Write your own Kingdom Come Deliverance short story!


#1

ENGLISH - CZECH - GERMAN

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a save city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familair face, one not expected to be seen here…

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#2

Henry walks into a bar and says to the bartender [with a drunken slur], ‘Bartender, buy everyone in the house a drink, pour yourself one, and give me the bill.’

So, the bartender does just that and hands Henry a bill for 57.00 Groschen
Henry, ‘I haven’t got it.’

The bartender slaps Henry around a few times then throws him out into the street.

The very next day Henry walks into the bar and once again says [with a drunken slur], ‘Bartender, buy everyone in the house a drink, pour yourself one, and give me the bill.’

The bartender looks at Henry and figures to himself that he can’t possibly be stupid enough to pull the same trick twice, so he gives him the benefit of the doubt, pours a round of drinks for the house, has a drink himself and hands Henry a bill for 67.00 Groschen.

Henry, ‘I haven’t got it.’

The bartender can’t believe it. He picks the guy up, beats the living daylights out of him, then throws him out into the street.

The next day Henry walks back into the same bar and says [with a drunken slur], ‘Bartender, buy everyone in the house a drink, give me the bill.’

In disgust, the bartender says, ‘What, no drink for me this time?’

Henry replies, ‘You! No Way! You get too violent when you drink.’


#3

Within the tavern was all you’d expected to see, except that the local peasants seemed fixated on someone at the bar, someone wearing a tall red hat and a tattered cloak.

It was the great Coswarald.

“Wha…” Was all Henry could muster before…

“YOOOOOOOU!!!” The great Coswarald lept up while shouting, and throwing his various dinner accesories at Henrys face.

Henry took a wooden spoon to the nose, the tavern keeper moved to stop him from continuing his outburst, in response, Henry was forced to try and calm him down, while simultaneously trying to get him outside.

“All of my Groschen!!! My buisness!!” Was the last thing he managed to say inside the tavern.

Henry pulled him outside, away from listening ears (not that they couldn’t still hear him shouting)

“Quiet! Your buisness was a scam! Stop making so much noise about it!”

You see, one month earlier, Henry had been on a quest of sorts. He was informed by a less superstitious than average peasant, that a ridiculous looking man in a tall red hat and cloak, was going around to various villages, and selling off uselss junk, as magical trinkets. Of course, it was the great Coswarald, self described fighter of the dark arts. Offering many talismans and remedies toward such foul practices and curses.

When Henry tracked him down, he of course told him to stop, and when the great Coswarald refused (claiming he was helping people defend themselves), Henry burnt his wares, took his Groschen (returned it to anyone that could prove they bought something from him), and warned every village in a large radius of his tricks, while asking them to tell anyone they could the same thing in exchange for some of the great Coswaralds extra Groschen.

Henry was in a bad mood that day.

“YOOOOOOOOU!!!” He kept yelling “You’re the reason no one believes me anymore! I’ve been run out of 7 villages in one month! ONE MONTH!!” He was still trying to break free from Henry, who had him pressed against the taverns outer wall.

“Listen, just calm down, what you were doing was wrong. You were selling crap to people with barely any money, as if their lives depended on it.”

“They’re already afraid of magic and demons, my wares helped them feel safe! Why is that wrong!?”

“Because they’re so scared they’d rather go hungry than die by whatever you crap is supposed to protect against. It’s better to be scared of something fake than to genuinly starve.” Through all of this, Henry maintained a stern demenour.

"I… " The great Coswaralds face sank, as he slip down the taverns wall onto the muddy ground. He didn’t have a response. The great Coswarald was now sad. “I don’t have anything but my tall red hat and cloak anymore, I spent the last of my “savings” tonight” He said this as if calling them savings was a joke.

“I’m sorry for you, but you must be able to earn an honest living”

“You mean by going around destroying others peoples livings, like you do?”

“I don’t think you’re cut out for being an adventurer” This is the first time Henry smiled in his presense. He really did sympathize.

The great Coswarald was still very busy being sad on the ground, completely dejected. Henry decided to sit next to him, regardless of the mud.

“Listen, I saw you selling your trinkets before I spoke to you for the first time, your salesmanship is amazing. You should apply that to something honest, be a real merchant”

“A real merchant… Selling what, leaves? I have nothing, I can’t even start fromt the bottom” The great Coswaralds tall red hat seemed to droop with him.

“Okay listen, I still have some of your Groschen, if you promise me you’ll start an honest trade, I’ll LOAN it back to you”

The great Coswarald broke out laughing, as if his sadness flew off with the wind. He might have been a bit crazy.

“HAHAHAHAHA! The “adventurer” who destroyed my life is offering me SOME of MY own money back as a LONE! HAHAHAHAHA!!”

Henry laughed a bit as well.

“Okay, it is pretty funny, but I am serious. Come back inside, I’m still thirsty, and I’m sure you are. We’ll talk about your options over ale”

“Fine” He said with a dry tone. “I’ve got nothing important to lose anymore, unless this is an extremely elaborate trap”

The two drank for half the night, at first talking about the type of merchantry he could try, but it slowly drifted to the twos various stories, Henrys adventures, and the great Coswaralds definitely true epic tales of heroism, as he fought the dark arts, and it’s practitioners. As well as some of his better stories about sales gone wrong.

The two finshed their discussion the next morning as friends, and parted ways. The great Coswarald left the city of Pirkstein, with the money promised, off to try his hand at a less devious line of work. Henry watched as his tall red hat disappeared into the distance.

The great Coswarald found success as a real merchant, under a new guise: The great Oswarald! The man with a tall blue hat and cloak! No one could possibly realize it was him!

His ability to make crap sound useful, was perfect for making useful things sound magical! While he could never bring himself to stop up-selling his wares, they now actually had a genuine use that he simply capitalized on. And so the great Oswaralds days as a fighter of the dark arts, were now far behind him.

THE END


#4

A throw of the dice.

I will now tell you the story of how i came to be held at Pirkstein castle…

It started with a calm journey from Merhojed to Talmberk, and from Talmberk to Rattay. The path was mostly straightforward but sometimes became spindly, leading here and there to forested places where some said elves and trolls lived to pray upon man.

I did not find such things, but i heard the birds chirping along, or at least that was before they scattered away when i stirred up a rock with an errant footfall. It seemed now that the pitter-patter of my footsteps would be my only true companion, now that the birds were disturbed.

Later i found open land which was more often-than-not tilled by the hand of man and the aid of beast. These tilled lands reached to perhaps a quarter-league long in length and breadth, contrasting greatly with the grassy fields full of bright flowers.

I saw as men and women worked the fields, and some greeted towards me or waved and others did not, too keen on working, or more likely they were afraid of me. I was armed just like any soldier and i was fully equipped to take as i wanted, just as some soldiers and mercenaries are oft to do when on the field.

Continuing on in my journey, I often thought of my home. I brought to mind the image of a burning Skalitz.

I saw village men who took to arms, all were put to death by manyfold bitting arrows, and so they lay dead and bloodied on the ground.

I saw Cumans at that moment, rushing in on their horses, and two others who were not Cuman. All added together there were probably twelve men and horses and maybe more who lay in the shadows of nightfall beyond where i could see. Of the other men, one was on a great white stallion and the other was on a brown horse. Both horses were perhaps fifteen or sixteen hands high, larger than the Cuman horses, which were roughly thirteen hands high.

The man astride the white stallion wore a chaperon that was a stark red and wore a houppelande of black fustian, disguising him well in the night. The other man wore similar clothing but in a blue doublet and a black chaperon and a small belt with shaped plaques made of brass. This man also appeared to have a scar on the right side of his cheek, though i could not tell details from such a distance. Perhaps this nobleman was poorer than his fellow compatriot, but he might have also been a fighter in some degree given his scar.

Both outsiders were not armed for warfare, having only a sword or dagger at their side and little armour, so they seemingly left the killing to the Cumans while they watched the display from afar. Perhaps these noblemen had the vested interest to seeing Skalitz torched to the ground, to halt the mining of silver, perhaps to bankrupt our King in some heinous manner. I remember no more after that, for i was knocked unconscious in some manner.

It was then, swaying away the memories that i saw in the distance a great tall tower and a smaller wall below it. There was also a bridge made of bricks, rough-hewn though it was, but still serviceable. On the opposite side of the bridge there was a gatehouse. That was Pirkstein castle, and aside from it was the town of Rattay, a mirage for any wanderer with aching legs, where there were beds to sleep upon, whores waiting to be screwed and ale to be drunk… yes. I would call that heaven, to be enjoyed and experienced for some time.

It was reaching the crack of dusk and the sun was soon to depart, to leave behind the night and the stars in their resplendent beauty. I knew that the tavern would soon become the focal point of the town, and that was where i must go to find refuge in a cup of ale, and perhaps a bed on rent.

I passed the bridge and reached the narrow main street of Rattay, a stray piss bucket lay to the side, where dyers would collect the urine and store it somewhere for sometime in order to create a mordant.

The main street was clean and well kept, but the side alleys were much dirtier, leading to the poorer parts of the town.

The tavern laid a good fifty paces away or so from me, perhaps a little more than that. The tavern had a name. In all honesty however, i had completely forgotten its name.

I reached out my hand in the air upon reaching the roofed porch just outside the tavern.

It seemed i had come a little early and so the tables were at ill attendance, with perhaps a man to a table. I paid the men no heed, and set my padded coif down and held it under an armpit.

“Henry, God be with you. You praise me yet again with your ass to my tavern.” Spoke the bartender in a cheerful tone.

I looked at the bartender. Although i couldn’t recall his name i did remember his face, which had somewhat effeminate features. He had blonde hair held back beneath a dagged hood and a blonde beard with strikes of red to tinge it. His hair was a bit of an oddity in these parts, for many had brown hair. I thought he might have been born in Prussia or perhaps further West, given his accent.

“God be with you, bartender. I’ll have a bed, some good ale and perhaps something to eat.” I said, rubbing at my belly for emphasis.

The bartender gave a smirk. “For the rich we have capon crowned with eggs and cloves from the orient. For the poorer men like yourself, we have beef stew with good herbs and vegetables.”

