grumble grumble shrug
Rogue Agents ~ Pas + Cain
A round of cheers sounded through the tavern as the gypsies appeared. Every male eye was on the curvy, scantily clad women. A few bards sat beside the wall, playing music to introduce the women. They hollered and whistled and began to grope, but it wasn’t like the women minded. They were used to this sort of treatment. Women who worked for taverns like these didn’t have standards. No, women with standards occupied places where they could actually choose their clientele. Had the tavern been well-lit, or the men not been plastered, they might have seen how washed up and crusted these gypsies really were. Prin noticed, but he was only looking at them to make sure that the men were sufficiently distracted.
As the women worked, so did Prin, the thin framed man making his rounds and picking up coin and jewelry alike. Prin, or as his long-dead parents used to call him, Priniron Rulrindale, was a wonderfully unremarkable man by appearance. The young, dark-haired human could have easily passed off as someone well under adulthood, when the situation demanded it. Standing at 5 feet, 11 inches tall, all 155 pounds of the young man’s toned body was well accustomed to running, hiding, and occasionally throwing punches. He carried a few bags and pouches, filled with a variety of treasures that he had picked up. His clothing was dark, and though he preferred to spend his time in the city, Prin spent most of his time in the forest, running from one town to the next. To help blend in the best, Prin wore primarily browns and greens.
The biggest problem Prin tended to face when he worked was that he never knew when to stop. Had he been born a demon, he would have suffered from an endless greed. As it was, Prin’s sticky fingers seemed to think that he had a bag of holding on his person, something which was rarely true. The target that proved to be just a bit too elusive for the experienced thief was a ruby ring. The man was wearing it, but his large bald head was dripping with sweat. It was a challenge to get a ring off a hand like that, especially when the man was still conscious, but once his eyes were set on the shiny, he simply couldn’t convince himself to back down.
Less than one minute later, Prin’s body came crashing to the ground, having been thrown out the side door by a man who could have easily torn off the boy’s arm and eaten it. “Guys...guys…le’s sett’ul down. Dere ain’ no need ta ge’ ou’a ‘and ‘ere.” He protested, putting his palms up in front of him and putting on the youngest and most innocent expression he could manage. “We can sett’ul dis lyk gen’ulmen, yea?” He asked, nodding his head and smiling dumbly.
Four men filed out and surrounded Prin as he began to pick himself off. He hated it when they didn’t say anything. At least when they talked, he could keep ‘em talking for a while, long enough to find an excuse to get out of there. The first of the men was the big guy, the one that could probably break Prin in half. The second was the fat bald man with the beautiful ruby ring—disappointingly the ring was still affixed to his finger. The third was lean, probably had elvish routes, with tattoos creeping up from beneath his clothing. The fourth had already drawn a blade, and his smile revealed that he was certainly missing teeth, and the ones he had were rotting worse than a maggot-infested corpse.
Though the thief pulled out a small blade, he only managed a few swings before the first man grabbed him and pulled both of his arms behind his back. Prin was pretty confident that elbows weren’t supposed to touch, but only had a moment to dwell on that fact before the beautiful ruby ring began to send crippling pain as baldie’s fist made contact with Prin’s ribcage.
Usually, Prin was jumped and his spoils were taken, but these men hadn’t even gone for his pouch. That told the thief something very important. They didn’t care that he was a thief, only that he had tried to steal from them. Ninety percent of the time, it meant that they were part of one of the crime families. Had Prin ever stayed in a town for long enough to learn who had control of the territory, he might have known not to go for the ruby ring.
A rather large and rough looking man sat at a mostly empty table, taking a swing from his mug before he let out an incredibly unenthused 'Hurrah' for the ladies coming in. He sighed exasperatedly and set the the mug, and his face, down on the table for a moment as he began pondering a few things.
One would wonder why a grizzled mercenary like Garrick had bothered setting foot in this place, let alone drinking the swill they served here. Why would a man who'd spent a good portion of his life fighting and bounty hunting (and the occasional odd job) for money be spending time in a place that was far too cheap for his tastes?
Well, getting one's coin purse robbed tends to change things around a good deal; he only had the coins left that he was pulling out of his pouch shortly before it was stolen. Garrick figured he might as well spend what he did have left on drowning his sorrows-- or attempting to, at least.
