Tick. Tick. Tick. *POP*
Two of my fellow watchmen suddenly appeared next to me. Jabbering and grumbling as if they'd been standing here all day.
They pretended to have no recollection of the bloody battle that had taken place here a couple of minutes ago. A battle that had ended with them both dead and quickly turning fertilizer. They pointedly ignore the numerous puddles of blood that dotted the cobblestone. Most of it was theirs.
The day had turned sunny after a brief rain shower earlier. There was always a chance that a tornado could spring up. But all in all, The day showed promise.
As was usually the case, traffic was light on this side of Trellor. The East Gate of Trellor didn't get nearly as much traffic as the gate to the west. There was nothing to the east except the ocean, which lay just beyond the steep sandy cliffs.
Trell, Goddess of everything beautiful and Trellor's namesake, didn't get over to this side of town very often. Kilran Way was always a bit of a mess, and the towns riff-raff seemed to like it that way. A pair of vagrants could be seen digging through the rubbish piles behind the stores that lined the west side of the street.
"You got any of them spiced apples left?" The second watchman asks me. "I'm hungry enough to eat a whole sack full of 'em."
I fished around in my tunic for one of the tasty fruits and tossed it to him.
"You'll have to point out the peddler you get these from." He said as he bit into the apple, tiny rivulets of juice dribbling down his chin.
He continued his conversation with the other recently resurrected watchman. I listen distractedly, nodding at the appropriate times, and grunting agreement every now and then. My attention had been drawn to a dubious looking fellow who was walking down Mandor Street. He was coming from the direction of the Temple. He wore a common looking clerical robe that didn't quite seem to match his demeanor. What really caught my attention was the ridiculous looking parrot perched on his head. The parrot would occasionally utter an obscene remark that drew disapproving looks from nearby citizens.
His gaze shifted from right to left as if he was looking for someone or something. He was about to turn north towards Heron's Tavern when he caught my gaze. We locked eyes for a moment, and he slowly turned and began walking purposefully towards us.
"Why do ya suppose we still have to put up with those darn Storm Mercenaries?" Muttered the first Watchman. "Their just in it for "
"QUIET!" I exclaim. "We've got trouble."
As the man approached, he flung back his robe and reached for a bluish colored club, which was dangling from the braided silver belt around his waist.
"Hey, buddy. What the heck's your problem?" Shouted the first watchman. "You going to do something with that "
The watchman never had a chance to finish. The dubious cleric uttered the magical phrase "Vas Por Ylem!", and the ground trembled viciously under our feet.
We were tossed around a bit, but not seriously injured. We were on him in an instant. We gave him no opportunity to recover from our initial attack. I continually bashed him with the hilt of my sword, knocking him to the ground in a stunned stupor.
Miraculously, despite the thorough thrashing we were giving him, he managed to stumble to his feet an flee south down Kilran Way. He might have been able to beat one of us at a time, but together, we were too much. Maybe he'll learn.
The rest of the day proceeded with no major disturbances. We chased off the odd lemming that wandered in from the cliffs, and ruffed up the occasional pickpocket. It wasn't until later that evening that trouble began anew.
A particularly persistent vagrant was beleaguering us with his ranting. He was rambling on about things that he could surely know nothing of. Hideous creatures hiding in the wilderness, terrible sea monsters lurking just below the surface of the sea, abominations of ever type and color. He certainly had a vivid imagination. Having never ventured from the city myself, I was not too quick to discount his wild stories. We listened with rapt attention as he told his tales.
The first indication of trouble came from the wretched scream uttered from the second watchman. I whirled around to see him clutching his body, screaming, as his flesh seemed to wither away. I soon found the source of his pain.
"Hazelrah!" The name gushed from the mouth of the first watchman, sounding like the cry of a terrified child.
We had seen this adventure once long ago. He was younger then, and very foolish. He had picked a fight with one of the City Guards just inside the gate. He was holding his own when one of his spells went awry. The effects of the spell showered my fellow watchmen and I with small bits of magical fire. The effects were little more than annoying, and we should have let it pass. Never the less, we joined the fight and beat him to within an inch of his miserable life.
Now it seemed he was back to exact his revenge. He was stronger, and seemed much more experienced than the last time we met. The stories the bards had been heard singing of this man were the stuff of legends. I recognized trophies and talismans from such far off lands as Bloodstone, The Dark Woods, and the Fire Giants Keep.
Before we could react, the second watchman was all but finished. His skin, what was left of it, was the color of ivory. We sprang to his assistance. Our blows were strong and true, but seemed to have little effect on the imposing visage that stood before us. The instant we seemed to be effecting damage of any kind, he would casually utter "Vas Mani" and be restored to near perfect health. It was a lopsided match from the start.
The second watchman expired, while the remaining watchman and myself were fighting for our own lives. We endured repeated blasts of magical acid that clawed relentlessly at our flesh and armor. Hazelrah grinned evilly from behind clear, dark eyes as he witnessed the results of his handy-work. It was obvious he would be victorious.
Then, a god sent reprieve! Droplets of magical fire began to fall. But this time, they didn't come from the mumbled chants of a sorcerer, or an enchanted staff. They came from the gods themselves! Hazelrah's spells fizzled and died in the red glow of the magical firestorm. It was steel against steel now! We gathered our remaining strength, and pressed the attack. Our blows began to have a telling effect on the dark landloper. Unable to cast his diabolical spells, Hazelrah began to weaken.
The battle raged on. I sent his weapon flying with a mighty swing of my two handed sword, while the other watchman smashed him to the ground with the hilt of his. Defenseless and weaponless, Hazelrah was at our mercy. We moved in to finish him. I raised my sword high, preparing to bring it's blood drenched blade down in a bone rending arc when the world suddenly blurred, then began to darken. What could be happening? What cruel fate would intervene at the moment of my triumph? The streets began to dissolve, and the great iron gates shimmered.
"Noooooo!" Not now!
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