Lake Merrin: Chapter Two.

Chapter One | Chapter Three | Chapter Four  | Chapter Five | Glossary

Surviving that encounter was close. Though it will not be my last. Just another in a long line of being stabbed, beaten up, or straight up nearly murdered. I really need a better day job.

Living through that was not the only special thing that happened that day. I became an Adventurer …

What a beautiful day. Living through that death trap, appreciating life, and now off to the Hall!

Is that a pie shop I spy, and it sells beer too? My lucky day. Lukewarm beer, questionable meat pie, and if I can join a Charter today as well, it will be the most perfect day ever!

Arriving at the Hall always gives me goosebumps. The feeling of history, the great heroes who made their names here, and the money to be had. Ancient banners, relics thought lost to time, and chilled ale. There is always a sight to see. Some random people beating on each other in the duelling pit. I like the look of the armoured one. Is that, no, couldn’t be, Order of the Shield?

What is a member of the Order of the Shield doing in here? I’ve only ever seen them on the battlefield. A big bunch of prats too. Always ordering us around like we were nothing. Nevertheless, I would still put some slips on him, no matter how much they are up themselves. Their skill with a sword is always top-notch. Now a travelling Halfling bard has come in to share his talent—gotta love free music.

Best day of the week is the sixth one. Buy two cups of ale for the price of one. Such a bargain. It might even be cheaper once you are registered. So looking forward to that sixth day now! I do love me some beer or an excellent ale, as long as it is cheap or free.

In a wink of an eye, the fight is over, or was I thinking too long about beer? I’m too late to put any money down on the match. If I did, I would have won. Oh well, off to talk to the administrator.

Big hammer fellow is getting dragged past me by a tough-looking guy and—hold the presses! —Lana from the Travellers. Wow, only heard stories about them. Are there any other members of that Charter here? Can’t wait to see all of them.

Oh my Trinity, there is a bloody line-up. Let’s play the waiting game. I played this game a lot in the army. We wait here, then we wait over there.

As long as you looked busy, the Captain didn’t care. But had to look really busy when the Sarge was walking around. If you were wasting time she would find something for you to do. She busted me slacking off all the time! The number of latrine holes she made me dig; marching drills for hours on end, that wasn’t fun; and I never saw her have a drop of grog ever—not even once!

Even if she was weird, I did learn a lot from her. Wouldn’t be here today if she didn’t save me from the wrong end of a sword. From that day, I always have one silent toast in her honour.

After a stroll down memory lane, I can only think of sixth day two for one. Wonder what that beautiful girl that I occasionally have relations with is doing?

I’m just standing here, there is no one in front. Thank you, tired brain, for making the queue go away.

I walk over and the administrator looks at me and says in a raspy voice, coughing up phlegm, “Come on, lad, been watching you stand there doing nothing for five minutes now. What do you want?”

That was shocking. Five minutes? I shrugged. Oh well, no queue.

“Come on, I haven’t got all day to watch you daydream. If you don’t tell me what you want, I’m going to have to ask you to leave!”

I shake my head and apologise, “Sorry, was jumped by some goons earlier today. Must be a little frazzled still, or it could be the pie.”

I can see Royce is becoming a little annoyed.

“Sorry. You don’t care. Um, I’m here to sign up!”

He looks me up and down. “Do you wish to start a new Charter or do you wish to apply for an opening in an existing Charter, if one is available?”

“Just wishing to pay the Hall’s dues and put my name down for any open spots.”

I stood there just grinning.

“What’s so funny, boy? You look like some grinning idiot. Take this paperwork and fill it out. The annual fee is four gold slips.”

Every time I come into the Hall and ask about Charters, Royce gives me the same speech and then forgets me. Bloody senile human.

“This does not guarantee you a spot in a party, just allows you to apply for jobs and covers the administration of your documents …”

Wow, this guy can prattle on. I can’t stand listening to people who think they are smarter than me. Or annoying people. Like this guy, just talking about stuff that really doesn’t matter.

“And after you are done with that there—”

He suddenly stops and looks at me. “Did you hear anything I just said, boy?”

“Of course I did! All this paperwork isn’t going to do itself. Here are the four slips, and may I borrow a quill and well to finish this?”

As he passes the writing kit over, I spy an empty table. Time to fill out this unnecessary paperwork. Looking at the forms, there are some interesting questions. Place of birth, okay. Name, I can do that. Skills and ability, well, that will be a short list. I can swing a sword, take orders, march, and scout—can’t forget that one.

Being a half-breed, they just give you the ‘fun’ jobs. Okay, I can see in the dark—so? Bloody typical, racist lowlifes! I can ride a horse too. Well, my horse. I loved that horse. Only one that would come near me. Can’t remember its name now. Another typical fantastic trait of my half-breed background.

A bit of sand to help it dry and done! Back to Royce. Such a bothersome administrator.

“With all your lollygagging, I thought this would take you longer.” He smiles and looks down at the form. “Let’s have a look at this … An army boy, haven’t seen that much.” He chuckles to himself. “This all seems in order. Here is your receipt. So, do you want your name in the pool for open Charter?”

“So, there are no Charters looking for anyone? Willing to do any sort of job, even if they don’t want a new signing member. Willing to be signed on for a job or two.”

Royce says, “I have a group upstairs looking for a few members. I can put your name down, but …” He pauses to point to a tall Folk and then to an armoured knight from the pit before. “Those men seem to be more experienced than you. You are—no offence—a bit on the average side.”

Wow, try being told that you are pretty much useless—well, average. Mela, Jara, Jenell! When I served, I might not have been the cream of the crop but I still wasn’t one of those ‘special’ cases, who didn’t know their left from their right. They were good for one thing: following orders, as long as you took the time to fully explain it to them.

“Come on. Okay, I’m not like that knight in shining armour or that savage, but don’t dismiss me. There must be people looking for someone, even just a body to fill a sentry spot.”

“Come back in a few days, see if there are any other parties coming through these parts.”

Such a waste of time. I turn to leave, but he is still talking. “Well, there is one job on the Board. I don’t think they will mind too much for a solo to petition for this job!”

He coughs a little and I think, Wow, do all older men have a phlegm factory in the back of their throat?

“As I was saying, the town Watch patrol is looking for bodies to fill the rank for an upcoming tour of the Duke. Three days’ work, good pay, and they aren’t too worried about experience.”

Well, it is a job from the Hall. Beggars can’t be choosers, or is it lazy people like money, hmm?

“This would help me get out of a jam. Put my name down!” I exclaim. “So, what are the chances of me getting this job?”

Royce looks up. “I send over the parties that wish to do the job. I put you as ‘Lone Solo’. Not much of a name, but it will do.” He’s doing that old man chuckle; more phlegm and coughing than laughter. “They seem a bit rushed with this, so your chances are good.”

“You put me down as a party named Lone Solo? Okay, it is pretty stupid but if it gets me some slips then I’m fine with it.”

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