– Argh, so that toads fuck you! Walking here and walking!!!
The cry was addressed to a handful of very shabby-looking people who had been carried into the heart of the swamps by a hardship. And it came from a creature that blindly could be mistaken for an ordinary grumpy old woman. But if you look closely, the “old woman” showed fin-like growths instead of ears, a crest on her back and a short tail. The bare chest hung down almost to the very hips, densely covered with warts, dead toads and some kind of swamp roots dangled from the belt, and on the whole the creature made a very repulsive impression. Besides, it was clearly not in the spirit.- Get out of here, you bastards! Trampled all my water lilies, stirred up all the sludge with their legs! – A strange old woman stood on the threshold of a lopsided dugout and brandished a stick with a pommel in the form of a swamp viper. No, not in the form, with a live viper.
– Shut up, grandma. – One of the people snapped. – And it’s sick even without you. Wandered incomprehensibly where, and all the royal, his mother, majesty. “Explore new territories, glory and honor will be yours.” It would honestly said that we will have leeches in the ass! – The speaker kicked some swamp flower with his boot in annoyance. – You are yelling here, instead of inviting to the house, heat the stove …
– My! Whitefly! Kicking with your feet! – The viper at the top of the stick stirred and hissed at the creature’s cry.
– If you keep yelling, we’ll kick you. – The insolent man reached for the hilt of his sword.
Jazu, the Swamp Witch, who had lived in the swamps for more than a hundred years, could no longer endure this. The end of the stick pointed at the man, the eyes of the viper lit up with swamp lights, and the impudent one, who did not respect other people’s flowers, was shattered into pieces. The explosion was so strong that his comrades also got it. One had fragments of someone else’s teeth stuck in his cheek, another had a piece of a rib stuck in his eye. The whole group huddled together and began to back away from the witch, but she was already unstoppable.
– Invite you in the house, you say! – The man with the bone in his eye socket doubled over and began to vomit blood. – Heat the stove, you say! – With the next swing of the stick, the viper fell off the stick and flew right between the legs of the unfortunate man, who was still on his feet.
Having dealt with people, the troll-woman sat down on a swamp hummock, stretched out her legs with webbing between her fingers, removed a toad from her belt and bit off her paw with a savory crunch. She chewed, spat and thought. Over the past ten years, the number of such insolent people wandering into her swamp has grown significantly. Humans, goblins, ogres. They trampled on her flowers, frightened her viper, the scraps from them spoiled the whole view. The toads have been scared away a thousand steps around, there is nothing to brew potions from now. On the other hand, Jazu genuinely loved her swamp…
The gloomy thoughts were brazenly interrupted by a flock of hobgoblins, whooping over the bumps.
– Yes, a snag into your ass! How much is possible? Just got rid of one! – The witch leaned on a stick, stood up and prepared to punish these impudent ones. But the insolent people were clearly local, and the old woman knew firsthand about the heavy disposition. Therefore, they stood up as if rooted to the spot at the first sounds of her voice and made large ingratiating eyes.
– Do not be angry, wise Jazu. Forgetten ourselfs because of great joy.
– What is your joy? – Jazu narrowed her eyes and pointed a clawed finger at the hobgoblin. – Well, lay it out, otherwise your guts will hang there. – The witch moved her finger to the branch of the nearest tree.
– We are going to war! Orcs are gathering a horde. They promise a lot of booty, new lands, young slaves to everyone.
Horde you say? Lands? – The troll-woman sat back on the hummock and thought. Taking advantage of the moment and trying not to make noise, the hobgoblins ran on.
Jazu did not like to fight. Slaves. Though young, even old, she also didn’t need it for nothing. But to find a quieter corner so that all the catechumens near the house would not roam – this idea seemed very attractive.
Grunting and scratching a wart on her chin, the Swamp Witch Jazu hobbled towards her dugout. The old woman was going to war.
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