v) Grumalla freezes

Grumalla freezes. So do our heroes. It’s cold, you see.

A frigid tension fills the air. Only the distant cracking of ice is heard.

“Well,” Grumalla says. “You gonna?”

Abia, Cang, and Fassn turn to Shyan.

“No way,” Fassn says. “Too big, too big.”

“Of course, we have been promised a reward,” Cang says.

“Maybe.” Abia says. A look of concern settles on her face.

Shyan turns back to Grumalla. “No,” she says. “But you can’t kill any more Jiko children. They have a right to life, just as you do.”

Grumalla exhales, and a great, steaming cloud comes along with it. “Then you condemn me to starve,” it says. “I’ll waste away, and this land along with it.” Its great head drops, to study the snowy ground.

Shyan lets a hand drop casually to the hilt of her blade. “Think carefully,” she says.

Grumalla fixes a stare at her. “All shall freeze,” it says.

It stands, stoic, as the group departs. Without moving a stringy, atrophied muscle, Grumalla watches them go.

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