June 17, 2000
Our tale begins not so long ago on an early monday morning. The sun had just risen on this cold winters day, the wind gently blew the ancient trees that surrounded city to and fro, the beams of golden light slowly crept over magnificent towers.
The worn cobbled stone streets still covered in a thin icy frost glistened in the morning light. As the sun slowly staggered over the moss green horizon the buildings of this mystical place began to show themselves. The darkness of the streets retreated back, back to await another day till its return. Life was re-awakening in this now quiet city, a city that is the life and blood of mostly all who live in this wonderful land.... the City of Medievia was reborn for another day.
There were very few people within the streets of the city at this precarious time of the morning. The night patrol of Medievian guardsmen were just completing their final run before the new day shift took over.
Their boots and armor were one of the very few noises in the morning that could be heard in mostly every corner of the city. They did not try maintain quiet, they had no such intentions of being silent no matter who complained. At this time of the morning there are many 'characters' that use the advantage of the peace to go about their criminal ways, so the guardsman made it very loud and very clear that it would be safer to leave the city than to rather try their patience .
There were also local workmen preparing to start their tasks, a few locals going about their early morning business, a familiar sound of sweeping echoed through the streets as the janitors began their life-threatening work.
Lastly there were the shop owners, opening up before sun rise to conduct another days business and earn a living to survive. Many shops would not expect customers till the sun was well into midday, but for few the early hours of the morning were the best time for business to take place. Many citizens continued to sleep as their world began to wake up .
The air was still chilly, its smell was fresh and sweet,refreshing but at the same time awakening, within its early morning scent were a melting pot of different smells. From hot pasteries from the bakery to molten steel from the armoury.
Along with that the wind carried along with it the sound of horse shoes clopping against the ground, the trickle of a fountain somewhere near the courtyards and the most irritating rooster crowing, which would usually be followed by familiar screech from the very same rooster as someone threw something at it .
As the locals began the day, two very weary, very battle worn travellers were finishing theirs. Both were completely covered from head to toe with old long dusty travelling cloaks. The cloth of the cloaks were clearly wearing thin, one cloak a old musty brown the other a dark moss green - both had the unmistakeable splotches of blood and battle usage .
The figures walked slowly down the cobblestone road, passing Alfred the vagrant. The green cloaked traveller halted and turned to him, his companion stopped a few feet later and waited. After a few moments of talking the green cloaked figure shuffled underneath his cloak and extended his black gloved hand out dropping a few gold coins into Alfred's shivering hands, he then turned and joined his friend as the continued down the road .
"What did he say?" the brown cloaked man quietly asked.
"Nothing much , it was mostly the chattering of his teeth that could be heard, but he did say that there was trouble with a particular dragon we know."
Both continued walking down the street along side each other, both giving no hint of who or what they were from the cloaks that concealed their bodies from the entire outside world. As they passed the shops down the street few people actually paid any attention to them, so much so that they had to step aside to let three horse mounted adventurers pass .
"Hmph.. didn't anyone teach them any manners?" Grumbled the brown cloaked traveler letting his voice be heard by even the horsemen, who paid no attention and went on their way.
"Pay no attention to them," the green cloaked man said.
"I'm not in the mood for this at that moment."
They continued on their way passing the Public Baths, its scented steam filled the cold air with a faint unfamiliar aroma, the heat from the baths warming the street and anyone passing by. They continued down market street, their pace was not fast nor was it slow as they entered the city's main courtyard.
Not stopping to look around both men turned into Avadale Road heading along it till Fury street was in sight, they glanced at each other and nodded. The air was salty and damp as they continued westwards passing by the Safe Harbour Inn, its doors were still closed and it seemed no one was up yet.
"Typical," one man sighed. They both walked farther down Fury till they reached Vileblood street.
The frost covered cobblestone was cracked and stained with greasy splotches of saltwater and oil. Along its shadowy corners lay The Pitch Bucket bar. Not one of the most respectable of places but it was a place that served decent ale and enjoyable food without anyone taking much notice of anyone else, and this is what both men desired.
Upon passing through the doorway both cloaked man stopped and stood at the entrance, for those in the room that were unsure of what they were doing. It would seem to them that these two mysterious strangers were waiting for someone to serve them, but in actual fact both were studying the Bars' occupants .
Just as a grotesquely oboist workman who was seated to the right of the doorway was going to tell them that they would have to serve themselves, his chair suddenly broke sending the pig of a man crashing to the floor.
Both travellers hoods turned towards the pitiful excuse for a man who was obviously drunk beyond imagination. The stench of what smelled like beer was so potent that it hit the cloaked men like a horse kicking them in the groin, one of them raised his gloved hand in front of his covered face waving it as if to clear the air before him .
It was not clear how such a man could actually be a workman but it was clear that he was not getting up for the rest of the day. Sprawled out on the floor he lay on top of what now must be a completely pulverised chair snoring his head off very loudly, but within a few moments other more slim workmen arrived to drag him away. A roar of laughter suddenly echoed through the room as all of its occupants watched the man being dragged out.
This was short and quickly seized as everyone turned back to what they were doing, but all eyes were now fixed on the two new arrivals who had stood silent the whole time. As if practiced both slowly stepped towards the counter, the green cloaked man brushed off his seat and sat quietly, his cloaked friend remained standing as he scanned the chalk menu of the wall ahead of them.
The counter was directly opposite the entrance on the other side of the room, it was a solidly carved mahogany counter at least 4 feet wide and ran from one side of the room to the other. It was stained with what had to be ale, beer and something the seemed very similar to vomit.
On the other side of the counter was a small chalk signboard (that mostly consisted of beer), stocked beneath it the bar's liquor. This was conatined in some very large and medium sized barrels, nine barrels in total. The rest of the room was pretty much the same as the other buildings, the wood-boarded walls and roof were old, mouldy but reasonable decent.
