The Dragon's Den.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Snakey, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. The bone dice struck the flimsy pine table with a barely audible thump and rolled about for a couple seconds before coming to a stop. A lancing screech of joy rang through the room accompanied with a hurried round of clapping. The man on the side of table nearest to the door had turned bone white and seemed to have stopped breathing.

    "What's 'smatter Gids? You'll surely be able too pay," the shadow-shrouded man across the table muttered, "I mean, what's three-'undred silvers to the greatest merchant this side o' Brigsban?".

    Gideon let himself regain some composure, but was still visibly vibrating when he replied, "Nothing... Absolutely no problem, not one. Just let me..." He trailed off for a moment, hard in thought. "...retrieve it from my wagon!" he quickly interjected, "Old Lotsby holding it for me, over in the outskirts of town."

    "Mighty dangerous places to store all of your belongings."

    "That's the beauty of it, no one expects such an intelligent and affluent merchantman such as myself to place my possessions in such a place," Gideon now sported a smirk, "Quite intelligent if I say so myself!"

    "Very well then." The shrouded figure turned his head to one of his retainers and whispered something incomprehensible, "Just be back by sunset tomorrow, I don't want t' come an' find ya. You're one of my greatest clients!" He snickered with his goons following suite a second later.

    "You know me! I'll be back before high-noon!" Gideon stood up and slowly walked carefully to the door, clutching hard at the dagger at his belt, but still managing a confident smirk. In a time that felt like years he finally made it to the door which a large bouncer 'courteously' opened for him. Gideon muttered a polite "thank you" before leaving leaving the shady establishment and entering a somehow shadier alley. The sign above him swayed in the wind. It bore a crude picture of a green, flame-vomiting serpent with the words "The Dragon's Den" splayed above. Gideon hurried through the alley, making sure not to make eye contact with any passerby. He knew that the shadow'd man saw through his thread-bare ruse and will send out goons to deal with him soon, if he hadn't already.

    When he finally made it to the trade district his legs ached and his lungs burned, but he had no time to stop. The district was open and well lit by the high sun, a stark difference from the dank maze of alleyways he had just had the pleasure of exiting. The brightness calmed Gideon. How many assassins would have the raw bravado to attack in broad daylight? This brief feeling of security would soon be erased by the realization of the sheer amount of people present in the marketplace. Hundreds, possibly a thousand people clad in linen tunics and woolen hose bustled 'round the marketplace. Buying, hawking, bargaining or just admiring the handiwork of craftsmen they couldn't possibly ever afford.

    Anyone of them could be an assassin.

    Gideon mulled that idea over for a short time but decided it was ludicrous. He had just got to the marketplace himself, at his speed it would have been nearly impossible for the shadow'd man's thugs to have reached the district before he had. If he had sent any at all. Gideon forced the thought from his head completely and replaced it with a new one. His destination was close, he had obviously lied about the whereabouts of his trade wagon and he knew his only possible salvation lie within it. He made his way slowly through the yelping throng, his eyes pealed for a nefarious face or the glint of steel. By the time he made it to his wagon on the other side of the district he was shaken.

    "Lotsby!" Gideon yelled as he approached the wain. The one thing he hadn't lied about was the name of his assistant. A crotchety older man with an uncannily strong back and a wicked tongue.

    "Wot's it ye fockin' git!" The older man spat back as he crawled from under the wagon, "I 'ave the fockin' thing packed an' ever'thin', jus' like ye told me 'for ya left off on yer bis'niss".

    "Good on you, but that's not the problem..." Gideon trailed off in thought again for a moment.

    "Well, wot's it then, eh?"

    Gideon quickly snapped back to reality, "I've slighted a very powerful person, he's bound to send someone for my head..." He paused mid-sentence in thought again, "... and most likely yours as well."

    Lotsby's creviced face contorted into a puzzled look "Wot's 'e wont wit' my 'ead, eh?"

    "I may have mentioned your name at some point, but it should be no matter!" Gideon reached into his shirt, pulling out a small bag of silvers, "Take this, it ain't much, but it should last you until you find a new employment opportunity."

    "Wait a sec', yer fockin' firin' me?"

    "Yes, it's to dangerous for us to travel together." He forced the bag of coin in the old man's hand, "Take it and go."