I noticed the way that the bartender had mocked me in good jest, and so i must come up with something witty in return.

“You are right, bartender,” I paused for a moment, thinking up of something to say. “I’ll not suffer an empty purse in order to eat like a king this day, the world has enough wine-sodden, grovelling men like yourself and our King. I’ll have the stew.”

I knew in my heart that it was wrong to besmirch King Wenceslaus the fourth, but had he been a better leader, perhaps Skalitz would not have been burned in the first place. It was not my place to get bothered up with the political doings between warring brothers.

The Bartender sighed, the news of Wenceslaus’s capture of last year had struck everyone in the country. “I pray to god that somebody frees that man.”

I agreed wholeheartedly with the Bartender.

“So what is the price?” I asked, curious as to the cost.

“Five Groshen.”

‘Five Groshen, Ridiculous.’ I thought in shock.

“You’d have to add in a go with the finest whore in France for my service to be worth that much Groshen.” I said in crude jest.

I saw as the bartender gave another sigh. “Those damn Cuman outriders have done the devils work, burning and taking what they will, it costs more now to get simple things.”

I handed my five Groshen over to the bartender. The bartender’s face glowed with happiness.

“I wasn’t actually expecting you to pay that much.”

I would have normally haggled for better prices, but it wouldn’t do to have such a tavern ruined by the events that surrounded the nation.

“Normally i wouldn’t pay you that much, but i don’t want to see this place gone, i rather like drinking ale.” I said with a grin.

I saw as the bartender smiled and with quick pace set about to service me.

Within ten seconds he seemingly dropped a bowl of steaming meat and a cup of ale from out of nowhere and into my hands.

I grasped both the bowl and the cup and started to look for a place to sit.

It was then that i saw a black chaperon and a blue doublet… surely this could not be true.

I looked to the man’s face, but realized that if i wished to look for the scar i would have to travel over to the man, as his right cheek was obscured from my angle.

‘How do i go about this?’ I thought, wondering how a confrontation might evolve.

Taking the dice of fortune and throwing it into the wind, I took my move.

“Good day traveller, may i know your name?” I called out to the man whilst i began to move over to his table.

I saw as he turned, looking at me, sizing me up with his inquisitive eyes. They were a light blue.

In the light, the truth was revealed to me, the man had a scar on the right cheek. This man was present when Skalitz burned.

“My name is Bernhart and no more shall you know of me, traveler.”

I had a name to my list, this Bernhart… he was going to die for the destruction of my village, and whoever else was with him was going to die as well.

“Bernhart, have you visited Skalitz by any chance?” I said, my voice quivering to hold back my rage.

I saw as his eyes shook for a moment. It was then that i hurled my cup of ale into his face, and that was followed up by my bowl of beef stew.

Bernhart pulled out his rondel dagger from the scabbard at the side of his hip, eyes blinded by the burning sensation of the ale that had been thrown at his face. It would not be a fair match, just as he was not fair to Skalitz.

I reached for my Longsword and withdrew the blade from the scabbard, hacking down at the man’s head in a single, vertical motion.

I felt as my sword parted Bernhart’s chaperon and slid half-way down through his skull.

With a harsh pull, I withdrew my blade. Bernhart’s blood poured out in torrents of red, leaking down onto the wooden planks below, his corpse lying still, his head split half-way downwards in a sickening fashion.

The stench of spilled blood, beef and ale were a strong combination, each of those scents fighting for dominance within my nose.

“Dear god Henry, what have you done!”

The tavern-goers had rushed from the tavern, running to alert the guardsmen. I knew they would arrive soon, this was a small town.

Perhaps i hadn’t thought everything through. I had just killed a man, seemingly in cold blood, and so the courts would try me for murder without knowing of my circumstances. To me, this was a throw of the dice of fortune, and i prayed i would leave her hands unharmed.

I kneeled downwards and cut Bernhart’s coin purse. I knew that i could take the money and run, trying to escape Rattay and her guards… but then fortune would not favour me in that regard.

I threw the coinpurse towards the Bartender.

“That man was there at Skalitz alongside the Cumans… he aided in the creation of your hardship… it is only sensible that you take his coin.”

The guards came at that moment, halberds held out towards me.

And so that was how i came to be in a dungeon, wondering if i might live or die. But at the very least, i knew that i had killed one of the men responsible for destroying my village, i had gotten revenge, though the feeling hadn’t calmed me. I still felt hatred in my heart at what had happened, and the feeling of revenge hadn’t dashed the fire that was my rage.

I laid down on the floor, wondering about my life… my dreary eyes closing, the threat of sleep drawing me to the abyss.

‘I cannot die, not until my land is free of the Cumans.’

With that unsaid declaration, i felt calm, controlled. I found sleep a moment later.

The End.


#5

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a strong city surrounded by protective walls.

Although he has to visit Castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familiar face, one not expected to be seen here…

His thirst drained from him, Henry spins around to immediately exit the tavern, but other guests rushing in slow his retreat. “Henry!” He stops. “Henry Bardsson. I never would’ve thought to see you here.” Henry slowly turns around to face his worst nightmare.

Standing before Henry is a thin man, coming up to about his nose. His eyes, dangerously dark brown, stare into Henry’s soul from beneath bushy eyebrows. His countenance is pale, shaded by a tussle of dark hair atop his head, a short, thick beard, and chest hair just curling over the top of his leather tunic. A scar in the shape of a crescent moon goes from the middle of his cheek to his brow.

A triangular dagger with about twelve inches of steel sits at his hip.

Henry feigns a smile. “You weren’t on your way out, were you?” “No, I-I,” stammered Henry. “Good! Join me in a game of cards.” Henry is dragged through the bustling tavern to a corner table, while a tavern wench settles four cups and a large pitcher of ale in the center. Henry looks at his surroundings. This table is not viewable by the tavern owner, or the two doormen Henry shuffled by earlier. Not good. He smiles as he is introduced to the two others sitting at the table.

“That there is Heinrich. A good ol’ boy I met in my line of work. Good at drinking, bad at cards.” Henry takes hold of Heinrich’s forearm in a warrior’s shake. “This dapper fellow is Ahrnuld von Carstein. His family owns a fair bit of land west of here, and does a lot of business at the castle.” Henry nods his head in Ahrnuld’s direction. Henry takes a seat next to Heinrich as Ahrnuld shuffles a deck of cards. His…friend fills the cups on the table, and hands one to Henry. “Drink up, Henry!” He laughs raucously.

Henry takes the cup, drinking it thirstily. Apparently a cold beer does help with sheer terror.

“The game is nigh, bets can be anything of monetary value, equal to or worth more than the previous bet.” Ahrnuld flashes a smile. His fingers deftly deal the cards to the players on hand. “Best hand wins the round.” Everyone pauses their drinking to look at their cards. Ahrnuld’s eyebrows raise. Heinrich huffs. Henry stares at the pale man. He doesn’t move at all. “I shall start the betting.” Ahrnuld pulls a pouch from inside his purple vest and sets it on the table. He opens it up, pulls a single coin out, then sets it in the center of the table. “A gold coin.”

Heinrich sets a gold piece down next to Ahrnuld’s bet. Henry looks around. “I don’t have anything of value on me.” The group laughs. “Like I said, bets can be anything of monetary value.” Ahrnuld’s beady eyes roll over Henry’s face. Henry gulps. “I have a horse in the stables. Worth three gold coins.” Ahrnuld claps his hands. “Now we are starting!”

———————————————————————————————————

It has become dark outside, torches are lit in the tavern, and it’s busier than ever. The table is littered with bracelets, coins, and papers. Heinrich huffs. “Damn your dealing, Ahrnuld!” Ahrnuld laughs. “My dear Heinrich, you just have poor luck.” Henry chuckles. His pouch is now much heavier than when he arrived, thanks to Heinrich. The beer has even force his fear to flee- though the pale man does not avert his gaze.

Heinrich explodes. He throws his cards down, “Enough of this game! I can’t take it anymore!” He pulls a short dagger from a sheath on his thigh as he rises, arm high, raised to attack the pale man. Henry falls back, Ahrnuld’s beady eyes widen. A triangular blade is buried to the hilt into Heinrich’s armpit. He looks down towards the dagger. He gurgles blood. “I…knew it.”

The blade is removed from Heinrich as his body falls back to his chair. The pale man wipes the dagger clean on Heinrich’s tunic. Henry’s fear returns, his hands shaking. Ahrnuld’s eyes have doubled in size, and the faint scent of excrement fills the air. The pale man turns to the survivors. “This was not a game of chance. Heinrich died because I wanted him to die. You are here, because I wanted you here.”

Ahrnuld bolts to leave the pale man’s presence, but gets caught with a quick fist to the gut. “You can’t do this to me, you can’t. I’m a von Carstein!” The pale man pushes him against the wall. “It’s because of your name that you’re being punished.” Ahrnuld’s eyes move back and forth between Henry and the pale man.

“I-I never did anything to you!”

The pale man smiles.

“No, not to me.” He slowly pushes the blade up through Ahrnuld’s throat until the blade cannot be seen. Ahrnuld’s eyes go dull. “To her.”

He turns his attention to Henry.

“And you.” He takes a seat next to Henry. “So ruled by fear you did everything you could to not be hurt. Even sacrificing the one thing you needed to protect to save yourself.” Henry shakes his head. “I couldn’t do anything! They said it was that or we would both be put to the sword!”

In a flash the pale man buries his dagger into Henry’s thigh, nailing him to his chair.

“I gave her to you in good faith, in the sight of our friends and families, and you didn’t raise a finger to save her.”


#6

After Henry kills the Cumans in the nearby forest, he entered the tavern in Samopesh and take sit.
The bar keeper comes to him and ask him what he wants to order.
“one big mug of law beer please”

5 minuts later comes the bar keeper with the big mug of law beer!
Henry drinks from his mug of beer.

not mutch later there comes a armoured soldier sit next to him.
he wears a nice houndskull bascinet and a nice gothic breastplate.
he wears Scalemail skirt instead of a chainmail skirt. thats strange.
thats looks like eastern.
Hmmm… maybe he is a Cuman!?