The room was a large square at least 20 metres from the doorway to the other side of the room and perhaps 20 metres wide. The stone floor looked well swept from that morning and hadn't been messed up 'yet'. Although there were what must have been twelve lanterns the room still seemed very dark (this was perfect for some customers that did not wished to be bothered) .
Still standing the brown cloaked man quietly whispered to his friend.
"I count at least seventeen people ."
"As do I, don't know any of them so there is no need to worry now would you please take your seat I'm starving here," he whispered back.
"Why don't you use your mana a create some food?" asked the Brown cloaked man.
"Because it won't be hot food!" he snapped quietly.
"I want nice, enjoyable cooked food for once. It's been a very long night - I'm cold, wet, stiff, bruised and starving. Now sit down and called the barman before my mood gets worse and I end up using my mana on you!"
Upon hearing this the cloaked man quickly did so not wanting to try his friend. After a few minutes the Bartender brought them two plates of meat, cheese and some bread, as well as two jugs of mild ale. Raising his gloved hands the brown cloaked man reached for his hood and revealed his face. This attracted the eyes of many of the people within the room .
He was a young man of most probably the age of twenty, dark shoulder-length hair and sharp green, eyes and unshaven. His face was cut and slightly bruised and it was clear the he been in a recent fight. This was not new for the warrior for he was Earl Larhawk - The Sworn Paladin of The Sepulchers of Eilistraee. For those who didn't know he was just another boy (which he particularly hated being referred to as).
His companion did the same shortly afterwards, he to was young but not as young as Larhawk. His hair was shoulder length midnight black that glistened in the darkness and his eyes were cold and dark. His face was pale but showing power and danger. This man was Duke Raoulore - High Advocate of The Sepulchers of Eilistraee .
They both sat eating their food when a huge bartender stepped towards the bar and casually asked. "So what you boys doing in here this early?"
Both Raoulore and Larhawk looked up at the giant man and exchanged a quick glance at one another.
"Do you not think that is our business and none of yours?" Larhawk asked.
"Yes it might, but its my business to know who is a common thug and a decent man," smirked the man.
Not willing to stretch this into a lengthy debate Raoulore decided to satisfy the arrogant fool. "We have just returned from an unfortunate supply run from the City of Trellor, are you happy?"
"Ha!" laughed a heavy female voice. "You 'boys' probably ran home to your mothers to cry after you wet your pants. "
The entire bar exploded with the thunderous roar of laughter - it seemed as if everyone except Larhawk and Raoulore were finding the insult very funny. Even the bartender was snickering under his breath.
Completely unaffected by the remark, Raoulore continued eating his food and taking a long hard gulp of beer from his jug. He heard a low growl and wondered if that was his stomach telling him something, but he realised Larhawk hadn't touched his food and had turned to face the far right corner of the counter, the very place that voice had come from. Raoulore softly groaned as he already knew what it meant.
Larhawk looked towards the far corner of the bar. There under the soft lantern light sat a very interesting woman. Her appearance told him that she was foreign, her clothes told him that she was a warrior. On her were thick black leather boots, tight fitting brown leather pants with spiked knee guards.
A large combat belt holding several daggers, knives, pouches and a sheathed sword was buckled tightly around her strong waist. She wore a long-sleeved leather shirt topped by a black leather jerkin and on her hands were heavy, steel gauntlets that reached to her elbows.
Just by looking at her Larhawk knew she was taller than him, her long blonde braided hair reached far behind her shoulders. She had a strong, hard face that was nicely tanned with sky-blue eyes. At first glance she would be actually quite beautiful, at second glance she would have most probably punched you in the face and kicked you in the groin .
"Who are you to say what we are, do you know what really happened?" After slowly sipping her firebreather she shot an irritating smirk towards him and said.
"No why don't you tell me about it ....boy !"
Larhawk held his rage with all his strength and used it to focus. And so Larhawk began telling his and Raoulore's tale. Of how the run had begun with little difficulties and proceed to do so till they were little more than ten miles from their goal.
When they were both suddenly taken by surprise, the ambush was quick and well timed but poorly manned. Larhawk told his listener how the bandits had blocked them and rushed forward, the ambush took seconds to complete, Larhawk had begun slaying his attackers left and right, impaling one man through the heart while kicking another's head in.
Raoulore was seen stabbing a bandit through the neck ripping his gullet clear out. Another two mens' heads were sent flying from a swipe from Larhawk's sword. Raoulore had used his clerical skills to blind another bandit who died painfully by several knives that were then thrown into his skull .
The woman snickered and nodded for Larhawk to continue. He then described how he had killed another man before being thrown to the ground from a flying axe, that wedged into his left shoulder. Raoulore continued to cut down the rest of the attackers while his injured friend did the same .
"The fight didn't last much longer,"Larhawk explained.
Just as the last two bandits were slaughtered a pair of unseen men had stolen their wagons. After Raoulore had gathered his weapons and healed his wounded friend both set out to recapture their freight.
"A few hours had passed before we finally caught up with them."
The woman smiled slyly as he told her this. After killing the two men to reclaim their wagons, Raoulore and Larhawk were suddenly besieged by a horde of Kobolds. It had not taken much to scare them off but Raoulore had been badly stabbed in the leg and had been limping for quite some time. As they had continued along the road they heard the familiar sound of a Dragon's roar. "We both knew what this meant," Larhawk said.
"And it wasn't long till we were diving into the bushes just as a young ruby dragon attacked. It tore our poor horses to shreds and devastated our wagons. "
With a sigh Larhawk continued by saying how they hid till the beast had left and then started a long tiresome return, they had walked all night to arrive back in the City of Medievia that morning.
With a scornful laugh the woman bellowed. "Do you expect us to believe such a story? I certainly doubt that you two mommy's boys could have done that, you must have been robbed along the way here and are trying to make it sound more macho ...(she laughed) !"
