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That Binds Together the Heavens and the Earth

#1
“This place is nothing like where I just came from.” Orihime said breathlessly. Taking a step further into the frosty climate, she began to assess her surroundings, seeing a celebrated scenic wonderland. It was a fairy-tale world, child-like and funny. Boughs of trees adorned with thick pillows of snow scattered across the snowy mounds.

Gratefully, the dress she wore was keeping her warm enough. The temperatures in wakomundo were a supernatural cold that was un-escapable, so that was familiar at least. Towering snowy mountains surrounded her with steep cliff sides and pillaring pines. Snow blew down the mountain side creating a blur that made her eyes water. Orihime restlessly watched the flakes, silver and dark, falling diagonally against the sunlight. There was no life in view however, not even an animal. Orihime sighed deeply, feeling discouraged and alone with only the bitter silence.

Having no sense of direction, Orihime moved further into the glittering landscape. Slowly, with every stride into the plushy snow, she thought about how she had never seen such an incredible view. Snow is white and gray, loose and whole, infinitely various, yet infinitely repetitive. It is soft and hard, frozen and melting, bursting underfoot and soundless. She could not help with being fascinated with this place and its beauty. For it did not snow in Karakura Town, the place where Ichigo and her friends live.

Thinking about Karakura Town reminded Orihime about her present situation. I don’t know if I will ever see Karakura Town again thinking of her home and the neighborhood that she lived in. Homesick, she thought of the school that all of her friends go to and the health clinic that Ichigo lives in. Then her mind drifted to the bakery down the street where Ichigo lived, the one with the red bean buns.

“Buhhhuuurrp” her stomach bellowed unexpectedly as she bent over in agony. The thought of their smooth texture and the warm creamy filling of the bun, bursting with flavor, caused her mouth to water. Her stomach talked to her again, only louder this time. Frustrated she screamed, “I’ll never get to have red bean bun jelly casserole again!”

Unexpectedly she heard voices all around her. Orihime looked around, frantically trying to pinpoint where they were located, when it became clear “...red bean bun jelly casserole again!...again...again!”

The land started to shake all around her and she felt the snow sliding past her feet. Shaking with fear Orihime turned around to see a giant wall of snow rushing toward her. “Oh no.” she gasped. She began to sprint against a wall of white death that was dangerously approaching closer and closer. “Santen Kessun, I reject!” her scream being drawn out over the thunder of the snow quickly rushing after her.

The hairpins on her head glowed and separated into a shield that covered her back as she ran for her life. However this was not good enough. The force of the white wall was so great that it pushed her back into the Santan Kessun, forcing Orihime to ride the snow wave uncontrollably. The landscape around her became lost with snow and it was starting to spill over her head in hard clumps.

Then there was a momentary hint of blue sky, the light was enough to reveal a flash of diamonds sprinkling across the tundra, oddly distorting it by its snowy barrage.

All of the sudden everything became clear and quiet, almost peaceful, until she realized she was falling. The avalanche had thrown her off one of the mountains, with no view of the ground. Orihime clutched her shield, completely terrified, forcing the shield on her belly with panic. Closing her eyes she waited for impact, not expecting to survive. The ground was upon her, but the kiss was not as lethal as expected. However, the force from hitting the ground had thrown Orihime in the air and off of her Santan Kessun. Painfully hitting the ground, the touch of the snow against her skin was unforgivable. She continued to tumble down the slope at a dangerous speed, bruising her body. The Santan Kessun was desperately trying to catch up but Orihime crashed on to a boulder hidden in the snow, and tumbled down straight into a crevasse.

Falling again... she thought to herself, her body descending into the darkness. When she found herself at the bottom of the cave she looked up to see a face of a troll glaring right at her. She gasped, then she saw nothing.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
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#2
For Zabajin and his trolls the day started out normal with hunting, scavenging and killing a few dwarves. However, this ordinary day was shattered when all of a sudden some girl came crashing down through the ceiling of one of their cave entrances. A bright light followed her down, shielding most of the impact, however the fall itself left the girl unconscious. His warriors immediately drew their bows and spears, surrounding her still body like a pack of hungry wolves. The same light that had followed her, now enclosed her whole body, radiating like a sun beam.

“Some spy for the dwarves?” Zabajin’s brother, Rufio hissed angrily while he looked upon Orihime with disgust. “We don’t need this filth!” he roared as he quickly brought his battle axe down on Orihime’s Santan Kessun. However, Rufio’s axe had no effect on the barrier between himself and the girl.

Zabajin’s eyes could barely contain his excitement, as a mischievous smile appeared across his lips, “Interesting.”

Rufio was far less amused than Zabajin. In a thundering rage he came down upon Orihime’s shield with his weapon of war, over and over again, but to no avail. “What witchcraft is this?” bellowed Rufio, while he shook from his rage. The band of troll warriors gasped and reacted to the shield not breaking with both anger and bewilderment.

Zabajin moved himself in front of his band of troll warriors and peered at the shield with a puzzled, but watchful expression on his face. Lightly touching its smooth surface, he noted that it was not dangerous to him or his men at this time. Then there was a movement underneath the shield and he saw the strange girl had come to stir. This had gotten the band of brutes even more restless, as they began circling in, with a thirst of blood in their eyes.

Trolls have no patience, they are unruly, bloodthirsty, and are a warrior race that have had much taken from them. They trust no outsider, and have had a habit of killing intruders on sight without question. Out of this bunch of trolls, Zabajin was by far, the one with the most common sense, and able to see the bigger picture. Though he was the most reasonable out of the trolls, he was also the most dangerous. With a raised fist, Zabajin got his crew to back down and give their chief some space. This shield and girl may be harmless right now, but he did not know what she could be capable of if she felt threatened. Her eyes began to open, and slowly she studied her surroundings until their eyes met. With the look on her face it was apparent that the girl had never seen a troll before.

Zabajin had just returned from a raid of one of the dwarf lord’s farmsteads who was his main rival. His body was painted for battle with crimson streaks running down his face and chest. His head was naked on the sides with thick coarse braids that fell down to his war shield, strapped across his back. The Chief wore a heavy battle armor, adorned with thick animal fur that was stained in blood. His fangs protruded from a harsh and threatening face, complimented by his large tusks. Blood of a fallen dwarven pig was also speckled across his face and arms. He looked like a war machine and that was what he was.

Orihime looked up at the troll in silent shock, she knew she fell down into a cave, but she had never seen these type of people before. Looking around she saw that no one looked very pleased to see her. “”I think I might have interrupted something”” Orihime thought miserably. All around her, these men were of different pigments and covered in furs and bones, as well as long tusks on their sharp, jagged faces. The man in front her was by far the most intimidating, he looked like he could easily end her life and his commanding presence felt considerable to Orihime.

They stared at each other for a few moments, his eyes never left hers, and although she felt like he could crush her at any time, she saw something else in his eyes. It was not gentleness or even excitement that she saw, but possibly judgment. She needed to treat this man, whoever he was, with respect. “I’m...” she stuttered, “I’m sorry, I did not mean to interrupt.”

She stopped and returned his intense gaze with her fearful, doe eyes. The troll cocked his head to the side, almost like a dog would, and smiled a dangerous grin at her. Shivering, Orihime said cautiously, “I’ve gotten into some trouble and it seems I have fallen down here.”

The man said nothing, just stared, so Orihime lowered her shield. This must have startled the warriors, because all at once, the band jumped and drew their weapons on her. One of the trolls reacted with such ferocity, that they let go one of his arrows, and it made its target in Orihime’s shoulder. Through the whole commotion, the main troll’s expression had never changed, like he was mesmerized. Letting out a cry of pain, Orihime gripped her shoulder, and her blood escaped from the arrowhead buried deep inside her flesh.

Zabajin turned to look back at his men with a deadly look in his eye. The warriors, all but Rufio, lowered their heads and weapons, taking a step back shamefully. Annoyed, he turned back to the girl, who had the glowing shield on her again, but this time concentrated around her wound. Zabajin’s eyes lit up in curious wonder, as he saw the arrowhead removing itself from its place, her flesh healing right before his eyes. This magic was more powerful than his wife’s own priestess powers. He turned to see his brother who held an expression on his face like he was not impressed. His body stood defensively close, his axe at the ready. The chief looked at his other men, to see that they all showed the same distrusting opinion as Ruifo, but there was something clearly different about this human. Zabajin was more than intrigued by her.

