" No Storik you had enough! Stop wailing back there like a stuck pig and let me tell these gentlemen my story! Now, where was I? Oh yes, was but a fortnight ago, slow business per usual, must have been half passed two when he stepped through my door. I had just finished cleaning the bar, like I do every night… "
“Liiiike helll ya do ya lazy old bastard! Look at me glass, it’s got more cobwebs then ale in it!”
“Seven hells take you Storik, shut your big ugly mouth or I swear you wont be getting any more of my ale, cobwebs or not! Anyway, this stranger walks in wrapped up in this big old cloak, like its the middle of Nightal in The Spine. Had an air of strangeness from the start he did, seemed out of place even in a bustling tavern. After a while he found his way to the bar and I asked him what he was drinking. He just looked up at me from under his cloak and starred. From the look of his skin I could tell he wasn’t from around these parts, south maybe, Calimsham perhaps? No, this one was darker. Anyway, I told him that the bar was for paying customers only and went to grab old Herich a pint when the man whispers ‘wait’ just loud enough for me to hear. I turn around and look back at this stranger, more than a little annoyed at this point and before I can get a word out he tells me in a thick foreign accent ‘where can I find the goddess?’ Being an expert on the town as I am I quickly began to inform him of the various churches and altars, when he produced out a small dirty scrap of paper out of his thick cloak. ‘Selune?’ I said, and went on to tell him that we haven’t had a following of Selune for years! But the stranger insisted that ‘the goddess is here’ so I told him of the old broken down altar up on the western outskirts of town. Before the damn words were out of my mouth he stood up and started for the door. I yelled at him ‘Hey, tips like that aren’t free ya know!’ hoping to make a bit on the side, with the economy being as it is. And sure enough what does he do but walk right on back over. He pulls back his cloak just enough for me to catch a glimpse of whats underneath, and it damn near stole the life from me! Bones! I saw the white glimmer of bones underneath the foreign strangers coat! Then his face flickers into view, a blue triangle blemishes his brow, seared on as if burned on by some vile force . Instinctively my hand found the bastard sword I keep under the bar here and was about to send him back to his homeland in a box until…he produced a ornate golden sphere the size of my hand and set it down right here. Hell of a gratuity eh! He didn’t even say another word, just headed right through those doors. At this point my curiosity had the better of me, so I closed down the bar, kicked out the stranglers, and made my way over to the old Selune shrine. Sure enough there he was, crouched down next to her statue. He was talking, though for the life of me I couldn’t understand a word of his foreign tongue. Suddenly they were upon him. Three men, all with axes, closing in fast on the stranger. He had to have known they were there, they were far less than discrete, yet the foreigner remained still. It happened so fast, a flash of green, root and stems and ivy surging from the ground, the men screaming as they are lifted off the ground, their weapons clamoring to the ground. He stands finally, and produces a nasty weapon made of wood and bleached bone. He nears one of the assailants, raises his head to the sky, and states to the bitter darkness ‘You will have to do better than this to reclaim me’. He rips off a talisman from the attackers neck, and then severs it from his body as casual as you or I would scratch an itch. I watch as the undergrowth swallows the other two, their screams muffled by pounds of foliage. He looks over to me, as if he had know that I was watching the whole time. I’m paralyzed as he whispers to me again. I can’t hear him over the howling wind, but his lips read true.
‘Run’ he says
So I ran.
And here I am".
“The gold piece, can we see it”.
The bartender places his prize on the counter, the men eye it almost hungrily.
“It was him” They whisper.
“I’ll be taking that back now.” The bartender hurriedly exclaims, noticing their expressions.
“I don’t think so” one of them says. The bartender beats him to the token, but not before the man reaches over the bar and his talisman around his neck slips into view.
The bartender understands all now but it happens so fast. Storik’s drunken slurs are replaced by squealing as one of the strangers sticks him through the belly. The others try to escape but swiftly meet the same fate. One is over the bar now and raises his sword. The barkeep reaches for his bastard sword, but his age has slowed him down. One last thought passes through his head before steel meets flesh.He should have listened. He should have ran.