She then took another gulp of her firebreather and continued. "You boys don't look anything like men and wouldn't know what a fight was if you even started one." The entire bar was now listening to the exchange between Larhawk and this woman.
"And who do you think you are to make that kind of statement!" Larhawk snapped.
"I am Xanchu`Le, best mercenary of Medievia ," She announced proudly.
"Whatever ...... but at least I have the guts to admit that we lost our fight, unlike you who has probably not even seen what a REAL fight is," Larhawk fumed
"Are you challenging me !" Xanchu said stunned.
"If I was I doubt that you would be much of one." Larhawk said coldly. "By the way I hope you choke on your firebreather."
Raoulore moaned as he already knew that had been the last of it. He had known Larhawk for almost a decade and knew that Larhawk respected women as being equals to men, but this woman had pushed just too hard .
He heard the sound of a stool falling to the ground and someone charging towards them. Raoulore although not really interested in what was going to happen turned to see a large and very angry woman charging towards Larhawk, who he noted was standing straight up and not moving .
Xanchu'le had drawn her sword and held it high in her right hand as she charged, and just as she brought it crashing down Larhawk quickly reached within his cloak and withdrew his Magnificent Sword of ice, he just as quickly moved himself into a defence posture.
The sound of the two swords rang throughout the room. All attention was now fixed on a woman's slash and a man's block. Larhawk held his sword inches above his head in a horizonal angle with Xanchu's blade pushing its edge .
She was straining to push down harder as Larhawk concentrated on holding her back. Raoulore noticed her sudden look of confusion as she realised not only had Larhawk blocked her but was wielding a warrior's weapon. She quickly glanced down at the opening of his cloak and saw strange looking armor, some of which she probably didn't even recognise.
Her expression of confusion quickly changed into a look of disbelief. This didn't last because just as quickly she attacked Larhawk had twisted his grip of his sword and suddenly released it allowing Xanchu's blade to fall past him and dig into the edge of the bar .
Raoulore quickly raised an eyebrow in a questioning manner towards Larhawk, the blade was no more than four or five inches away from his hand as he had been reaching for his friend's untouched plate of food. He had decided Larhawk would be to busy to eat so he would do it for him but if he was a few inches farther his hand would end up being the main course.
"Would you please watch what you are doing," Raoulore asked with a hurt expression.
"Sorry!" Larhawk blurted.
He quickly brought his sword crashing down on top of Xanchu's embedded blade while at the same time kicking upwards, this action forced Xanchu's hand free from the sword sending her stumbling back. She still focused on her blade not taking her eyes off it as she tried to reach for one of her knives, she gripped one and glanced up, just in time too see Larhawk spinning on his left leg with his back slightly arched while sending his right foot crashing into her face.
The sudden force of the impact and Xanchu's unawareness was enough to send the warrior woman flying backwards. Larhawk had already twisted around to face the counter once again just as she smashed into one of the round bar tables near the centre of the room. It was followed by the sound of drunk protests from those sitting there, falling jugs, the splashing of beer against the ground and the muffled noises of people being piled onto .
"See there was nothing to worry about," Larhawk said with a smile to his less than amused friend.
"We'll just have to see about tha-... ," Raoulore mumbled as he bit into a piece of cheese .
"Hey! Who said you could eat my food ?!?" Larhawk protested not noticing the soft sound of fast footsteps which were approaching very quickly.
"I guessed you were going to be too busy to eat and I was right," Raoulore stopped to sip some of Larhawk's beer, calmly added, "Behind you ."
"Hu-... ?" Larhawk began but was suddenly interrupted by a black booted foot slamming into him from behind.
The force was so strong it hurdled Larhawk forward over the counter where he disappeared below its edge with a thunderous crash. The sound reminded Raoulore of a barrel splitting, but he didn't bother to check.
To his side was a very messy and very angry Xanchu'le. She was a mess in many ways. One of which was her shirt, which was torn slightly over left shoulder, this revealed a lovely dark olive tan, then on her chest lying between a beer soaked jerkin was a large brown stain which Raoulore guessed to be veal. Her leather pants were torn by the right knee and finally her beautiful blonde hair was wet and shaggy from spilt beer .
She was puffing and panting from the short burst she had used to land her dropkick, suddenly she noticed Raoulore examining her.
"Would you like to try!" she roared. Seemingly unamused Raoulore slowly turned back to his (Larhawk's) meal and just before he took a bite out of a piece bread he smiled.
"Trust me you are going to be far to busy to take me on," he said slyly.
"And just what exactly is that suppose to mean ?"
But before Raoulore could answer a soaked black glove shot up behind from the bar and quickly grabbed the rail. Slowly a beer drenched Larhawk raised himself to his feet, his travelling cloak was gone which finally revealed his unique armor ,strange items of armor that were painstakingly collected from nearly every corner of the land .
Larhawk was just as much of a mess as Xanchu, his hair was soaked and dripping of what smelled like stale ale, his face was pasted with saw dust as well as a small trickle of blood flowed down from the corner of his mouth.
Sawdust also covered his shoulders, left arm and most probably the rest of his back, his clothes were stained torn and slightly sagged down. Raoulore noted that Larhawk's face was twisted in rage and his panting was loud enough to be heard from over the counter.
"How could you even be standing?!? Xanchu spluttered. "I've been able to put down horses with that kick!"
"Well that's not much of a kick then, you are just gonna have too try again!" Larhawk snarled as he launched himself over the counter .
This startled Raoulore for even he didn't expect Larhawk to recover that quickly. Nor did Xanchu who was the most startled, seeing a fully armored man, who was very ticked off, bolting towards her.
Larhawk flew towards his opponent at high speed grabbing hold of her left shoulder and right arm, then bending his legs to add on the momentum which he used to throw her back while at the same time using his weight as leverage to keep her from countering him.
