trigger warnings: rebellion, fighting, mentioning of slavery.
TRAP IS SET
Beersel looked up from the counter
to see Constable Credz appear in the doorway. The crooked lawman glanced
around and then settled his eyes on the chubby innkeeper behind the bar.
Beersel knew trouble when he saw it. He just hoped neither of the kids
came out in the next half an hour. Gistel was preparing for the diner
shift and Zoersel was probably still sleeping. But Brakel and Liesel were
often tempted to come in during the slow afternoon shift to help a bit and
"What can I get you, your honour." Beersel called.
Inwardly he was as tense as if he were facing a venomous snake, but
outwardly he was friendly and accommodating.
"One glass of that honey liquor." Credz said.
A few of his men had come in behind him and Beersel knew better than to
offer them a drink. After the constable had been served his drink, he commandeered
the use of one of the back rooms and Beersel showed him the way. Once
again he wondered why the Lord's men always seemed to use his tavern to
convene. In fact taverns and inns had been as good as banned, having been
deemed to frivolous and a bad influence on the populace who should work
from morning to night according to their tyrannous lord.
Beersel had seen his fair share of secrets and knew more than he let on
but hinted at some things and that had mostly kept him out of danger. But
he feared his luck might be running out. Maybe the stress of what was to
come was getting to him.
Wiping glasses and looking at the empty tables, Beersel knew he wouldn't
get any customers before the constable left. people would be crazy to come
in while he was still here; the man was rumoured to make people
Sudden footsteps alerted Beersel that someone was coming. Startled he
wondered if he could keep them from getting into trouble but he relaxed
when he saw Zoersel. The young woman was smart enough to disappear when he
gave her a heads up.
"We have guests." he said with an arched brow, "Maybe you
should go see to their horses."
Zoersel nodded and disappeared out the back.
Half an hour later, Constable Credz departed from the inn, looking very
smug. As usual, he left no money for neither drink nor usage of the room
but Beersel knew when to keep quiet. A few coins weren't worth the loss of
his head. As soon as the constable and his man had departed, Zoersel
slipped back in and glanced around. Beersel gave her a subtle nod to
indicate it was safe. Still the waitress knew not to talk to openly.
"Was that Constable Credz I saw leaving?" she remarked
"It was indeed." Beersel asked and waited.
"It's highly unusual to see the lords go out hunting in this season.
He had his falcon with him."
Beersel knew what kind of hunting the constable usually partook to and
felt sorry for whomever had gotten onto the constable's bad side. But not
much longer it would be.... unless. Beersel wondered for a brief moment
whether Lord Stannon had gotten wind of the rebellion.
"There might be some vermin." Beersel replied and then added,
"Remember tonight we have a few reservations, go make the beds, will
"Aye aye." Zoersel said as she mock-saluted.
She went up the stairs with a little skip in her step. Reservations meant
customers who didn't need to leave and could drink a lot. The coming
evening looked to be one of good omens.
Brakel opened the door and
recognised Alden and his band of mercenaries. they always stayed at
Beersel's inn when they were in town. There was nowhere else to stay after
all and it beat camping out in the bush. Still, their patronage was
welcome in the way it brought money to the business. Brakel himself didn't
know if they should be so friendly to people who worked for Lord Stannon.
Of course, denying them might put them in a bad light with the Lord.
Brakel wondered if that was why his father allowed them to stay each
Alden gave him a nod and went to one of the few remaining open tables.
Alden was soon joined by Mechlen, his brother who looked like a copy of
the man if not for the length of their hair, Aliani, a good-looking woman
that probably should be married and be raising a bunch of kids instead of
working with a bunch of mercenaries and Oud've, an older gentlemen who
always left a little tip for him and the waitresses at the end of their
stay. Tongren, a recent addition also joined them while the other four
seemed to have taken up places at both exits of the inn. Brakel felt his
hair stand on end as a shiver ran from his neck down his spine. Something
was definitely up.
"Meet me in the kitchen." he told Liesel who promptly nodded and
When they were inside he said, "You didn't have to come right
The brown-haired girl looked a bit hurt, but he decided he might as well
bring the others up to speed. Inside the kitchen, temperatures were
sweltering and Gistel was working over a huge stove covered in different
pots and pans. Delicious smells wafted around them and freshly baked bread
stood waiting in small baskets.
"What are you doing invading my terrain?" the feisty cook called
She noticed Brakel's serious expression however and dropped the joking
"Trouble's coming." Brakel said and he told them about the
mercenaries in the tavenr.
"They've been here many times before." Liesel remarked,
"You might be seeing ghosts."
"Zoersel told me the constable came round this morning with his
Dread appeared on both women's faces as they knew full well what that
meant. Brakel nodded and said no more, returning to the room. Zoersel
would probably also be on high alert but just to make certain, Brakel
intended to let her know they were all keeping their eyes open.
As Brakel returned to the room, he noticed that three of the mercenaries
had left. The others remained though and looked to be getting pretty
rowdy. The regular patrons were joining in and soon it was difficult
knowing what was going on.
Brakel did manage to alert Zoersel, who gave him a fake smile and acted as
if he'd just given her a dirty proposition which earned him an angry look
from Liesel. But the innkeeper's son was much to tense to try and work out
just what that look had meant.
The evening advanced and Liesel noticed five of the mercenaries had
retreated, leaving only Alden in the pub. But by the way the people
sounded and acted you'd think all the mercenaries in the land were
gathered here tonight. Though when the door opened and Lord Stannon
entered, a lot of the people seemed to realise they were late getting
home. The Lord hardly paid them any noticed and disappeared with Alden to
one of the back rooms.