“It’s nothing to worry, I’m fine now.” peeped her tiny voice. “I’m not here to cause you any trouble, I happen to be a little lost, and you are the first people I have seen.”

A new prime was good news to Zabajin, she was clean of any prejudice or evil of the omniverse. After a long pause he commanded, “We are taking her with us.” Zabajin then roughly pulled Orihime to her feet.

Angry murmured voices filled the cave all around him.

“What?!”
“Kill the bitch!”
“She will lead the King right to our door!”

“Enough!” roared Zabajin, turning to face his men, the feeling around him becoming thick and malevolent. “I said she is coming with us. She will have her face covered to keep our village a secret.”

“Brother” shouted Rufio. “We do not let outsiders into our home!” he exclaimed as the surrounding men cheered in agreement.

The fact that Zabajin had become leader noticeably affected Rufio in negative way. His defiance against Zabajin’s wishes did not come as a surprise to Zabajin, even though Zabajin was Rufio’s little brother.

“This one is different.” hissed Zabajin as he raised his chest at the height of Rufio, locking him in a deadly gaze, “We are bringing her with us.”

Rufio’s fists tightened, but he said nothing, barely containing his outrage. Zabajin had not been chief for very long and many thought him to be arrogant, as well as reckless. Some even thought that he had achieved his rank unfairly. He had fought and dominated the last chief, by law of the land it made him the power now. The old chief had no consideration for the future of his people and led them into the same reckless wars with the cost of many lives. Zabajin wanted a better outcome for his fellow trolls and achieving the responsibility of chief was something that he never desired, it was only necessary. He knew that it was a matter of time before someone would challenge him for chief and for his wife, Tez’Zali’s hand. With a hold of Orihime, he began walking in the direction of the village, but he was stopped by a seasoned troll warrior.

“I will not let you disgrace our people.” snarled the old man. He raised his sword against Zabajin, “I’d rather die and not dine at the great table of our ancestors, before we let a human in our hall!”

This troll was weathered, beaten from many battles and was a loyal follower of the last chieftain. He was not an opponent to take lightly and Zabajin was aware he had to be cautious if engaged with him. Standing several feet taller than the chief, the old warrior had been a part of many raids, surviving many winters. Zabajin’s sudden rise to power made the veteran agitated and foolish.

Rolling his eyes behind his head, Zabajin said with a mocking tone, “Are you sure you want to die today. Right here, and not at home in your bed?”

“Do not insult me, dragon warrior!” the old man dared. Pointing his weapon even closer in the direction of the chief, his stance ready to fight.

Zabajin was silent, almost deadly, as he and everyone else backed up and watched the charade unfold. The trolls began to chant and pound their spears and axes on the ground with a rhythm meant to intimidate.

Sweat poured down the old troll’s forehead, there was a slight shake in his hand, and he pressed the chief on, following with his blade. “The Gods will be against you Zabajin for such treachery.” The old man said in a dry raspy voice. An amused smile stretched across Zabajin’s face, with his teeth baring, he dropped his axe on the ground with a heavy thump, and danced around the old troll. Surprised, the old man swallowed hard and kept his eyes intently on his target while continuing to circle him.

“You think I am going to go easy on you because you lowered your weapon?” laughed the veteran. “I am going to cut you to pieces!”

They continued to circle for a moment, while everyone watched intently to the beat of their weapons. “Afraid?” the chief mocked with a thirsty expression across his face.

“Gahrahhh!” shouted the troll as swung his sword at Zabajin furiously.

The chief moved away from the potential life ending blow with guile and grace. Curling his hand into a fist, Zabajin aimed for the front of his face, hitting the bridge of the warrior’s nose, causing blood to splatter all over the ground of the cave. Grumbling with pain, the old troll attempted to strike back at him. Dodging the blow again, the chief snickered. For a moment the chief saw an uncertainty in his opponent's eyes and was grateful for the advantage. His opponent charged at him with his blade, a barrage of feint attacks followed by backswings. Dancing around the blows cautiously, one of blows kissed his skin, slicing him deep thanks to the misdirection. Zabajin staggered for a moment before returning, light on his feet like a feather. The veteran swung, but his broadsword missed, not close enough to eat skin. The chief smirked at his opponent, this time from the spryness of his dodge. Zabajin could not help but be impressed with the old, weathered warrior and his willingness to die.

The sight of the chief and his cheesy grin only made his opponent angrier. “I will cut that stupid smile off your face!” hollered the old warrior, as he pushed his sword straight toward the chief’s heart.

With little to no effort, Zabajin moved his head away from the sword as it glided past his face. He caught the sword with his hand on the hilt, the blade in between his fingers. With a wicked smile, he clasped his hand around the old warriors with the blade in the middle covered in blood. Pulling the weapon and the warrior towards him, Zabajin smashed his head into the older troll’s own head as hard as he could. Thrusting the old warrior’s wrist upwards, he heard a snap. Cries of pain filled the cave while the old man stumbled backwards, clutching his wrist to his chest.

Orihime witnessed the two trolls suddenly engage in battle. The older one was significantly larger than the leader, with a broad sword that looked like he could cut trees down. However, the leader was much faster, he appeared to dance around the attacks of the older man with ease.

Without missing a beat, Zabajin was on him with a furious barrage of fists, quickly bringing the fight to the ground. Zabajin had a firm grasp on the warrior’s head, his fingers digging into the scalp. With a hard thrust, Zabajn’s head made contact with the veteran’s. Over and over again, he continued to smash his skull. His screams sounded like a dying, wild animal. Then the chief slammed his fist into his opponent's side, his prey crying out loudly in agony. Furious, he struck at the warrior relentlessly, while the warrior failed to keep his face protected or defend himself from the blows. The crowd became silent with the only sound being the impact of Zabajin’s fists. Breathing painfully, the old man became limp and stopped trying to halt the assault. However, this did not slow Zabajin, he did not stop until his opponent laid in his own bloody mess. The chief took away the old trolls last breath with a skull fracturing blow.


Orihime had never seen anyone fight the way this man did. It was almost snake like, no, it was dragon like, and as soon as the fight started it ended.

The last thing Orihime saw was a wicked beast soaked in red. Orhime had seen her share of monsters and scary things, but this man brought a fear in her she did not recognize. Blood of the fallen warrior dripped from his checks and there was an amusing look in his eyes.

“Anyone else?!” their leader bellowed as he turned around, the adrenaline of the fight still pumping in his veins. With only silence as a response, Zabajin looked directly at Orhimie, “Good.”

This is not good! thought Orihime as she instantly regret going through this gate. A bag was placed over her head, her hands bound and tied, and she was being lead unknowingly deeper into the cave.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
*  Healer  -  Sheild Maiden  -  Guide To Lost Souls  -  Ginger Waifu  *
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#3
Orihime was led deeper into the cave with the only sound being the surrounding shuffle of the troll’s feet. Blindfolded, her only sense of direction told her she was going down, then abruptly up a hill How long have I been walking she thought, terrified of her outcome.

After walking for what seemed like hours more, she began to hear a steady beat with muffled sounds of others in the distance. The men around her became livelier, dragging her more furiously than before. As she approached closer to the commotion, she noted the sound of flutes, drums, and voices of many people. The sounds that filled her ears were tribal and intimidating. Voices around her became louder than before, then suddenly silent. Even the beat had stopped as she approached closer. The silence was then interrupted by a conglomerate of voices, yelling angrily, until Zabajin roared, “Leave us!”

Orihime was then thrown to the ground by an unseen force and she could hear the dispersing footsteps dissipate. She expected the ground to be frigid, but was surprised when she felt the warm, smooth texture of wood. The bag was then pulled roughly from her head, allowing to see that she was in a large, dimly lit chamber.

She looked all around her and saw a great hall, filled with many substantial wooden tables. The walls were camouflaged by thick animal furs of all different colors. What looked like animal bones decorated the entire ceiling, dangling over her like stars. There was also a musk in the air around her, like blood and burnt firewood. The room was illuminated by tremendous iron bowls filled with burning embers and hung by rusted chains.

Sitting before her, on a gigantic wooden throne built into the wall, sat the main troll who looked at her with the same curious, and threatening expression. There was a steady stream of blood flowing from his hand where he had caught the blade. It trickled down the arm of his throne in a magnificent red stream that pooled at the bottom of his feet. Wiping away blood from his eyes with his healthy hand, he peered at her with a coy look for a moment in silence, before he finally requested, “What is your name?”

Dolefully, she looked up at him and swallowed hard before squeaking, “Orihime Inoue.”