Both fighters hurtled backwards in the air and crashed on top of another fully ladened table. The weight of Xanchu and the added weight of Larhawk was far too much, with a splintering crash both fighters fell to the floor as the table's legs gave way.
The impact of the table hitting the ground was so strong that it knocked the wind out of Xanchu and had sent Larhawk rolling forward, his momentum had not only helped him but was also his downfall as it actually had continued to send him forward. He rolled against the hard, cold stone floor painfully, then slammed face first into a solid wood wall and finally flopped to the floor.
Moaning loudly he turned onto his side and tried to get to his feet, his head pounding in a quick bursts of pain. "Smart Lar REAL smart, why don't you just dive into the wall next time," he thought. He managed get one foot up while kneeling with the other, after shaking his head a bit he looked up see the female warrior leaping up into the air .
"Oh no," he moaneded. Xanchu's leg shot out just at the last second to make a perfectly timed connection with Larhawk's chest. The pain shot through his body as her foot made full contact, he felt his feet lift off the ground as his body flew backwards .
"Not again!" he shouted.
The impact with the wooden wall was harder than he expected. As he crashed into it, he was driven several inches past the boards and into the spacing separating the walls.
He felt a number of splinters digging into his cloth-covered flesh that unfortunately wasn't protected by armor, the kick had knocked the wind of his lungs and most probably bruised a rib or two. The collision with the wall had also hurt him in some way that he was not even sure about.
"That's really gonna leave a mark," Larhawk thought. He leaned forward pulling himself out of the newly made hole, he then staggered to his feet wobbling a bit in doing so and looked up. Xanchu'le stood a few feet before him in a relaxed way, breathing lightly.
"Stupid. REAL stupid," Raoulore thought, he had turned to watch the action when Larhawk had leapt passed and was now calmly chewing an overly well-done piece of meat. He watched as a small group of men gathered behind him to see what was going to happen.
"Well how was that kick then, huh ?" Xanchu mocked with that sly smile of hers. Larhawk concentrated hard on the woman as he stood straight up in slight agony.
"Not bad, but next time try putting your weight into it," he paused . "Like this!" As he took a quick step forward with his left leg and throwing his right high up towards her head.
But Xanchu had seen it in time and had sidestepped, Larhawk had thrown all of his strength into this kick and had no time to stop it.
This was very unfortunate for the goofy-eyed drunk that had been standing behind Xanchu admiring her strong 'build'. He never saw the kick coming even after she had sidestepped, it was swift and made a loud thud as it nailed the man in the head.
All that was seen was a limp body flying across the room and crashing into another full table of customers. The entire bar stared in amazement at the now unconscious man, even Raoulore. Larhawk and Xanchu'le stopped and watched the limp body roll off the table as its occupants started to curse.
Even Raoulore had not expected that to happen, and with his gaping mouth fixed into disbelief, he slowly turned to look at a now frozen wide eyed Larhawk. All eyes were now fixed on him, stood as he was still in a kicking position.
"Oops. Well its not like he wasn't going to wake up with a headache anyway right?"
"Hey! He's a good friend of mine!" A man blurted standing up from another table.
"Well, good, then you can t--- ," Larhawk quickly ducked the fist workman had thrown, allowing it to smack straight into another man's face that was standing behind Larhawk.
"Why you little ... !" The man roared, whom Raoulore notice looked very much like a mercenary. Another group of men stood up from behind the mercenary and gathered behind him.
"We gonna make you pay for dat li'l man !" barked the mercenary.
Larhawk suddenly heard the scrapping of chairs and turned to see the men the first 'punching' man had been sitting with. A number of curses, insults and animal comparisons were thrown both ways, which then lead to the rest of the people in the bar taking sides.
From what Raoulore could make out from his seat (which was at least ten feet away), it looked like the smaller number of fighting, military warrior and mercenary gathering was going to go head to head with the much larger numbering group of workers, citizens, thieves and locals, with Larhawk standing dead centre.
"Now relax fellows, this doesn't need to get ugly, I mean I'm sure you can work it out," Larhawk said trying to calm things down.
"Shut up ! We've just about had enough of their kind pushing us around," one man cried out while pointing to the opposing group .
"Kind? What kind? They are just a different working class," Larhawk stated .
"Yea... A better class !" The mercenary barked. That was the last straw, - before Larhawk could speak both sides quickly clashed into one another swallowing him up into the center.
"Doesn't that idiot ever learn to keep his mouth shut and move?" Raoulore groaned to himself - he then turned away from the brawl and went back to eating.
The main brawl consisted of nearly everyone charging in and taking a whack at everyone else. This lasted for several minutes and eventually broke off to into everyone for themselves. During which Larhawk had managed to fight his way in a clear spot, he was slightly bruised and mildly tired he then turned to Raoulore at the counter.
"Well this isn't so bad at least it couldn't ge-.. ," he was stopped by a hand grabbing his shoulder and twisting him around, thinking that is was one of the brawlers he casually turned with the hand .
"Listen friend, you really don't want ...HOLY!" He blurted just a Xanchu's clenched fist struck him.
He suddenly found himself forced onto the edge of the counter with Xanchu's hands around his neck and his hands gripping her arms trying to pull her off. He turned his head slightly to the right to see Raoulore calmly sitting a foot next to him, casually enjoying a big sandwich .
"Ahh ..w-would you m-mind ...*cough*...giving m-me a han ....d ?"Larhawk stuttered.
Raoulore raised an enquiring eyebrow. "Can't you see I'm eating here, and who asked you to start this?"
Feeling his breath being cut out Larhawk realised that he was going to have to do this the hard way. Looking back to Xanchu Larhawk made a risky move. He let his grip of the enraged woman's arms go, allowing her to fully begin choking him and quickly kicked out his right foot, knocking Xanchu's foot to slide back a bit which then brought her close enough for Larhawk to reach.