    Lotsby begrudgingly took the sack, shot Gideon a grimace and left without a word. Gideon let out a heavy sigh, Lotsby was only under his employ for a few months, but he was one of his better assistants. Despite his temper. Seeing him out in such a rude way genuinely hurt Gideon. However, time was of the essence and had already wasted enough of it. He climbed on top of the cart and started sorting through. The cart was packed and well organized, just as Lotsby said, making this rather easy. He shuffled through the cart until he produced a coat of mail, coif and all. He acquired it a while back a successful gamble against a wealthy mercenary. Right beside it rested a shining pair of greaves and steel barbute, also won from the mercenary. Further down was a shield, solid pine and cast steel, freshly painted in the heraldry of some obscure noble family. Greenwood or something similar. Gideon was commissioned to deliver it some time ago, and the owner would surely be peeved it was not returned. However, Gideon didn't really care. It would serve him better anyways in the coming days. Only one last thing remained. Gideon tore up a loose board to reveal a sword in a elaborate scabbard.

    He pulled the blade from it's containment to reveal a fine piece of work, well balanced with complex geometric shapes folded into the steel-work. Weighty, but at the same time as easy to wield as a common knife. It was a beautiful work of art rarely seen, let alone owned, by lowly northern merchants. It was one of the first truly valuable things he had acquired. He had plans to sell it for a nice profit many times, but every time he was shut down by his own conscience. You never know when you would need a sword he would tell himself. Even if he could by a dozen or so more common blades with the price he would fetch for this very one, he kept it and even stopped displaying it. Letting it's majesty go stale under a loose board in his wagon. Now was it's time.

    Gideon hid behind his cart as he donned his armaments. Not like anyone of the base peons chattering through the square would care. More of a instinctual precaution. It was a bit difficult to put the armour on. This was usually a two man operation, with the wearer being assisted by a squire or other underling. Gideon silently cursed his premature dismissal of Lotsby. The weight of the mail hung heavy on his shoulders and was more loose than it should have been. The helmet and greaves, however, fit almost perfectly. After strapping his shield to his back and sheathing his sword he fancied himself to look like a proper knight. The shadow'd man's goons would be hard pressed to recognize him now. Even if they did Gideon would now have a viable chance to defend himself.

    He cleared the wagon of anything he would need for survival and any other trinkets of value and shoved it into a saddle bag. He then produced a pale-blue paint from his cart and printed in bold, yet flourished lettering 'FREE' on the side of his cart. He figured the mostly-illiterate masses would take notice of more educated folk looting the wagon and join on in. He estimated his cart and all the nigh worthless baubles inside would be gone in the hour, along with all evidence of his existence in the square. Now all he needed was his horse.

    The stable hand seemed baffled when a battle-clad knight stepped into the humble stable. He was even more baffled when the knight asked for a young sumpter that he swore a merchantman deposited earlier that week. However, the knight kept insisting it was his and pressed harder. The stable hand quickly caved in. He wasn't about to question the work of an armed nobleman after all. The knight saddled the sumpter as quick, yet oddly crude manner and went on his way. His poorly donned mail chinking loudly as he rode out.

    Gideon wasn't exactly pleased with his mode of transport. Only the poorest and most humble of men-at-arms would ride such a lowly mount. He was almost out though. A quick trot on the main roads would swiftly lead him out the city and out of harms way. Before he was able to locate the main road a flourish of trumpets sounded. Everyone in the square turned to a small contingent of the royal guard and fell silent, one of them held aloft an open scroll and read, "Citizens of the Holy Kingdom of Mecrundyr, subjects of King Frederick Silvern the third, a beast most foul has been seen the northern forrests, a dragon." The crowd gasped in unison and started whispering among itself.

    The knight loudly cleared his throat and continued, "The dragon is already believed to have devoured a battalion of the kings finest and torched several remote villages in the mountains. So it is with great courage and humility that our wondrous king leave this burden with his faithful subjects." The whispers turned in a murmur of fear. Gideon tried his best to escape the soon-to-be-panicking crowd, but couldn't maneuver his mount to a reasonable speed.

    "You!" The recruiter bellowed, pointing a finger at the well-elevated Gideon, "You look of noble heart."

    "The noblest this side of Brigsban!" Gideon instinctively replied, regretting it instantly.

    "Good then, then you will have no qualms about slaying this monstrous beast?"

    "None at all," Gideon replied, keeping in character "I just need know what reward our king is offering for this daunting endeavor?"

    The crier raised his arms dramatically "One-thousand silvers from the kings personal treasurey for each hero who takes up this quest!" Every syllable punctuated by his waving arms. The crowd and even Gideon himself stood in awe. The aura of fear almost disappeared completely and was replaced by a thinking silence. "What is your name brave sir knight?"

    "Greenwood," Gideon bleated out as swiftly as his mind formed the word. "Sir Draco Greenwood."

    "Perfect," the crier turned to the throng, "who else will join our brave Sir Draco Greenwood on this most noble of quests?"

    // OOC found here -->