His face became mischievous as he leaned over on this throne, closer to Orihime. “I am Zabajin.” the troll chieftain acknowledged before straightening up. He placed both hands under his chin in a pondering pose, while the blood continued in a steady flow, “Where did you come from?”

Orihime sat there on the ground of Zabajin’s throne room and explained everything, from The World of the Living, to Wakomoundo, the fountain, and then to this ice jungle. While she was telling him her story she noticed that his eyes would change from threatening, and then to curious. She was in the middle of talking about the being that she saw before the fountain, when he abruptly interrupted her.

“You saw him!?” he broke in as his expression became excited.

“Who?” Orihime looked up at the beast puzzled.

Annoyed, Zabajin rose from his seat and crouched right next to her. “Omni.” the chief coaxed, whispering with a fascinated look on his face.

In a small voice, Orihime responded, “Yes.” Looking down to the ground now, a tear escaped from her eye, “My powers were the reason why I was taken away from my home to Wakomundo, and now here I am again, in a strange place because of it.”

Jeering, the Dragon Warrior precipitously laughed before bursting out, “No. That is not why you are here.”

Orihime looked up puzzled, “But—”

“You are here because I spared your life.” the troll said simply, and she knew it to be true instantly. He had a way with his words, they were short, to the point, and weighed heavily in her mind.

With a grim look, Orihime choked, “Why?”

He rose to his feet again and looked down upon her with scrutiny, “We will see.”

Orihime did not like the sound of that, not one bit. She had just escaped a hostile landscape, only to be dropped into another, and at this point she would rather go back to Wakomundo. She searched his eyes for mercy and saw nothing. “What will become of me?”

He clutched his injured hand to his chest and peered off into the empty room. Sighing he said, “I do not know yet.” Then he pulled a knife out of his belt and watched as Orihime winced in fear. Cutting the ropes from her hands he forcefully grabbed her arm, and brought her to her feet, leaving a bloody hand print on her sleeve.

“You can start with this.” the chief commanded, as he reached out to her with his injured hand.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
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#4
Te’Zali stood in a somber room with surrounding bones at her feet. The only light came from a window and the cracks in the roof of her hut, causing a brilliant array of sunbeams to highlight the tools around her. Smoke billowed, encompassing her in slow, steady waves, causing her eyes to sting. Murmuring sacred words, her fingertips played with herbs, while she searched deep inside herself for answers.

Te’Zali was desperately trying to save a child, who laid suffering on an altar before her. He’d been thrown off a horse and was trampled, resulting in a broken back, and his legs twisted.

“This should help you with the pain my child” Te’Zali cooed, gently rubbing a healing paste on his body. A steady stream of tears fell from the young boy's face, but he was bravely silent. It did not appear the boy would survive, there were signs of internal damage, and his body was swollen and bruised. Even if the Gods spared his life, his legs were deformed, causing a high likelihood of him becoming a cripple. This boy was a warrior. Living without his legs would be fate far worse than death. Death in battle was the only way to enter the hall of the great ancestors, to drink and celebrate with the Gods.

An eerie feeling engulfed her, abruptly halting her prayer to the Gods. The White Haired Priestess put her long sharp fingers together, holding her two index fingers on the bridge of her nose, she turned and looked over her shoulder. Rage filled her being, causing her teeth to chatter. Zabajin had returned, but she felt that something was gravely wrong. A menacing aura cloaked the priestess, causing her to reach for her blade uncontrollably.

Light precipitously filled the room, causing her to turn away blindly in displeasure. Three of her apprentices filed themselves in front of her, with troubled looks across their faces. Falling to their knees, their eyes were fixed on the ground, one of them spoke, “The chief has returned.”

“I am aware,” spat Te’Zali as her fingernails dug into her scalp fretfully, “the Gods are angry. I can fill it in my bones.”

With the feeling in the air vindictive, the women remained silent, while Te’Zali’s entire body shook like a leaf in the wind. Peering back at the child, she grimaced, “Pray to the Gods for his healing.”

Storming out of the hut, the wife of the Chief made her way to the great hall with a fire in her eyes.


Rufio sat around a great fire with a belly full of rum, and a troll wench on his lap. He saw Te’Zali step out of the spiritual healing hut in a raging frenzy and chuckled to himself. He noticed how her delicate fingers gripped her blade while every footstep she took was with purpose. She wore a long skirt that only covered her loins and allowed her long, luxurious legs to visibly sweep the air as she walked. Her breasts were exposed, while only an intricate necklace made of bones and animal’s feathers, graced her neck. Being a conduit for the Gods, her face showcased small tusks that complemented her delicate features. Even her hair was dressed in honor of them. Piled high atop her head, she wore thick braids, creating a mohawk that made her taller than Zabajin. Under her enchantment, Rufio watched as her curvaceous body glided through air like a goddess herself, and entered the great hall.

Turning over to one of the warriors, Rufio snickered, “We need not worry about that bitch becoming a problem. As soon as Te’Zali finds out, she is going to end her miserable life.” The men around him erupted in laughter.

One of them agreed, “Te’Zali speaks to the Gods, she will make that little girl a great sacrifice.” The men cheered and continued their celebration, while Rufio had his gaze fixated on the doorway to the great hall, anxious to see what would unfold next.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
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#5
Te’Zali entered the throne room, low on her belly like a snake in the grass. Concealing herself behind meeting tables, she bitterly made her way to where she and her husband ruled. She approached and pressed her back against her seat, peering behind it to see Zabajin standing over a red haired woman. A look of disbelief spread across the priestess' face, her eyes becoming wide and haunting, like the harvest moon. Bringing a human back here was an evil doing that can not go without repercussions. Te’Zali could not fathom any reason to bring this girl back to their village alive.

Lifting her head to the heavens, she sucked the winter air into her nostrils. The White Haired Healer concentrated her body, and focused on the air around her, envisioning it dancing high above her head. With her energy force billowing out of her, she focused on the entryway of the hall. Using a little more effort, she summoned a gust of wind to gently push the door open. The priestess lay ready like a lioness, hunting prey of the savannah. Sweat gleamed from her nose as she patiently waited for her time to strike. Her sharp fingers gripped the hilt of her blade, she was more than ready. The priestess saw that her husband had his eyes focused on ‘The Red Woman’, he was hypnotized by her wicked magic. Baring her teeth in rage, Priestess Te’Zali forced the door closed with a heavy thump, causing Zabajin to turn his head.

Now is my chance, the white-haired healer thought, as she lunged from the shadows.

Like an alligator emerging, hungrily out of the water, she sighted her prey. Te’Zali had a fist full of crimson hair before Zabajin knew what was happening. In a blink of an eye, the priestess had her prey and her knife across the girl's pasty neck.

Te’Zali eyes turned a ghostly, pale color, as the sound of a soft steady heartbeat abruptly stopped time. Then everything around her faded off into existence. She was soaring high above the snow falling sky over her village. She flew above the mighty tree top, whose roots were the foundation of her village. Everything appeared to be larger than life until she saw something on the horizon. Suddenly Te’Zali was in one of the underground tunnels and witnessed frightening beasts make their way to her home. The feeling of suffering and violence hit the priestess like lighting.

To Orihime, everything seemed to be going well for the most part. For now, her life was not at risk from the troll king. However, being that this chief was a ferocious killer, she was not out of hot water. That was until she felt the sharp pain of her hair being pulled and in an instant, she was back in harm's way.

Zabajin knew he had made a mistake when he turned away from her, he saw his wife, ready to kill. If anyone thought they could get away with killing his prize, it was his wife.

“No!” barked Zabajin furiously. He saw his wife’s eyes frost over and he knew his wife was experiencing the gods. Acting quickly, he drew both of his war axes, focusing his energy on them. His axes rapidly turned ablaze, as a rush of heat expelled from the blades, scorching the hard wooden surface. Ash rained from chief’s weapons burning with fire and surrounding him with waves of hot lava.

“Let her go!” The chief snarled, shifting to Te’Zali with his war axe, eager to make contact with flesh. Breathing heavily, he kept his sight on her, while the lava continued to burn hotter and hotter.

“How dare you?!” Te’Zali hissed at him, not softening her grip on Orihime. “She is going to end us all, I have seen-”

“Stop.” The chief interrupted the priestess with authority in his voice. “I don’t care what you have seen. I am Chief. You will let her go or you will die.”

