aeternum

Not Suitable For All Ages

Indiana
Seen 1 Day Ago
Posted July 18th, 2019
13,230 posts
6.5 Years
Inquiry​ ​of​ ​Hunt
Labanar Byron Barborda

“Oi!​ ​Labanar!”​ ​Gigramor​ ​waved​ ​his​ ​hand​ ​from​ ​the​ ​back​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tavern,​ ​a​ ​frothing​ ​mug​ ​in​ ​his​ ​other arm,​ ​resting​ ​against​ ​the​ ​counter​ ​where​ ​he​ ​was​ ​sitting.

The​ ​Demon​ ​Knight​ ​walked​ ​slowly​ ​through​ ​the​ ​crowded​ ​tavern,​ ​slipping​ ​slyly​ ​past​ ​rejoicing​ ​groups of​ ​commoners​ ​and​ ​clansmen​ ​alike.​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​sat​ ​at​ ​the​ ​bar​ ​next​ ​to​ ​his​ ​old​ ​friend​ ​and​ ​picked​ ​up a​ ​matching​ ​mug​ ​that​ ​had​ ​been​ ​ordered​ ​for​ ​him​ ​in​ ​advance.​ ​“Gigramor,”​ ​the​ ​knight​ ​nodded​ ​and
then​ ​tilted​ ​the​ ​mug​ ​back,​ ​taking​ ​a​ ​large​ ​swig​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tart​ ​beverage.

“How​ ​fare​ ​you​ ​my​ ​friend?​ ​​ ​I​ ​take​ ​it​ ​the​ ​last​ ​hunt​ ​was​ ​successful?”

“I​ ​would​ ​assume​ ​so,​ ​otherwise​ ​I’d​ ​not​ ​be​ ​here​ ​now.”​ ​Labanar​ ​smiled​ ​and​ ​took​ ​another​ ​large​ ​gulp of​ ​his​ ​drink​ ​before​ ​setting​ ​it​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​table​ ​and​ ​rubbing​ ​the​ ​base​ ​of​ ​his​ ​glass​ ​in​ ​a​ ​circle​ ​around the​ ​initial​ ​sweat​ ​ring.​ ​“I​ ​suppose​ ​you’d​ ​know​ ​best​ ​though,​ ​seeing​ ​as​ ​how​ ​you​ ​were​ ​its​ ​petitioner.”

Gigramor​ ​showed​ ​his​ ​teeth,​ ​yellowed​ ​and​ ​rotting​ ​from​ ​his​ ​skull​ ​with​ ​nearly​ ​half​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​row completely​ ​absent.​ ​“Aye,​ ​I​ ​suppose​ ​I​ ​am.​ ​The​ ​beast​ ​had​ ​been​ ​terrorizing​ ​my​ ​father’s​ ​land​ ​for quite​ ​some​ ​time​ ​before​ ​you​ ​and​ ​those​ ​clansmen​ ​came​ ​about.”

Labanar​ ​nodded​ ​and​ ​then​ ​took​ ​a​ ​small​ ​sip​ ​from​ ​his​ ​glass,​ ​watching​ ​as​ ​the​ ​last​ ​of​ ​the​ ​foam dissipated.​ ​“It’s​ ​unfortunate​ ​I​ ​wasn’t​ ​able​ ​to​ ​see​ ​him​ ​while​ ​I​ ​was​ ​out​ ​there.​ ​The​ ​hunt​ ​drew​ ​us further​ ​to​ ​the​ ​North​ ​than​ ​originally​ ​anticipated.”​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​swirled​ ​his​ ​cup​ ​around,​ ​creating​ ​a small​ ​cyclone​ ​with​ ​the​ ​liquid​ ​inside.​ ​“Thankfully​ ​we​ ​didn’t​ ​lose​ ​anyone​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fight…​ ​how​ ​is​ ​the​ ​old man​ ​anyways?​ ​Have​ ​you​ ​received​ ​any​ ​word​ ​following​ ​the​ ​completion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​mark?”