Liesel checked with Beersel to see if she would have to offer them drinks
but the portly man told her not to. He did give her a message:
"Tell Brakel to warn Alden about a visit from Constable Credz earlier
today. He needs to know."
"Wouldn't he already though?" Liesel asked.
"Doesn't matter, just do it."
Liesel nodded and was only too happy to have been given an opportunity to
talk to her long-time crush. Brakel hadn't seemed to notice her much apart
from as a colleague. He treated her just the same as he did Zoersel and
Gistel which might mean he didn't even see her as a woman. Who knows, he
might have classified her as a sister and then she might never get him to
see her as a woman. She threw Brakel a wink and pointed to the stairs.
Brakel nodded and came, expecting her to ask him about something or report
something that needed fixing.
"Beersel asked to tell you to alert Alden of the visitor of the
Brakel looked confused but nodded. Just moments after, Lord Stannon strode
by them, leaving the establishment as quick as he'd entered. People
breathed a sigh of relief but the night was pretty much ruined. Brakel
looked for Alden and decided he might as well tell the man in as neutral a
way as possible:
"My father wants you to be careful. Constable Credz was here earlier
and suddenly he was gone."
Brakel just hoped whatever he'd said wouldn't land them all in trouble
with the Lord.
Not even 10 minutes had gone by
when the door was smashed open once more and Lord Stannon returned to the
inn. Most of the regular patrons had left already but a few stragglers
were still around, not wanting to waste a good beer. The lord made a
direct line to Beersel and slammed his fist on the bar:
"Where is he?" he yelled.
"Who are you looking for, my Lord?" Beersel asked, putting down
the glass and towel.
"Alden, the mercenary."
"He should be sleeping in his chambers. I saw him leave for the
stairs." Beersel replied.
Alden had left as soon as Brakel had given him the message and clearly it
had saved the man's life. Beersel hoped that in doing so, he hadn't
condemned his own family to death. The lord called his men and together
they kicked open every door in his inn. Of course it became evident rather
quickly that none of the mercenaries were in their rooms. Caught between
keeping up the act or taking up a weapon, Beersel felt a curious calm
overcome him. Maybe this what was it meant to face your destiny. No matter
what happened, he'd done all he could.
It was Gistel, the young dark-skinned girl he'd rescued after she'd been
brought in by slavers, that broke his defeat. He thought of her as his own
daughter and once again she proved to be a daughter he could be proud of.
She rushed from the kitchen, brandishing a heavy pan. Beersel grabbed the
sword he kept under the bar, there would be no more acting. It was time
for Lord Stannon to face the people he'd done wrong.
In the tavern, the remaining patrons picked up chairs, some pulled daggers
out of their waistbands and someone even grabbed the pokers from the
fireplace. When the lord returned from the rooms, seething, he was met
with resistance the likes of which he hadn't thought possible.
Gistel oversaw the brawl and put herself squarely in the path of the lord.
She was no longer a frightened little girl that had had to stand by and
watch how her parents had been killed. She would not let that happen a
second time. Fuelled by rage and indignation, her anger knew no bounds and
she swung her pan as if her life depended on it. And it probably
In another corner, Zoersel had broken a bottle and was using it to keep
attackers at bay while she threw plates at the soldiers. The men who'd
been left threw themselves on the soldiers and managed to overtake them
though some got badly wounded in the process.
In another corner still, Brakel found himself pushed against the wall,
facing the sword of Lord Stannon who'd preyed on someone without any will
But before the lord could run his sword through the innkeeper's son, he
was run through from behind. As the lord dropped, Liesel let go of the
sharp knife she'd driven in his back. She looked at the blood on her hands
and then looked up at Brakel, horrified that she'd been able to kill
someone. But she would do anything for Brakel.
As Liesel fainted, Brakel was able to catch her. The fight died around
them as the Lord was no longer around and the soldiers had all been
knocked out or had fled.
The next day dawned in a chaotic
state. The mountain had burned and all across the neighbouring villages
riots had erupted. People came out of their houses, wondering what was to
happen. Who would pick up the pieces? Who would right the wrongs?
The door of the inn opened and a stranger walked in. Dressed in leather,
with heavy boots and a killer smile, he looked over the destruction and
wondered if it had been caused by the shadowling he'd been supposed to
keep an eye on. Ersatz was just so good at disappearing it had taken him a
while to track her down.
"Excuse me." Sovyl called, "You wouldn't happen to have had
some weird shadow pass through, would you?"
Sovyl was met with blank stares and decided that something else might have
caused the destruction. The people certainly looked worse for wear, but
they sported scars and bruises, not the wounds a shadowling usually
inflicted. It looked more like one big barfight had happened.
"Tough night?" he asked as he moved toward the bar.
The man behind it smirked and replied: "Something like that."
A woman peeked out from the kitchen and Sovyl appreciatively gave her a
once over and decided he liked what he saw. The look the innkeeper gave
him, made him reconsider asking the young woman for a date. He looked away
and noticed two other nice specimen of the female gender but they too
didn't seem to be ready for some casual fun. The young man that came in
from the back appeared to be ready to take him on even if he looked like
he only weighed half of Sovyl.
"You know what." Sovyl brought up, "You people look like
you could use a good vacation. Now hear me out and let me finish..."
Sovyl told them of dragons and different worlds and though their looks
were sceptical, the five Gremynians did agree to at least follow him to
see his dragon. Sovyl knew they were probably trying to determine if he
was crazy, but no-one would question his sanity after they met Aviath.
Seeing a bright orange dragon towering above people usually set them
straight. And maybe, just maybe, the innkeeper would let him date his
pretty daughters after he'd brought them to safety.
Stats and Dragon
[BEERSEL] [BRAKEL] [GISTEL]
Credits: Background from 1-background.com
Fonts used are called Castellar and Lydian