Te’Zali’s mouth dropped to the floor, in outrage, she screamed, “You wouldn’t dare-”

Her thought was interrupted by a blazing axe, whizzing by her face, and slightly grazing her cheek. She felt boils beginning to blister from the heat of her husband's weapon. The trail of lava that followed burned the arm she was using to keep hold of her captive, causing her prey to squeak in fear.

Her face was as hard as stone while she tried her best to control the fear that rippled throughout her body. She believed he would kill her, and his betrayal put her in an uncontrollable rage. His wife understood the look on Zabajin’s face, like an angry dragon who caught you stealing from his treasure. Biting her lip roughly, she pondering her next move carefully, making no sudden movements. “Why are you doing this Zabajin?” the priestess pleaded.

Beating his fist against his chest, “I am chief, it is not your say.”
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
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#6
A monstrous growl interpreted the heated conversation between the couple. Startled by the beastly noise, the two turned to Orihime with displeased looks on their faces.

“I’m…” she hesitated, “I’m really sorry,” Orihime pleaded, as a tear ran down her cheek, “please don’t kill me.” She then choked, gripping onto her stomach.

The couple exchanged menacing looks for what seemed like ages until Te’Zali released the girl. With a hard thump, Orihime was thrown to the feet of Zabajin, like a sack of potatoes.

“Fine keep this filth. She will be your undoing.” the troll woman warned and stormed out. A deathly silence filled the room while Orihime reluctantly picked herself off the floor.

“I hate to apologize,” the chief started, “my wife is superstitious.” The chief nodded toward Orihime, returning to his throne. “I believe I can find you useful,” he paused to examine his hand, that was now as good as new, “if not, then I will be the one to end you.”

A conglomerate of exotic fragrances pleasantly filled Orihime’s nostrils. Orihime carried heavy drinking horns, filled with a pungent liquid from across the once empty room, now full to capacity. Terrified, Orihime shivered while serving her order to a rowdy group of warriors, still dressed in battle garb. Zabajin had commanded a slave girl to assist her in serving his army of trolls with whatever they needed. The hall was alive with great many voices in a unique and foreign tongue. It was obvious that the only a few people understood her language, including the king and queen. With alcohol filling the bellies of the men, Orihime’s presence became only a mild annoyance to them instead of a threat. She delivered her last order to Zabajin himself and then proceeded to stand behind his throne on his orders to wait for further instruction. The room became louder with the joys of men, as the slaves brought out a massive buck, skinned and cooked whole. The mere sight of the cooked carcass made a river of saliva poor from Orihime’s mouth. When every table was filled with food the Chief rose from his place with his horn high above his head. The room abruptly became silent enough to hear a pin drop.

“Today the Gods smiled down on us with favor.” Pausing to look at the drunken, excited faces of his people, The Chief continued. “Not only where we gifted in battle but we were given a gift. Soon we will be ready to annihilate our enemy once and for all!” Zabajin boasted loudly as he threw the liquid in his cup high in the air, showering his drink all over his clan. The room exploded with voices and rained alcohol, as his people cheered.

Orihime witnessed Zabajin return to his place on his massive throne decorated with exquisite furs and ferocious teeth. She was sick to her stomach as she watched miserably, as everyone around her indulged themselves in their grand feast. One of the more muscular troll warriors approached Zabajin and sat in the seat next to him. He was frighteningly intimidating, towering several feet over the chief, his build substantially larger than Zabajin’s.They spoke to each other in the tongue that she did not recognize, exchanging curious looks in her direction. His troll eyes felt like they were looking straight into her soul and she cringed away as he got up and approached her.

“Hungry?” he spoke in her broken language to the doe-eyed girl.

“Yes.” Orihime murmured uncomfortably.

With a smirk, he shoved a stone bowl into her shaky hands. What appeared to be some sort of larva, covered in spices, filled its contents. Orihime looked up at this face and saw that he was smiled amusedly down at her. “Eat” the warrior commanded.

With some hesitation, the girl reached into the bowl and plucked out a soft, moist larva. It was the size of mooncake and it smelled like bean curd. Closing her eyes, she imagined she was back at home cooking dinner, before plopping the insect into her mouth. The texture of the creature was warm like a steamed bun but squishy like mochi. The taste was extremely pungent, similar to horseradish and it made her eyes water. The warrior burst with amusement at the sour look on the girl's face. This did not stop Orihime from popping another sucker straight into her mouth. His face turned from amusement to shock as he watched her finish her bowl.

“That was not half bad once you get past the texture” Orihime swallowed, handing the bowl back to the troll.

Rufio could barely control his laughter as he watched this pathetic creature woof down the bot files with ease. No outsider has ever been able to stomach the delicacy. He called the servants to bring over several more plates of food. Rabbit brains, roasted bat, and centipede root stew, it did not matter, the girl ate it all and asked for seconds. By the third round, she had grown the attention of the men around her as they watched in the same bewilderment. Soon everyone was participating in the event by giving her many different dishes to taste. One of them bestowed her a cup or rum which she gulped to wash it all down.

Zabajin watched the spectacle unfold with a pleased expression. Orihime was the pet that everyone had started to come around to, giving her their table scraps they observed that she meant them no harm. The first impression of the captive was better than expected. Looking around the room at all the smiling faces, a sense of pride filled him. These were his people and he would do anything to protect, no matter the cost.
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#7
Betsy’s soft paws crunched the fluffy white snow, silently sniffing for a scent. She was an old bloodhound, if it not been for her being the best bloodhound in the kingdom she would have been long retired. She and her master were sent deep into the frozen fields in search of a prime to help wipe out the troll scum that was hiding somewhere close by. Catching the scent, Betsy barked excitedly to alert her master. The dwarf released the bloodhounds leash as she bounded down the mountainside toward a crevasse.

Orihime woke up with a pounding sensation like someone was trying to park a truck on top of her forehead. Her stomach was in knots as she tried her best not to throw up in her mouth.

“What happened last night?” She grumbled as she had difficulty rising to her feet. Looking around her she only saw darkness, making out the faint shadows of furniture. It was quite and for a moment she thought she was back home in her bed. Her dream shattered with a sudden bright light and the face of an ugly troll woman appeared in front of her.

“Come.” the woman blurted while she harshly pulled Orihime toward the door.

She was surprised not to see the sky above her but instead she found herself in a large cave-like structure. Giant roots surrounded the enclosed area that appeared to be supporting the village. It was a magnificent site that left the Orihime speechless. She hardly noticed the old hag push a broom in her hand, commanding her to get to work sweeping the pathways throughout the village. Amazed, she saw little troll children laughing and playing with wolf pups while their grandparents sat and talked in their rich cultural tongue. The village was bustling with activity as men sharpened their war weapons and women decorated vests of animal skins. Little troll children with buns adorned with bones came running up to her crying “Grodkona Kow! Grodkona Kow!” while handing her truffle treats. Orihime was puzzled by the phrase but graciously accepted the food, while the children gleefully watched her eat. The children tugged on her skirt and talked to her in quickly excited voices. She was happy that at least someone was being pleasant to her, even if it's only the children. The children disparted as Zabajin appeared down the pathway in front of them, strolling with the man he was with the night before.

“Do you remember my brother Rufio Grodkona Kow?” asked Zabajin his smile lighting up his harsh troll features.

“My memory is fuzzy but I remember.” Orihime pleasantly responded as she walked with the two men down to the center of the village.

Rufio placed a heavy arm around Orihime’s delicate shoulders as they walked. Looking up at the towering troll she asked: “What is a Grodkona Kow?”

Zabajin responded cheerfully “Grodkona Kow means human stomach.”

Rufio exploded in laughter that shook Orihime violently. “We have never seen a human eat like you.”

“No human lasted that long to try. They find our food hard to swallow” snickered Zabajin.
Orihime could not help but think back to a time she tried to make her good friend Tatski eat one of her cooking creations back home and smiled to herself.

Bowing slightly, she thanked Zabajin for feeding her, to the surprise of both the chief and his brother.

“I have something to ask of you Orihime.” The troll leader coaxed as they ended the walk in front of a small hut.

Upon entering the hut, they all circled a boy who lay on a table in the center of a small room. His breathing was short and ragged. Orihime’s heart broke, as she witnessed this child lay in agony.

“What happened to him?” Orihime choked, as she subconsciously felt to assure that her pins were still in her hair.

A familiar voice interjected, “It doesn't matter.” Te’Zali crept from the shadowy corner of the hut to face the red haired healer. “It only matters if you can save him.”

Seeing The Priestess up close for the first time left Orihime in an awestruck trance. For a troll, she was beautiful, like a stunning African princess. But like tribal royalty, she was very intimidating, Orihime thought back to the knife on her throat and shivered.