Gigramor​ ​shifted​ ​the​ ​weapon​ ​at​ ​his​ ​side,​ ​an​ ​item​ ​which​ ​continuously​ ​shifted​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​weapon at​ ​Labanar’s​ ​waist​ ​as​ ​they​ ​sat.​ ​“After​ ​you​ ​defeated​ ​the​ ​Queen​ ​Antlion,​ ​the​ ​workers​ ​became furious​ ​and​ ​quickly​ ​fell​ ​upon​ ​his​ ​land​ ​once​ ​more.​ ​He​ ​was​ ​in​ ​dire​ ​straits​ ​for​ ​a​ ​few​ ​days​ ​until​ ​I
arrived​ ​with​ ​news.”​ ​The​ ​man​ ​smiled​ ​and​ ​tightly​ ​squeezed​ ​the​ ​grip​ ​of​ ​his​ ​weapon.​ ​“Not​ ​many things​ ​have​ ​been​ ​sufficient​ ​enough​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​for​ ​me​ ​since​ ​we​ ​took​ ​up​ ​our…​ ​unique,​ ​arms.” The​ ​fellow​ ​knight​ ​paused​ ​for​ ​a​ ​moment​ ​as​ ​he​ ​gathered​ ​his​ ​words.​ ​“I’m​ ​no​ ​Demon​ ​Knight,​ ​but​ ​a
dozen​ ​or​ ​so​ ​antlions​ ​are​ ​no​ ​cause​ ​for​ ​my​ ​worry.”

Labanar​ ​smiled​ ​and​ ​shifted​ ​the​ ​spiral​ ​blade​ ​at​ ​his​ ​waist​ ​at​ ​his​ ​friend’s​ ​mention​ ​of​ ​their complimenting​ ​weapons.​ ​“It’s​ ​unfortunate​ ​we​ ​weren’t​ ​able​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​rout​ ​the​ ​beasts,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​clan​ ​I was​ ​aiding​ ​had​ ​only​ ​just​ ​formed.”

Gigramor​ ​let​ ​out​ ​a​ ​hardy​ ​laugh​ ​that​ ​caused​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​patrons​ ​to​ ​turn​ ​their​ ​heads towards​ ​the​ ​duo.​ ​“Certainly​ ​their​ ​eyes​ ​were​ ​larger​ ​than​ ​the​ ​lengths​ ​of​ ​their​ ​steel!​ ​An​ ​antlion​ ​in itself​ ​is​ ​more​ ​than​ ​enough​ ​of​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​for​ ​some,​ ​but​ ​to​ ​hunt​ ​a​ ​Queen​ ​shortly​ ​after​ ​forming​ ​your
ranks​ ​is​ ​pure​ ​stupidity!”


“I’m​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​fault​ ​is​ ​my​ ​own.​ ​I’ve​ ​become​ ​a​ ​regular​ ​in​ ​situations​ ​of​ ​these​ ​sorts​ ​since​ ​leaving​ ​the program.”​ ​Labanar’s​ ​eyes​ ​dulled​ ​slightly​ ​and​ ​his​ ​voice​ ​faltered.​ ​“Being​ ​of​ ​such​ ​a​ ​rank​ ​as​ ​I​ ​am,​ ​it’s hard​ ​not​ ​to​ ​draw​ ​a​ ​crowd​ ​at​ ​times.​ ​When​ ​such​ ​a​ ​challenging​ ​mark​ ​rears​ ​its​ ​head,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​often
sought​ ​out​ ​to​ ​fill​ ​a​ ​role​ ​for​ ​the​ ​various​ ​clans​ ​both​ ​new​ ​and​ ​old.​ ​Especially​ ​since​ ​there’s​ ​not​ ​been much​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​responsibility​ ​within​ ​the​ ​Kingsmarch​ ​as​ ​of​ ​yet.”

Gigramor​ ​fell​ ​silent​ ​as​ ​he​ ​slowly​ ​downed​ ​the​ ​remainder​ ​of​ ​his​ ​drink.​ ​“Well,​ ​the​ ​marks​ ​will​ ​always continue​ ​to​ ​roll​ ​in,​ ​so​ ​long​ ​as​ ​beasts​ ​roam​ ​the​ ​lands.​ ​Even​ ​if​ ​we​ ​were​ ​to​ ​exterminate​ ​every​ ​one​ ​of these​ ​foul​ ​creatures​ ​which​ ​plague​ ​the​ ​common​ ​folk,​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​new​ ​danger​ ​would​ ​simply​ ​crawl​ ​up
from​ ​the​ ​depths​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sea​ ​to​ ​terrorize​ ​them​ ​and​ ​put​ ​valuable​ ​coin​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​in​ ​your pocket.”

Labanar​ ​nodded​ ​his​ ​head​ ​repeatedly​ ​in​ ​quiet​ ​agreement.​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​downed​ ​the​ ​last​ ​of​ ​his​ ​drink and​ ​then​ ​wiped​ ​the​ ​back​ ​of​ ​his​ ​arm​ ​across​ ​his​ ​face​ ​before​ ​rising​ ​to​ ​his​ ​feet.​ ​“I​ ​suppose​ ​I​ ​should go​ ​and​ ​see​ ​if​ ​there’s​ ​not​ ​another​ ​such​ ​creature​ ​then.​ ​Not​ ​as​ ​if​ ​I’ve​ ​anything​ ​else​ ​to​ ​do​ ​at​ ​the
moment.​ ​I​ ​assume​ ​you’ll​ ​remain​ ​here?”