Black spots began to appear in his sight and he started feeling weaker - with all the strength he could muster together Larhawk shot his fist out striking her in the jaw. Slightly stunned she gripped harder. Again he struck at her and this time her grip loosened, he threw his left fist out this time striking her right temple, her grip loosened more.
Xanchu had allowed Larhawk to gain his breath and strength for another right hook into the face, then a left hook, by now she had released her hands from his neck and was staggering back. Larhawk struck out with another right hook, then a left jab and again another hook, by now Xanchu's mouth had trickle of blood running down it and below her chin.
Larhawk was not yet finished with her and followed up with a stomach blow knocking the wind clear out of her. This caused her to crouch down gasping for a breath.
Larhawk quickly stepped to her side grabbed her shirt collar and pant rims. He then secured his grip, took a step forward and launched Xanchu over the counter sending her crashing into the barrels on the other side. Larhawk then staggered into the seat next to his friend. At this point he realised that he was blooding from the nose, mouth and a cut above his eye but decided to leave it for the moment.
"You look like what my meat looked like, bloody, black and blue," Raoulore commented.
During the whole Xanchu fight, the rest of the bar had erupted into a war- zone. There were groups lynching on other small groups, there were people sneaking up from behind and attacking. Chairs, tables, jugs, spoons, forks, and even people were being thrown around, weapons had been drawn and the sound of melee roared throughout the entire room.
There were shouts of conquest, requests for support, curses and oaths. The roar of conflict sounded immense, the room was now very musty and sweaty, it actually seemed to have gotten intensely warm. The air was filled with the taint of beer, and sweat. Larhawk had not rested more than a minute when a strong arm grabbed him from behind yanking him backwards.
Raoulore quickly turned and saw that a group of mercenaries had started pulling Larhawk into one of the corners of the bar, the expressions on their faces meant that they had one thing in mind - and that was ganging up against (to them) a badly beaten opponent .
"Now that was a big mistake," Raoulore thought but before he could continue he was suddenly tapped on the shoulder. He turned to face three more men, from their appearance he could tell that they too were mercenaries.
"Well, well, look wot we have 'ere," one man smirked. They all began looking mercilessly at Raoulore .
"What can do for you gents?" Raoulore asked patiently.
"Gents! Haha do ya hear wat dat ...hahaha... Well pretty boy you can start by begging fur us not to 'urt ya and if ya do it right we wunt 'urt ya as much," Another man barked over the noise of the bar .
"Well for one thing I don't beg, and for another if you don't want to get seriously hurt or perhaps end up as dead I suggest to leave very quickly," Raoulore said coldly. All three men burst out in a roar of laughter that was loud enough to be heard over the noise .
"Wat make you think you can do dat, our buddies already take you friend away," The third man said obnoxiously .
"Yes. Yes their did and I'm afraid they really made the dumbest mistake of their lives, take a look for yourself," Raoulore added as he pointed over their shoulders.
All three me turned to see Larhawk flipping one man over his shoulder sending the mercenary crashing onto a table. He then parried another with his Magnificent Sword of Ice and sending this man hurtling to the floor which was followed up by a bone-breaking stomp to the mercenary's legs.
The last man charged Larhawk with a broadsword, which Larhawk quickly side stepped to the right grabbing his opponent by the scruff then slamming him into the wall. The man slowly slumped to the floor after that. Shocked to see a young man defeat their friends they all spun around to see Raoulore about to take a sip of beer from his jug.
"Now take what you saw him do and imagine me doing a helluva a lot worse to you," Raoulore said with an evil grin .
Still not understanding who they were going up against, one of the three snatched the jug from Raoulore suddenly, spat in it and then splashed Raoulore in the face. Raoulore was stunned for a brief moment on the sheer stupidity of the man, but then slowly turned towards the three mercenaries and stared at them coldly.
"Friend I was really not in the mood for this but ... since you just pulled that little stunt I'm much better," Raoulore said calmly but quickly added. " You should have made your try ....cause now......now you all are going to damn well die!" He bursted.
With a quick spin was out of his seat, by now the three were trying to draw their swords but as they did so Raoulore had unbuttoned his travelling cloak and disappeared leaving it behind on the floor. Quickly the men glanced around the room, trying desperately to find Raoulore.
But this was pointless for Raoulore had already slipped into the darkness of the room and had begun putting his skills of sneaking to use. He had quickly circled the men with great ease and was now close behind them, wielding his dagger in his right hand Raoulore slowly crept up behind the closest man with his back turned. Raoulore studied the positions of men then had planned his attack, he was now less than 3 feet away from his first target, he knew the sound of fighting would aid his attack.
With a quick breath Raoulore attacked. The tip of the blade slipped quickly into the victim's back and with a double twist had caused the man to start choking on his blood. The mercenary's mouth was spewing blood and was making a gurgling sound - this wasn't heard by the other mean who were still scanning the room.
The backstabbed man fell to the floor with a hard thud - this had caused the second man to shoot around but before anything could be done Raoulore had already ducked between the second and the first man. Slipping his leg around the first man's, Raoulore shot out a hand tripping the man and sending him crashing against the counter. Raoulore quickly withdrew his blade once more and spun around to the second mercenary who was about to take a swipe with his sword .
But this was cut short when the man felt a warm tickle of liquid running down his chest, this quickly increased making the man look down towards his now blood soaked chest shirt. Looking in horror he realised that Raoulore had slit his throat with a lighting quick slash while he was twisting around.
The bloody mercenary raised his head towards a smiling Raoulore who was taking a few steps back. The wounded man tried to speak but just his mouth opened so did his wound, a torrent of blood spilled out onto the floor and with a final bloody choke the man collapsed into a pool of his own thick red blood and died.