The visor is down so u cant see the face of the men inside of it.

I wear only a big Gambeson, openfaced bascinet and Brigandine leg armour.
so i dont want to make that guy angry.
but still i never seen them here before.
i dont like outsiders that mutch, they make so mutch trouble…

“pssst… are you Henry??”
“Yes i am. what do you want from me?”

“Well, i will gif you this little bag of 35 Groschen
if u kill Sven Bronu.
you will find him in the nearby forest.
but be carefull he maybe get some company”

The armoured soldier walks to his horse and looks back to Henry.
“here take my horse, i will stay in Samopesh for 2 days so hurry up!!”

It is not dark yet so i clim up the horse and travel to the forest.


#7

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a safe city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familiar face, one not expected to be seen here…

As Henry reached the door of the tavern, he could smell the roasting pork and the inviting warmth of the tavern’s hearth. As he entered, his eyes were immediately drawn to the eight men pushing around the tavern maid, the look in her eye’s told Henry she was frightened, but no one seemed to want to interfere. Henry realised why, they were wearing the colour’s of the Duke’s personal guard. The same Duke who had recently been declared a rebel. The Duke and his men had a bad reputation, everywhere they went stories followed of the brutality they inflicted on innocents. Henry could see no Duke around, so it was likely his men had either deserted or splipped away from camp for some drinking. However, they still wore their swords and their uniforms to show the locals who they were. The maid was sobbing now, only enticing the thugs on further. They started to drag her towards the door where Henry still stood.

“You! Get out the damned way.” The obvious leader of the group venomously said to Henry. He was a little taller than Henry, but had none of the blacksmith son’s breadth of shoulder.

Henry had to think, he could not abide them forcing the wench out of the door to rape her. But if he tried to stop them he would be severely beaten, or worse.

Luckily, Henry didn’t have time to act before the door opened behind him and the city guard barge in. Leading them was Henry’s old acquaintance, Head of the City Watch, Gregory. Gregory was a barrel of a man, although under six foot, he was almost as wide as he was tall. Henry had seen him fight in skirmishes against the Cuman’s and he was one man he would not want to fight. Henry did not expect to see Gregory again, especially at the head of a city guard. Gregory had always been a trouble maker, loved to drink and fight and whore. It seem he had finally found a real job now.

“Put her down lads, or this gets ugly. We wouldn’t want this to get ugly now would we?” Gregory said as he rested his huge knuckled hand on the hilt of his sword.

“Do you know who we are? We serve the Duke! Now get out the way you ugly bastard or you’re done in this town,” the leader slurred.

Henry moved himself beside Gregory, and threw his cape over his shoulder to display the knives on his belt. Henry treated those knives like his babies and was skilled beyond his years in fighting with them.

Gregory noticed him move beside him and flashed his crooked smile.

“Good to see you old boy. After we deal with these poxy arseholes, drinks on me.”

Henry merely nodded as he studied the group dressed in the red and black of the Duke. Three of them were still very drunk and would be dispatched quickly if it came to a fight, but the others had sobered up quickly enough and had widened out and drawn their longswords.

Their leader introduced himself,

“We got off to a wrong start. I am Dmitri and I’m on duty tonight as it seems. On duty to the Duke himself. If you don’t move right now, I will tell him I heard treasonous talk in Rattay this afternoon. And he will bring you steel and slaughter you. So, I say again. Get out the damned way before you bleed!”

Gregory showed nothing, his face unreadable. He slowly drew his sword, followed by his four guardsmen.

“This isn’t your fight Henry, I swore to protect the citizens of Rattay. You didn’t. Go now.” Gregory said without taking his gaze off of the red faced Dmitri.

“Ah, this is where I tell you of my worth in a fight, as you well know, and that you know I abhor the raping of an innocent woman by scum like these.” Henry declared.

The man furthest to the left moved suddenly, hoping to catch the tense city guard unawares, but one of Henry’s knives flew from his fingers landing in the mans unprotected throat. First blood had been drawn, and suddenly all was chaos. The city guard had shields, so they stood blocking the doorway, whilst the Duke’s men ran forward looking to avenge their fallen friend. Henry had a dilemma, he was in front of the hastily made shield-wall, he only had a leather jerkin to protect himself and was armed now with two knives and two more to throw. He drew his long bladed knives and ran at the skinny one on the left. He knew what his foe would do, he would throw and overhand slash at Henry’s unprotected head with his sword. Henry swivelled to his left to dodge and got behind. He sent a kick to the side of the knee that sent the skinny one tumbling over.

Two more had turned to face him, whilst the remaining four struggled with the city guard. Henry moved backwards, looking for opportunities. But these two moved in unison, and were much older than the skinny one he had left reeling on the floor. Henry moved behind a table and upended it, hoping it would be some form of barrier.

Gregory saw Henry backed into a corner, he sent a vicious cut at towards the neck of his attacker which found its mark and allowed Gregory to run towards the corner Henry was in. He hamstringed one, whilst the other turned to see what caused his friend to scream Gregory’s paunchy fist hammered into his jaw.

The remaining three barged through the wall of shields and fled but the red faced leader turned and shouted

“I’ll get you one day you peasant scum. We’ll come back and finish the job.”

Gregory wiped his sword on the unconscious man’s tunic.

He grinned at Henry,

“HA! What are you doing here lad? Aren’t you supposed to be out east, fighting or some nonsense?”

“That’s what brings me here. On my way to Pirkstein, need to see their commander. You haven’t changed a bit you oaf!” he proclaimed as he wrapped Gregory in a hug. “Aren’t you worried about the Duke or his men coming back?”

“These are dark times Henry. Rattay is supposed to be a safe haven, but with men like that entering we’ll have a fight on our hands soon enough. Be it with the Duke or any other prancing noble fuck. I’ll double the watch, set some bounties on their heads. The Duke won’t last long, nor will his men if that’s how they act.”

Henry moved over to where his throwing knife jutted from the dead man’s throat and pulled it out. The tavern maid had gone ghostly pale. Henry moved over to her and tenderly lifted her to her feet. He noticed she was walking strangely, and then saw the red stain on her dress.

“Gregory, get a doctor! Madam, sit down. I need to look at the wound.” He cut open the dress, and saw she had been stabbed from the back. Her breathing was becoming scarce.

“Please, sir, do something. She is my daughter, my life.” The tavern owner was openly crying and pleading with Henry to do something.

By the time the doctor arrived with Gregory, she had died. Henry did not know this woman, but felt remorseful felt like he could of and should of done something more to stop this.

“I’ll hunt them down, they will pay.” Henry stated as he stared at the lifeless corpse.

“A drink first lad? They are dangerous men, they will have more than those three that escaped with them.” The hulking presence of Gregory said.

“Not this time, their heads will be atop Rattay in three days.” With that, Henry strode off into the warm summer sun following the dusty footprints of the three soldiers.

“He’ll get himself killed one day, too noble. He hasn’t learned how the world works.” Gregory muttered to no-one.


#8

Henry sat down at a cornertable of the tavern. Feeling a bit lonely he looked around and wondered who all these people were. He suddenly looked at a knight standing at the bar holding a flattened shield. He thought to himself “why does one carry around a thing like that?”. So he stepped up from behind the table and wandered towards the knight.

He asked him what the purpose was taking a shield like that with him. The knight, who was called “Sir Victor Chance” informed him that it belonged to a fellow knight who died in a most spectacular way only a few months before. He was actually surprised that Henry hadn’t heared about it since it was well known by now.

The knight said that while he could explain the whole story, it would be better to hear it from the local bard. He winked at the bard in the corner and asked him to sing the song. The bard gattered the attention of the crowd in the tavern and announced that he would sing them the storry of the once famous knight Walter The Red.

“Walter The Noble or Walter The Red”
“A savior to all who asked him a hand”
“Slew all the scum untill they were dead”
“His days were long, his adventures were grand”

“He tracked some thieves who roamed from town to town”
“He found them and attacked, it was truly a show”
“Always smiling and never a frown”
“The thieves were all killed by his killing blow”

“He achieved the impossible it was nothing short of wonder”
“People had gathered to behold all his might”
“Then a sound appeared as loud as thunder”
“Sir Walter was hit that very dark night”

“He lay there flatenned with sword and shield”
“Smoke and burning rubble just after the fight”
“The once famous knight now dead in the field”
“Struck by the gods and now killed by a meteorite”

“So it was that Sir Walter The Red was no more”
“Hit by the heavens he was fataly struck”
“A tale that lives on for evermore”
“Of a once famous knight that had lost his luck”

Henry shed a tear after the song. Folk were still singing and drinking to Walters name, but Sir Victor was nowhere to be found. Only a note next to the shield lay on the bar. “May luck favor you as Walter would have wanted”. Henry took the shield with him, suprisingly very light and sturdy, still had a special something about it. He would carry it with him, and who knows maybe, just maybe he will meet Sir Victor again somewhere…


#9

Not many men escaped the noose, and fewer still made it out of the city with their heads firmly attached to their shoulders. Of these few, only one had ever made it into the forest without an arrow embedding itself in the back of their neck. That one man, who stood accused of three murders, and yet proclaimed his own innocence, could not have escaped alone – he had help within the city and the people knew this. For weeks after his escape guards searched for his accomplice, but to no avail. Over time the memory faded, and the convict’s face was forgotten. But Henry did not forget faces.

The man was hooded with a ripped shirt plastered across his chest; his face was almost a forest in its own right – thick, knotted brown hair clung to his chin like creeper clings to a wall. He was leaning against the wall in the far corner of the tavern, glaring at the floor. A worn belt wrapped around his waist did little to conceal the dagger it held, or indeed to tighten the man’s waistband. He was lean, and had a feral, wolfish look about him. Henry always thought wolves to be deeply misunderstood creatures - they did not fight simply to kill, but to survive – something any man would do given the chance.