“Right,” Orihime assured as she swallowed hard, prepping herself for the task at hand. “Santan Keshun,” Orihime exclaimed, as the light of her shield highlighted the trolls around her. They all watched as the boy’s body started to slowly heal itself before their eyes. She caught Zabajin beaming at his wife while she scoffed and left the room. The red haired healer finished and looked at the chief, “I think he will be ok now, but we will need to see once he wakes up.”

Observing the boy, whose breathing had returned to normal Zabajin echoed, “We will see.”

Te’Zali sat on the edge of her massive bed with her war scythe on her lap, her reflection staring back at her. She was not the same after Zabajin had threatened her life for the sake of some pitiful human. The priestess was plagued with horribly vivid dreams and visions of her love dying in a despicable way, over and over again. She knew her husband was stubborn, his vision for the future of her people was unorthodox at best, but she never knew he would go so far to defend that wench. Sighing she brought herself back to their wedding day, and how happy she had been to know that she was going to spending her life with a brilliant warrior. Sadness filled her again, she tried her best not to tear up, not showing weakness. Then it hit her. Impending Danger. she could feel it ripple in her body like an electrical current. Getting up so quickly, almost losing her footing, she ran out of her home into the middle of the village.

“Zabajin!” she screamed at the top of her lungs as she felt the presence of fearsome beasts approaching her village.

The chief felt the atmosphere of his village change from a pleasant, ordinary afternoon, to complete panic. He acted quickly, hearing the sound of his wife’s screams from outside, he had both axes in his tight fists. Rufio followed close behind him, readying himself for the battle at hand. Wailing sounds of agony were coming from all over the village as women and children ran in the streets for their lives.

Then he saw them, legendary creatures known as drakes, terrorizing his people. He would not stand for this, he would not watch as his people fall to these mutated serpents sent by the dwarves. The leader of a dwarf plantation close by had been know to use drakes under special circumstances. Zabajin could take a guess to why Lord Vondik Bloodsunder, would be so bold to send these creatures to his cave.

Making eye contact with one of the reptilian brutes, Zabajin dropped a totem to the ground. “Elektrisitet!” Boomed the troll leader as an electrical current poured from the totem and manipulated the ground like ocean waves of electricity. The totem sang as power flew through it, expanding the area around Zabajin. The reptilian creature bolted toward the chief, releasing a terrifying growl like a hungry wolf. Leaping in the air with a frenzy of attacks it bounded at Zabajin. The troll leader countered the attack by landing a fiery axe into the beats shoulder. The sound of a gruesome yelp filled the air as the wound gleamed with fiery lava. The drake fell and landed into the proximity affected by Zabajin’s lighting totem. Convulsing with power, the drake cried out in agony before Rufio ran up and shot it dead in the head with an arrow.

“Brother!” Zabajin warned while throwing an axe at the head of a drake that was approaching behind his brother. Rufio handed him a shield, he ran to the a group of other warriors and readied themselves for the impending attack.

There was a smell of blood and dirt in the air. Turning to his warriors, he bellowed as loud as he can “Shield wall! Be ready on my command!” The warriors were silent as the sounds of the many footfalls of an army of drake's approached the cave.

Te’Zali found herself with an onslaught of monstrous opponents making there way into her village. The vision of her people falling prey to these demons fueled her deadly attacks. Her scythe cutting into the scaley skin was mesmorizing. She annihilated whatever lizard-type creature was unfortunate to cross her path. Slicing one beast in its face, and then spinning around to catch another one in its side, they kept coming like a plague. She witnessed in the distance as a serpent latched its razor-sharp jaws, down on the throat of young troll. There were so many creatures assaulting her village, more than ever before. Peering to see the wide-eyed human leave the spiritual healing hut, made Te’Zali aware of why they were here. Uncontrollable rage filled the priestess now, as she made her way through the waves of dangerous drakes toward Orihime.

Everything was happening so fast, Orihime stood, frozen in fear while the trolls ran around frantically. She saw the warriors defending their village against huge lizards with massive fangs and towering legs. “What do I do?” Orihime screamed to herself in panic. She saw children run for their lives; a monster hot on their tails. She knew immediately what she had to do. Running in the direction toward the serpent she stopped right in front of it blocking its path to a child who fell trying to escape its jaws. “Santan Keshun!” she squealed, protecting herself and the child. The face of the Drake hit the shield hard, like a dog hitting a sliding screen door. The child's eyes were filled with fear and relief as they hid behind the skirt of the shield maiden.

“Are you alright?” Orihime asked, keeping the shield up against repetitive attacks of the creature trying to get through the glowing wall in front of them.

Seeing that they were protected from the luminescent wall, multiple children toward the safety of Orihime. Other warriors noticed the struggle the doe-eyed girl had, keeping their people safe and began to pick off the creatures trying to push through the barrier. They began to surround the drakes with Orihime’s and the warriors shields keeping the beasts corralled in the center. As more and more monsters began to fall, some of them started to retreat back from where they came.

Te’Zali knew that there was no better moment to kill her enemy then while everyone was distracted by battle. She made her way through the blood, claws and teeth to her target until she saw a drake approaching from the blindside of the girl, smiling wickedly. It seems like I won't have to get my hands dirty after all she thought. As the battle was concluding, the drakes were either dead or running for their lives. The beast targeting Orihime stayed hidden in the shadows waiting for its chance. Cheering voices filled the cave as the men celebrated their victory. As soon as the girl dropped her shield the creature bounded for her.

What happened next rocked the priestess to her core. The once, frail and dying boy on the altar had leaped down from the roof of the hut and drove his longsword right in between the beast's shoulders. With a furious cry of death, the creature lay still. Te’Zali could barely see, tears blurring her vision as she ran toward him.

The child moaned “Mother!” as he tightly wrapped his arms around her.
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#8
The impact of Zabajin’s fist against Orihime’s soft cheek sent her back ten feet into the dirt with a hard thump. Her breathing was ragged and sharp, and blood fell from the corner of her mouth as dirt was kicked into the air from the impact. They had been at this for hours now, non-stop, and evidence of bruises and scrapes now covered her body. Zabajin had been training with her since the day the monsters came. Many in the village were grateful for her heroics while some thought she could have done more to protect them. The chief warned that they had little time to get ready for the next assault.

“Give up?” The warrior questioned her as he sent a sharp, painful kick to her side.

Wincing, she responded “No!”, her body aching, she slowly rose to her feet. She felt the impact of the punch start to swell up her face and the throbbing was becoming unbearable. Orihime judges the next attack from Zabajin, correctly countering his blow to her left side. She loved the way he smiled at her while their body danced with each other in a vicious frenzy. It was obvious that the troll was having a grand time with the training. Orihime was grateful for growing up with Tatski, who was a martial arts champion. Zabajin was surprised that she could keep up with him and told her that most of his top warriors couldn't spare with him for very long. Lost in her thoughts, she was able to block a crippling back kick to the back of her skull, sending her once again to the ground.

“Heal yourself.” The chief commanded the doe-eyed girl, wiping sweat from his brow.

Having difficulty catching her breath she breathed “No.” Making an assault with a frenzy of punches that Zabajin deflected with ease. She was getting stronger every day and their training was a regular spectacle that the other trolls what watch with amusement. Zabajin found so much potential in her that he would spend the majority of his day sparring with the young girl. Was it possible that Orihime’s willingness to learn and get her ass kicked was starting to blossom a friendship between the two unlikely characters? She saw a punch coming and defending herself but was unable to avoid the next kick to her stomach.

“Back on the ground again,” she thought to herself as she lay there in the familiar patch of cave dirt. Expecting to be kicked, she was taken off guard when Zabajin lowered himself to meet her eyes instead.

“Can you protect my people from the ground?”

The words echoed in her head, finding the strength inside her she once again rose to her feet. However, she was reaching her limit before she would need to heal. Again they went at it, Orihime charged and blocked while Zabajin avoided all impact like a snake. It was too late for Orihime when the chief’s fist made an imprint right in between her big, brown eyes.

Everything became black and she felt her body begin to leave this place. Was she falling?
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#9
The fortresses of Lord Vondik Bloodsunder sat snuggled safely in a mountain that was rich with refining metal and stone. With the material from the earth the skilled dwarven blacksmith created powerful weapons and exquisite jewelry. Dwarves are courageous fighters, explorers and treasure seekers. The average dwarf is steady, observant and composed both on the battlefield and deep inside the world's crust.

