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Borderland - Ratskeller Inn (Holt-Lindeck)

Morvar

Member
Wizard of Combat
Time: On first morning after the Scene in the Dancing Cauldron

Sir Arthur of Falkenstayn, Baronet and former Captain of the Guard of his father the Baron of Falkenstayn, did not wake as early as usual that morning.
After the events and decisions of last night, he had let himself...once again...be overcome by his feelings.


Hate.

In spirit, he knew that his brother Benedikt was right. Hate was the beginning of the end. The breath of Hehl which could spread slowly in the spirit of a man.

But his heart. Again and again he saw in his mind's eye how the Blackfang Orc's axe hit his father's right leg.


His father. A giant, a man of pure faith, righteous and a paladin Solus in the truest sense of the word.
He had always been invincible to him, even when he, Arthur, beat him for the first time in battle, the son knew that he would never reach that perfection.

But since that day, since the attack, his father was broken. Only a shadow of his former self. His mother, a once beautiful and proud woman, withered away in a flophouse in this town of Halberstein. Of course, everyone treated the members of the former noble family with respect. After all, the Baron of Falkenstayn had always been a fair and kind ruler.
But it did not change anything. The homeland had fallen. HIS FATHER had ...fallen.

And all only because of these CURSED ORKS!!!!
Arthur straightened up. The bed creaked under the weight of his body. Jacob's and Hogar's sleeping quarters were both empty. From downstairs, from the small breakfast room of the inn, sounds reached his ear.

He stood up, washed his face and looked in the mirror. A level, bearded face with blue eyes stared back. And in the eyes was fire....

"I will send them all to Hehl!"

He clenched his hands into fists and breathed in and out. Benedikt's voice rang in his head.

"Brother, hatred is not the way. We must trust in Solus and in our own strength. The hell of revenge is boiling in your heart. Set yourself free!"
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
"Filthy lier!" A rough voice. Deep and grating. Suddenly the loud thud of a heavy object on wood, a clattering of plates and a pained moan.

The wooden stairs creak loudly as Arthur descends to the main chamber of the Ratskeller Inn. The ceiling is low and the warrior has to duck under a low hanging beam, but in the moment it takes him to straighten back up to almost his complete height, he grasps the entire situation.

The cramped 10 x 7m room is almost obstructed by three large tables. It doesn't even have a bar. There is a single entrance when you climb the stone stairs at the back. No windows. Three dark iron sconces emanating dim yellowish light from dancing tallow flames. Even the distinct smell of tallow can hardly cover the omnipresent stench of sweat and spilled ale probably covering all of the straw on the ground.

One of the tables is empty.
At another an old man with a wrinkled face and rotted teeth is momentarily served a meak meal of fish. His garb gives the impression of a fisherman. But the bald inkeep is not listening to the man's hard to understand mumblings. He is looking at the crude dagger still poised in mid-air at the remaining table.

A man's face is pressed hard into the wood. Playing cards still cramped in his hand twisted onto his back. He is bleeding from a small laceration above his eye and tries to get free. To no avail. Holding him down with one hand and lowering a dirty dagger to his scalp with the other is an Orc. Or more precicely: a Half-Orc.

"You now pay. Human."

A bulging mass in leather and furs. Yellowish-white bone piercings and red war painting on his greenish skin. A crude heavy axe at his side. All of that shows that is he proficient in combat.
 

Morvar

Member
Wizard of Combat
Blood immediately pumped with all its might from his heart to all parts of his body. His expression darkened and he briefly scolded himself for leaving his weapons in the chamber.

His commanding voice rose and everyone could perceive the threatening undertone that resonated in it.

"BEI Gott, LET HIM GO!" he shouted to the half-orc.

As he uttered the words, he took a few steps forward to get closer to what was happening. From his brother Jacob he knew how dangerous skilled knife fighters were, the boy could clip the wings of flies with the blades, but he didn't care right now.
He was already fighting a battle. An inner fight. Rage bubbles sought their way into his conscious mind. Struggling to keep his composure, he repeated his words with more authority.

"Let him go IMMEDIATELY!"

Casually, with his right hand, he pushed aside a heavy oak table that two men would otherwise struggle to move. The blood in his arms and legs made the muscles swell. And the hatred inside him, tried to take control of his mind.

But Arthur was also a warrior, a skilled bringer of death. His instincts picked up on every movement, every emotion in the half-orc's facial expressions. Estimate the time it would take the "barbarian" to grasp his axe. In his left hand he felt the small knife he had taken from his belt unnoticed while pushing away the table to his right. Better than nothing....


SO or SO. He was ready..for anything.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
Angrily, the half-orc looked up. He still held the man firmly down. With ease Arthur noticed. The iron grip holding the struggling man not bulging a moment. The other hand held the chipped and crusted knife lightly. Ready to move in an instant. He did not continue the movement to scalp the man, if that had indeed been his intention. Instead a side of his lip curled up and exposed an elongated tooth, not unlike a boar's tusk as he deliberately formed words, almost blurring to a snarl:

"No. He pay. He lie. Now pay."