As Raoulore tip-toed over the bloody corpse he caught a glimpse of the man he had tripped earlier reaching for his sword on the ground ahead of him, Raoulore shot out a hand grabbing a throwing knife from his belt and flinging it into the man's forehead.
Larhawk in the meantime had fought off a small group of thieves, one of whom had stabbed him in the thigh and had then backed off. Larhawk staggered backwards until he ended up against the wall, much to his surprise it was right next to a very large familiar hole in the planks.
The thief had moved also against the wall and was slowly stepping towards Larhawk in a menacing way, his scarred and muddy face grew an evil crooked smile. The man was dressed completely in black horseman's leather, he was nearly six feet in height but slim and pale in colour. His belt was covered in sharp blood-stained knives and a large dangerous looking dagger was being skilfully played with. The bandit slowly extended his arm out and began waving it at Larhawk.
"He's playing with me," Larhawk thought. "But if he thinks he's going to kill me , he's got another think coming." Removing his hand from his open wound Larhawk reached for his sword but quickly realised that he had dropped it when he was wounded. "Oh great," he moaned.
The thief slyly licked his lips and started to step a bit faster, he was at least twelve feet away from Larhawk, coming along the wall. Larhawk scanned around the area to desperately find a weapon when a shaking movement had caught his eye. A few of the planks had bent forward when he had smashed into them earlier and were now slightly shaking from the built up strain, a crazy idea sped through his brain .
"If I can time this right and hit the right plank I still may be able to live through this," he thought. Noting the distance of the thief he quickly looked for well enough strained plank that was bent enough and was barely being held by its nails.
"Got one!" Larhawk rejoiced. He waited as the thief moved close enough to the plank, its was about eight feet away and was perfectly in line with the man's extended arm. Larhawk pulled his elbow back and with all his might slammed into the board, the sudden force was too much for the nails to take and released the board sending it smacking into the man's hand .
In a sudden burst of pain the knife flew out of his hand landing somewhere else, in a brief moment Larhawk had won but that was quickly cut short as the thief reached for another knife. Larhawk quickly tried hitting another board, the thief suddenly jerked back waiting for a result...but there was none, he smiled grimly and continued the reach for a knife.
Larhawk tried again and then again but still nothing, by this time the man the gripped the knife and had raised it above his shoulder in a throwing position, Larhawk studied the plank with lightening quickness and suddenly notice he had been hitting the wrong one.
"You idiot !" he cursed himself.
The thief was about to throw his weapon when Larhawk drove his right fist into another board, a sudden creak echoed through the thief's right ear, slowly he turned his head to see a large shuddering board coming loose.
He shot his eyes forward just as Larhawk struck the board for the second time, the end of the board erupted out of its resting place smashing into the man's face already messed-up face, Larhawk watched as the man was sent sprawling across the room. With a small smile Larhawk fell to the floor for a much needed rest. Raoulore had seen this take place but was a bit busy sorting through a small group of fighters that had caught him off guard.
He was right in the middle of a brawling group when an unseen man had run up with a large club of some kind and swung it into his chest. The blow sent Raoulore crashing to the floor. Raoulore was impressed with the man's speed and skill with the club but decided he was going to pay for that. He quickly took a breath but felt a sudden sharp pain sting in several of his ribs.
He concluded that either his ribs were broken or badly cracked, he slowly staggered up ignoring the agonizing pain and breathing in short gasps. As Raoulore turned around to find the man, a solid object smashed against his head, he fell to the floor once more, his head spun in a daze of colours with a screaming ache .
He forced himself onto his hands and knees, on opening his blood-shot eyes Raoulore saw blood dripping onto the floor. He felt the presence of someone ready to attack and knew he had less than a few seconds to counter it. As the club came crashing down Raoulore rolled to the side letting it strike the floor. As he rolled away he chanted a magical phrase which healed his injuries slightly, he was stopped when he rolled right into the legs of the man with the club.
Raoulore gazed up to see a young man most probably his own age, his face was filthy and muddy. It was very obvious that this guy had not bathed in quite some years! The wild and crazy look on the boy's face told Raoulore that this guy was not right in his mind, but Raoulore had not time to think this over as he suddenly noticed a large wooden club being held above him.
He took the chance and chanted a phrase which created a pink outline around his attacker's body. The club dropped from the boy's hands and landed on the floor in front of Raoulore. Quickly Raoulore bolted to his feet still feeling pain and punched the boy in the stomach, this was followed up by a hard upper cut which sent the boy fumbling back .
Now standing up straight Raoulore readied himself and just as he had guessed before the boy began charging towards him with his arms flying everywhere. This intrigued Raoulore who quickly decided to try a little test, as the boy reached him he jumped to the side and watched as the boy went slamming into the wall.
"Oh great. I got sideswiped by the village idiot," he mumbled. Knowing the boy would not get up Raoulore turned around to continue looking for Larhawk but was just in time to see a large flat table flying towards him .
With a splitting headache woke up several minutes later, he open his eyes to see a beer stained table top on top of him, he could still hear the roar of fighting taking place. As he pushed the table off his eyes painfully adjusted to the dark room, there he found himself lying against the wall, not wanting to figure out what happened he got up and while still hurting stumbled across the war-zone to where his friend lay resting.
Larhawk looked up to see a badly bruised and beaten Raoulore coming towards him, his arm was over his stomach and blood was flowing down from his forehead, Raoulore stumbled forward, turned and flopped next his equally hurt friend .
Both men were breathing slow and deep not want to waste any precious air, as they sat watching a chaotic bar being thoroughly thrashed, both noticed that the amount of fighters grew less and less. Before long there would be no-one to fight anymore.
"My friend you really know how to make a guy welcome in his own town," Raoulore said.
"Well at least I made a point," Larhawk replied. "We're not cowards and can fight just as well as the next man or woman."
"Speaking of fighting women, what happened to our mutual fighting female?" Raoulore questioned .