Thankfully, he did still have the clothes on his back-- tunic, trousers, leather boots and gloves, all in a dark color scheme consisting of browns and greys/blacks-- and his sword. Though it's not like anyone would bother stealing his sword anyway. A leather scabbard was nothing to fancy, although that was the point-- it hid the quality of the blade inside of it quite well.
But it didn't scare off thieves, and that's why Garrick groaned as he looked back up around the tavern... just in time to see a rather suspicious figure pacing around the tavern. Garrick squinted at him and thought hard to when he'd last seen his coin purse.
'Haven't I seen him before...?' Garrick thought as he pushed his chair out and stood to get a better view before he went out of sight. He didn't have a lot of time to think about it before a beast of a man just about as big as Garrick (if not bigger) picked the boy up and chucked him out the side door.
Garrick groaned to himself and shook his head, "I bet that kid has my pouch..." he mumbled to himself, "I won't get it back if he's dead,"
Garrick made his way through the gypsies and patrons to follow the four that went with the boy and pushed the door open just in time to watch the kid get punched in the chest. The odds were already against this kid, but they were not much better against Garrick either. The fat bald man wasn't a problem, but big beastie that was holding the boy could be, and he wasn't sure about the other two. Garrick took a few moments to take in the situation as he thought about his odds, shifting his eyes around the group of them.
"Baldy is only doing the damage because he's boss here... he gets the satisfaction of messing the kid up. He might be willing to listen, and I might be able to get the kid out of trouble and get my coins back. Big guy, Knives, and Tattoos... three guys against one, but I have a sword just in case. Alright let's try it."
Garrick stepped forward with his arms folded, and it was that moment when his heart dropped as he realized where that ring came from and exactly who Baldy was. This wasn't just a group of guys that were pissed off at the boy for trying to steal the ring-- Baldy was notorious around this place. The name escaped him for the moment, but Garrick was now classified as 'In the wrong place at the wrong time'.
Still worth a shot to get the kid out of trouble without a big fight. Garrick kept a blank expression on his face to try to hide the fact that his heart was already beating a bit faster and he was getting ready for a fight just in case. What was he going to say now, though? 'Hey that kid stole my coins, I would like them back before you kill him'? That would just be awkward, and probably get them pissed off at him too.
So Garrick bluffed.
"Hey," he said with a stern tone to assert some semblance of authority, "That boy's bounty is worthless if I don't bring him in alive. I'd appreciate it if you left him alone."
grumble grumble shrug
Baldie, otherwise known as Ithric Niktohal, was not just some mafia guy with a pretty ring. That ring was passed down to the Duke of a neighboring territory, a land called Darkarth. While Niktohal was intending to be discreet, he was not one to be subtle, and leaving his ring behind simply was not an option when he was going to meet with some of his minions. Knives and Tattoos ran most of the crimes that went on between this dingy town and Darkarth, with Big Guy as Niktohal’s personal guard.
That evening, their discussion had been about expanding efforts, using the bandits in the woods to transport goods, services, and servicers. That was the meeting that Prin interrupted, calling undue attention to Niktohal’s enchanted ring, and accidentally breaking the persuasive hold Niktohal had been making to try to reduce the bandit leaders’ cut of the profits they would be making. When the enchantment broke, the leader stormed off, and Niktohal felt completely justified in taking out his anger on the kid who ruined this deal.
They had only landed a few punches when a medium-sized guy appeared out from the tavern, at least, medium compared to someone like the Big Guy holding Prin. He seemed to spend a few moments appraising the situation, while Big Guy tensed and nodded to Baldie. Baldie turned to the new guy, and Prin took the opportunity to try to wiggle out of the guys arms.
Oi shyt, a boun’y. Prin thought to himself, squirming in the arms of the big guy as the new one spoke. He looked up at the guy, trying to read his face. Wuz dere al’chally uh boun’y? he wondered. Prin couldn’t imagine why he would be lying, unless…he had picked from the guy. Perhaps he had more than just a coin purse on him. Though he might been in a bit of trouble with the new guy, one was most certainly better than four, even if he would lose his chance at the shiny shiny ring.