Making every effort to appear inconspicuous, Henry strolled up alongside the man. “Jonah,” he said, placing his substantial figure between the man and the rest of the bar, “you should not be here.” Jonah’s gaze remained fixed on his feet. “We agreed,” repeated Henry, “never return.”
“I have come to confess. I’ve come to tell the truth.” Henry felt his muscles tense and his head spin as he tried to understand what was happening. “You can’t… You can’t confess Jonah, because you didn’t do anything wrong, and if you confess they will kill you. Do you want to die?” Lifting his gaze to meet Henry’s eyes Jonah nodded – a small gesture, but one that said more than a lifetime of words. “I killed them, Henry. I held this dagger –“ he placed his hand on his belt, “ and I killed them. Look at these hands! I can’t believe they are mine. I don’t want to believe it. I can’t carry on like this Henry, I am running and running, but you can’t outrun the truth. It’s always one step ahead, looking down on you, taunting you, laughing at you: You’re a murderer! You killed them! You’re going to hell! I can’t take it Henry, I can’t…”
“You killed them because you had no choice!” Henry argued, his voice beginning to crack. “The things they were going to do to you – they’re lucky I didn’t get my hands on them. You stopped them doing that to other people! You’re a good man, Jonah, and I can’t let you do this.”
Jonah seemed to think about that. For a fleeting moment his eyes lost their resigned determination - he held them shut. “You can’t help me Henry. I’m sorry. Not this time.”
“Jonah, if you confess it is not just you who will die.” Henry leaned in, bringing his voice down to a whisper which could barely be heard above the wall of drunken men shouting at each other. “I helped you escape – they will search for me, and find me and kill me. I beg you, reconsider. I don’t deserve this, and neither do you. Please, Jonah, if not for your sake then for mine. There’s always another way – all we have to do is find it. Take some time and think it over. Have you got a place to stay?” Taking a deep breath, Jonah replied “No, I’m afraid not. I wasn’t expecting to last the night.” Gesturing for Jonah to wait, Henry paced over to the bartender. “Upstairs room, one night”, he shouted over the cacophony of drunken patrons’ laughter, while sliding two silver coins over the table. Returning to Jonah, Henry reported “You’ve got the upstairs room for one night. Meet me here in the morning and we’ll work something out. Please don’t do anything stupid.” With that, Henry turned and left the tavern.

The second he stepped outside his head began to spin. A decade’s worth of fear and anguish cascaded into his thoughts, blocking any attempt to dispel the chaos and replace it with reason. Twelve years ago, a younger, softer Henry was walking past an old barn owned by a man called Jonah. He walked there often, to clear his head from the melee of the day. This day was different - Henry heard something smash in the barn. Creeping over to instigate, he heard the bone-chilling noise that would change his life forever: a grown man screaming uncontrollably in terror. Peering through a crack in the bricks of the barn, Henry had seen Jonah surrounded by three men, all wielding knives. In a split second Henry had to make a decision. He knew no one was near enough to help, and that he was Jonah’s only chance, but he was not entirely foolhardy: he knew that he would die if he tried to take on any one of these men, let alone all three. In that moment, fate, as it so often does, took matters into its own hands.
Henry, being too transfixed with the horror playing out in front of his eyes, had neglected to examine his surroundings. As he turned to get a better view, he knocked over a steel bucket which was hardly visible in the black of night. Henry winced as it clashed to the ground - a sound which although it could not possibly have been, Henry still recounted as the single loudest noise he had ever heard. Upon hearing this, the biggest of the three men (who seemed to be the one holding the power) barked something to the other two. They both turned and went for the exit of the barn. Henry knew he had to run, but he let his gaze linger for just long enough to see Jonah kick the big man’s shins, grab the knife from his hand as he doubled over, and plunge it into the back of his neck. The two men span around. Their expression transformed from menace, to shock, to disbelief as they beheld their leader’s corpse. These men were no trained killers, but they quickly regained their composure and began to edge towards Jonah, daggers in hand. To Henry’s amazement, Jonah charged head first at the man on the left, thrusting his fist into his neck. Jonah span around, and elbowed the third man in the stomach. Quickly pulling the dagger from the big man’s corpse, he stood over the second man, who was just starting to recover from Jonah’s punch. Jonah held his eyes tightly shut, and thrust the dagger down, into the man’s chest. Frenzied with adrenaline, the third man grabbed a spade from the floor and began to swing it. Before the blow could land, Jonah lunged at him, the dagger piercing his side. As the third man fell to the ground, Jonah collapsed too, and held his head in his hands.

The bitter winter air bought Henry back to attention. He left the tavern and returned to his bed – a moot action as he knew full well that he would not be able to catch a wink of sleep. The next morning, Henry went straight to the tavern. A large crowd was gathered around the door, shouting and shoving each other as only disgruntled pub-goers do. Henry began to push the men aside, moving steadily toward the entrance, until his advance was halted by an arm clad in plate armour. “Halt!” commanded a voice, which Henry realized as he looked at the man attached to the armoured arm, belonged to a member of the city guard. “Officials only. Tavern is closed for business.”
“What do you mean ‘closed for business?’” asked Henry, “And why? I’m here to meet my friend. He was staying in the room upstairs.” Although Henry could not see the man’s face through his helmet, he could not help but notice a change in his stance. “I’m very sorry sir, but I can’t let you in.”
“Why don’t you just tell me what exactly is going on here?” The guard sighed, and placed his metal fist upon Henry’s shoulder. “A man was found dead last night. In the upstairs room. Looks like he hanged himself with his own belt. I’m very sorry sir.”


#10

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a safe city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familiar face, one not expected to be seen here…
On one of the tables is a man shrouded in a cloak, however the rim pulls back as he laughs and pulls a pile of Groschen towards him. There’s something strangely familiar about his face and Henry walks over, orders a beer and pulls a chair up to the table, It’s not till then he realizes the man is the infamous Street Baron - a bandit who preys on unprotected travelers and whose picture is posted on wanted signs throughout the city. It wasn’t a very reputable tavern but Henry was still surprised that such a notorious villain could escape capture in such an obvious place.
Henry quickly stood up and was about to announce the hooded man’s identity when he noticed the glint of steel scraping from multiple scabbards across the room, attempting to cover his obvious mistake he swaggered over to the counter and ordered a second drink. He thought to himself about his options. The door wasn’t one, the bandits would recognize him leaving to get help and kill him before he could taste fresh air. the only other option was to stay and try to blend in.
Terrified he put a on a confident face and sauntered back to the table to sit near the Street Baron.
“Can I join the next round ?” He asked confidently, however he was shaking with fear inside.
The Street Baron nodded and grunted as he took a swig from his mug. By watching the last portion of the previous round Henry discovered that the card game was a variant of one he had played as a child, betting coloured river stones with his friends. The first round went badly he misjudged others around the table multiple times and lost his entire bet, a total of 5 Groschen. Determined to get his money back and armed with a good hand he played less timidly, and was able to win 10 Groschen!
Five rounds later his childhood strategies had come back to him and he had won more than anyone else and his playing-mates were getting angry, however Henry was taken with a winning fever a continued without recognizing the expressions of hate on the faces of the Street Baron and his cronies. The next round he took the entire pot of Groschen! Almost simultaneously the brigands stood, knocking down chairs and spilling mugs of ale. Henry scampered back and scrambled for his blade but before he could reach it the brigands were upon him grabbing him and beating him into submission, It didn’t take long till he was unconscious and the brigands would’ve continued till he was dead if it wasn’t for a gruff, commanding voice.
“Stop, we can take any gold and valuables he might have. He gave us a good game and I’m in charitable mood.”
The next thing Henry knew he was looking down on the city and dangling in the air! He struggled for a moment before he realized that any movement could cause his bindings to release and drop him the great distance to the streets below. Uncomfortably twisting his neck Henry looked around, and realized that he was hanging from a pole fastened to the top of Rattay’s cathedral. He fuzzily remembered the fight in the bar and wondered why the bandits hadn’t killed him.
An Hour later, after untying himself almost falling to his death every time he undid one of the many knots, Henry had escaped the tangle of rope and climbed across the cathedral roof to the bell tower. The bell towers sides were open to allow the ringing to travel farther so it was easy for him to get in. Once out of the cathedral Henry found his way to one of the cities guard houses, and alerted them to the presence of the wanted men in the tavern. He led them through the still muddy winding streets to the seedier part of town where he had sook respite from his travels on his first day of town.
However when they arrived at the tavern the door was boarded shut and the entire place looked like it hadn’t been used for days.
One of the guards murmured, “Just a false alarm from a country-side fool I reckon.” The other guards agreed as they grumbled to each other. “Look ‘ere!” the guard was almost yelling, “ You got to have proof when you waste five guards time with fantasies about bandit-filled taverns! I don’t know about what the law is like in whatever cramped dirty village you come from, but ‘ere we don’t have time to waste on fools like you! As repense for this ‘quest’ I’m fining you 20 Groschen.”
Henry had lost all his coins or valuables during the beating he received from the bandits and had nothing to give. sizing up the odds he decided to run, the guards were weighed down with armour and fat from the lazy days watching market stalls. He faked searching his pockets then turned and sprinted as fast as he could away from the guards.
“HEY STOP! STOP THAT MAN! GIT ‘IM!” the lead guard yelled, armour clanking and whining as he struggled to keep up with Henry.
Henry kept running as a stray dog wandered out from a side passage, Henry didn’t even see it till he was tumbling over its back, he knew the guard was catching up and tucked into a roll as he hit the mucky street, he successfully spun through the mud back on to his feet and continued running at full speed.
Soon Henry had lost the guards in the many back-alleys and winding side-streets of Rattay. But he had nowhere to go and no money to spend so he was rendered equal to the homeless beggars that frequented the busy streets looking for handouts. Eventually filled with the stress of his situation he fell into a deep sleep filled with dreams of falling down endless dark precipices, being swarmed by packs of mangy, foul wolves , and chased by wild boar covered with mail coats and with tusks of sharpened steel.
In the middle of the night Henry was wakened by the sound of steel scraping from a scabbard. He looked up and above him was the Street-Baron teeth, eyes, and blade the only visible features. The Street-Baron had changed his decision to let Henry live when one of his informants had alerted him that Henry had gone to the guards. The Street-Baron’s judgement couldn’t come into question with his men so he had come to finish the job without them knowing of the mistake he had made letting Henry live.
Suddenly as the Street-Baron plunged the blade towards Henry’s heart, Henry dived to the side leaving the blade to taste nothing but stale mud. As Henry got to his feet the Street-Baron slashed quickly, aiming for Henry’s throat, Henry was able to dodge the first slash but was unable to react to the follow-up slice which gashed along his collarbone. Henry knew that if he was kept of the defensive the fight would soon end with only the Street-Baron leaving the alley. He struck out with his fist, but at the same time his foot came up in a swift kick to disarm his opponent. Losing his knife the Street-Baron lashed out, striking Henry across the cheek. Henry backed up regaining his wits from the stunning blow when he was hit again, and again, and again. He raised his arms weakly to protect his face but that did little to prevent the onslaught. staggering Henry stepped back the anticipating a punch dropped to the ground sweeping his foot and tripping the Street-Baron, just like that the tables were turned. Henry pounced on the Street-Baron pounding blow after blow upon the infamous bandit, coming down with a ferocious hit, like a hammer on an anvil, Henry knocked the Street-Barons head against the flag stones, killing him instantly.
Henry found a few Groschen in the Street-Barons pockets which he used to spend the rest of the night in a inn. In the morning he goes straight to Castle Pirkstein.


