You've already met Amiri, the iconic barbarian, but you've never seen her like this! Enjoy the following piece of short fiction from James L. Sutter in the first of our series of Iconic Encounters—brief vignettes of the iconic characters showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition.
Snow whipped around Amiri as she stepped out from behind the rock, letting her cloak drop away. "That's far enough."
The giant looked down in surprise. Tattoos the color of woad swirled across ice-blue skin as he towered over her, the axes in his hands taller than Amiri herself. Yet she had eyes only for the broken horn on his helm. This was him, all right.
"Hail, Agmundr Jarl." Amiri knew it was pointless to feign diplomacy, but her employers had been insistent. They still thought they could solve this without blood. Never mind that blood was all that ever really solved anything. Even now, White Elk scouts were hiding in the cliffs, watching to see if she could truly do what she claimed. "The White Elk Clan greets you," she said sternly, "and will trade if you wish, but your band may not enter their territory. The council forbids it."
The frost giant stared for a moment, then guffawed, a thunderous shout that threatened to bring down an avalanche and bury them both. The frozen waterfall of his beard split in a malicious grin.
"Forbid?" His voice was the groaning of glaciers. "Prey does not forbid. Prey runs, and the hunter pursues."
"So you agree we're done talking, then." Amiri unslung the sword from her back.
The jarl's grin widened as he took in Amiri's oversized weapon. "A giant's blade! And what will you do with that, little ermine? Shelter beneath it?"
"Stick around and find out."
Amiri hoisted the sword. Immediately, her biceps began to shake, her shoulders cramping. She bit down hard, teeth grinding as she tried to steady her traitorous muscles by sheer force of will. Yet the sword's point still bobbed like a ship at sea.
"You're too weak, little ermine." Agmundr laughed again and spat, the spittle freezing in midair with a crack. "And the time for weakness has passed. The last war is nearly upon us."
There it was, then. War. It had always been coming, as inevitable as the winter snows. Amiri had known that even before accepting the White Elk Clan's offer.
Yet now she knew nothing. Red haze settled across her vision, painting white snow a prophetic crimson. Her heart beat in her temples, a war drum throb that flowed hot through her limbs. Pulsing. Eager.
"Say it again," she growled.
"You're weak." He leered down at her, eyes alight. "Too weak to fight. Too weak to even make a proper slave. Nothing but dripping fat and marrow for the cook fire."
The cold was a distant memory. Inside Amiri's chest, a blast furnace opened its doors. Her ears filled with its roar.
The sword steadied, point going as still as a rock viper.
The giant's eyes widened.
"You're right about one thing, Jarl." She smiled. "War is coming. So let's get started."
Sword held high, she raced up the slanted stone. Axes made to fell watchtowers rose into guard position as the giant stepped back. In her hands, Amiri's giant-made blade sang, its frost-forged steel suddenly light as a willow switch, longing for the blood of its makers.
Around them, the storm shrieked, savage and unstoppable.
Amiri screamed with it.
Check back next week for another Iconic Encounter. Until then, Pathfinders, rage on!