Aerion [IC] Rated M
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April 25th, 2013 (7:22 PM).
Varian Sigmund and Cassandra Alexandera- Bandit Fort, Currilan, Eveamoor
The arrow shot by Alys pierced straight through the metal surrounding the leader’s knee, and obvious indication of the power and accuracy shot through the bow. It also provided Cass and Varian a bit of elbow room, making the bandit leader’s movements a bit slower. He was reluctant at first to leave the fight to Ava, a one on one contest seeming like a foolish move against one with such ferocious strength. But the disadvantage the mercenaries had previously would turn out to play in their favor at the present. Not being regular brigands, the members of the Steel Safe has a shred of dignity about them that did not befit the common thug. Such would be the case that Varian was fairly certain none of the others would interfere with a one-on-one fight. Also, Ava appeared to be least injured of the pack, so she presumably had the best shot. Varian backed away with Cass grudgingly, observing the fight take place between the two of them. There was back and forth action, the large leader taking action both with his behemoth of a ball-and-chain, and a dagger which he managed to strike Ava with. However, Ava recovered enough to continue the clash. It was an insult to Alys which set her off, culminating with her leaping through the air and bringing her swords through the face of the bandit leader, past his helmet, and out the other way.
There were gasps and faces of shock from the other ‘bandits’ at the outcome. Their leader slowly fell to the ground, and Ava screamed out for her next opponent. Yet Varian doubted after defeated their leader, who was clearly also their best warrior, none would likely step forward. Whatever bandits remained after the other mercenaries had quarreled with them was apparently an insufficient number to wish to continue their fight, and so the stragglers took off, running away from the group. He let out a deep sigh, dropping his axes to the ground with a thud. He didn’t remember the last time he had been so worn out. Against all odds imaginable, and through much perseverance, the mercenaries who fought with a little under ten warriors versus well over a hundred well-trained men of the Steel Safe, had won.
Varian turned his attention back to the head bandit, whose body was now surrounded by a puddle of his own blood. He was a man of surprising strength, the likes of which he had not faced in a long time. Even the Highmen he had come across wasn’t that strong. This only further demonstrated Ava’s impressive skill. A bright reflection of light suddenly reflected from Varian’s eyed, coming from across the leader’s neck. He stepped forward a bit, and examining the source further, revealing a necklace of some sort that hung around the bandit’s neck. The chain was of no importance it seemed, but Varian curiously eyed that which hung from it. It was a jewel of some sort, bright red as a ruby, appearing unsullied, spotless, and clear, yet at the same time also jagged, as if it were broken off from a larger gem. It looked valuable, but it also gave Varian a strange sensation deep within his gut, an ominous feeling which he couldn’t explain.
"Oh! Shiny!" Cass yelled as she climbed on top of the leader's body, ripping the necklace off his beck without much thought or hesitation. "Hey Vary, how much do you think this guy's worth? I'd guess a crap-load of gold. Oh the possibilities they make me so excited." Cass' mind immediately wandered to lands full of booze, men and woman. If they sold this, they probably wouldn't have to work ever again. Of course, Cass would probably get bored of that lifestyle, but the idea seemed alluring enough. At least she could save for retirement with it. Or buy a new sword. "Red Snow" had served her admirably enough, but she wanted something bigger. Badder. Meaner. "I say we keep this a secret from the others. I am feeling rather greedy today."
Varian shook his head, Cass’s picking up of the gem breaking his trance from it, and so he looked across at the others. Some were in an injurious shape. Alys was down on the ground, either unconscious or worse, and the others carried at least one wound probably needing to be examined. The battle had taken its toll with all of them. He suddenly found himself angry at this, having put the lives of these capable fighters at risk over false information from their employer. The odds they were expecting were not at all what they turned out to be. His eyes met the gaze of the daughter, their contract. He stared at her coldly, letting his stare fixate on her for a while. She was frightened by this, not sure what the Highman would do next, her bottom lip visibly trembling. However, a moment later, Varian walked over to his axes, holstered them back into the spot on the back of his baldric, and proceeded towards Alys. He lifted her carefully from the ground, taking note of her injury which blood flowed from, and proceeded towards the exit.
“Calm yourself lass.” He stated coldly. “We’re here to help you. Your father hired us to get you out of here. Come with us, and we’ll take you to him now.” As much as he would have liked to pinpoint his anger on her, she had nothing to do with the hiring, besides getting captured. Besides, her safety still depended on them getting paid, and after all the crap they had been through in this Gods-forsaken bandit fort, he sure wasn’t letting her die now. He motioned for the others to follow him out
At their slower pace of walking (due to their injuries and weariness), the trip to the inn known as the ‘Strutting Stagg’ was about four hours. When they did finally arrive, however, the first sight they saw of the inn was the familiar sight of the overweight ‘merchant’, sitting upon a bench on the outside of the tavern, awaiting the mercenaries return. “Father!” The young woman who accompanied the mercenaries suddenly yelled, running towards the merchant. The merchant could hardly contain himself either, his jubilance radiating to the point of tears as he embraced his daughter tightly. But Varian was not amused. Handing the injured Alys over to Bofvar, he gave the two a moment of happiness in their reunion out of respect for the job, but his patience wore thin. He stepped forward towards the two, the merchant realizing the existence of the mercenary again as he looked up at the Highman before him. “Ah, I cannot thank you enough, good ma-“ Varian grabbed hold of the merchant, by the arm. “A word.” He stated coldly to him, leading him into the inn, where he expected the other mercenaries to follow suit.