Gigramor​ ​nodded​ ​his​ ​head​ ​and​ ​rose​ ​to​ ​his​ ​feet​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​“Aye.​ ​Unlike​ ​you,​ ​I​ ​actually​ ​have​ ​some duties​ ​to​ ​see​ ​to​ ​within​ ​the​ ​Order.​ ​Besides,​ ​monster​ ​hunting​ ​is​ ​more​ ​of​ ​your​ ​calling​ ​than​ ​mine. Your​ ​half​ ​of​ ​the​ ​relic​ ​is​ ​more​ ​suited​ ​to​ ​it​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​There’s​ ​only​ ​so​ ​much​ ​I​ ​could​ ​do​ ​against​ ​the
swarms​ ​that​ ​you​ ​tackle​ ​with​ ​such​ ​ease.”

The​ ​Demon​ ​Knight​ ​placed​ ​his​ ​hand​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​fellow​ ​knight’s​ ​shoulder​ ​and​ ​produced​ ​a​ ​half​ ​strung smile.​ ​“I​ ​wish​ ​you​ ​well​ ​on​ ​your​ ​hall​ ​cleaning​ ​then​ ​my​ ​friend.”

Gigramor​ ​slapped​ ​away​ ​his​ ​friend’s​ ​hand​ ​and​ ​smiled,​ ​chuckling​ ​as​ ​he​ ​shook​ ​his​ ​head.​ ​“You know​ ​full​ ​well​ ​I’ve​ ​surpassed​ ​such​ ​trifles​ ​long​ ​ago.​ ​My​ ​time​ ​as​ ​a​ ​squire​ ​and​ ​a​ ​housekeeper​ ​are long​ ​since​ ​past.​ ​I’ve​ ​squires​ ​of​ ​my​ ​own​ ​now,​ ​my​ ​friend.​ ​Perhaps​ ​you​ ​too​ ​should​ ​look​ ​at​ ​settling
down​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​on​ ​a​ ​disciple?”

“Aye,​ ​I​ ​once​ ​had​ ​imagined​ ​passing​ ​on​ ​my​ ​knowledge​ ​and​ ​skills…​ ​alas…”​ ​the​ ​knight​ ​felt​ ​at​ ​his waist​ ​for​ ​the​ ​plain,​ ​wakizashi​ ​style​ ​sword.

“Fate​ ​has​ ​other​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​us​ ​my​ ​friend.”​ ​This​ ​time,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​Gigramor​ ​who​ ​placed​ ​his​ ​hand​ ​upon​ ​the shoulder​ ​of​ ​his​ ​friend.​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​knew​ ​of​ ​Labanar’s​ ​lost​ ​child​ ​and​ ​the​ ​betrayal​ ​of​ ​his​ ​wife,​ ​yet​ ​it still​ ​often​ ​slipped​ ​his​ ​mind.​ ​“Perhaps​ ​in​ ​time.​ ​My​ ​squires​ ​often​ ​ask​ ​about​ ​you…​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​that
should​ ​you​ ​take​ ​on​ ​a​ ​disciple​ ​and​ ​cease​ ​the​ ​simplistic​ ​group​ ​lessons​ ​you​ ​offer​ ​to​ ​the​ ​younger knights,​ ​you​ ​would​ ​have​ ​no​ ​trouble​ ​filling​ ​the​ ​positions.​ ​If​ ​your​ ​monster​ ​hunting​ ​is​ ​anything​ ​to​ ​go off​ ​of,​ ​then​ ​you’d​ ​make​ ​for​ ​a​ ​wonderful​ ​mentor.”

Labanar​ ​nodded​ ​his​ ​head,​ ​a​ ​scowl​ ​fighting​ ​its​ ​way​ ​onto​ ​his​ ​face,​ ​threatening​ ​to​ ​overtake​ ​the​ ​calm smile​ ​he’d​ ​worked​ ​so​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​up.​ ​“Aye,​ ​perhaps​ ​in​ ​time,​ ​Gigramor.​ ​For​ ​now,​ ​I​ ​shall​ ​take​ ​my leave.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​many​ ​clans​ ​in​ ​attendance​ ​today…​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​boards​ ​will​ ​be​ ​slim​ ​pickings.”