“A bounty, eh?” Niktohal said, a moment after the man spoke. “If I were you, I would be more concerned about your own life.” He snapped his chubby fingers and the big guy threw Prin to the ground and turned his attention to the new man. As the thief tried to pick himself up, Niktohal kicked him in the stomach, and then pressed his foot into the boy’s back. “You got your filthy blood on my ring.” He said, completely ignoring what was undoubtedly the three men taking on the newcomer.
If anyone had asked Prin what he was doing in that moment, he would have insisted that he was assessing the situation, waiting for the perfect opening. He wasn’t intending to fight. No, Prin was waiting for the perfect moment to run.
Garrick was actually a little concerned for his life, but Big Guy was only about as big as your average Orc. Given, Orcs were terrifying in combat. They made up for a lack of intelligence with great cunning, but somehow Garrick figured this guy was just plain ol' big and stupid, otherwise he wouldn't be taking orders from a fat, bald bastard like Niktohal. Garrick had been wrong before, however.
Garrick breathed in deeply and tried to relax as he thought about his options, then he briefly exhaled and stepped back, grabbing the handle of his sword. He crouched down in a low stance, ready to swing right out of the sheath.
"Ithric," he called him by name, "call off your dogs or I'll have their filthy blood on my sword," Garrick looked the Big Guy right the eyes and scowled, then shifted his look to the boy (though his expression only softened a bit, for obvious reasons), "I'm not concerned about anything but my bounty and my money."
Garrick was banking on two big advantages here. One: Garrick had a sword and the big guy was wearing no armor. Two: They may not have heard of him, so they may end up underestimating him, though it was hard to miss the three inch-long dragon tooth dangling from a cord over his leather cuirass. Then again, who would know it was a dragon's tooth, or even the fact that the dragon honestly wasn't that big anyway?
Well, a bard would, but none of them was one, and the bard's tales tended to speak of it just being a dragon; no one bothered to say it was barely as tall as a man even if it's claws could rip off a man's head with ease.
Garrick gripped his blade a little tighter and tensed up as he waited for a response, or for the Big Guy to give him an excuse to draw it... whatever came first.
grumble grumble shrug
At his name being called, Baldie, who Prin was pretty sure now was actually called Ithric, turned to the stranger. Prin took a few moments to catch his breath, and pulled himself up to his knees and Ithric responded. He heard the man talk about him, and getting out of there seemed more and more like the best idea. He didn’t want to be Baldie’s punching bag, or the stranger’s pay day. He looked over towards the alley, he could probably make it pretty far before Baldie sent his goons.
For Ithric, the very fact that this guy knew who he was gave him all the more reason to send his goons. “Then perhaps my friend, don’t draw your sword.” He suggested with a smile. Baldie was a few feet away, but at the smallest nod, his ‘goons,’ whom he preferred to call associates closed the distance between themselves and this stranger. The one already holding his blade struck first, slashing at the man’s arm which had been resting on the hilt of his sword. Big guy pulled back an arm to follow the attack through with a punch. If he knocked them man down, they could hold him down and wail.
Meanwhile, Prin took advantage of the noise, and the distraction, and ran. He got about 3 yards before Ithric noticed. Of course the fat bald man couldn’t go after him, an so he gestured to the tattooed one, calling him Horace. “Horace, after the kid. No witnesses!” He said with a snarl.
Tattoos took off after the boy. He was lean and fast; Prin was lucky to have gotten a head start. Glancing back at the pursuer, Prin could see the he was closing the distance. He was rounding a corner and pulling out his blade when he was tackled to the ground by Horace.
Garrick took in the situation again and watched for a moment. Ithric wasn't calling his goons off, and Big Guy and Knives were going to be on him. On top of that, the boy was probably going to make a run for it, and then Garrick's money would be going with him. Didn't matter. Now it was time to fight. His money he could worry about later... right now he had to survive fighting these two goons.
Knives was the first to make the biggest mistake of his life. He was fast, but his speed wasn't enough to overcome the trap Garrick led him into. Sparks flew as Garrick drew his blade just in time to block Knive's vertical strike, then followed through to push his blade away and land a glancing blow across his chest. He stepped forward and punched Knives in the arm, putting him further off balance. Garrick moved just barely enough so the Big Guy's fist would whiff right past his head. Knives grunted as he staggered back and put a hand over his new chest wound in dismay, pulling back to see a line of blood on his palm.