#11

#12

Opening cinematic: Henry walks into a tavern, crouches, and then he sneaks accross to a table. He then steals an ale, downs it in one go and walks out the establishment.
He is greeted by several guards who hand him a bastard sword and slap him with there gloves.They then speak with him as they put them back on, "WE CHALLENGE YOU, MR THIEF HENRY TO A DUEL"
Henry nods and combat arises.

Camera cuts to opening title…

Everybody alt tabs out of the game because they can’t handle the glory that is the final product.

Wait this was suppose to be a story of fiction, whoopsies…

I’ll try again later.


#13

Beer Run:

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a safe city surrounded by protective walls. Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst led him directly to the first tavern, in pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familair face, one he had not expected to see here…

Sitting in the corner of the tavern was a man bearing a striking resemblance to Jakub Baracnik, a less than pleasant mercenary, whom Henry previously believed to be dead. In essence, Jakub was a maniacal simpleton, but he was a large simpleton, standing a foot above the average man, with muscles like anvils, fists like hammers and a face like a horse’s arse. Surrounding his eyes were dark circles, almost soot like, emphasising his thoughtless stare, a stare searching only for blood. Jakub had an atmosphere about him, making it seemingly possible to cut the air around him with a knife. The other tavern rabble dared not to go within five feet of him, meaning Jakub had an entire corner to himself. A tavern wench came to take his empty decanter away, only to be grabbed by Jakub’s course and net sized hands. She slapped him, receiving in return a taunting laugh making one think he enjoyed it, and an inappropriate grab, before he sent her off to fetch yet another pitcher of ale. By the looks of if, she was used to this kind of treatmeant, trying hard not to weep, but Henry on the other hand would not stand for it.

Not long prior to this unexpected meeting, Jakub and his band of merry fools caught a savage case of the runs, just outside the village of Samopesh. Thinking this was a case of local witchcraft, Jakub stormed into Samopesh when the moon was high, slaughtering sheep, razing crop fields and dragging villagers out of their beds. This cacophony of mayhem caused panic in the villagers who were rounded up by the band just outside Marianna’s tavern.

At this point in time Henry was returning to the village, after dealing with a pack of wolves doing great damage to the local chicken population. It was only natural that Henry was taken aback after returning to see fires roaring in the village and screams filling the air. He rushed into Samopesh, noticing that houses were being looted and the villagers rounded up like a herd of cattle for the slaughter. Being careful not to be seen Henry hid behind the blacksmith’s gallows and observed Jakub Baracnik, locally known as Jakub the Giant, shouting at the helpless villagers.

“Right you sorry sacks of horse shit. I’ve been good to you over the past few weeks, I gave you a good deal. In exchange for my protection, me and my men could shag anything that moves in this shit stain of a town and get a few groschen on top” Jakub bellowed. He then addressed his men “Does that seem like too much to ask lads”.

“No!” they replied.

“Right! So why is it that me and the lads can’t stand up without needing to spray shit over eachother?”

The villagers were paralyzed by fear, unable to come up with an answer. But low and behold Jerry the farmer saw fit to voice his opinion on the matter. Shaking with cowardice he shouted “Blame the whore Marianna. She served me a diabolical portion of gruel the other week. I thought I might shit out my own insides!”

“This was no bloody gruel! This was witchcraft!” Jakub shouted.

“If you’re looking for a witch, head on over to the herb woman’s cottage” the baliff added. “She’s had it in for this village for years and now she’s finally done it! If you want someone to blame, blame that haggardly old wench!”.

Henry immediately rushed through the fields to the herb woman’s cottage to warn her. Meanwhile Jakub decided to pay the herbalist a visit as well, telling his men to remain with the villagers.

Upon barging into the supposed witch’s hut Henry awoke her and quickly explained what he had just witnessed. “You need to get out of here quickly! The mercenary Jakub is on his way and means you great harm. He believes you gave his lot the runs through witchcraft” Henry quickly explained.

“This is my home lad, and I’m not easily gotten the better of. I’ve got a concoction here that’ll make him run for the hills faster than you can say bugger me” She deviously replied.

Outside the pair suddenly heard a wailing sound most likely emanating from the brute Jakub. “Quickly” the herb woman whispered “Take some cover outside and watch this “witch” work her magic”.

Henry hid behind the bench outside the herb woman’s hut, giving him a complete view of the events that would unfold. Jakub barged into the herb woman’s hut shouting all kinds of obscenities and unpleasantly describing his green colored excrement and its ability to travel further than a loosed arrow. Calmly and collectively the herb woman explained that if it was the runs he had, then all he needed to do was drink a bottle of this “antidote”. Being the simpleton that he is, Jakub drank the “antidote” without question. Almost instantly the oaf began to whimper at the sight of the old woman, exclaiming “Stay back witch!”.

To which the woman replied “You will take your band of soft headed brutes and leave Samopesh before I rip your bowels up and out of your gullets with my bare hands!”

The sight of a boulder of a man cowering in front of a hunched old woman was highly amusing for Henry, who could barely contain himself. At this point Jakub and his brown stained trousers ran from the hut, gathered his men and rushed for the hills.

Later the herb woman explained to Henry that not only had she given Jakub a concoction that would most likely kill him, but she’d even added a few extra herbs to cause vivid hallucination. She then explained that the symptoms Jakub described could only have been caused by off beer, which coincidentally the bailiff later found three kegs of at the mercenary’s camp.

After laughing for about ten minutes Henry decided to go back to town and carry on about his normal business and help rebuild the mess left in Jakub’s wake. He’d not given the event much thought until he found himself at a tavern in Rattay, staring at a man whom the herb woman had told Henry should be dead.

Henry asked the bartender for a keg of his oldest beer, to which the bartender replied “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea lad. I’ve a keg out back but I’m about to throw it away. Besides it’ll give you the runs something awful”.

“I’ll pay you 5 Groschen for the keg, just bring it here” Henry ordered.

The thought of coin quickly changed the bartender’s tune and within a few minutes he brought Henry the keg. Henry then proceeded to walk over to Jakub’s table. The two made eye contact. Henry began by stating, “You look like a man who’s down on his luck”.

To which an already drunk Jakub replied, “You’d better sod off boy or I’ll tear you a new hole. In fact if you don’t give me that keg you’re holding I’ll beat you so hard even your own bloody mother couldn’t recognize you”. Without hesitation Henry gave Jakub the keg of putrid beer, which he proceeded to drink uncontrollably. Henry walked over to the tavern lady, whom he’d seen mistreated by Jakub, and gave her the remaining contents of his coin pouch. Our hero then walked out of the tavern, content that he’d done the Kingdom of Bohemia a great service once more.

Thanks for reading guys!

1328 words


#14

Hello everybody! :slight_smile:
You may not know me, as I have been rather reading these forums than participating in them, but I am following the KCD project since its early days. The excitement still hasn’t set, and this game and my anticipation for it gets better with any day that passes.
I find this short story idea to be very creative and interesting and I’d like to present the one I made. I hope you have fun reading it and I wish all of the participants good luck! :slight_smile:
Length: 1440 words (including the given introduction).
Note: I may add small corrections to the story (e.g. grammar).

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a save city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familair face, one not expected to be seen here…

