With a practiced hand, he drew a large circle with chalk and inscribed several runes within it, two for strength, three for protection. It was not sufficient; it never was. But it was all there was time for. Taking his place inside, he mumbled a few syllables under his breath and the lines began to glow.
The door swung open with some force, and a man stepped through. “On your feet, mage!” It seemed obvious he had practiced that.
“No.” Ice allowed himself a tiny smile.
The Terrgat drew his sword. “Get up, or I will run you through right here.”
“You intend to do that anyway. I have no interest in making it easier for you.”
As if that had been the sign he was waiting for, the Terrgat thrust his sword towards Ice. It glanced off of the barrier he had erected.
“I have studied that medallion you wear. It protects against magic cast directly at you, but it does not let you circumvent barriers. You cannot touch me.”
After a few more swings, the Terrgat appeared to accept Ice’s claim. He sheathed his blade and glared at the mage. “So you are protected in there. But for how long? I will wait. You cannot escape.”
Ice said nothing; he simply watched the man pace about the room. The Terrgat had a point about being tramped, but his impatience was evident. How long would he be willing to wait for Ice to lower his barrier?
Only a few minutes went by before he spoke again. “Why delay this? Are you hoping to be rescued? By whom? End this now.”
“I think I will stay right here.” Ice decided to try to force the issue. “But it is rather warm in here. Perhaps you would be willing to open the window?”
“No, I…” He caught himself up short. “That is a good idea.” The Terrgat left the room and returned quickly with a lit log from the fire in the public room. He tossed it on the bed. “Perhaps you are safe from my sword. But if heat still bothers you, you may want to come out now.” He stood smirking, pleased with his own cleverness.
Ice smiled again. “Do you know me?”
“Just another mage that people need to be protected against.”
“Well, I suppose you are correct after a fashion, but I am not just any mage.”
The flames had gotten higher and begun to spread, engulfing the entire bed. The Terggat was beginning to look worried. “If you are not eager to be burned alive, you should come out now.”
“I will be fine. But I think your medallion will offer you little protection.” The room was fully ablaze now. Ice could tell that the heat was nearly unbearable; only his magic kept his small circle safe. Fire magic had always eluded him, but it was a simple matter to protect against mundane heat. “Perhaps you should go now.”
The Terrgat scowled at him, but the fire was already pushing him out of the room. His departure was timely, for the room itself was beginning to come apart. With his would be captor gone, Ice cast a version of his heat ward that would travel with him. While the Terrgat was explaining the situation to the owner and trying to clear out the inn, Ice was able to sneak out the window and into the night.