Arthur was able to approach the big table opposite to the half-orc. The half-orc poised and waiting for a reaction. A tiny flicker of movement in his left eye as he fleetingly glances to his axe and to the huge man in front of him. He seemingly works this through in his mind, but no expression tells what his estimated outcome of this situation is.

As everybody holds still and the air is filled with tension, a movement on the table itself catches Arthur's attention. A sneer. Although blood is trickling down on the table in a fine line, the man begins to sneer. A broken plate only inches away from his well-shaped face, food and playing cards scattered all over the place. The card under his chin, the ork chieftain, slowly drenching in the man's blood and he looks up at Arthur and manages to speak in a melodic voice:

"Please help me, Sir. Give the brute a lesso-"
He is sharply silenced and coughs. as the orc pushes down with a jolt, looking at Arthur. Warningly.
 

Morvar

Member
Wizard of Combat
"My name is Sir Arthur of Falkenstayn, Knight of the Guard. I say this so that it is clear that I do not say a false or untrue word." His voice quivered with suppressed anger as his two sides, a knight's oath of honor, loyalty, and code, and the one he had taken to destroy all Blackfang Orcs, wrestled with each other.

"We are here in a civilized city, there is law and order. If this man has done anything to break it, bring him before the city guard or even the bailiff. Your behavior is dishonorable and wrong. This man," Arthur pointed with his right hand at the bleeding heap of misery, "is no opponent or danger to you!"

Another step towards the two opponents.

"He is obviously injured and in pain. I urge you, ORC, to let him go, to resolve it peacefully. As long as you are still able to do so."

It was impossible not to give the word "Orc" a sharp disparaging undertone. Arthur had never been able to hide his feelings; he was incapable of lying. Jacob had mocked him for it more than once.

Arthur prepared himself inwardly for an attack. His reflexes were extraordinary and he was not afraid of pain. He almost wished that the dirty half-orc would do something wrong.

"Brother! Hatred is admission of inferiority. You are a knight! Please!" Again he heard Benedikt's voice. But the anger burned....
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
"Fancy wordz," he slurs angrily, hardly controlling himself, "no more! No will good. You say, you guard? Then you also lier! You wait there. Wait for Korsahc. First break hand. An' rip tongue." Seeing his side loose, the man in the fancy clothing begins to whimper. His fine white shirt soaking with sour red wine and fish grease. The half-orc readies to break the man's hand or arm as he keeps his knife steady and ready. Then he stares directly at Arthur with his blood red eyes and cruel glint to convey the threat: "Then you, Szer."
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
The threat of the filthy orc erased all reason in the knight's conscious mind. Somehow Arthur tried to utter a few more words to defuse the situation. But with the rage in his belly out of his mouth came only words of such hatred that even the half-orc's eyes widened in disbelief and the other spectators gasped.

The half-orc showed his tusks and grimaced angrily. With a sudden loud crunch Korsahc broke the man's hand, the slender fingers of the bard hanging limp in his greenish hairy grip. White eyes bulging, the bard lost all color of his face. In shock, as Arthur quickly realized, he tried to scream but couldn't produce sounds.

With his right hand Arthur fetched one of the chairs beside him and threw it in the half-orc's rough direction, aiming to distract him as he narrowed the distance. But somehow it caught on the low table instead and fell to the ground between the opponents, even blocking Arthur's way, as he noticed in dismay.

Seeing the real foe in front of him and getting angrier every second, Korsahc yanked the bard out of the way and almost hurled the flailing human behind him as if he was just a toy. "Korsahc find you later." He didn't even look back at the bard in his back. He let him go.

Korsahc reached for the great double-cleaved axe beside him, as the bard ran crying up the stairs holding his limp arm and the rest of the customers cleared away as far as they could. The bartender didn't even try to say anything. Meanwhile, Arthur had quickly grabbed a leg of that stupid chair and yanked it off without even bothering. The leg was unwieldy and short, but seemed like a manageable club for now. As a bonus, the far end was frayed and a sharp splinter could be used for slashing.

Both combatants now had a quick knife and a heavy weapon hurled with force in either hand.

"Give up! Orc! In the name of the one god Solus! GIVE UP!" roared Arthur, but he did not even wait for his opponent's reaction.

He attacked with his long arms across the table. An implied strike to the Orc's chest with the pointy end of the chair leg only moments later revealed itself to be a feint. In the last split second he bolted over half of the table and slashed upward to connect the club with the half-orc's face.

Quickly, the brute reacts and brings forth his long, blood-crusted knife to protect against the chair leg. The instincts of the trained knight are faster though. With a loud crunch and a splatter of blood the half-orc's face is crashed aside, but he still stands. A deep cut opens in the half-orcs ugly face and blood is gushing out from the wound, as Korsahc almost simultaneously brings down the massive battle axe...
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
Through the veil of rage, the warrior's instinct slowly struggled, but it was too late. Arthur saw that his blow to the half-orc's face had brought him too close to the axe's reach. His blow did hit and he could see his opponent's head being brutally flung to the side and blood spurting, but it almost felt as if he had connected with a stone wall. Not cutting the skin as he was used to. Already, the massive axe was flying towards his shoulder! The narrowness between the tables made it hard to back away, but he managed to roll off the table and bring some distance between them. No moment too soon! The sharp edge of the axe gently brushing his shoulder, as he jumped back a step.

