her father had taught her how to survive on the glacier. She would live, but she refused to abandon him. That evening, she returned to the outskirts of the tribe's encampment. Her father was being forced to his knees, the tribe's chieftain standing over him with a massive two-handed axe. Before she could take another breath, her father's life was taken by that axe. The rage returned, and this time it was nearly overwhelming. She gripped her staff tightly, and glanced through teary eyes upon her tribe. The tribe that had now killed her father, and may even hunt her down. She gathered her thoughts and decided that there was no way she could fight the entire tribe. She fled south, traversed the tundras and ravines, and even a trading town populated mostly by halflings amongst a mix of the other races of Elanthia.

Exhausted, and without food for several days, Hidulah managed to find a place to rest in the mountains. Hot air rushed up the tunnel she had picked to rest in, and the drakar shard affixed to her staff began to hum quietly with a crisp metallic resonance. Glowing eyes formed in front of her and a being of pure flame formed, and then vanished with the lingering scent of sulphur and ash. Soon after, a pair of fire cats wandered up the tunnel and began to wrestle playfully before running back down it. Hidulah clutched her staff tightly as she pursed her lips and wandered down the tunnel, following the twin fire cats.

Suddenly, beings of pure fire began to appear behind her and to her sides, following in her steps. She eventually came to an arch, perched above a lava pool. This is where the voice first spoke to her. It wasn't so much just a voice, but the raging of a great inferno twisted into syllables that she could vaguely understand. It spoke of freedom, power, and destiny. It knew that she wanted revenge for her father's death. This voice knew her better than she did. She was Hidulah, the great fire mage. Her talents were not taboo. She would show her tribe what folly they had wrought, no matter the price.

The voice then 'spoke' one last word, the final syllable trailing off like sputtering flames before fire turns to smoke and ceases to burn.