The have the appearance of being short, stout creatures but, smaller than humans and taller than gnomes. Do not think that you can take advantage of them because of their size, they rely on their robustness and strength. It is known throughout the kingdoms that dwarves easily lose their temperament and self-restraint when exposed to conditions stirring their thoughts and actions. All great things in life seem to have one drawback and for them, it was their fondness for drinking.

The Lord’s guard resembled small earthen clay creatures consisting of living stone. These pint-sized warriors use rage, with fierce zeal and persistence whenever they find it necessary. A creation of pure strength, these men would give their very last breath to protect their lord. Bloodsunder was confident that when the battle call sounded, his guard would rise up to defend their families and allies with unmatched valor and heroics.

The furious clip clop of the dwarves worn leather boots echoed throughout the walkways suspended in air, that paved the way deep inside the fortress of the mountain. This castle was designed so that if enemies raided the halls, the walkways could easily be destroyed, making penetrating the city much more difficult. As this miniature warrior made his way past the desolate rock pathways a heavy weight laid on his heart. He was fearful because he did not bear good news for his Lord. He finally approached the heavy steel door, roughly swallowing as the lord's guard pushed it open with a loud moan.

Inside, this grand throne room sat Lord Bloodsunder, guardian of stone and one of the furiousness fighters that ever lived south of The Dwarf King’s kingdom. He sat high above the rest of his court on a large steel throne constructed out of twisted shields of fallen enemies. Bloodsunder had long brown hair with braids, fastened by golden rings that decorated the sides of his war weathered face. Their lordship was decorated with a hefty white animal fur coat, crafted from a wild, blood thirsty bear.

His lord was cunning and dangerous, every interaction made with the dwarf leader was a game of life and death. If you lose, it may cost you your life, however if you win you were greatly rewarded.

Bowing to his lord the seasoned dwarf commander stated “Me lord I bring bad news.”

Lord Vondik Blundsunder said nothing, as his pierced the old man's, not shifting his gaze.

“Tha trolls strength be greater than we anticipated.” the warrior stuttered, his eyes never leaving the polished rock floor.

“Continue.” The lord commanded while he toyed with a massive glimmering stone on his thick finger.

“We followed tha scent of tha prime ta tha underground cave ye were lookin' for. Upon judgment, we released tha drakes, killin' plenty of troll scum. But tha human prime protected ye savages which were nae expected.” the scout paused for a moment while the sound of his heartbeat filled his eardrums.

“Tell me about this prime, tha village, and anythin' else ye think has importance.” the dwarf leader inquired as he sat up upon his throne listening intently to his commander tell him everything he could recall from memory.

“Forgive me my lord.” the warrior pleaded as he struggled to find air in his chest.

Bloodsunder took a moment to respond before saying “Dinna worry soldier, ye did yer duties ta that best of yer ability.” rising and placing a heavy hand on the commander's shoulders, “Rise.”

The lord waved his hand to a scantily clad dwarven slave girl who brought over a tray of large drinking horns, filled with a strong spiced mulled drink. “Interest ye on a pint?” Bloodsunder asked while he began to walk with him toward a corridor behind the thrones. The area was free overlooking the heart of the mining mountain, glowing so brightly it illuminated the throne room several hundred feet above where they stood.

“I have ta tell ye somethin'.” the lord started before sending a bone-crushing kick right in the center of the commander's chest, sending him hurling deep into the mountain. His screams echoed the rock with terror before finally becoming silent.

“Tha best of yer ability nae be good enough.” Bloodsunder spoke, grinning menacingly as he wiped the alcohol that sprayed his face as the old warrior fell to his death.

“Guards!” The lord commanded, “I want that red-haired shield maiden. By me duty as lord ta tha kin' I declare her act as treasonous ta tha crown. I want a bounty on her head, brin' her ta me alive. However, ye must stil continue yer search for other primes.”
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#10
Deep inside a cavern, high on top a snowy peak, an ancient troll hunched over a pile of bones that lay scattered on the ground. The cave was dimly lit, with flame topping the mounds of wax created by the previous candles. Foreboding, and luminescent rays paved the way through the shadows for many millenniums. Erie patterns created by the hundreds of bone garland silhouettes decorated the murky stone walls.

Zabajin was entering the place of The Seer as his last resort. He had not been here since the day he and Te-Zali had wed, paired with his new wife’s ceremony becoming a Volvas. Otherwise known as a which doctor that was chosen by the gods. For the rest of his days, he was to rely on his wife to speak for the gods through her. Thus, removing The Seer out of the picture unless for dire circumstances. As always, his beautiful wife was not cooperating, which prompted this mission to see The Seer to begin with.

The Dragon Warrior made his way to the back of the cavern and approached the mystic who stood to wait, his hands inside the pocket of his tattered cloak. With little more than a chuckle, The Seer greeted him with, “I have been waiting for your arrival Chief Zabajin.”

Seer’s are mystics that possess supernatural powers, someone who would be able to tell Zabajin his future. When The Seer appeared in his village, is shrouded in mystery and legend. For as long as he could remember, the soothsayer resided in this gloomy and frigid cave. 

Without a second to waste, the chief removed his war axe from its sling and tore the flesh across his palm. Crimson red spilled from the wound then The Seer wrapped his bony fingers around Zabajins and closed his hand into a fist. After a moment of silence, the soothsayer drew a rune on this forehead out of blood and raised his head to the heavens. 

“What is it you want?” The seer asked with a dry tone while the bones chimed in the winter breeze. The chief needed to know what the gods wishes and intentions whereby allowing Orihime to be taken from him.

“The gods have given me a prime, as they promised, but I want to know what the future holds. What will become of The Red Woman?” Zabajin questioned while his eyes tinged with fascinated curiosity. 

It is unknown whether or not The Seer was blind or diseased being his flesh was clean like fresh  snow and only possess slits of torn skin for eyes. It was rumoured that once the gods had chosen you to the life of a seer, you must undergo a sacred ritual of burning or removing the eyes. This was thought to increases spiritual awareness and more connectivity with the gods. Lifeless lips, tinted blue, were used to foretell prophecies, colored by the high altitude or maybe the various potions and drugs taken to communicate with the gods. What was certain, was his shamanistic abilities that have been confirmed through visions making his status in the community almost equal to the chiefs.

“The quest the gods have given you will be spoken of as long as trolls have tongues to speak.” the mystic responded with a mysterious inflection in his voice. 

This pleased the troll chief as a gleeful smile escaped and spread across his rough animalistic features. “The gods say that it is so?” Zabajin gleaned. 

“All of this and more I have foreseen.” The Seer crackled violently while clutching onto the bone pendant around his wrinkled neck. It was a foot of a raptor that came from the troll king himself which held ancient power. 

“What about Orihime?” Zabajin questioned with longing in his voice. He could not get the girl out of his mind no matter how hard he tried. The chief missed her more than he missed anything in the world and it made Zabajin feel fear for the first time. 

“What of her?” The soothsayer's words dripping with hatred. Humans have always had bloody past with the trolls and the chief knew that but he wanted her regardless.

“Is she alive?” Asked Zabajin. The idea of her alone in this world made him feel responsible and he felt she was not yet ready to face this unjust world on her own. She was innocent and had not had her first blood, a mere child in his eyes.

“The gods are not responsible for her fate.” He spat at the chief in anger. She was, after all, not a troll and had no connection with their gods. 

“Will I ever see her again?” Zabajin grieved, which exposed a rare moment of weakness. There was so much more he had to teach her and so much more she had to teach him. 

“You ask too many questions.” The Seer rejected and recoiled back away from the troll chief. “I have said enough.” He ended,  turning away from Zabajin, deeper into the cave. 

Zabajin stood in pained silence for several seconds before heading back to the direction he came. Once outside the frosty climate, he filled his lungs with the icy air before bellowing into the frozen canyon “I will find you Orihime, not matter what cost! I will burn cities to the ground, and slaughter woman and children in the street to return you to me! At all cost, I swear to it.” A twisted chuckle echoed throughout the cave and out into the vast snowy terrain.
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#11
Te’Zali walked down the frozen passageway, her troll son in tow, towards the place where the heavens meet the earth. With every soft push forward, the sound of drums, and flutes became fainter. It was late in the evening, and many of the trolls were already drunk, full, or satisfied by this time.

"Where are we going now? I'm so tired" Orunjin whined while dragging his feet next to his mother. He had grown strong from the poor and broken boy, who had laid on that alter so many moons ago. However, the fact remained that the great healer herself, could not save her own son, and that painfully resonated with Te’Zali.