Big Guy wasn't done yet. He followed up his cross punch with a mighty right hook. Garrick bent over just in time and punished the Big Guy's second missed strike by spinning around and planting the blade of his sword firmly into his exposed back. He must've severed his spinal cord, because the Big Guy lurched forward for only a split second before his high center of gravity caused him to fall back on top of Garrick's blade, wrenching it out of his grasp and locking it underneath his body. Garrick cursed loudly as he saw his only weapon now become inaccessible.
Knives' eyes widened as he shouted, "Hendricks!" He growled at Garrick and began lashing at out him, "I'll kill you!"
Garrick jumped back only a little too late. A sharp pain came from the two new cuts on his arm and chest, which were shallow thanks to his leather cuirass taking most of the punishment, but nonetheless hindering. Garrick brought up his leather bracers to block another few strikes, but Knives still cut almost clean through his armor once again. Garrick hissed at the pain and tried to step back, but ended up at a wall. He felt around with his hands in dismay and then looked back at Knives, who had a dirty grin on his face.
"Too bad you don't have a weapon anymore, heh heh," Said Knives.
Garrick glanced at Knives' blade and then back up at him, "I will in about five seconds-- really too bad your buddy is dead, though."
Knives' grin turned into a furious scowl at Garrick's snarky comment and he made the third biggest mistake of the battle. He stabbed at Garrick, and Garrick rolled sideways. Once Knives realized what he'd stuck his dagger into (the wooden wall of the tavern), it was already too late as Garrick grabbed his wrist and shoved a palm into his elbow. Knives cried out in pain as he felt his arm in ways it shouldn't, and then shortly after felt the knife Garrick pulled out of the wall. Into his throat.
Garrick held onto the dagger and let him fall back, then looked at the carnage he just caused... then to Ithric.
Between breaths, he said, "Well... so much for no witnesses."
grumble grumble shrug
When the stranger began to fight his men, Ithric realized that they had underestimated this guy. Clearly he was a bounty hunter, and probably a reputable one for his area. He took a deep breath as two of his men fell to the ground. The third was out of sight, presumably taking down the kid, but they might have had a bit too much to drink before engaging in the fights. More goons could always be hired, though, and this guy looked quite competent.
“And you…are a bounty hunter? I think I can offer you better opportunities, better pay. I’d say safety but that would be the most obvious lie.” Ithric couldn’t have fought the guy, but he could certainly hire whomever he wanted, especially because his current guard was quite dead.
Meanwhile, Tattoos pinned Prin to the ground, pressing his already cracked ribs further into the hard ground. He closed his eyes for a moment, letting Tattoos wail on him. He couldn’t turn his head enough to see the guy, but he could feel him. He waited until he was confident, and then he stabbed his arm back behind him, landing in the guy’s side. He calld out is surprise, and Prin was able to wiggle out from under him.
The thief didn’t bother to run again, he knew that this guy could take him in speed. Instead, he jumped on top of tattoos, and stabbed him again with the blade. The man blocked the first blow, throwing up his arms and almost knocking the knife loose from Prin’s hands. Unfortunately for Tattoos, Prin could be fast when he needed to. The boy struck a second and a third time in rapid succession, hitting the muscle in his upper arm and then chest. Finally, he pulled the blade across the man’s throat. It allowed for more blood than he cared for to splatter onto himself, but he didn’t exactly have the upper hand at the moment.
Fishing through the dead man’s pockets Prin took the coin, and then climbed off of him. He wiped the blood from his blade onto the dead man’s clothes, and then slowly went towards the corner to see if the others were still there taking care of the bounty hunter. He should have just run, but Prin’s curiosity got the better of him, and he simply had to know what was going on.
Garrick pursed his lips together and tilted his head to the side at Ithric. 'Better opportunities' he said. 'Better pay' he said. He nodded for a moment in interest as he listened to Ithric pitch him a deal. Garrick knelt down to forcibly tear his bloody sword out from the Big Guy's back and motioned for continue on, which was when Ithric mentioned 'safety' and Garrick snickered and smirked at him.