Like a big and roughly spotted, old, dried apple. So the nose hung over the noble, shining curtain of a beard, made out of hundreds of the finest silver rays of a star, as if God himself would have cast this solar magnificence over the old man’s battered face. Battered it was, indeed. But oh, his smile shone even stronger than his stellar beard. Inviting it was, like a light spring breeze, while his widely opened eyes – which the most innocent and sweet young maids used as a mirror to arrange their golden hair while the old man told them stories of young and strong men, coming to save a princess as fragile and splendid as them – radiated an inviting and invigorating summer heat, with buzzing and quavering sounds in the air and a scent of gallant and sugary honey. The old man’s smile grew bigger and bigger. It already reached his ears, already went over them, to his shining and congenial baldness, covered in few age spots, which once again reminded Henry of the man’s high age. Yes… His age… But what in the hell – did Henry wonder – what in the hell does he want from me? Haven’t even put my right foot into the tavern, haven’t even closed the door behind me, couldn’t even take a glimpse at the young girls serving fresh beer to the custom, and there this old man sits, fixing me with this look, as if he would have met an old friend of him. Henry looked down, to the old man’s chest. It was covered in a dark leather waistcoat, under which a fine, beige shirt was hiding. And there… There. There! Yes, there! Henry moved his left leg towards the table at which the old man sat. He moved his right hand to his hat and took it off, then down to his belly. His mouth widened and widened, his chin smoothened and smoothened… He just couldn’t believe it. Now Henry was there, already. Right in front of the table and the old man, without even realizing that he walked all this way from the entrance to the other corner at the other end of the tavern, where the old man sat. Now it was Henry who fixed him with his eyes. More precisely, what he noticed on the old man’s chest… A shining, little amulet, showing its glory under the lower and sparser part of the old man’s beard. It was simple, but radiant at the same time. Just as the old man’s appearance. Small and oval, of gold with a miniature ruby in the exact middle of it, grinded to perfection. An amulet just like any other, you may think. Oh, but not to the eyes of Henry. These proportions, this size. The way the ruby shone and the way it was swimming on the fine surface of this honey-colored metal, this sun-like gold. The way it hung on the subtle and sparkling necklace on the old man’s neck. The old man now sunk his head and looked into Henry’s eyes unverbally asking “Now you recognized me, didn’t you…?”. Henry gently rattled his head awakening from his day dreams, reclarifying his lost and watery look that was fixed on the amulet. This amulet. He knew it. He knew it from his childhood. Enderis. Enderis! It was him. The old man, Enderis, moved his right hand, crossed on the table with his left one until now, to the table’s side where he grabbed a mug full of fresh, foaming beer and pulled him towards Henry. “Sit down, young boy.”, he said.
Enderis, for a little explanation may be needed, was like Henry’s second father. When Henry was a little boy, he guarded him when his father was too busy in the forge and his mother had to work hard in their modest but homely shack. He told him stories, played with him, taught him the most diverse secrets and skills to survive, to fight, to treat people the right way – may those be nobles, servants of the king, or poor beggars – in order to get the most out of them but also for them, as Enderis told Henry honour and respect too. Then, one day, Enderis vanished. He said he needed to follow his duty, deep down in the woods. Henry always knew that Enderis was involved in badly viewed things – witchcraft, nightly rituals and other occult things. But Henry never told anybody, not even his parents, as he knew that Enderis was a man of good heart and so were his actions. Henry never saw him again after the day he vanished.
Until this day. Henry was truly speechless. Enderis kept smiling, he shone, he was happy. Truly happy, like a little child. A tear flowed down Henry’s chin and reached his lips that slowly turned into a smile too. “Drink, Henry.”, Enderis said, “Drink. There is so much I have to tell you. I saw this coming. All this. Your family, the king. The cruellness. The murdering, all this blood. In my dreams. Everywhere. There is so much I have to tell you. So much – words aren’t enough. So drink. Drink!” Henry didn’t understand. Enderis put his hands on Henry’s left hand, while the young man guided his right hand, holding the mug, to his mouth. The beer was strange. Bitterer than usual. So herbal. Fresh, like a forest, until it hit his stomach, answering with cramps, wanting to pull the liquid back out, through Henry’s mouth, but he couldn’t stop drinking. He drank, and drank, and drank. It flowed down his throat, his throat that started decomposing steadily, but with increasing speed as time flew by. His whole body disappeared. He didn’t feel himself anymore. He just… Was. In front of him, he saw the dead bodies of his parents. Lying. In blood. Vanishing. Fights. Wars. People slaying each other. He found himslef on a battle field, covered in poppies. Poppies. Between dead bodies, all over the place. The poppies liquefied themselves, mixing up with the dead soldier’s blood. And then, he saw himself. On a horse. With a sword in his hand. And he felt it. The king. He felt murder. He didn’t see. He just felt murder. Henry. On a horse. Field. Poppies. Murder. The king. Revenge. Darkness.

A fine line of light, far away on the horizon. Like thin yarn, emitting a pulsating light. Growing thicker and thicker and blurring out at the same time. It was Henry’s eyes slowly opening and catching the early light of a humid but fresh morning. Henry smelt the fresh scent of grass and leaves, heard the loud and confused but somewhat comforting chirping of small, happy birds and felt the smooth moss on his left palm, that lay flat on the ground. His back was sustained by something thick and strong, rough but gentle at the same time. His whole body felt heavy, and stiff, as if he hadn’t moved it for a millenium. He turned around with a lot of effort and could see a tree behind his back. His eyes slowly got used to the light and he found himself in a forest, nearby the path at the wood’s edge, not far from the tavern. “What just happened…?”, he said in a slow and hawking voice. “What? What…? Enderis, saying. Something. I drank. He told me. Told.” Henry sat there, breathing in the invigorating, fresh forest air and thinking. To his mind came memories of his childhood. Words spoken to him by Enderis about witches and magic potions revealing the truth and future. He was sure, that what he had seen would lead and help him on his path. He slowly started stretching, moved his right hand and felt the mug which he held with a surprisingly strong grip. He looked into it. Henry was… He was… Stunned. In it, he found Enderis’ shining amulet on its fine necklace. He brought it nearer to his eyes. As the mug approached his face, a waft of a strange, somewhat bitter but calming scent reached his nose. It smelt like the poppies he had seen on the combat field.


#15

This story came to life, listening to the wonderful soundtrack (so far) released.
If you listen to “people of the land” while reading, it should be perfect.

Rattay
anno 1403

A pair of little blurry eyes was starring up at the smoke-soiled ceiling, while small black spotted cat feeds swirled dust up, from the dry midsummer dirt. A mild morning breeze pushed the door open, and pale green leaves trickled and danced in the same rhythm, as the sun rays played between the shadows. The cat went in, and a woman, sleek and weather-beaten, went out. With a foot, she pushed back the cat, and closed the door, to the new-born baby behind them. All with both of her hands behind the back of her head, where they tied up the ends of her hair-veil together. With her thumbs she pushed back small tufts of hair under the veil. The cat starred at the woman, with offend in its eyes. Then it looked away again, as hat it suddenly lost interest. It looked past the trees, at the corner of the small tavern, that was located at the outskirts of the village, and outside of its protective walls. It was staring at the road, for a second or two, and then it ran off. The woman looked up, at the sudden movement. She starred at the road that let into Rattay. there was a lot of dust in the air, and then she heard the noise of 50 heavy feets or more, marching. “Heavens” the woman thought. For a short moment her heart stood still, while she was starring at the horizon. Then the banners and pikes started to appear. Because of all the dust, it was hard to see anything. She wiped the sweat from her forehead, with the back of a hand, and blinked twice with her eyes. Her shoulders lowered, and she breathed out. The colours was friendly.

Henry had made up a line, from looking down on his two marching feet, since sunrise while knowing that his stomach was empty. “Bring me in good ale, and bring me in good ale. For our blessed lady sake, bring me in good ale.” And he was singing it to himself, while one of the noblemen in the front, shouted “Rattay ahead” It took a couple of seconds before Henry realised, what the words meant. He looked up, and saw the nobleman on his horse. He had turned himself around in the saddle, and was looking for the lord, in the back. The men was then all ordered to stop marching, and suddenly Henry got a friendly punch in the back. “all morning you have been mumbling something about ale. All I can think of right now is ale, good dammit.” Miroslav smiled to him, and made a rubbing movement with his fingers, to symbolise money. Henry then resentfully remembered, that he lost his last Groschens, gambling, the night before. “I’m sure we can find some work in Rattay, while we wait to get into Pirkstein. I’ll buy us the first round” Miroslav smiled. “thanks…” Henry grunted. “Don’t look so grim, Henry. The sun is up, and there are always an idiot, or two, who lost his keys, or maybe somebody got the runs, and need us to gather him some nettles and…” Henry looked at his friend with a raised eye brown. “the runs? who in the hell, needs help with the runs?” “Well, you never know, don’’t you?” Miroslav laughed, and looked ahead. “If my eyes aren’t mistaken me, there is a tavern, just up the road. It might bring your little song, to life.” Henry followed Miroslavs look, and saw that he was right. Something about the place, reminded him of a thing, but it was just for a short moment. Then he thought, of ale again, and he forgot all about it. An ale would definitely make everything look brighter… At his left, there came a pilgrim walking, he was in rags, and no shoes, but looked very pleased. Henry assured himself that it must have something to do with the good ale he just had been served. But it was more likely that the man was happy to leave the village, just as a pack of soldiers arrived. The lord was now in the front, on his big brown warhorse, and with a swing of his hand, he ordered everybody to start marching again. Now he was leading the small unit of soldiers into Rattay, and the first thing everybody would notice, was him. fat as he were, with pretty bright colures on his livery over the shining bright armour underneath. the belt and scabbard were dyed black, and with brass decorations. It all made the sword at his side look more frightening, and powerful.

“Soldiers approaching!” She was standing with one hand flat on the door, and was shouting into the taproom. with the other hand she held the baby. Friend or foe, soldiers was always trouble. especially for the people who lived outside the city walls. She got eye contact with her farther in law. He was serving some farmers, that came by daily at this time, for the first mug of ale, After they spent all morning in the fields. He nodded, and she then quickly closed the door. The fresh air from outside was a pleasant change, from the stench there always hang in the air, like fog, in the taproom. She grew up in Samopesh, with her parents and siblings. She and most of her brothers had loved the forest north of the village. Her favourite spot, to be sitting was with the view to the building site of the monastery. Her favourite saint was Christoforus. A giant who was baptised, and helped people. He once carried Christ himself across a river. She had been hoping for that to happen for her. Now she was a grown up. 19 years old, she had a baby and a dead husband. She had realised, long ago, that low-born people never experienced any miracles. And the monastery still wasn’t finished, and probably never would be, if this war really was coming, which these marching soldiers seemed to proclaim. She walked in to hear own chamber, on the far side of the tavern. A couple of swallows were playing and flew just past the doorway, when she turned to close it. At first, when her husband and her, had started talking about spending the rest of there lives together, she had hoped that he might wanted to move with her. She had wanted to live in Merhojed. Close to her parents, and close to all she knew. But he needed to take over the business here off course. After his farther. They moved in here, just after the wedding. Then one evening, he said he had business to do inside the city walls. She waited the whole night, with her big and still growing belly. The baby had been kicking and turning around in there, like never before. She had thought that the baby could feel that she was worried. The next morning she new, that they never were to meet each other. He’s father never returned. So now she was stocked here, were she didn’t wanted to be, and with no man to take care of her. She was rocking with the baby in her arms, humming. She needed to put the baby to sleep. He’s grandfather would be needing her help over in the taproom, when the soldiers start running in for ale.

