Chapter One – A gathering of heroes
The snow was falling heavily on the small village, covering the land in a thick white blanket.
Karl was beginning to think that it had been a very bad decision to travel so far north. His stories was beginning to lose their credibility and he had no way to get away from here with the snowstorm raging. And no telling what those harsh khadorans would do if they felt wronged. Oh well, no use in worrying. He ordered another brew, he supposed it was something akin to the beer he knew from Midlund, but it sure didn’t taste the same way and the smell…
Takeriwinikanigosh banged happily on the old boiler, she sure had not expected to find a beauty like this out here. Her clanging rang through the night as the only sound defying the silence of the snow.
Father Mikhail frowned, that gobber and her constant noise. He had finally found a sanctum for his faith in this quit village and a good community who believed in the Creator and loved his sermons. If only those outsiders with their demoralizing stories, belief in the hollow god Morrow and constant distractions would leave his parish alone.
Karl eyed the lone, young woman sitting in a corner of the inn drawing her cloak close around her. Her long, brown hair flowed over her shoulder in thick curls and her cloak didn’t conceal the curves of her body fully. He licked his teeth and began walking confidently over to her table, although to the other people in the room it looked more like swaying from side to side.
”Hey sweetie, what is a beauty like you doing in a dump like this?” that pickupline was a classic, but given noone but the locals came to a remote place maybe it was not the smartest thing to call it a dump, darn his quick tongue. ”Would you like a drink?” he could always get her drunk, that never failed.
She looked at him with cold eyes full of contempt her full mouth a straight line but said nothing.
He began moving his hand to hold around her, but midair it was grabbed by a strong hand and he was forced away from the table.
”It doesn’t look like she apreciates your company,” the large trollkin boomed in an amused voice.
”What do you know, you big piece of meat?” The troll tightened the grip on his arm and he vinced.
”I suggest you leave her alone. I came here to find quiet contemplation about a grave matter, and a bar room brawl started by drunken lust is not part of that.”
Karl squirmed to get free and was just about to reach for his trusty dagger hidden under his shirt, but a horn sounded and the inn grew silent.
A man clad in thick furs covered with snow burst in through the door. A path opened for him through the crowd and he got up to the bartender and talked with him in a stutter, it was clear he was a figure of authority in the village.
The barteneder turned to the people in the room who all managed to look incredibly sober given the amount of ale sold that evening.
”A guard was found dead out in the fields.”
People began mumbling, who would kill a guard and at this time of winter when he could not get away?
The bartender cleared his throat and people fell silent again. ”Aparantly he wasn’t ehm, shot, or killed by a man. He was shred to pieces by strong claws and his heart devoured.”
The muttering among the guests grew to new heights, and even the bartender could not calm them down. The trollkin noticed his problems and let out a loud, high tone that made all the noise in the room seem quiet in comparison.
”Thank you. The village cannot allow to have such a beast prowling so close to our homes. We need to kill it before it kills us. I offer a free drinks and food in a week to the one who can prove he has killed it.”
Most people agreed that it was a very small award for what would obviously be a hard kill.
Karl however began counting on his fingers and looked quite a bit more sober, a week, that would cover what he oved the inn and a few days more. As a master swordsman and one of the best shots in Cygnar surely it would be no match for him.
He felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. ”I see you eying the deal, pipsqueak, but you are not alone. The will of the elders brought me up here to face an unknown danger, maybe this is it.”
Karl began to get angry, but then again, maybe he could use this to his advantage and have the stupid buffoon track the beast and be in danger while he just took the credit and then made a quiet exit.