Having almost lost his life, his heart pumped strongly and he couldn't help but think back to that fateful night, when he lost his home:

The massive orc in the black chain armor and glowing eyes turned almost leisurely to Arthur. His father's blood still dripping from the edge of the double-headed axe in the beast's right claw. It's lips twisted into a vicious grin, exposing the two blackened tusks even more.
"Come little human, come to Gruzzak! I'll roast your guts next to your father's leg over my fire!"

With an angry roar echoing in the small stone chamber Korsahc brought his battleaxe down. Blinding rage threatening to engulf him. A cascade of sounds around him, as the table almost exploded with his barbaric force. Splinters and dishes sailed through the air, and the heavy table collapsed with broken legs giving away. And the massive table itself was cut squarely in half. A single coin falls from the table with a clang and is slowly rolling towards him.

"Not again. Not kill." Korsahc seemed to be fighting with himself, trembling, suppressing the urge to fall into a killing frenzy.

For Arthur, the half-orc's blood-colored face and Gruzzak's bearded orc-face blurred together. Arthur uttered a scream as he rushed forward again.

Again he struck with his improvised club, the leg of the chair. His first blow was aimed at the orc's head, clearly wanting to end the fight quickly. But at the last moment, he brought the improvised weapon down with all his might, towards the hand holding the axe.

This time though, the half-orc was prepared. He stepped back and crashed his long knife against the club to deflect it, not falling for the deceipt. Using the momentum of the deflection he instead rushed towards the human with barely controlled rage. The battleaxe already flying low over the destroyed table, aiming to cut the unarmored human in half...
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
For a split second, his arm went numb with the impact. The strength of the two combatants breaking the improvised club into splinters as his attack was deflected. From a corner of his eye, he saw the axe rushing towards his side. And Arthur reacted with sheer trained instincts and jumped back, but then, in this split second he saw into the red eyes of the bleeding half-orc, he realized his mistake. Too late did he saw the real attack.

Stupid as he may seem, Korsahc was aware of feint attacks. And the battleaxe was his answer to those of the human. Threatening the human with a deadly blow, Korsahc was intend not to use deadly force, but tried to surprise his foe with the uncommon: a daring attempt of a headbutt right to the face. And it connected with a crushing blow, letting the gigantuous human stumble back, bleeding from his nose and reeling.

Breathing heavily and tightening his grip on the two-bladed axe, Korsahc came closer and hefted his axe in a threatening manner.
"Szer strong, but sztupid! Korsahc set thief FREE. As you guard said. Why attacking?"

And as his grating voice was booming and echoing in the small chamber, the doors flew suddenly open and guards swarmed in.
"There! See the chaos? That is the one, who attacked me. And him also! And... and he tried to steal from me!"
The bard was still holding his arm and mustered not to cry, but now he seemed like he was going to giggle. Malevolently he was pointing at the half-orc.

Arthur was still steadying himself and preparing to dodge against this worthy combatant, the tide turned. Had he had his armor, shield and axe, he would surely have won. But he had to admit that the brute was strong and resilient. A lesser man would have succumbed to the bleeding face wound. But Arthur was not defeated yet. He still had the knife in his other hand. Had the half-orc, Korsahc, attacked, he might have been quick enough to counterattack and kill him with a quick plunge. Probably. Maybe.

At first, the half-orc tried to argue, but it was not one of his better qualities.
"Korsahc not kill. See? That one thief. Korsahc never lie." Korsahc pointed to the richly clothed bard, but the guards only sneered.
Then he tried to resist and hold them at bay, while trying to explain the situation, but it was hopeless.
"Obviously, YOU are the thief, orc. As is in your nature. What else does an orc do, if not kill, lie, rob and demolish?!" And as to underline his point, the well-spoken bard nodded to the destruction all around them. "Whatever you say, you're guilty, monster. You should never have come to Holt-Lindeck!"

In the end, Korsahc had to lay down his weapons. He was shackled and ushered out by the guards, his possessions confiscated, his wound still heavily bleeding. They arrested him and would bring him to the Drowning Prison, as they called the prison at the river's side for obvious reasons.

As Arthur started to see black points darting in front of his eyes, he noticed that the bard had actually collected the money that was lying around on the floor. The inkeep took a part of it for his repairs and looked around in dismay. And as the doors closed behind the bard, leaving him alone with Arthur, Arthur saw the back of the inkeep still looking at those doors and slowly shaking his head. "That bard, Caspir Holt, is always trouble... and still the cheat. One day, someone will teach him a lesson. The sooner the better."

And then, the headache began...

And as Arthur was shakily sitting down, he had two realizations:
  1. In the last moments, when the half-orc was ushered out on spearpoint, he had glimpsed some black object slip from the brute's shirt: a black tusk worn as a trophy.
  2. And he slowly realized, that if he was not able to defeat an half-orcish brute without weapons and armor, he was still not yet ready to confront Gruzzak.
 
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