The Path to Bronestead
Their iron shown with neglect. The three guards who stood under a stone arch with a cast of shadows brought down by the leafs and branches of the trees above. An elderly woman held out a shaky hand with a coin purse to the tallest of the guards. He swiped it from her hand and opened it up pouring the gold pieces into his palm and running them between his fingers. "That'll be all." He said as the woman walked forward pulling a donkey by a rope with her cart full of her lively hood.
As the cart passed the man reached hi hand into the cart and pulled out a small mirror. "Don't mind if I do." He said quietly gazing at his reflection in the glass as the other two guards chuckled. Then suddenly the mirror was knocked out of his hands and back into the cart. "Hey!" He yelled looking around. The old woman continued onward deaf to the man's voice.
"It's not nice to steal. Especially from the defenseless." A voice echoed in the cool breeze of the wind. The tall guard drew his sword with the zing of metal across cloth.
"Who goes there?" He looked to the side at his fellow guard and both the fat and the short men shook their head just a baffled as he. "Show yourself!"
The air grew still. Then a quick flash of light and the armored man was on his rear as baffled as he was embarrassed. He stood up swinging his sword in the air. "Why you. Come out you coward!"
"Oh don't you give me that. How is one to call another a coward when it is he who dilly dallies in the wallets of others, prying their twisted fingers to scavenge a few coins." A bush shook but the wind was still. The man put a finger across his lips and gave a silent hush to his lackies who had now drawn their weapons.
With a few steps he approached the bush and quietly he rose his sword. "Ah hah!" He yelled as he brought the blade down on the shrub. But nothing was there.
"Ah ah uh. Not in the bush." The voice echoed around him as if it was in his ear. He turned and found his blade at the neck of his short friend who trembled as a small stream of blood ran down from the incision.
"Nope, not there either." The voice bothered him ad he spun with his bade whistling in the air, though it was not clean like that of a well treated blade. A moment of silence hung there looming.
"Where are you!" He yelled and his panic began to spread to his mates in armor. There was a click and a spat. The tall man looked down to see that an acorn had rolled across his head. He looked up and out of the brightness of the sun came a boot, and all that laid behind it.
It only took four quick movements after Meldiriel jumped from the branch to knock the three guards on the behind. One, apply the proper weight to the man's shoulders to knock him down and leave him immobile without breaking anything. Two, deliver an uppercut to the crossbow in the large man's hands to bring the weapon up and hit him across the face. Three, take the bow out of the now stunned man's hands and swing it across the shorter ones head. Four, a quick spin to knock over the large one onto the smaller one. This all occurred in a matter of seconds.
"Don't move or I'll make what little bit of brain you have ooze out of your ears." The threat was a lie as the young man did not have that ability but they didn't know that.
The man under his boot tried to make a move but with some added pressure he winced, "Alright!" He screamed. "You win."
Meldiriel leaned down, "Is that so?" He said in a low tone where his minty breath ran across the face of the man not much older than he.
"Yes! Just get off of me!" With a small laugh the robed assaulter did. Stepping to the side in his cloak he looked to the man,
"If you so much as eye your blade I will cut you down." The mage pulled back his cloak at his waist to show his dagger.
When the man stood he held his shoulder making no move to help his friends off the ground. "Who are you?" He asked wondering who had defeated him so easily.
"I'm just a man. One who looks after his fellow man. As any good person would do." He said the lat bit with poison across his lips. It was obvious he thought little of the man in front of him.
The short man who Meldiriel had assumed was either dwarf or hobbit crawled out from the gut of the other. "Are you an assassin?" He asked still a bit shaky, rather it be out of fear or pain was unknown.
The mage shook his head his face still in the shadows of his hood, "If I was you would be dead. No one cares for your lives." He looked up, "I see you have the markings of Nicholas. That would explain the lack of character you three show."
The tall blunt brained man reached for his sword, "Why I oughta. He is our king!"
With a flick of his wrist a dagger was at the man's feet. "Let's cut the flashy business. You would call a scrotum bearded goblin, king if it filled your purse."
Needless to say the man's hand grew distant from his blade. It was clear this was not a man to be tempered with. "What do you want?" He asked bitterly.
"I want to passage to Bronesstead."
The man spat at his feet, "Then go on then. Be gone."
Meldiriel smiled as he walked passed. "And I want you gone by nightfall."