"Not sure, but I can say this ...I never ever want to meet her in a dark alley.....by the GODS that woman is dangerous!" Larhawk exclaimed.
"You think she's dangerous ! Wait till my wife see's me ....she's going to decapitate me on the spot," Raoulore laughed.
"Yea I thi- ," Larhawk was interrupted as a huge hand grabbed him and pulled him into the air. Raoulore suddenly saw a huge seven foot tall man standing in front of him. The man was incredibly fat, waering thin leather boots and his pale blue woollen pants were covered with stains and beer. His large greasy apron was stained with food and sweat.
His arms were as thick as Raoulore's legs, they were big and hairy, his short cotton tunic dripped with moisture. The man's face had a curly black beard, his cheeks were flabby and flushed with an expression of absolute hate contorting it. Larhawk struggled like crazy to release the grip upon his face, he was suspended by the giant at least a foot off the ground. His mouth and nose were covered suffocating him.
Raoulore watched in horror as the Bartender which he had earlier spoken to took several steps back into the centre of the room. He held Larhawk by the head with one hand, his hand reaching nearly all the way around Larhawks head. The man growled as Larhawk grabbed at his arm. "You little rat! Look what you started !" he bellowed.
Larhawk tried as best he could to free himself but to no avail, the man was far to big and strong for Larhawk beating. Larhawks's movements slowed and his struggling stopped as he was slowly starting to black out. Raoulore knew he had to act fast, he bolted up and started running towards the giant, who had his back to him, Raoulore withdrew his dagger just as a drunk man started to get up.
Raoulore hopped onto the drunk's back and leapt into the air leaving the drunk to fall to his face, Raoulore flew towards the Bartender's clothed back driving his dagger deep in the flesh.
A large hand reached behind grabbing Raoulore by the neck and threw him powerfully into the wall near the bar. The giant then did the same with Larhawk but this time throwing him over the counter where he bounced off the wall and crashed somewhere behind it.
The huge man then slowly turned towards Raoulore and started to stomp forward, Raoulore was groaning as he rubbed the back of his head. He felt something warm and looked at his hand. "Blood !" He groaned again and started to stand up, just then a huge boot slammed into his chest pinning him to the wall .
"Did you really think that little prick was going to hurt me !" he bellowed again. But Raoulore couldn't answer he was too busy trying to breath and trying to buy some time, again the giant asked him, but he remained silent.
During that time Larhawk had recovered and had gotten to his feet, he looked up and saw the odd sight of a huge fat man extending his massive leg out pinning a smaller man to the wall. He knew what he had to do but before he could even try he heard a very annoying and familiar voice .
"You and I are not finished little boy," the voice mocked as it came from behind him. Rolling his eyes Larhawk turned around to see Xanchu'le standing before him. Her mouth and nose bled and there were unmistakeable bruises on her face. Her jerkin was torn and she was covered in even more ale.
She snarled at Larhawk while clenching her fists that were now slightly torn. Feeling that he nor Raoulore had time for this Larhawk decided to finish it. Xanchu began to speak again, this was Larhawk's chance.
"You are goin---," she was cut short as Larhawk grabbed the back of her head smashing it against the top of his skull. He heard a crack and saw blood pouring from her nose - she was dazed and cross eyed. Larhawk then grabbed the back of her neck with his hand and hammered her head into the edge of the bar, the force bounced her back up in which Larhawk then hammered it back down again and again and again.
"Lets get..(whack,whack) this right , I ..(whack) am (whack) not (whack) a boy!" he cried. And with one finaly punch he sent Xanchu'le over the counter for the last time.
Raoulore was getting weaker and weaker but he finally saw what he was waiting for, and said . "No ...I didn't expect that stab to hurt you," he paused. "I just needed you to turn around moron !" The fat bartender instantly knew what Raoulore meant, he dropped his foot releasing Rao and quickly turned, as he did so he was just in time to see Larhawk flying towards him with both feet lunging out.
The drop kick sent the Bartender stumbling back crashing into tables and finally the wall. He still was standing but that didn't last long. Raoulore cast a spell of blindness onto the fat giant causing him to scream in rage.
"Relax friend. This isn't going to hurt..-pause- much !" Larhawk explained .
The bartender was bombarded with a series of kicks, punches and spells. Eventually he collapsed to the floor, unconscious - as was the rest of the bar. Mostly everyone fighting was either knocked out or dead and those that were still up were too tired to continue .
Both Raoulore and Larhawk decided that this would finally be their time to leave, so both split up, Raoulore want to retrieve his knives and Larhawk his sword. They both staggered towards the door way, but then suddenly felt someone watching them, Larhawk slowly peered over his shoulder and motioned for Raoulore to look.
Behind them stood a tall robed figure - he was nearing seven feet tall and seemed to be quite thin. His dark purple robe reached right down towards the ground and he seemed to be glowing with a very pale aura. His hooded face was completely surrounded in darkness, there was no sound of breathing or of any other sound Larhawk noticed. The figure stood directly in the centre of the room facing both Raoulore and Larhawk. Raoulore looked at Larhawk and shrugged.
"May we help you stranger ?" Raoulore asked. The figure slowly nodded in acknowledgement.
Larhawk suddenly remembered seeing the strange figure when they had entered the bar, he was sitting in the most poorly lit part of the bar silent like now, no-one seemed to have noticed him sitting in the darkness with his hood on and now this was the first time Larhawk had seen the stranger since the fight had begun.
"There is surely no way he could have not gotten involved in the fight," Larhawk said to Raoulore who then nodded in agreement.
"Tell us stranger what do you want ?" Raoulore asked. For a moment the stranger said nothing and just as Raoulore was opening his mouth to ask once more a eery silence consumed the room, it seemed to have become very chilly and the air was filling with the stench of death. Larhawk and Raoulore both glanced quickly at one another in worry as the figure spoke.