"You don't get it," Garrick shook his head at him, "I already know what your little ring there does and my disposition toward you is already close to the point where I'd rather kill you and take it than continue listening to you."
Garrick switched hands with the blades so he had the sword in his right and the dagger in his left, flourishing them in a threatening manner as he slowly moved toward him to show just how much he meant what he said, "You see, that ring doesn't work on someone who is either prepared for it or already really doesn't like you. It's meant to be an aid, not a crutch like you use it. Oh and... you may have muddled up the enchantment by using it to hurt someone."
Garrick rubbed his chin with the bloody dagger still in hand in thought, then pointed his sword at Ithric and said, "I'll tell you what. I'll make you an offer. You get to keep your life, since I didn't take job for the bounty on your head like I probably should've, but you lose the ring."
In truth, the ring couldn't have worked on Garrick in the hands of this man simply because he had no intention of being part of the crime underworld in any way; he had way too much fun uprooting crime operations than being part of them.
When Prin came around the corner where he left the bounty hunter, he realized that the situation was quite the opposite. There were two dead bodies, blood all over the ground, Garrick's blades, and his armor, and he was even pointing his sword at Ithric. However, Garrick had only just finished speaking his offer to him as Prin turned the corner... and Garrick looked very unimpressed with the Ithric at the moment.
grumble grumble shrug
The man’s words surprised Ithric, and shocked him into silence. The man probably could kill him he wasn’t too stupid as to understand that. Still, the fact that he was taking the time to say it at all meant that he had something else in mind. After all, if he really wanted to just kill him, he would have done it already. This man didn’t seem the type to beat around the bush. He listened as the man relayed the offer. He wanted the ring. Just like the kid.
“So that’s what this has been about. This whole thing was just a set-up, wasn’t it? You and the kid…together.” He mumbled a curse and began to pull the ring from his finger. He wanted to ask what sort of assurances the man would make for him, how he would guarantee that the man would spare his life. But that would have been weak. And though he had no weapons, Ithric couldn’t stand to look weak. He held the ring in between his fingers and waited until the man shifted the blades. At the moment, there was one in each hand.
If the man didn’t take the ring, he would simply drop it on the ground and walk towards the opposite direction the kid had fled. He put two fingers in his mouth and whistled, wanting his tattooed henchman to return. However, when he glanced back, he didn’t see anyone emerging from around the corner. He cursed once more under his breath. The man had either chased the kid off somewhere, or was dead as well. Throwing in his cards, Ithric was ready to go hire some new body guards and get out of that dingy town.
The stranger got the ring. That prick! Prin watched the man give the ring to the new one, the ring that he had been eying. Standing in the shadows, Prin couldn’t be seen when the man turned to look for his friend, but he leaned back behind the wall and flattened himself against it just to be safe. He listened to that man’s footsteps disappear, and then looked down the way he had turned. His eyes having adjusted to the dark, he realized that this alley probably didn’t even have an exit. That would have been just his luck. Still, he turned towards the darkness and began to walk, hoping to put some distance between himself and the man with two blades who might still be after the bounty on his head. He would have run, but running jingled with the coin he carried, and his body hurt a bit too much for running at the moment.
Garrick had no intention of letting him think otherwise, even though he was totally wrong.
Garrick flipped the dagger in his hand and put it in his belt, smearing some of the lingering blood on his cuirass. Afterward, he snatched the ring out of Ithric's hand and waited for him to leave around the corner. He didn't bother following him, or even saying a word, just stared at him and watched him depart.
Just a few moments after Ithric disappeared around the corner, Garrick loped around the opposite corner to see if the kid was still in trouble or got away. Now that he thought of it, it might've been better to tell them that he was the kid's 'Bodyguard' just so that he could give the boy some sense of security; he wouldn't have run away if he thought Garrick was on his side... but then again it may have just ended up sounding suspicious instead.
"Hey, kid," He called out, "I was lying about the bounty; I just want my coin purse back if you've got it."
All this for a coin purse? Well, he did get an enchanted ring out of it, so one would suppose it was a lucky break for Garrick.