The story of Tharon continues. Follow our hero as he sets foot at Calradia, for his new adventures. His journey will bring him at Azgad, where many perils await. Enjoy!
New Day, New Beginnings
I opened my eyes. The sun was already up, warning me that I overslept. I stood from my bed and walked to the window, where a barrel with cold water was. I held my head underwater for about ten seconds, straying away every bit of sleepiness. Then, I wiped myself at a towel nearby. Then, Talius appeared at the door.
“I thought that you might be tired from your journey, so I let you sleep”.
“Thank you” I replied with gratitude. “I really needed it”.
“Come downstairs. I have prepared food for you”.
We went downstairs and ate together. After we were done, he took a purse from his belt.
“What is that?” I asked.
“A hundred denars” Talius answered. “Did you expect people to follow you for free”. I nodded in agreement.
“I will take with me things that I only need, I can’t take everything with me”.
“The rest of your stuff will be kept here at my house. You do not have to worry” Talius said to me to assure me. He also had prepared everything for my travel to Azgad. A small snack for me during my travel, food for an entire battalion for me and the men, I was going to recruit. My horse was waiting for me at the entrance of his yard. He also had polished my sword, along with my armor.
“Talius, thank again for everything” I said to him, with sincere gratitude.
“Do not mention it. This is the least I can do. You are taking a huge risk by saving an old man’s brother. And I am thankful”. I shook his hand and I spurred the horse to ride.
“May the heavens protect you!” said Talius, before losing him from my sight.
Arriving to Azgad
I was riding three to four hours. It was a pleasant ride, through beautiful plains and marvelous landscapes. I arrived to Azgad at noon. Seeing the village, I could say that it was not a rich one. It was somewhat poor. The people here seemed to struggle to make their living. I approached the village. Some of the people working on the fields, just gave a look at me and ignored me. I rode to the village center and got off my horse and tied it to a nearby stake. I approached a man, sitting next to a fire, in front of what appeared to be the biggest house of the village. He seemed to be around his sixties.
“Good morning, sir!” I greeted him, trying to sound joyful. He didn’t even look at me.
“How is that a good day, lad?” he replied back to me, with hostility.
I did not respond to the insulting tone, although the attitude of the man triggered me. Things were going to go south really quick.
“I am looking for the village elder” I continued, with my smile still on my face. He raised his eyebrow.
“Really, lad? And what do you wat with this old goat?” he asked me. I was starting to really be taking the piss over his insulting attitude.
“Listen, here. There are human lives at stake. Show me where the village elder is, before I choose some other method for you to tell me what I want” I said, putting a hand on the grip of my sword. The man rolled his eyes and stood up.
“I am the man you are looking for”. I didn’t know what to say or respond to him, because I had insulted the man. Nevertheless, I sticked to my current behavior.
“You had to piss me off? Couldn’t you just say who you are from the very beginning?” I asked him, raising my voice. Many of the locals stopped and looked at me, with hostility. “Take care” he said. “You are in soft grounds. Just tell me what you want. We do not want, and I hope, you don’t want any trouble here”. I putted a hand again on the grip of my sword. The elder’s eyes moved to my hand, seeing the provoking movement. At last, I made loose of my position and I softened my expression.
“I need men” I said. “I am on a job to free a man from the hands of the bandits”. The elder looked at me with an indifferent face.
“We have some kids who wish to find fortune in war”.
“How many?” I asked, before the man was able to continue.
“Seven lads. But I don’t think that they are willing to follow you in particular”.
“How so?” I asked, crossing my hands. The elder pointed out a group of seven men, whose leader was a man, no more like a beast, about seven feet tall and muscular as a bull. I nodded with awe.
“I can use the man” I said approvingly, still not able to understand what the elder was trying to tell me. The tall man started laughing, along with mates and some other locals that were passing by.
“He ain’t following you” explained the elder. “Not unless you are proven worthy by beating him in combat”.
I exhaled. I knew this kind of “warriors”. Farm boys that because of their size they believe that they know about fighting. And for Heaven’s sake, a club! Who on this earth uses a club as their weapon? It is like bringing a sword in a bow fight. Well, I always choose to be cocky in these situations.
Champion of Azgad
“Let’s get over with this” I said. The elder looked at me with interest for the first time. He moved, in order to give us space for the fight. The huge guy laughed and charged to me with his club high. He went for my head, but I managed to duck. Due to my momentum, I leaned forward and slashed his exposed leg, destroying some of his muscles. He screamed in pain, but it was just a flesh wound. He grabbed me from my cloth and throw me in the opposite direction. I fell on my back and I rolled several times in the dirt. Like, I was telling you, no fighting style, just mere strength. With pain still on my back and my vision blurred, I managed to stand up again. I realized that my nose was bleeding, due to the fall and I also had several bruises.
My opponent was losing blood from his leg. I had to take advantage from his situation. He was much slower, due to his size, comparing with me. I went forward and attacked. He came to meet me. He charged with his club, aiming my chest. I dodged to the left and stabbed his exposed arm, all the way through. Screaming, he pulled away his hand with my sword still sticked in his arm.
“Bloody hell, my weapon!” I thought. I had to act quickly, taking advantage from his confusion. So, I ducked down and slashed leg and I delivered a punch, with all my strength. He screamed even louder from before and he fell to his knees. I immediately stood behind him, having him on my back, I drew my sword from his arm, and I stabbed him through his back, all the way through to his heart.
A bloody closure
The blade came out from his torso. I cleaned my sword from all the blood, and I sheathed it. I examined my nose, still covered in blood. Everyone in the village, looked at me with awe, speechless. I approached the group of the – now – six men, who were now looking with fear mixed with awe at me.
“So” I said. “How much do you want?”. The elder approached me. He took the denars from my hands, with a stone-cold face. Well, I can’t blame him for his attitude, I just killed his only protection he had for Azgad.
“Take the men. And go away from here, we don’t want to see you again…”.