“I’m cold…” complained one soldier, rubbing his hands ineffectually on his armored biceps.
“What do you expect from the mountains?” commented his nearest companion, “They’re cold.”
“Not in summer,” responded the first.
“What does it matter? Suck it up. What kind of cultivator are you to worry about a little cold?”
“It’s getting colder…” A chill wind blew through the pass, blowing ice and snow onto the faces of the small army travelling through.
“Just s-shut up,” the second soldier said. “The c-commander won’t like to hear us chattering.”
A few moments later, the blowing snow turned into a full blizzard. The soldiers could barely hear their commander shouting ahead of them. “Push on, men! We can be down the mountain before evening! A little cold won’t kill cultivators like us!”
The first to fall was a warrior, joints of his armor frozen by the cold. Nobody around saw him go down, and the feeling of ice and snow covering him froze his thoughts of trying to break the ice- or do anything at all.
At this point, any of those who could do fire magic were warming themselves… but they couldn’t keep up with the cold. One by one, figures were lost in the storm- unable to see the man next to them, they walked onward, only stopping when they stepped on a fallen companion. They could no longer hear anything but the howling wind, and the only thing they could see was the snow immediately surrounding them and the barest hint of the sun in the sky.
By the time anyone noticed the magic at play, it was already too late. The five hundred men were already at the epicenter of a storm that would never be caused by nature- at least not in any normal mountain. Such a storm could not last forever… but it could freeze a normal human to death in a matter of minutes, regardless of warm clothing. Cultivators below the master level froze within ten minutes. Those few of higher tier died shortly after- the majority of the efforts were concentrated on them. Only the commander, a fifth tier warrior, made it out of the pass and down the mountain. He barely made it out of the storm, only to be met by an older man blocking his path with a smile.
“Be on your way to whichever hell you find least favorable.” The old man raised his hands, and the mountain on either side moved with them- an avalanche of snow buried the warrior commander, pressing down on him with its weight and its chill. The commander moved and struggled, calling on all energy and the strength of his body- but he was already weakened from traversing the storm. The snow and ice piled higher and higher, and spikes of ice stabbed into his flesh.
It wasn’t long before the storm faded, but nothing could be seen of the army, or even the pass. It was completely covered in snow… but soon it started melting very slowly under the summer sun. The old man walked along on top of the snow that was just starting to slosh, reaching down a hand. Out from the snow shot a body covered in robes.
“Fascinating,” the old man commented. “Frozen… but not dead.” With a strike of his gaunt old hand, the body shattered into pieces, and the old man waited for a few moments, then nodded. “It almost worked too.” The old man turned west to start the trek back across the mountains towards Bittercold Peak, several mountains away.
Barrett looked over the squad he was in. Their injuries were minimal- cuts and gashes, some broken bones… nothing much. Of course, the duelists who were injured might have said differently, but they would survive. Barrett looked over those who had been hit by curses, starting with himself. As far as he could tell, there were no lingering effects. Without preparation, curses would run out of mana to sustain themselves after causing a certain amount of harm. The necromancers hadn’t been planning to fight in the immediate future- they’d only had a few handfuls of seconds to realize they would be attacked. Victoria had a personal grudge with Barrett, and had been waiting nearby invisible. She’d had several minutes and reason to make the curse stick- it wasn’t part of a battle, but the whole battle, which Barrett supposed he had lost at the time.
The army from Ruclua had withdrawn- though they had lost no more than a few thousand, only ten or twenty percent of their numbers, the strike teams had for the most part been very effective, taking out many of their best cultivators. Barrett wasn’t sure if they would try another assault, but he didn’t think it could possibly be more effective for them.
Kail was found in the medical tent with his chest torn open. He saw Barrett walk in and smiled, “Hah. Look what happened to me this time!”
Shanta flicked Kail on the forehead, her hands briefly stopping their stitching up of his insides. “Quiet! No talking while your chest is open.”
Barrett watched carefully as Shanta worked on Kail. It didn’t seem to be too dangerous in the grand scheme of things. Kail was still conscious and not bleeding that much. He was clearly in great pain, but most anesthetic didn’t work as well on cultivators. Barrett could see Shanta finish stitching up something around Kail’s heart- moving a needle deep inside of him with flicks of her fingers- then start stitching his muscles to bone, finally ending with stitches on the skin which didn’t quite cover everything. Then Kail was wrapped in special bandages and given a salve to stop the bleeding… and finally fell unconscious.
Shanta came over to Barrett, “Need anything?”
Barrett shook his head, “Just heard Kail was here. How is he?”
She shrugged, “He’ll be fine. If his body wasn’t as hard as steel he would have been two half people, but he should recover.” Shanta looked over Barrett, “You don’t seem like you’ll need my help. You look pretty much healed already… maybe the two week mark?”
Barrett shrugged, “I mean, it has been an hour since the battle.”
“Hmm. Just make sure to visit a healer quickly if anything is out of place. Wouldn’t do to have it heal wrong.”
Barrett nodded. That said, he could fix most of that on his own just fine… it was just an effort of will to set bones properly, and his magic bandages kept everything in place for the short time it took to heal. Only first or second tier Immortal Berserkers needed a healer for most circumstances- a third tier Immortal Berserker who had fifteen minutes where they weren’t actually bleeding to death would basically become stable, since that equated to a day’s worth of healing. Of course, that was only for superficial wounds like shallow cuts- broken bones could still heal out of place, muscles still needed to be properly connected… but with Pure Body Tempering and a True Immortal Body, Barrett wasn’t that concerned with those issues.