"To talk to the gods," Te’Zali replied, catching the spirited troll roll his eyes in response to his mother, she nudged his shoulder playfully, "it's what we do."


The seer sat mostly in darkness, except for the gloomy glint of candle fire, woven with smoke. "Come in," commanded the ancient one, before plopping a dried root into his mouth, “I'm waiting.”

Te’Zali and Orunjin filed into the shadowy and confined place. Upon immediately looking at the seer, shocked, the boy looked up at his mother, back to the seer, and then to Te’Zali again.

"Sit." The healer directed to her son and pointed to the flat cushion in front of the seer, who, without eyes, appeared to stare into Te’Zali's.

"What do you want?" the ancient one questioned.

With a slight cock of her chin, to the sky, the priestess mused, "I want to know what the gods have in store." In ordinary circumstances, she wouldn't need to speak with the seer to know, however, her dreams had plagued her for nights on end, and Te’Zali felt she had nowhere left to turn.

The crunching sound of food being eaten filled the space between the trolls, mixed with bone chimes that hung from the ceiling around them. Chewing on a mouth full of mushrooms, the seer chuckled, "For you?.. Or for the boy?"

"I am more interested in my people." The healer snapped back at the troll with scorn.

A smile stretched across the pasty troll’s face and the seer elaborated, "The gods desire your people to have a great future." The ancient one paused, long enough to swallow, before continuing, "I see that, but they offer no blessings… No prosperity in the icy planes"

The healer's eyes never left the barren sockets to the wise troll’s, and this news made her giddy. "We are meant to have a great future?” Te’Zali marveled, "How do we gain favor with the gods?" 

"You must convince the gods to alter the rules, so they work in your favor. The laws of trolls are far below the workings, and shapings of the gods." The seer’s voice echoed against the cavern's walls.

While telling the future, his hands danced along with his wise words. Although the seer's eyes were empty, and his lips a harsh blue, his expression appeared to be confident, like he had just revealed his best-kept secret. 

Looking at the ground before answering, the priestess sneered, "So, I should take the laws in my own hands?" The ancient one pressed his azure lips together, until it formed a hard line, and said nothing. Te’Zali gritted her teeth then taunted,  "Answer me!"

"You already have your answer!" The seer snarled. 

"No," the troll priestess paused, "I don't." 

"Well go and ask the gods yourself. What are you afraid of?" The seer teased, sliding his wretched tongue across his bottom lip. 

Doing her best to calm the rage inside her, Te’Zali looked to her son before saying, "Wait outside." Orunjin stood up and bowed his head to the wise old troll before stepping out, into the frosted night.

Standing to her feet, Te’Zali demanded, "Tell me how to save our people?"  

"The only way to do that,” the seer warned, rising to stand above the priestess, “is to abandon your hate and transgressions." 

"What you mean?" Pondered Te’Zali, realizing that going to see the ancient one might have been a mistake. 

"The prime child,” the seer confessed while bending down to pick up his pipe, “she is the key to your liberation."  

Te’Zali filled with such anger and disbelief, her hands began to tremble. How is it, that the stupid child is always the answer to our prayers? "That red woman is dead or gone!" Snapped the priestess furiously.

"She was never gone, just caught in a place she needed to be, to become stronger. She has already stepped on the ice caps, and will arrive by the next sundown, if you don't stop her.” Warned the wise troll.

The anger inside the troll priestess was too much for her to bear, and she found herself unable to respond. How dare that insect come back here! After all this time, after all the fights Te’Zali had with her love, and after leaving her people vulnerable to Lord Bloodsunder's bloody ax. How dare she!

"In order for the gods to work in our favor, she needs to become one of us, or we will all surely perish in the war to come." The ancient one pressed, licking his chapped lips.

Rolling her eyes, Te’Zali responded, "We have had the dwarf trouble without her all this time."

"The fight with dwarves is nothing to the great war that is to come. Get to the tangled jungle plains, and see for yourself. The gods demand it!"The seer stressed while stretching out his hand to the troll.

Te’Zali touched the troll’s chapped hand and was instantly flooded with the vision of other trolls, in a flourishing paradise. Before letting go, the priestess came to understand the importance of the events to come, and after thanking the ancient one, she made her hasty exit.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
*  Healer  -  Sheild Maiden  -  Guide To Lost Souls  -  Ginger Waifu  *
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#12
Orihime was pleased to have found her way back to her snowy homestead. Although she was still miles away from Zabajin’s village, her gleeful anticipation grew with every mile. It felt like the frosted glades where welcoming her home, by gently caressing her face with a whimsical frozen flurry.

She had now been gone from Kuroko Town for so long, she had stopped considering it her home altogether. So much had happened in such little time, and Orihime didn't feel like same lost and broken girl Ichigo would have to save. "At least I can stand on my own two feet now," Orihime muttered to herself as she melancholy kicked a rock encroaching her path, "if only you could see me now, Ichigo.”

Orihime had spilled blood, and far worse than that, she had taken a life. Thankfully, Ichigo could not see what she had become, which was life’s way of playing a cruel joke. Even though, she was told this place had the power to bring someone back from the dead, which Orihime had personally experienced. What are the rules for killing someone if the person was not really dead?

Mildly overcome with the bitter dialogue of her conscience, Orihime thought it was best to take a break from her journey. If anything remained the same about her personality since her time as a young girl in Kuroko Town, it was that she still had a very big appetite. With a clap of her hand, Orihime summoned a bean bun sandwich, smothered in a smoked fish tape, and shredded brussel sprouts.

While Orihime sat peacefully indulged in her lunch, she hadn't noticed the dangerously intruding footfalls closing in on her. The shock of a blood-curdling growl broke Orihime’s trance. Without warning, she was face to face with two, colossal wolves paired with razor-sharp fangs. "Easy their boy," Orihime’s voice cracked as she cooed, while backing away slowly, “easy.”


"Enough Bane," Te’Zali ordered to her war rider, dismounting before the prime. To Orihime, Te’Zali had not aged a day since she had seen her last, but she looked just as menacing. Alongside her, Orunjin had jumped down from his mount to stand with his mother. The young troll had clearly grown since Orihime had last laid eyes on him, causing an excited smile to stretch across her freckled face.

The red-haired healer stood up to meet their troll eyes, eager to greet them, but before Orihime could get a word out, she was interrupted by the young troll warrior. "I thought you were really gone, Grodkona Kow!" The warrior grinned and chuckled, "It’s good to see you."

"Me too," Orihime smiled, "I sort of lost my way... after I was abducted into another dimension... or something." Their expressions showed their skepticism, so Orihime elaborated, "This poor spirit needed my help to pass into the afterlife."

Te’Zali's face never changed her unpleasant gaze while Orihime tried to explain her absence. The troll healer had never liked her, so Orihime was perplexed. How did they know she was coming? Also, of all the trolls to meet her, why Te’Zali? Why not Zabajin? Where was he? 

“What a surprise,” Orihime chimed, doing her best to relieve the tension of Te’Zali, "how did you guys know I was on my way?"

For the first time in their history, Te’Zali met Orihime with a smile and a twinkle in her eye, then sneered, "to stop you from coming any closer to our village." Shocked, the girl stepped back defensively, reaching for the thingamabob that activates her energy blade. Te’Zali had tried to kill her before, and she knew that Orunjin could not stop his mother from trying again. 

Before Orihime could respond, the adolescent troll had moved in between the two healers, with an axe in each hand. He gave a stern look to his mother, then warned, "this is not what we are here for,"before turning back to Orihime and saying, "it's not what you think." Orunjin planted his feet firm in the snow, returning his mother's foreboding look until she removed her hand from her own weapon.

With a deep breath, Orunjin turned back to the human, "you have been gone so long now, our people will not understand," he paused and meet Orihime's eyes, "if you were to return now, your presence would bring more violence to our land." The look on the young troll's face was enough for the prime to accept what Orunjin was saying. 

"Where is Zabajin?" Orihime pleaded with the trolls, her mind lost in a panic. She had not stopped to think about how well she would be received back home with everyone else. It was dangerously foolish and it left the girl angry at herself.

"If Zabajin knew you were here,” Te’Zali began as she removed a white braid from her face against the cold winds, “he would stop at nothing to get to you." Looking deep into Orihime's eyes, the troll priestess repeated, "nothing."