“Are you sure that we can leave the line, before we are inside the city walls?” “Sure, sure. We are free men, Henry. Hired soldiers. We decide for ourselves wether we like to drink hear or there.” Miroslav nodded to there captain, and pointed towards the tavern with he’s head. To Henrys eyes, the Captain didn’t looked to pleased, but he let them walk out, and the others kept on marching. The two soldiers went in, and found a humming and half full taproom. The stench of unwashed farmers hang in the air, like smoke from a big fire. “Ah, We are just in the right time for the farmers morning ale. weird, how quick you get used to the soldiers life.”
“I was a blacksmiths son, remember? We got to drink ale all day, because of the heat” Henry smiled, and the knowing of, that he in a second or two, would be sitting on a comfortably bench, with a pale ale in front of him, was all enough to convince him that a soldiers life, probably wasn’t to bad.
Miroslav laughed at he’s comment, while he tried to get the tavern owner’s attention. Suddenly the door went up again behind them, and four of there comrades, came stumbling in. Like Henry and Miroslav they had left there pikes outside of the tavern, and they looked just as happy as Henry, to finally have found them selves in a tavern. “Well, well. Didn’t saw you entering town, no, no. Lets get ale then, and what do you say, Henry? play some dice, eh?” the man who was speaking was a nasty one indeed. But he was a good soldier to have on your side, when fighting came. Henry had realised that some nights ago. Besides he’s ugly face, missing teeth, and that he drooled, every time he laid eyes on a girl, he could also be a friendly fellow. Now thou, Henry must had to witness him, drinking all the money he won from him, last night, up. “I’ll take no part in more of your games. But what you could do, is to buy me a round, so no bad blood is between us, after you winning all my money.” Is was a dull move, and Henry knew it. He had tried to put he’s words in a cheerful tone, so he wouldn’t see it as he was threatening him. The lads around them kept quiet while the two were starring at each other. Henry knew that he was good at persuading people, and he was always able to get the best prizes from shopkeepers. But was this to much? Suddenly the mouth with only 9 teeth in it, started laughing. The eyes became friendly, and he nodded to Henry. For a short moment he was a bit uneasy, that he would take it the wrong way. “We’ll find a table then” Henry replied, and then started looking around the local. One table was big enough for the six of them to sit around, but it was currently occupied by the farmers. Henry wasn’t in the mood for more trouble, and when he was about to look for two smaller tables, one of the farmers got up, and said “Were done here. take our table, boys. and gods peace to you.”

Her baby was sleeping, and she had laid him down in her own bed, and wrapped him in her old dress. He seemed to like it, and be much calmer when something of hers, was near him. She crumbled some lavender flowers over him, and hoped that he would sleep at least until after noon. She walked out silently, and pushed the door back in place, and locked it. Se usually never did, but with the soldiers about, she was a bit uneasy. The key was always hanging from her belt. in this way, it would never get lost, and nobody could take it from her, without her noticing it. She quickly stepped over to the taproom door, and went in. Apparently the farmers had left, and some soldiers had taken their seats. She looked up and her farther in law, Berislav, waved her over. There was something about one of the young soldiers that seemed familiar. He had a pretty face, and something about it, reminded her of a late summer evening. she walked over, and Berislav handed her a tray, with six ales in clay mugs. “Where are your head girl? you’re looking at that one soldier like he was Christ himself” “Sorry, father. Its just, that I might think that I’ve seen him before. He reminds me of something, and… I’m not sure if its good.” “ah, forget that now. More soldiers were marching into town, and if they hear that we are slow on serving ale, nobody will come and buy here again. Go, girl. and smile!”

Henry had noticed the girl, as a pretty but married one, when she entered the tavern. But the same feeling of recognising something, when he saw the tavern outside, had come again. He alternately looked at his Friend Miroslav, who was telling a story about he’s old dog, and on this girl. Now she was coming towards there table, carrying a tray with there ordered ale. Then, in a sudden light from the candles on there tables, he saw who she was. The wife of Zdislav. Or rather, the late Zdislav. “Shit and blood!” If she recognised him, he could be hanged for murder. Zdislav had mumbled something about him, soon being father. Shit. She could look like she had been pregnant recently. Henry looked down at the table, and at he’s feet. This time they weren’t walking, but still, he felt more uncomfortable than ever. Without asking a second question, he said yes to a job, about murdering this Zdislav, located here at the tavern just outside Rattay. He was in here the day, he had planned to kill him. He fixed a meeting in Rattay with Zdislav, and pay’d a simple farm boy, from another village, who was just in Rattay to sell eggs, to tell him about the deal. The boy was leaving with his father at noon, the same day, so nothing would point at him, when the body was to be found. The farm boy lived far away, and they wouldn’t think of asking around out in the smaller villages. And the farm boy himself would never know, that the man he just spoke to, had died. So all in all, he was safe. But now, he had forgot all about it, and was walked right into the most obvious place to be recognised. God curse his thirst. If he never was to came here again, the girl would have forgotten him, as just another customer. But now, if she recognised him, he could be associated with the murder, because he was here the day that it happened. At the same time Henry had the feeling, that what he had done, was terrible. Not only had he stolen another mans life, and right to live, but also he had destroyed a family, and made a newborn fatherless. He’s conscience was about to give him away, and maybe it was for the best. a man, a father and a husband. Henry got up, and looked directly into the girls eyes…

in Kingdom Come Deliverance, NPC’s have feelings and there own lives to. Think twice before killing everyone you meet in the game.

kind regards, Benjamin.


#16

Its a tad late but I thought I might give this a spin. Its been great fun reading all the stories posted here!

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a save city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familiar face, one not expected to be seen here…

Shouldn’t he have been halfway to Prague by now?

Henry silently approached the bar, his presence drowned out by the loud argument going over between a familiar figure in green and a red-faced barkeep. A foul odour in the air reminded him of the local rumour that the barkeep’s idea of laundering his clothes consisted of turning them inside out every morning. Suppressing a grimace he set his mind to what he had come for: decent, affordable beer.

“Bah! So be it, then! I’ll pray tha’ the demons o’ yer guilt shall ever let ye sleep easily again! He be a damned soul, to let a man die o’ thirst at his very own floor.”

Making an inward prayer he might escape attention, Henry leant forward on the bar and subtly sought the barkeep’s eye for his attention. Much to his dismay, the familiar figure noticed him first. “Oho! I kno’ yer face!” A gruff, stocky fellow with a messy green tunic exclaimed, a grin reaching up to his equally bright green eyes. “Howard, is it?” Henry mustered up a polite smile and shook his head. “No, it is Henry. And you were… Ser Cabbage, I remember. But pray tell me where is your companion? The bard?” At that the grin drained from his face, a palm slamming down onto the sticky counter with a dull thud. “We will get to tha’. Barkeep! My salvation is come, fer my good friend will release me from my thirst!”

After a good while of badgering Henry finally gave in to his plea in a display of christian charity - and more importantly, a groschen or two was worth the peace.

“Well then,” Henry sighed with contentment, a cool beer directly from the cellar more than enough to ease his nerves. “Why is it your purse is so empty you have to beg for beer? And where is your companion?” The man, whom as far as he gathered only went by Cabbage, scowled across the table. “These questions are on an’ the same! Wherever my twice-cursed bard has gone, so has my coinpurse.” Henry balked at his words, genuine shock registering on his features. “Your own companion, he has stolen your money? Why would he do such a thing?” Cabbage scoffed, “Alvar is a bard! They’re all slimy. Or should I say slippery? It isn’t only their tongue, yer know.” He wiggled his fingers meaningly, face pinched in a glare.

A small silence was allowed to hang as well as it could do so in the busy tavern. Both men paused for drink, and nursed their cups. Henry considered the man, the situation seemed strange to him. But so did everything else about Ser Cabbage the Brave and Alvar the Talespinner. He had met them his first night in Samopesh, regaling the village with the epic tale of how a mere farmer rose to prominence in slaying Arion the Giant, a hellish monster come to demand tribute from honest folk.

Cabbage thrust his cup in Henry’s direction, white froth spilling across the wooden table. “I got an idea where the snake has gone, bu’ I can’t get him alone! Why don’t ye give me a hand in this, Henry?” Henry squinted his eyes, weighing the suggestion with suspicion. “Why me? Alvar is a wimp, surely you could apprehend him yourself. And better, see the guardsmen about this matter!” There was a loud snort in reply. “The guardsmen? Feh! I deal wit’ my own matters, man!” Henry arched a brow. “And still you beg me for beer, ask me for help in hunting down the thief?” Cabbage came to a pause, his face flushing darkly in anger. “A’ight, ye smartarse! I do need ‘elp, an’ I don’t want to involve the guards. Wha’ did I say o’ bards? They’re slippery! All I need is ye to lure him out for me, I’ll grab the weasel.” Henry cast a glance toward the window. It was still merely noon, but this wasn’t how he envisioned spending his day! “And what do I get out of this?”

“A favour. Anythin’ ye require o’ me.” A favour. Henry considered the ill-mannered vagabond, the only discernible qualities he could find was his imposing brawns and a lack of common sense. He was a blunt object, by all means.

But even a blunt object could be useful to have lying around when matters call for a good smashing.

“… Our hero shrugged aside his sheep-skin disguise, and looked round in fright as he realized he was trapped in the giant’s belly!” Laughter erupted. “His new prison was dark and wide, but undeterred, Ser Cabbage lit his torch and begun to explore. Smoke rose to the lungs of the monster, our hero had given the giant a cough! This gave Ser Cabbage a brilliant idea…”

Henry stood at the back of the crowd, again asking himself why he had decided to get caught up in this. The trap was set, and he was supposed to be the one to lure the bard there. But how? A boom of applause and laughing caught him with a start, the story was finished already!

“Thank you! Thank you!” Alvar grinned and lowered the feathered hat with a jolly smile, the wimpy figure dressed in a colourful attire that mixed well with the fancy establishment and its fancy guests. Henry looked down at his own mud-stained attire with a twitch of his nose. Straightening himself and adopting a more comfortable stance he painted a smile onto his lips. He knew how to handle this. “A lovely performance! Worthy of Rattay, and worthy of an even greater audience!” The bard barely noticed as he approached, his head finally whipping round to acknowledge Henry by the third time he spoke.

