Anayye swept one arm forward, palm out, and the other back, blade in hand, poising it above her head for a strike that followed with blinding quickness. The curved blade, longer than a human man stood tall, whistled through the air effortlessly, quickly reversed to defend from an imaginary foe.
Spinning and twirling through her training routine, the woman's red-orange skin gave off a simmering heat-haze, the cool night air around her heated to blistering temperatures by her exertion. The billowing fabrics of her clothing, resistant to her natural heat, snapped too and fro as it was dragged behind her body motions, dancing atop the desert sands.
With the last motion of her practice, her blade caught both the glint of moonlight and the edges of her burnt-brown hair, shaving a bit from its ends; thus keeping it the same length it had been for years. She planted the blade into the ground, the pommel left hip high, and began a series of stretches as she observed her surroundings one last time before sleep.
The horizon wavered, rose and fell with the sands and rocky outcroppings of the desert; the moon painting cool colors across the land, pools of shadow gathering behind the dunes and stone pinnacles. In the distance, there was the glint of water, an oasis she presumed. Looking closer, pondering if she should stop there the next day Anayye saw that there was an odd coloration there; white.
Nothing natural in the wastes was that color, that was certain, and the Ildjotun's mind turned immediately to her quarry. She snatched her blade from the ground as was off like a shot, sliding easily down the sides of dunes and up the next in loping strides; blasts of forge-hot heat melting the sand to glass where she needed footholds.
Topping one final rise, she spotted the oasis; a typical scene almost, with it's circular pool and few scraggly shrubs and trees clinging on in this hostile place. But it was entirely wrong, the place was frozen, water flashed to ice as clear as the purest glass, frost and snow covering the plants and drifting down from a dark unnatural cloud that hovered about the place.
With a few quick tugs, her pack slipped from her back and landed with a soft thud. She stepped onto the frost, frozen plants crackling beneath her sandaled feet. The cold crept in at her, and she took a deep breath, once more beginning to simmer. The haze of heat melted the frozen ground in a wide circle around her, a mist arising about her and each footfall producing a burst of steam.
Approaching the pool with the utmost caution, Annaye gently placed one foot upon the ice, only to pull it back as the surface shifted with a burst of steam and an enraged growl, A sound of ice grating and shifting.
Three hopping steps backwards and Anayye was clear as the ice began to lift and emit a light of it's own, slowly resolving into a rough humanoid form projected waist-up from the frozen water. A rogue elemental set loose by some wizard's negligence perhaps. The reason was unimportant; what was important was that it had attacked a trade caravan, and it simply wouldn't do to let it repeat the action.
The creature swung one bludgeon-fisted arm towards her, and Annayee leaned out of the way, the close presence of the frozen hulk sending a chill through her. But it had evaporated some of the Elemental as well, again eliciting a growl of pain. The heat rising from her body was perhaps Anayye's greatest weapon, but if it came too it, the massive thing contained enough focused cold to douse her body's magical heat.
Far more than enough; the torso above the water towered over her, and Anayye herself was thrice the height of the average human easily. This was not the beast she had expected to fight; a thing the size of a camel, the trader's had said. At least by the time it made off with their water, she realized. The water offered by this spring easily allowed it to sustain itself, reaching it's full potential.
It reared back for another attack, slamming it's fist down at her, and Anayye danced back with a dismayed shout, but gather her wits and driving her blade into the massive chunk of ice. warmed by her contact, the folded steel cut easily into the beast in another burst of steam, but as it drew back once more, she saw the damage was minimal; the cut simply froze back together.
A moment's hesitation played out between them; giantess and elemental realizing they would not win this fight so easily, if at all. Anayye slowly began to pace a circle, her foe slowly turning to maintain facing her, the ice crackling as it moved. The oasis fed it strength; there was just so much water it could freeze to be part of itself; and Anayye was no sorceress able to undo the creatures bindings to this world, or simply incinerate it all regardless.
After a long moment though, she began to consider a cunning plan, that hinged on the creatures lack of the same. Blade held before her, her bounding leaps carried her directly at the creature with seeming abandon, her footfalls onto the iced pool flaring up a cloud of steam as it swung at her once again with a wide horizontal blow.
Calling upon all her control, Anayye directed every ounce of heat in her body towards that blow, so that it connected with her in an explosion of steam that propelled her backwards, but softened the force of it. She rolled onto the ground, sore and bruised, but still ready to fight. However, she'd not let the monster know this.
It saw only it's smaller foe slowly crawling away from it, dragging one arm listlessly in defeat. Letting out a resounding roar like snow cascading down a mountain side, it began to lift itself up from the pool, forming clunky legs and giving chase.
Each footstep it took rattle Anayye, but she held firm to her ruse until it was right atop her, turned over to see it raising a fist high into the air, even it's faceless misshapen "head" managing to convey malevolent triumph.
With speed belying her size, the red-skinned woman tucked herself tight and sprang away, blade moving in an arc to sever the creatures leg from it's body. With another roar, this one of pain and annoyance, it began to round on her, but she was moving once more, jumping again to place both feet firmly on it's leg and kicking out, sending it away before it could refreeze to the beast.
Both of the clashing giants fell to the ground, but Anayye was infinitely the quicker, channeling her heat and jumping upon the beasts chest, raising a sword that glowed red-hot in both hands before plunging it towards the coldest, solidest place visible through the translucent mass.
her blade drove deep in a fountain of super-heated vapor, and just nicked something more solid than the ice. A guttural noise issued from the creature as a whole, and it froze in place, ceasing to move. Jumping aside, Anayye observed it for long moments, expecting some sort of trick perhaps. her attack had, it seemed, rendered her opponent nothing more than a crude sculpture, quickly melting in her presence without its animating magic.
Stepping closer, she drove her sword into it again, melting a hole with ease, towards where she had struck. Amidst the darkened central shape of ice, she withdrew a stone, as long as her hand, cylindrical and banded in a shining metal that her blade had dragged a scar across.
The creatures heart, rendered inert by the damage. But still oh-so valuable to many.
Letting out an elated shout of victory and luck, Anayye pocketed the stone and dashed to her things, eager to continue her journey now. If she could only find a trustworthy buyer, surely she'd eat like a queen by the morrow!