“Actually,​ ​word​ ​around​ ​the​ ​tavern​ ​is​ ​a​ ​new​ ​mark​ ​was​ ​placed​ ​only​ ​just​ ​this​ ​morning.​ ​An​ ​elderly man​ ​rushed​ ​forward​ ​shortly​ ​before​ ​the​ ​tavern​ ​opened.​ ​His​ ​mind​ ​was​ ​gripped​ ​with​ ​fear​ ​and​ ​his back​ ​was​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​blood.​ ​Seems​ ​he​ ​placed​ ​the​ ​bounty​ ​moments​ ​before​ ​bleeding​ ​out​ ​from​ ​a wound​ ​apparently​ ​incurred​ ​from​ ​the​ ​very​ ​same​ ​beast.​ ​As​ ​of​ ​yet,​ ​there’s​ ​been​ ​no​ ​claims​ ​to​ ​the monster’s​ ​head…​ ​nary​ ​even​ ​a​ ​proclamation​ ​of​ ​an​ ​attempt​ ​on​ ​the​ ​creature’s​ ​life.”

Labanar’s​ ​brow​ ​raised​ ​as​ ​he​ ​leaned​ ​his​ ​head​ ​to​ ​the​ ​side,​ ​intrigued​ ​by​ ​the​ ​knight’s​ ​story.​ ​“And? What​ ​of​ ​this​ ​beast?​ ​Tell​ ​me​ ​it’s​ ​name.”

“Jubulech.​ ​A​ ​behemoth​ ​class​ ​monster.​ ​A​ ​four​ ​star​ ​mark,​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​strongest​ ​to​ ​come​ ​through these​ ​parts​ ​in​ ​a​ ​few​ ​months.​ ​Should​ ​be​ ​much​ ​more​ ​of​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​than​ ​the​ ​three​ ​star​ ​I​ ​placed up.”

“A​ ​behemoth?​ ​I’ve​ ​not​ ​much​ ​experience​ ​hunting​ ​beasts​ ​of​ ​that​ ​kind.​ ​In​ ​truth,​ ​I’ve​ ​only​ ​taken​ ​down two​ ​in​ ​my​ ​life,​ ​and​ ​only​ ​one​ ​in​ ​the​ ​last​ ​ten​ ​years.​ ​Have​ ​you​ ​word​ ​of​ ​any​ ​clans​ ​looking​ ​to​ ​take​ ​the beast​ ​on?”

“Not​ ​a​ ​one.​ ​I’m​ ​afraid​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​looking​ ​to​ ​tackle​ ​the​ ​creature,​ ​you’ll​ ​need​ ​to​ ​take​ ​from​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of the​ ​clans​ ​around.​ ​Not​ ​a​ ​one​ ​is​ ​fully​ ​dedicated​ ​to​ ​taking​ ​on​ ​the​ ​beast…​ ​but​ ​I’m​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​should you​ ​ask​ ​around​ ​you’ll​ ​find​ ​plenty​ ​a​ ​willing​ ​soul.”​ ​Gigramor​ ​smiled​ ​and​ ​then​ ​scanned​ ​his​ ​eyes across​ ​the​ ​tavern,​ ​taking​ ​in​ ​the​ ​various​ ​races​ ​and​ ​classes​ ​of​ ​warriors​ ​present.​ ​He​ ​shot​ ​Labanar a​ ​look​ ​from​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​of​ ​his​ ​eye​ ​as​ ​he​ ​slowly​ ​dragged​ ​himself​ ​to​ ​his​ ​feet.​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​slammed his​ ​fist​ ​against​ ​the​ ​bar,​ ​causing​ ​an​ ​echo​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​room​ ​so​ ​loud​ ​that​ ​every​ ​conversation immediately​ ​ceased​ ​and​ ​attention​ ​was​ ​drawn​ ​completely​ ​to​ ​him.​ ​The​ ​knight​ ​swept​ ​his​ ​arm​ ​out towards​ ​his​ ​friend,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​a​ ​smile,​ ​said​ ​a​ ​few​ ​words​ ​under​ ​his​ ​breath.​ ​“Labanar,​ ​make​ ​your​ ​call of​ ​arms.”