"I must see Zabajin!" Orihime exclaimed, as hot tears stung her eyes, and burned her checks,  "I must know if he is ok!" Orihime begged. The hardest thing about being away for so long, was knowing how Zabajin must have felt. It must have been hard on him. The last they spoke was during training when the chief hit the girl so hard, she was propelled into a completely different cosmos. He has to know I’m okay.

"You are willing to put my husband's life in danger?" Te’Zali snapped with scorn at the red woman. "Our people feel abandoned. Resentment festers in the hearts of our warriors because our chief still won't let you go" Te’Zali went on to explain as the anger in her voice kept increasing.

Orihime turned to the troll's son, and he confirmed it for her, "What she says is true, Kow." Orunjin’s face was somber as he spoke, "My father has had to defeat many challengers who claim he has lost his way... in his pursuit to find you."

Orihime noticed that Te’Zali was having difficulty keeping herself together, and even more so when she spoke. "If you were to go back now, everyone would fight to have your head,” the priestess hissed, “and Zabajin would rather die than have his prize ripped away from him again."  Te’Zali’s demeanor was hostile, "If you dare try to go back, I will cut you down where you stand!" 
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
*  Healer  -  Sheild Maiden  -  Guide To Lost Souls  -  Ginger Waifu  *
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#13
The fiery passion in the priestess's voice was more than enough to cause her devoted wolf companion to react. Te’Zali since birth had chosen Bane and they shared a bond between troll and beast like no other. Her mount would kill without hesitation and the energy his master gave off to the human was anything but friendly. 

In one bound, the wolf reached to make contact with the girl's soft flesh before being intercepted by a glowing barrier. Bane had struck Orihime's shield with such a sheer force it startled a whimper out of him. Pain quickly turned to anger as the beast barked, clawed and stuck at the guard over and over again. 




Orihime heard the priestess's last words before time dubiously became slower. She could see the muscles on the furry beast flex underneath its gray coat and spring to act towards her. With time only a few frames per second, she could even see the wolf's eye's dilating. It was clear that his eyes are those of a killer's and seeing sights like those were becoming standard. The beast would have torn her to pieces had she had not blocked his attack by activating Santen Kesshun.

Adrenalin pumped through the primes veins and her face became damp with sweat. Past experiences would not have allowed Orihime to block that crushing blow from the furious assault. Had she been able to move with such velocity during her fight with the other primes, she might not have died. 

Yeah right Orihime, you got pounded like a pancake she thought to herself. 

"Bane irdan!" Te’Zali bellowed at her wolf, and he abruptly stopped and returned to her side, "sit!" The wolf's onslaught was clearly enough to allow the priestesses to snap out of her aggression towards Orihime. However, being true to her nature the troll healer questioned: "So what will you do girl?" 

Orihime kept Santen Kesshun up as a barrier between all of them, making herself feel more in control of the situation. "Tell me what I can do to make this right" the prime demanded Te’Zali, "I am like Zabajin, I have to see him, I want to help....please." The prime had been an ally to the trolls once before, and she felt it was her purpose to continue to help them now. The weight of the responsibility was so heavy that Orihime would do anything to make it right with the trolls. 

The two trolls stood slightly, letting the frozen fields speak with the howl of the icy gust. Orunjin faced his mother who stayed silent and sighed before saying "you need to become one of us" he paused to take a deep breath before continuing, "you need to become a troll." Orihime tried to study the priestesses face for signs that her son may be bluffing but found nothing. It made sense that to keep everyone safe, and the human prime had to re-earn their trust. "But how does one become a troll?" thought the red-haired girl. 

"You have to show us all that you are troll, you will live for the trolls, that you will die as a troll" Te’Zali groaned and looked up into the snowfall before proceeding, "and you have to kill like a troll." Silence followed the troll women's words, and it made the situation more painful. The priestess then turned her back on the group and walked a few paces beyond the treeline before getting on top of her mount Bane. "Tell her what she needs to do," Te’Zali ordered Orunjin before taking off in the opposite direction from the troll village. 

Orihime studied the son of Zabajin and was grateful that he had also come to break the news of her quest to her. From being so close to him, she could not help to notice that he may have outgrown his father in height. The prime could see muscles begin to form in his forearms and underneath all of his fur coats and leather, she could see he had grown strong. He took after his dad in every way except for his face, his face was of his mothers, but his hair was a fiery red much brighter than her own and unlike anyone else's.  

The adolescent troll and the prime were left alone with his wolf and their combined thoughts. The girl tried her best to calm herself, and the water was billowing up in her vision, but she was losing the battle. With a tremble, in her voice, she asked the young troll "how do I do this?" swallowing before continuing "I will do whatever it takes to come back."

Orunjin smiled sweetly at Orihime before responding, "you need to do things you never did before," pausing to stroke the back of her hand, "you need to get scales of a dragon, teeth from a giant, and a skull from a dwarf." He then tried to force a smile, but present circumstances only allowed him to grimace. 

The ginger-haired girl was speechless and almost took her hand away from Orunjin when he started to console her again with his rough strokes to the inside of her palm. Orihime closed her eyes and thought about his words carefully before asking, "What do I do when I gather these things?" Opening her eyes to look into the troubled eyes of the troll, Orihime did her best to crack a smile. 

Orunjin released her hand and turned back and walked over to a pouch strapped to his wolf companion. Inside he pulled out a leather bag adorned with tiny bony decorations. "Once you have everything you need, you must go see the leader of all the trolls," he said as he walked back over to her, "then you must defeat a troll in combat." 

All Orihime heard was "you have to kill to survive," and that was the voice of Zabajin in her mind telling her. Nothing troubled her more than knowing that she had to take more lives to return home. Visions of blood flooded her physic, and it caused the prime to tremble uncontrollably. Who am I, what am I? 

The son of Zabajin took note of Orihime's struggles to process this information, and quickly pulled her into his arms. "It will be ok." he whispered to her while stroking the back of her fair head, "I have created a map of where you can find the items you need." He let go of Orihime before continuing, "you don't have much time, and I can not explain more because you have to go now," while handing her the leather sack. 

The prime had since stopped trying to hold her tears, and it stained her cheeks, freezing to tiny crystals. "You must do this Grodkona Kow, you are the only one who can liberate our people," clutching her hands tightly one more time before returning to mount his wolf, "I am counting on you, -- we all are." Without saying more, he rode off in the direction that Te’Zali went. 

Left all alone now, Orihime released the built up feelings she struggled to control and fell to the snowy ground. She said nothing, but let her tears fall onto the leather sachel Orunjin had left her. When she finally had the courage, she looked inside its's contents to find several maps to locations on where to see dragons and giants. Two routes, in particular, stuck out to Orihime, one was on the site of the troll village to complete her quest, and the other was for the fortress of Lord Bloodsunder. 

It didn't take long for Orunjin to catch up to his Mother and when he did, he saw that she had also struggled to hold back her emotions. He couldn't understand how his mother could have such strong feelings towards Orihime when she had never done anything wrong. In fact, the only reason why he was alive to journey beyond the fields with his mother was that of the human girl's power. 

Te’Zali let out a sound of frustration before speaking directly to her son, "how does she expect her to help our people if she is too squeamish to kill." Looking at her while they rode together, he saw that her knuckles had gone white from gripping her reins too tight. The amount of energy that his mother put into tearing down the prime was exhausting for everyone, and Orunjin had almost had enough of it. 

"I think she can" stopping to catch the angry side eye from Te’Zali before going further, "I think she will." He heard the troll woman chuckle sarcastically and then upon seeing her son's reaction she reluctantly stopped. 

"I dont know what everyone sees's in that child" the priestess hissed, "she is weak, and she will always be weak." 

Orunjin pulled the reins on his mount Sköll until they all stopped abruptly. "Mother I dont understand why you have such a problem with her?" he gritted his teeth before continuing, "what has she done to you to make you hate her so much?" 

Te’Zali took a minute to respond before saying "she is not one of us" she tried to reach for her son, but he pulled away " I just dont want you to be disappointed when she fails." 

The young troll did not believe that Orihime would fail, in fact, he knew she would do it. Looking at his mother, he taunted, "You know mom" shifting his weight on Sköll, "for being the most beautiful troll in all the lands you sure know how to be ugly." He then took off towards the direction out of the Frozen Feilds. Orunjin had never traveled outside of the ice planes before, but he understood the importance for everyone to do their part in the war to come.
[Image: 2i8ueyq.jpg]
*  Healer  -  Sheild Maiden  -  Guide To Lost Souls  -  Ginger Waifu  *
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