"Y-Yooooooooooooou," The voice echoed. Larhawk felt a sudden icy shiver down his spine and gulped loudly. Raoulore's mood had become very serious and he stared coldly at the stranger who slowly raised his arm from beneath his robes. His gloved hand was the same dark purple as his robes and he extended his black clothed arm full out and slowly pointed towards the two men.
At the same time both saw a gleaming silvery ring of regeneration, then as Larhawk was about to speak the figures gloved finger suddenly glowed and a bright point of light erupted from the tip. Raoulore suddenly realised what the figure was doing but it was already too late.
Just as Raoulore began to chant a magical phrase and Larhawk reached for his sword, the point of light flared into a sudden burst of blinding light, for a brief second the entire room was illuminated until the light became so strong that it was not even possible for them to have their eyes open.
From the outside the morning frost had melted away, the air was becoming hot and dry from the golden orb that continued to rise higher and higher. During the whole time of the brawl within the bar had only take no more than an hour and a half. It was about eight in the morning and there were a few more citizens on the streets now. Although the fight had roared through the bar it could hardly be heard from those passing by.
But suddenly a blinding white light shone from within Pitch Bucket, its intensity was unmatched and even the early morning glare of the sun was blinded by this light. Just as suddenly as it appeared the light vanished immediately followed by a thundering 'boom' and two badly beaten men exploding through the walls on either side of the entrance .
The bits of wood and stone erupted flying every which way, bits of rubble fell onto the cobble street scattering jugs, spoons, forks, bits of chairs, tables and occasional drunks far across it. This eruption was heard all over the city, making it very difficult for anyone not to notice it.
Within the blast radius of the eruption lay two very sore men, one lay sprawled out on his back the other lay crumpled face down on the cold stone ground. They both remained like this for some time, many considered them to be dead but dared not to check.
Eventually the young man that had been sprawled out on his back moaned very loudly, shortly afterwards groans of agony could be heard coming from the other man who was laying face down.
"Aaah....R-Raoulore are you still there ?" Larhawk groaned .
"Mmmmmm some of me is, the rest I-I think g-got lost on the way here-e," Raoulore muffled as he slowly dug his face out of the cobblestones.
The soothing warmth of the sun shone over them as the lay there, Raoulore had managed to roll himself over onto his back and was now lying next his beaten companion .
"I-im beginning to really hate magic."
"It's not so bad, it all depends on who its being aimed at," Raoulore explained. Larhawk slowly raised his head slightly upwards and gave Raoulore a bemused look.
"Like I said I'm beginning to really hate magic," he smirked and painfully sat up, his body ached all over.
It had been bashed, beaten, broken, bruised, burnt, choked, crushed, cut, dunked, dragged, kicked, knocked, pricked, stabbed, slammed and thrown. His head screamed and he could still feel his blood flowing from stinging wounds. The cold morning air made his nose ache as he breathed, he slowly looked to his right where Raoulore lay.
Still on his back Raoulore must have felt the same way as Larhawk did, his wounds were bleeding quite profusely, his armor was splashed with someone or someone's blood, it was dented and scorched. Larhawk then proceeded at looking at his equipment.
A large scorch mark covered his chest, his material clothes were soaked in beer and blood (most of which was his) also torn in many places as well. Flakes of sawdust were pasted on his dented leg and arm plates.
Larhawk sat like this for a while until Raoulore slowly struggled up, both men sat there rest, thinking and groaning. Eventually the sound of men running, heavy combats boots hitting the stone and armor clanking could be heard in the distance. This was the familiar sound of Medievian guardsmen.
Both Raoulore and Larhawk knew that the guardsmen would rush in and attack anyone causing trouble, they would clean the bar up and take care of any of those would not go quietly. This meant the two sore men could get up and leave the guardsmen to finish the job.
So as the distant troop came closer the two men staggered to their feet, dusted themselves off and agreed that they should go somewhere else to recuperate. As Raoulore began walking off Larhawk stopped and looked back across the street at the dark entrance of them bar. This had caught Raoulore's eye and made me stop in his tracks looking back at Larhawk .
"What are you thinking?" Raoulore said accusingly.
"I'm wondering what would have happened if we challenged him again?"
"Well considering what he just did, I'd say we would end up decorating the rest of the street," Raoulore said in a mocking tone. "Besides it is no longer our fight ."
"Yes....you are right of course but now that the guardsman are going take over, I guess we will never know," Larhawk sighed, "But do you think we could have beaten him?" he added .
"Hmmm, well we now know what he can do .....possibly ."
"Too bad we won't be able to try ."
"Yea you are right...you want to really go back in there don't you?" Raoulore asked in surprise .
"Do you really want to run away from this?" Larhawk replied.
"We are not running away ...just stepping aside."
"Do you really want to leave it this way ?" Larhawk asking inquiringly.
Raoulore remained silent for a moment as he thought, he then sighed loudly. " By the word of Vryce ..I can't believe I actually want to go back in there myself and finish him."
"Then why don't we ?"
"You know that we are in no condition to fight?"
"That if the guardsmen catch us, we will have not only deal with the stranger but with them as well, plus anyone else in there who is still looking for a fight?" Raoulore exclaimed.
"Yes I do ...but I'd still would like to take a shot at it," Larhawk said .
"*sigh*I will never understand you warriors, but hell - no one can live forever without dieing once."
"How about we go and tell him that? Huh?" Larhawk smiled.
Both men looked at each other with evil looking grins and drew their weapons and now heard the approaching guards more clearly.
"Our clan would call us crazy for doing this," Larhawk exclaimed.
"Yea...That's why they like us so much." Both men laughed and charged forward, forward towards the glory of battle, forward to honour their clan and forward to try inflict some serious damage to anyone they can find ..including themselves. Their fate unknown .........for now.