The​ ​Demon​ ​Knight​ ​rubbed​ ​at​ ​his​ ​temples​ ​and​ ​sighed.​ ​His​ ​hand​ ​fell​ ​from​ ​his​ ​face​ ​and​ ​his​ ​eyes narrowed​ ​at​ ​his​ ​friend​ ​as​ ​he​ ​hesitantly​ ​took​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​breath.​ ​As​ ​he​ ​rose​ ​to​ ​his​ ​feet​ ​and​ ​the​ ​side​ ​of his​ ​old​ ​friend,​ ​the​ ​eyes​ ​of​ ​every​ ​man​ ​and​ ​woman​ ​in​ ​the​ ​tavern​ ​were​ ​upon​ ​them.​ ​“Attention​ ​to​ ​my fellow​ ​hunters!​ ​Clansmen!​ ​Mercenaries,​ ​and​ ​​ ​dishonored​ ​knights!​ ​I,​ ​the​ ​Demon​ ​Knight​ ​of​ ​the Kingsmarch,​ ​Labanar​ ​Byron​ ​Barborda​ ​beseech​ ​you!​ ​Any​ ​who​ ​would​ ​seek​ ​coin,​ ​honour, experience​ ​or​ ​glory​ ​in​ ​the​ ​art​ ​of​ ​the​ ​hunt,​ ​join​ ​with​ ​me​ ​as​ ​we​ ​take​ ​on​ ​this​ ​mark!”

In​ ​an​ ​instant,​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​tavern​ ​was​ ​overtaken​ ​by​ ​an​ ​excited​ ​and​ ​overpowering​ ​roar.​ ​Various​ ​races and​ ​sexes​ ​raised​ ​their​ ​glasses​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​and​ ​cheered​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Demon​ ​Knight’s​ ​declaration.​ ​One of​ ​the​ ​Gria​ ​who​ ​was​ ​sitting​ ​nearby​ ​rose​ ​slowly​ ​to​ ​her​ ​feet​ ​and​ ​looked​ ​Labanar​ ​over​ ​before scanning​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tavern.

“And​ ​what​ ​mark​ ​might​ ​we​ ​be​ ​hunting,​ ​ser​ ​knight?”

Labanar​ ​pursed​ ​his​ ​lips​ ​and​ ​lowered​ ​his​ ​hand.​ ​“Jubulech.​ ​​ ​A​ ​behemoth​ ​class​ ​creature​ ​of​ ​the fourth​ ​rank.”

As​ ​soon​ ​as​ ​the​ ​tavern​ ​had​ ​grown​ ​to​ ​a​ ​roar,​ ​even​ ​quicker​ ​so​ ​did​ ​it​ ​fall​ ​silent.​ ​Many​ ​of​ ​the interested​ ​men​ ​and​ ​women​ ​quickly​ ​retook​ ​their​ ​seats,​ ​bowing​ ​their​ ​heads​ ​in​ ​shame​ ​as​ ​they heard​ ​the​ ​beast’s​ ​name.​ ​Several​ ​minutes​ ​passed,​ ​and​ ​nearly​ ​every​ ​man​ ​and​ ​woman​ ​who​ ​had
once​ ​stood,​ ​now​ ​retook​ ​their​ ​seats.​ ​The​ ​Gria​ ​who​ ​had​ ​at​ ​once​ ​stood​ ​to​ ​question​ ​Labanar​ ​was now​ ​completely​ ​white​ ​in​ ​the​ ​face,​ ​but​ ​removed​ ​their​ ​weapon​ ​and​ ​raised​ ​it​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​nonetheless.

In​ ​one​ ​corner​ ​of​ ​the​ ​room,​ ​two​ ​Moogles​ ​raised​ ​their​ ​hands​ ​into​ ​the​ ​air​ ​and​ ​began​ ​walking​ ​towards the​ ​Grian​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Hume​ ​knight.​ ​Another​ ​Gria​ ​rose​ ​from​ ​the​ ​same​ ​table​ ​as​ ​the​ ​first,​ ​and​ ​from​ ​a table​ ​a​ ​few​ ​spots​ ​away​ ​from​ ​them​ ​a​ ​group​ ​of​ ​three​ ​Humes​ ​also​ ​arose​ ​followed​ ​closely​ ​behind​ ​by
a​ ​Seeq​ ​and​ ​Bangaa.

“Very​ ​well​ ​then.​ ​The​ ​nine​ ​of​ ​you​ ​should​ ​gather​ ​whatever​ ​supplies​ ​you​ ​believe​ ​you’ll​ ​need.​ ​We’ll​ ​be heading​ ​out​ ​in​ ​an​ ​hour,​ ​so​ ​prepare​ ​yourselves​ ​for​ ​the​ ​battle​ ​ahead.”​ ​The​ ​men​ ​and​ ​women​ ​who had​ ​gathered​ ​around​ ​Labanar​ ​and​ ​Gigramor​ ​all​ ​raised​ ​their​ ​weapons​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​and​ ​grunted before​ ​dispersing​ ​in​ ​a​ ​frenzied​ ​rush.