Crow’s Rest. One of the most popular tavern’s in the hold of Astoria. Like any
other night, the tavern was packed to the brim after a hard day’s work for the
towns people, the pouring rain outside doing little to dissuade the regular drinkers
from spending their hard earned coin and drinking away the stress of the day. A
three off-duty militiamen sat around one of the round, wooden tables nearest
the bartender’s table. The three talked loudly as they emptied every tankard
they were given, consuming much more than they normally would, the leader of
the three having swindled a passing adventurer out of a large sum of coin that
“Hey,” one of them asked their leader, “whaddya thin’ happened ta’ that poor sap?”
“The leader laughed loudly, drawing the attention of several of the tavern’s staff for a second before they returned to their work. “I reckon ‘es troll chow by now! Drink up boys! On me!” Another boisterous laugh and a cheer from his two underlings masked the entrance of a new customer.
One of the militia noticed the new man approaching his leader from behind and his eyes widened. Before he could open his mouth, the man grabbed the leader’s head from behind in his gauntleted hand and slammed it into the wooden table and splintering the militiamen’s tankard. “And here I thought you had mistakenly given me false information, but instead you intentionally sent me to the lair of a troll.” The new man dropped the furred head of a beast onto the table, the troll’s ape-like skull easily three times his own. “I brought the whole thing back with me, but I thought it would be more polite to not bring a giant ape into a place of business. Now I’d like my money back, if you don’t mind.”
The two other militia quickly stood and drew their weapons, one wielding wooden club, the other a broadsword. Their assailant was a six and a half foot tall, heavily built giant of a man. He wore chainmail under a worn, blue tabard which reached down to just below his knees. His steel helmet’s visor was up, revealing a scarred, roughly shaven face, one might even call it handsome and angry brown orbs for eyes. His messy dark bangs struggled to peak out from under his helmet. His right arm was currently introducing the militia captain’s head to the table. It was covered in plate mail. His left was protected by chainmail and his leather gloved hand held an unmarked, metal kite shield. At his hip, the hilt of a sword poked out, the pommel reflecting the dim lighting of the tavern’s interior. He wore worn leather boots under plated knee and shin guards. His armour was still covered with large droplets of rain and his tabard was completely soaked.
“What, you want some too?” He asked as he motioned with his shield the man in his grip and the massive troll skull on the table. “Fine then.” He lifted the militiaman’s head from the table, his broken nose was running like a river of blood and his face was covered in a mixture of blood and ale. The armoured man then slammed the helpless militia’s head back into the wooden table. The old wood gave out under the abuse and broke into rough halves. The armoured man let the unconscious militiaman fall to the floor with the rest of the table’s contents and drew his sword. The meter-long claymore shone in the candle lit room, the unarmed occupants quickly stood and made room for the man, none wanting to be on the receiving end of such a long weapon.
The two militiamen realised they were at the disadvantage in the enclosed space and nervously glanced at each other, the massive sword would no doubt cut through their leather armour with ease. “Ser blue knight!” The barkeep called as he filled a tankard, drawing everyone’s attention to him. “Perhaps we can talk about this, I know you’ve no doubt had a long day but how about a drink in exchange for not destroying my bar?”
“I could go for a drink, so long as these men are willing to give me back the coin they took after selling me false information.” The two guards both nodded vigorously, putting away their weapons, kicking the leather pouch of coins to the knight and dragging their leader out of the tavern.
The knight carefully sheathed his claymore and retrieved his coin pouch. A pair of waitresses already working on cleaning up the mess. He took a seat at the counter and removed his helmet, setting it on the counter next to the fresh tankard the bartender had been pouring. “Apologies barkeep, I don’t take kindly to being lied to, especially about dangers like trolls. You can call me Erik by the way.”
“Think nothing of it, Ser Erik, I easily make enough to cover an old table. Though you’ll have to forgive me when I say I can’t offer you a room, you did attack a member of the town militia.”
Erik nodded and looked around the room, its occupants had already returned to their drinking, as if nothing had happened in the first place. “I don’t intend to stay longer than the night. I don’t suppose its too much trouble to sleep here?”
The barkeep shrugged, “I don’t see why not, half the town does it every night.”
The next morning, Erik thanked the barkeeper and went on his way. As he exited he inn, he noticed that the body of the troll he had left was gone, not that he cared for it but it could have produced a decent amount of coin for him. He continued on his way, wading through the throngs of people going about their business. He came to a dead stop however when he entered a clearing in the tides of people. Standing opposite him in the clearing were the three militiamen from the previous night. Their leader’s broken nose had been patched up, covered by gauze to hold it in place to heal properly.
A heavy looking mace rested on his shoulder as he pointed his off hand at the knight. “Hey! It’s that bastard who broke my nose!” The other two immediately drew their weapons and glared at Erik. The leader made a motion with his offhand, holding his thumb towards his throat and sliding it horizontal across. The universal sign for “you’re going to die.”
Erik, to his credit, wasn’t bothered in the slightest, he casually drew his claymore, and in an impressive show of strength, pointed it back at the leader with only one hand. The three guards rushed him Erik, the knight stood his ground and prepared to swing. The greater reach and weight of the claymore helped in killing the first man, the club wielding one. It bit into the leather padding on his sides, the force of the swing breaking his ribs and throwing him tumbling to the ground in a heap.
Unable to bring the massive blade around to bear again, Erik kicked upwards into the swordsman’s groin, incapacitating him for the moment. The leader received Erik’s shield slamming into his already broken nose. The man stepping back and clutching at his broken nose, his mace discarded. Erik brought his weapon up, no longer having to worry about being attacked as he did so, and swung the great sword at the man’s neck. The severed head sailed across the clearing as the body crumpled to the ground. Turning his attention back to the man on the ground, still clutching his groin and moaning in pain on the ground, Erik strolled over and brought his sword down in an overhead swing, severing the last guard’s head as well. The one with the broken ribs was slowly drowning on his own blood from a punctured lung so Erik ignored him as he went about looting the bodies.
Three coin pouches, a small bundle of food, a water skin, an old leather rucksack and the leader’s mace. His own rucksack had been destroyed by the troll, along with most of his provisions. The mace on the other hand, Erik thought, was just a useful weapon.
A small crowd had gathered as he finished stuffing his newly procured supplies into the rucksack and attaching the mace to his belt. Several onlookers eyed him warily as he stood to his full height while others’ flickered between him and the remaining weapons and armour. “Don’t worry, folks, just self defense.” He spoke to the crowd, raising his hands so they were level with his head, empty palms facing outwards in a sign of peace. “Feel free to take what’s left, I got what I wanted.” He finished, dropping his hands and making for the city gates, throwing his rucksack over his right shoulder. The crowd split like waves on a ships bow as he went on his way before converging on the corpses.