“Ah. Err, of course. If you would, please wait out here, dear.” The merchant told the daughter, who curiously looked at the two, but nodded. “We’re just going to have a friendly chat about the payment promised, not to worry.” He assured her with a smile. As soon, as Varian and the merchant entered the inn, which was largely vacant, Varian took hold of the collar of the fat man, and threw him onto a table, extering as much strength as he could to place them there, the extent of his round form showing how difficult that proved to be.
“You corpulent swine!” Varian bellowed, raising his fists in the air as he prepared to bring it down upon the merchant. The other hand still clung to his collar of his hooded cloak. “M-my dear ser, whatever is the proble-“
“Thirty men tops, regular bandits. Ring a bell? Because of your omissions, we were almost slain. One of our company is heavily injured! You give me one good reason why I shouldn’t gut you now.”
“S-ser, if you would. I have 35 reasons why you shouldn’t!” He pleaded, pointing to the sacks of coin to the side of the room, watched over by a somewhat larger man, probably in the employ of the merchant. “I had to make those omissions. You have to understand. I went to everyone! Nobody would take the mission. I was desperate! Besides, in the end, all of you are alive, and I’ve taken the liberty of bringing some fine physicians to remedy your injured. Furthermore, I have rented out all of the rooms in the inn for your use, and all drinks will have been paid for a weeks worth!”
Varian stared coldly at the merchant, debating what he should do. His fist was still in the air, ready to be brought down upon the whimpering man. When he noticed doctors already beginning to examine the other mercenaries, he backed down a bit, but he still wanted answers. “You’re no common merchant. Or else the Steel Safe wouldn’t have gotten involved. Who are you?”
“Well, I suppose there’s no use hiding it.” He said, standing up now as Varian loosened his grip around his cloak. “My name is Albert Castell, leader of the Golden Authority Merchants Guild of Eveamoor.” He paused for a moment, allowing for the mercenaries to reflect on a name they have likely heard, especially being in Eveamoor for such a long time. Though the country of Eveamoor is officially ruled by Madelaine Robertson the “Sky Queen”, it is run by the guilds. Most particularly, the Golden Authority Merchants Guild takes care of much of the commerce that enters and departs the country. “Now that you know who I am, you must understand why I needed the secrecy of this mission. The Steel Safe brazenly abducted my daughter from me from a previous act that had resulted in earlier hostilities. I had tried everything previously to rescue her, but she was too well defended, and my men could not get the job done. Yet you were able to. I cannot thank you enough, sers.”
Varian proceeded over to the sacks, which contained the promised rewards of the mercenaries. Ensuring everything was in order, he returned his glare at the man who introduced himself as the head of the merchants guild in Eveamoor. Albert continued to talk.
“Besides, if I may say so ser, you should count this job as a blessing.” He said, realizing his words may cause a reaction in the Highman, which it did. He backed away slowly.
“What did you say?” Varian asked threateningly.
“Let me explain!” Albert began, holding up his hands in hopes of calming him. “You may not realize it now, but your venture in the fort has begun to spread like wildfire. There has been much talk amongst the other guilds, especially the Steel Safe. After all, you did just slaughter an entire troop of theirs. I wouldn’t be surprised if prominent individuals in other countries might catch wind of your exploit too. In essence, you entire dynamic has already likely changed. I would not worry anymore about finding more work. In all likelihood, work shall now find you. In fact, I wouldn’t mind hiring you myself one day…”
Varian thought on this for a moment, exchanging a glance with Cass, before addressing Albert once more. “The only way I would ever work for you again, you stout, fleshy swine of a man, is if you were to hire us to claim your own life. You best pray to your gods that we never meet again after this, because I care not what illustrious man you claim to be. I will cut off your head and use your body as a mattress. Get out of here.” He said sternly. The merchant fearfully proceeded out of the door.
“Y-yes, of course. My physicians will remain here as long as you need. The rooms and drinks have been paid for up to a week.” Before exiting the inn, he looked once more upon all of them, earnestly bowing his head in gratefulness. “You have my everlasting gratitude, brave mercenaries.” He said, before heading out of the inn.
Varian sighed, collapsing into the nearest chair to him. After what had seemed like forever, their job was now done and the reward was theirs. “Orbrigg Ale!” He yelled, ordering his favorite drink in celebration of this. There was still a few questions that needed answering, like the condition Alys was in, or whoever the man was that came with them who lingered around Cass, or what exactly happens to them after this. These questions would probably be answered eventually. But for now, he kicked his legs onto the table, and relaxed with a drink, celebrating one more day of escaping a trip to Hielheim, the Highmen’s hell.
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