Friday 10 May 2019

Trollbane - Part 11

Reven had reunited with Fang at The Rest and they had said their goodbyes to Peter, leaving him a generous tip for the kindness he had shown them. As Reven approached River Rise's north gate the sun was high in the sky. Over the course of the afternoon, his men would drift toward the gate ready to continue their journey and their search for fortune. As was customary, Reven would be first to arrive and would secure a table at the closest inn to the gate. This ritual was the norm when travelling with his mercenaries; the last drink at the last inn in a city before moving on. The Harlots Arms was a huge inn and coach house, nestled against the city wall. Once upon a time, it may have served as a staging area for military forces to muster before travelling but the addition of the city's inner keeps and barracks over the years had meant it hadn't been used for military purposes in years. Well worn cobblestones spoke of the number of travellers that had walked in its courtyard, ivy climbed the stone of the inn's walls, framing the latticework windows. The courtyard was full of tables which were occupied by city dwellers and travellers from all over that were enjoying lunch and ale in the midday sun. 

Reven chose a table at the edge of the courtyard where Fang's monstrous bulk would be less of a hindrance to the patrons. The warhounds size always made it easy for the mercenaries to find Reven and it wasn't long before the twin's Kris and Bran sauntered up to the table greeting Reven and Fang in turn whilst sharing a joke. They were soon joined by Agrippa who was shaking his head as he sat down. His arrival prompted stifled laughs from the twins. "Go on", Agrippa said, "Get it over with". "Get what over with?" Reven enquired. The twins, unable to contain their hysterics any longer burst into laughter. Muldar and Orwen arrived as Kris started his tale.

"We were in some back street pub, little more than a hovel, beating a group of merchants guards at cards when in stumbles a very drunk Agrippa and no word of a lie, he had what appeared to be the ugliest woman in the history of Atla on his arm" Kris sniggered as Bran continued his brother's story. "The bar was propping him up as he ordered drinks for him and his beautiful 'female' companion". Bran delivered the word female in such a way that immediately the whole table was hooked, leaning in for more. Kris took up the telling, "We watched in horror as Ag's new friend slipped 'her' hand down the front of his pants and started kissing him in full view of the whole taproom." Agrippa dropped his head onto the table in an open display of shame as the mercenaries started to roar with laughter, "I didn't know... I was pissed out of my mind" his muffled words came out as a shout but he would not raise his head to meet the other's eyes. "Boss, this 'lady' had the biggest hands I've ever seen and had more stubble than you", Kris said addressing Reven. Bran chipped in, "Come on Ag, the bloke looked like he'd put his makeup on in the dark and you could have spotted that wig a mile off". The whole table laughed together as Agrippa filled in the blanks of the story, being heckled the whole time.

In high spirits, the group set off.  Fang was once again adorned in his armour as he and Reven led the group through the great north gate of River Rise. Engleheart awaited and beyond that, their prize.

Trollbane - Part 10

The stink of the alleyway roused Reven from his sleep. The smell of human excrement mingled with the powerful scent of last night's ale made his stomach churn as his eyes struggled to open against the power of the morning sun. He brought one his hands to his face to cradle his head as he pushed himself upright, trying to remember how he had got into the alley in the first place. Still half-drunk he knew that last night had involved ale. The blood caked on his knuckles told him there had been violence. The general mess he was in told him that whatever had transpired it wasn't something he would be proud of. Another exercise in excess that had left him asleep in a shit-stained alley. Wonderful!

Shuffling down the streets of River Rise, trying to find his bearings he was pleased when the marketplace came into view. He would return to The Rest in the hope that Fang would have made his way back. As he pushed through the crowds of people, many of whom turned their noses up at his heavily scented passing, a commotion at the side of the market square caught his eye. Familiar stalls that he passed yesterday came into view as did a large contingent of the city watch. A crowd had gathered to gawk at the watchmen as they went about their work. Reven made his way through the onlookers until he stood at the front of the crowd. As he looked upon the destruction in front of him, the events of the previous night started to slowly fall into place.

Gap Tooth's animal stall had been smashed to pieces. Empty cages and splintered wood littered the floor. Tables were overturned; animal bedding, faeces, and feathers were spread around adding to the chaotic scene. The animals themselves were missing. The vague recollection of drunken anger washed over Reven. This looked like his work, his style of raw primal anger unleashed. His face flushed as he looked upon the destruction he had wrought. He struggled to remember when he had done this, it must have been whilst drunk. He had brooded over the deaths of Gap Tooth and his fellows and the way he and Fang had snuffed out their lives all of the previous day. He had wondered about the fate of the animals that were caged at their stall. The scene before him told him of what had transpired. In a red-hued fit of kindness, he had decided o set the animals free. Releasing them into the night so that it may envelop them in its embrace and help them find much-deserved freedom.

Whilst he stood musing over yesterday's mistakes, and small victories, he had started to draw attention from some of the watchmen who were casting sideways glances in his direction. The blood caked over his hands and his general demeanour made him stand out and he couldn't help but think if he were a watchman he would want to question this wastrel. He drifted back into the crowds before the watch could act, melting away into the hubbub of the market place. Head down, he marched back to his lodgings at The Rest in the hope he would be reunited with Fang and they could be away from the city before he started any more trouble.