“Why, thank you! I also play the lute, stay around, and you may find me playing a tune.” Henry smiled pleasantly, “I have little time, so I won’t waste yours either! You understand, I have business visiting Pirkstein Castle. My master must forgive me, I had to find the source of the merry-making I overheard. I am certain he would be impressed if you were to join me, it isn’t often we have a skilled entertainer in Rattay.” He was going to Pirkstein Castle. 'Twas only a half a lie. “To the castle? The castle itself?” The bard widened his eyes, nearly quivering with excitement. “Of course I will come!” Henry sighed inwardly, smiled on the outside, and nodded curtly. “This way!”

“Why are we going this way?” Alvar questioned as they stepped toward the alleyway, confused. “We are going through another entrance, it is much faster this way.” The bard grinned impishly. “Another entrance? A… a secret entrance?” Henry blinked his eyes and kept walking. “Er… yes! The SECRET entrance–”

“THIEF!” Even Henry jumped as Cabbage came pouncing like a devil in the night from seemingly nowhere, arms outstretched like a stricken bear. Alvar shrieked girlishly and ducked away, narrowly escaping the violent hug. “Thief! Ye stole my coin!” Alvar backed away, lute raised before himself like a crucifix. “I was just borrowing it, is all! You know you got to look the part to get in with the better crowds!” Cabbage growled and barged closer. “Look! Look! I’ve been invited to the castle itself!” Henry watched the madness from a short distance before closing in, raising his arms. “God’s teeth! Calm down, and we’ll-…”

It was no good.

“Thief! Get him, he’s a rotten thief!” Cried Cabbage as he pursued the bard all the way to the gates of Rattay, left wide open for a farmer’s wagon to pass. “Help! Help! A thief, he’s looking to rob me!” Cried the bard piteously as he fled, the pair darting through the gates, faster than the bewildered guardsmen could hope to catch them. Last of them came Henry, scrambling after to put an end to the wild scene, but this time the guards were ready.

“Unnff!” With a grunt the world turned upside down and Henry was slammed into the muddy street, a spear was lowered at his chest. “What in heaven’s graces is this spectacle I’m seein’, eh? We’ve got some… Henry, is that you?” Artur glared down from the other end of the spear, one of the lord’s men Henry had met before. “I… I was trying to put an end to this madness!” Artur looked over his shoulder, the pair vanished into the hills. “You did a fine job at it, didn’t you! What is this then? A thief caught in the act, or a thief in the act?” Before Henry could so much think of an answer, Artur spat sideways. “I don’t think I care! This’ll look awful poorly on us either way. You’re in this one way or another, we’ll see if a day in the stocks will sort you out!”

No matter his protests Henry was made to spend the rest of the day in the stocks where and all the joys in forms of rotten vegetables it entailed.

At least he would have plenty of time to figure out how to explain this whole mess to his lord.


#17

The roads are still drenched and muddy after the tempest last night, but the clouds are gone and the warm summer sun is back. Henry finally arrives at Rattay, a save city surrounded by protective walls.
Although he has to visit castle Pirkstein after his march from Talmberk, his thirst is leading him directly to the first tavern, in a pleasant anticipation of a cold beer. Suddenly he recognizes a familair face, one not expected to be seen here…
The windows of the tavern were unkempt and clouded, but there was no mistaking the candlelit visage looming before him. In excitement and disbelief he enters the bar with haste, pays the barkeep for a refreshing flagon of ale and weaves his way through the crowd towards the stunningly attractive female seated at a far table. Arriving at her side without being noticed, he addresses her with a ridiculous sounding rasp in his voice… “mmm, aren’t you aware that drinking alone may be punishable by company?” asked Henry. Having been a target for such lame attempts to make her acquaintance since she arrived at the tavern, she was in no mood for more. “Unfortunately I am. Allow me to greet you Sir Company” said Misa as she swung around with blinding speed. “Not the hair!” Henry yelled and winced as if the stein were a spiked mace. Recognizing her old friend and the truth of the situation, she halted her attack a moment before impact. A smile slowly spread across her face… then she playfully followed through will a blunt knock to the side of Henry’s head, splashing out the few sips of ale that remained onto his precious locks. After an initial look of shock, he could not help but share her smile. The two laughed and embraced for the first time in what seemed like ages.
Hours passed as the two caught up on several years worth of stories from home and abroad. They were both born and raised in Zlin, a small village far to the east of Rattay and situated atop a moderately high peak of the Carpathian Mountains. It’s borders, being severely steep with only a few trails etched into it’s stony face, often turned away the faint of heart. If anything, maintaining this degree of isolation eased the minds of the villagers. The weather in this region, along with it’s rich sandy soil, made it perfect for making a living from what the land could provid. Past generations had chiseled away at the cliff side to form terraces which bolstered the growing months and increased the yield of crops. This way of life allowed the community to be largely self-sustaining. Business with neighboring towns was primarily based on trade thanks to the wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and roots that were grown.
Except for the aspect of trade, the people of Zlin were more than content keeping to themselves. Seldom did one leave for means of travel, war, or to seek riches in other lands. Misa was no exception and felt that the quiet, simple life she had been given was the greatest blessing one could ask for. Until recently, not much had changed for her. Henry on the other hand felt driven to commune frequently with civilization outside Zlin. From a young age he was engrossed by politics and the understanding of it’s application in the world. This eager attitude had eventually lead him to the city of Talmberk where, about two weeks ago, he arrived to accept an official position on the cities council.
With the setting sun, the scent of candles being extinguished began to fill the air within the tavern. As the flames died, so did the chatter. Soon only Misa, Henry, the barkeep and one of his helpers remained. “So, out with it already!” said Henry. “Out with what?” Misa responded. “What? I never in my life thought I’d see you this far from home, let alone in a city as bustling as Rattay. So OUT WITH IT woman!” said Henry as he smiled and hammered his fist onto the table as if demanding breakfast.
Misa smiled, but only briefly. Before beginning, she turned towards the window and drew in an a heavy breath, almost regrettably. Just before the end of winter, visitors had arrived in Zlin. Claiming to be traveling west from Galizian, this was one of many stops along their journey to rest and replenish supplies. There was no evident cause for concern so the two men were welcomed with food and shelter. They had even offered assistance in building a new barn structure in exchange for the hospitality. In the following days, having gained a degree of trust, they were seen often walking the roads through town and talking with it’s residents. What they never spoke of was who they sought in the peaceful village. The innocent rounds and every day interactions were the perfect method to find who they needed. And there were so many faces there that wouldn’t be recognized along the main roads or in the larger cities, it was perfect. After a week or so of careful observation, Misa was approached by the men at the end of a long days work in the terraces. She was singled out only after they were convinced that she reserved at least some knowledge of combat. … they were not disappointed.
Misa embraced the agricultural practices of old. From a very early age, she felt an inexplicable connection to nature. However surprising for her character, she could often be found clad in armor, wielding a weapon and training alongside Zlins soldiers. And of course most people don’t view women as the kind of threat she may now pose. She was never told the name of her target, only shown a number of facial sketches to memorize, told the location where he would be found and exactly when he would be there. They spoke not of rhyme nor reason, only repercussions. If she broke her silence or did not comply with their demands and successfully dispatch of this person, her entire family would be burned as heretics. In these times, claims of heresy were made far too easily, and lives taken far too often. Misa now had a strong feeling that their purpose involved the ongoing religious conflicts between the Roman Catholics and Hussites. Of which she and her people had hoped to avoid involvement.
“My God Misa…” was all Henry could muster for the moment. “And you say that you don’t know this persons name?” “I don’t know his name, but I’ll never forget his face.” she said. Pulling a fairly clean cloth rag from a pouch on her side, she began drawing. “I want to go home Henry!” said Misa now in a raised voice. “I don’t want to be here and I don’t want a damn thing to to do with this, but what choice do I have? In two days time I’m to kill a man I never met or my family dies”! The image now appearing on the cloth was harsh and rough due to her shaken nerves. She spoke and pleaded with Henry but did not look up at him until she finished the sketch. Dropping the pencil and slowly glancing up from her trembling hands, she now saw that there was almost no color left in Henry’s face. Panicked, she jolted from her seat to his side hoping to assist. Without saying a word he gently grasped her by the arm and led her back to her seat across from him.
Not able to shake the sense of shock nor the look of death, he spoke finally. “Misa,… I too was… was sent here…” he choked on the words as if a clamp was tightening around his neck. “That man is… Lord Vitiszlav Doubrava, and those who sent me know of your intent”. Misa’s expression now looking more concerned with each word. “My instructions… come with the same consequences as yours if… if I should fail.” She grabbed his hands and shook him. “What?.. Fail what Henry?” As his eyes slowly raised to meet hers, he uttered words that tore at his very being. “I’ve been charged with his protection. Misa… I was sent here to stop you. I was sent here… to kill you.”
In disbelief, she let go of Henry’s hands. At this point there were no words or gestures that could comfort the feeling of sickness that coursed through their bodies. Practically paralyzed, the two stared across the table at each other while the unimaginable complexity of this new situation spun a web of madness in their minds. Decisions must be made, and made soon. A crypt-like silence now hung in the tavern yet the impact on them was immeasurable, as if two worlds had just collided without making a sound.


#18

The Deadline is over. Now we want to know about the lucky winner!
As this is a community competition, the community will elect the best writer.
Please don´t write stories anymore, but choose your favorite writer in the poll.

Deadline of this poll will be in one week the 7th of March at 11am. We will count the vote and praise the winner!
Every story posted from now on will be deleted as it was not in time.

  • Cherepanov
  • Wicker
  • TheJackinati275
  • Gringhost07
  • Luiotus
  • TheWolf
  • MrSoKoLoV
  • acernine
  • Kukaimoa
  • stalli111
  • cyberbiscuit
  • mistersam
  • Tarp
  • SerCabbage
  • ChiefJuicyFruit

0 voters


#19