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Old April 20th, 2013 (1:10 AM).
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Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams is offline
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Honest clutched at his wound and watched as Cass dispatched the rest of the bandits with relative ease, earning only one new wound to her name. He was right. She was impressive. And she was apparently also a lot more forgiving than he was used to, offering him her ale to cleanse the throbbing gash on his shoulder. He had a sneaking suspicion this was a privilege that few would receive; enough that he ignored the strange hollow feeling that spread through him at the word ‘servant’. This was strange, considering his family hadn’t even been able to afford servants and he couldn’t imagine any other reason he’d feel so oddly about the word. He was quickly distracted from his thoughts by the sharp sting of alcohol on his injury. It wasn’t too bad; he could deal with the pain and some limitation in movement of his left arm. He’d definitely had much worse thrown at him before.

"Oh, hai! Whatcha doin'?"

Honest’s head snapped up curiously, having been too busy inspecting his shoulder and watching the shaken girl from the corner of his eye to pay attention to whatever Cass had been doing. There, on the other side of a newly-opened door, was an angry-looking guy with three scars running across one cheek. He yelled something about not dying and then ordered them to take to the corridors. Even now, Honest’s very first instinct was to obey such an authoritative voice. His feet began moving before his mind, taken by surprise, could think it through. He hated fighting in small spaces. He could use his glaive much more effectively when he had room to swing, but he supposed that it didn’t matter when it was still missing and being wielded by some "professionally trained" amateur. Besides, Cass seemed to be fine with it. That was good enough for him.

It took him a moment to realise he was grabbing the girl’s arm and tugging her along so she could keep up, even through her stumbling and crying. He pushed her a little ahead of him when spears began flying around them every now and again. The small corridors meant that they were all grouped together, giving the bandits an advantage. If he’d had more of his knives he could’ve taken a few of them down but, as it was, he couldn’t retrieve any knives he threw, which would leave him even more defenseless. Damn, he missed his glaive.

He half-listened to Cass and the angry guy argue about the course of action they should take. The girl had stopped crying so much but that might’ve been because she’d begun hyperventilating. It didn’t really matter to Honest as long as she kept up.

“Fine.” Honest tuned back into the conversation when it sounded like they had reached an agreement. Angry guy turned to address him. “Keep her in between us. You lead on from the top, Cass and I will fight those coming from below.” He said, clear and succinct and brooking no argument. Again, Honest found himself starting to obey without thought. Ha, this is what you really are, after all, a voice in the back of his mind taunted him. He ignored it.

The girl’s arm was still in his grip (which would probably bruise later on due to the amount of force he had to use, but it was either that or possible death, so…), and his knife was already in the palm of his injured hand in case an enemy appeared from the front. He led the group (followed orders like a good s--) until they reached a clearing of sorts. It looked as though other mercenaries were arriving here, some of them quite heavily wounded. He wasn’t sure, having been blindfolded when he was taken down to the cells, but he hoped they were nearing the exit. If he never had to go through an abandoned-castle-turned-bandit-fort again, it would be too soon.

…Maybe he should just stop hoping for things. The universe obviously existed only to spite him, because the next moment bandits had cut them off. More bandits than they could safely handle, at any rate. The leader of the bandits started talking but Honest stopped paying attention because he’d finally found him. The bandit.

The bandit.

The bandit who was holding his glaive.

Honest narrowed his eyes, his jaw clenching. That was his. That was the only thing of the world he considered truly his and that moron standing there and being stupidly smug had it. It was an heirloom! (He stole it in the first place. It wasn't even his by rights.) That bastard!

When the bandits began to move to attack and Cass and the angry guy instantly headed to the head bandit, Honest went straight for his glaive. He would be much more effective with it back, after all. When it was back where it rightfully belonged, then he would help. Still dragging the girl behind him, since Cass would probably behead him on the spot if something happened to her because Honest started getting starry-eyed at the sight of a weapon, he ran right into the crowd of bandits. Most of them were focused on the pair who were duelling their leader or else occupied with the other mercenaries. Honest dodged a few blows, forcing the girl to duck a sword once or twice, before he reached the one who was swinging the glaive from side to side.

The bandit grinned. “How’s it feel,” he crowed proudly, “facing your own weapon. Do you even know how to use this properly? You didn’t even put up a fight. You’re going to die here today, boy!” The bandit suddenly lunged forward, thrusting the glaive at Honest, who easily sidestepped. Unused to the unbalanced weight of the weapon, the bandit let the glaive dip a little. Honest to this opportunity to step on the flat side of the glaive and send the head crashing to the ground before quickly stomping his other foot on the pole, ripping it from the hands of the shocked bandit and knocking it to the floor. He swiftly kicked it up again, caught it with both hands, and in one fluid motion he cleanly beheaded the other man.

The world seemed to reset itself. The annoying itch that had been running under his skin, stopped. Its solid weight in his hands was calming. If he’d known that he’d feel like this without the glaive, he’d probably have fought the bandits back when they’d cornered him before. Speaking of which, he took a moment to spit on the corpse before something else caught his eye.

“Son of a…” he breathed. Around the bandit’s waist was his knife pouch and what looked to be half of the gold he’d been carrying when he was taken. It only took a few moments to detach them and reattach them to his own belt, making sure to keep an eye on the girl. Feeling more like himself than he had in a while, although still rather lightheaded from lack of sustenance and feeling the ache in his shoulder, he straightened up and grinned. There was the clashing of arms all around him, the screams of defiance, the smell of blood, utter chaos. His family had been in the military for generations. Battle called to him, sang in his blood. If absolutely nothing else, Honest knew how to fight and survive. (He survived, he always survived, but for what?) He hefted his glaive and thrust it through someone’s side, quickly reversing it as he swung back around so that it sliced off another bandit’s sword arm.

He had his weapon of choice back, in the midst of a fight to the death. This, as much as anything could be, was home. (His skills, his weapon, everything he was… they gave him.)

Honest paused, reassessing the situation. Was it more important to save the girl or to help Cass and angry guy take down the head bandit for a speedier resolution? He couldn’t leave the girl alone. If he tried to cause a distraction for the rest of the bandits so they wouldn’t try to interfere with the battle with the leader, they might overwhelm him and the girl might die. It looked as though he would have to stick to protecting the girl for now.

“You gotta get your back against a wall,” Honest told the girl, pushing her to one. They were far enough away from battle against the leader that the crowd wasn’t too thick here, but close enough that Honest could keep an eye on it in case something happened. Well, he could keep an eye on it when he wasn’t dealing with hostile and well-trained bandits, that is. He could hear the girl whimpering behind him, which was strangely distracting. It was difficult not to feel vulnerable knowing something was behind him while he wasn’t defending himself from that direction, even though he knew that the girl was about as dangerous as a wet piece of cloth. That didn’t stop him from splitting a bandit’s skull open with his glaive, though, so he was good to go. He grinned brightly at the next charging bandit who was waving a sword quite skilfully. Unfortunately, the sword rather fell short of two meters long, and the bandit ended up with his stomach skewered through with a glaive before he’d ever even reached Honest.

Honest may just be a fisherman’s son, but he gave whatever he got. And then some.

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