Chapter One (New)

With my rewrites, only you can read it because either you are a subscriber or you have brought my book. Feedback would be appreciated and thank you for being patient with me. For my previous version head to this link here.

And here is the new chapter two and three.

Twenty-third of Harvest, 1007 FK

Within two weeks I will be on the front line. Fighting an enemy that has powers beyond our imagination! It reminds me something I read in school about the end of the Massacre of Magic, the invasion of those Beasts and their shambling rotten minions! I would never have thought what we stumbled upon in Greywalker Reach, would change my life forever.  How could the Earl and his soldiers miss this?  Earl Feo has a lot to answer for! The bloody forts are just three days ride away!

Beating a dead horse, or in this case a dead Favinonian rising again. I need to not to worry about this. Still, can’t believe even the assassinations, the rebellion and all those weird- I don’t have much time to write this, and that is stuff that is a waste of time!

I survived Greywalker Reach, not sure if I will survive this war. But people need to know where it all started. That town, where I meet my ‘family’, Lake Merrin.

Now we are heading to the war to end all wars. I regret so many things: Friends dying, losing the love of my life, and most of all, meeting that monster Zlata! After Greywalker, I now know where she came from. Holy Saints of the Trinity save us.

Well, the best thing to do is start when it all began, just two years ago, when I came to Lake Merrin. Back then I was a nobody, and all I cared about was money, women, and grog. Or was it grog, more grog and lots of grog, and paying for women? I was a wastrel. A scoundrel who only cared about himself and the next drink!

How do things change? My story is one of change, as Favinonia changed, and the adventuring Hall in Lake Merrin. That’s where it all started. 

Should I start when I come to the town or three months later when I got off my arse to sign up? Arse-off, by Jenell’s Book I was lazy! What, was I doing? Oh yeah, having that quiet drink in that dingy inn, the Anvil and Musket on the docks of Lake Merrin; I can’t believe how it changed my life…

What a beautiful day on Lake Merrin, that morning breeze off the Lake. Still, don’t understand why the Lake is named Lake Merrin as well. That makes as much sense as the street names.

Was the town named after the Lake or was the Lake named after the city. Who cares     Time for my liquid breakfast!

Why did I choose this place, black mould, greasy windows and cockroaches as big as my fist? But it is two silver slips a week, can’t complain about the Anvil and Musket. What is a Musket?

Coming down those rotten steps, I smell Bruce before I could see him. I love his aftershave, a mixture of sweat, vomit and ale. The reason I need to drink my worries away.

“Greeting, good barkeep. Can I have your finest ale? Hold the roaches or rat droppings.”

Laughing at myself, I am really on today!

He looks up at me, “It’s you. Rent’s due!”

Please to see you too Bruce. “I know, I know. Um, can I make it up later today?”

“Do I have to get Malik to talk to you again?”

That son of a motherless goat! “No, Bruce you do not. Here.” Two more notes are gone, I need a job. “My ale?’

I can see something running around on the bottom of my mug, Bruce looks at it and just shakes it out. Jara’s Hammer that is so wrong.

“Can I have a cleaner glass, Bruce? It looked like two roaches were making babies in the bottom of it.”

“Bloody stuck up white-back!” Love being a half-breed, have so many nicknames. He grabs another glass. “Five copper!”

Holding my glass of pure heavenly gold, and shoving his other hand in my face.What? So if I had that other one, it would have cost me one copper note? Handing over a fiver. “One thing Bruce, what is a musket?”

He smiles, last night’s food still stuck in his teeth. He pulls a weird weapon from beneath the counter. I assume it is a weapon, metal tube, connected to a club. Points the tube at me.“Want to find out what it does too, or you are going to piss off?”

No idea why you point a tube at me, the club is scarier, with his oversize arms, my head would be crack after one blow.“Nope, I’m good!”

Puts it back under the bar as I walk away. Not sure what it does, don’t want to find out. Where to enjoy this weak piss ale? Ah, my friendly neighbourhood drunk, Stinky Pete. Don’t know his real name as he seems to be asleep most of the time. But is a great listener.

“Hey, Pete.” Sitting down in this booth, I can smell he has pissed himself again. Mela’s sacrifice he is in a bad way this morn. “Don’t need a hug today, we are the best of friends aren’t we?”

Pete’s reply is quite fragrant if it isn’t out one end it is always the other. “So Pete, what should I do today?”

He coughs and pukes a little more. “Yeah, I know. I spent five years in the army to gain my citizenship, everything I did I just want to forget. Now I am a free citizen and free to live my life. Can do whatever I want       Pete, my friend, what am I going to do?”

He does take his time to answer, mouth flutters as he lets out a huge breath. “Well, my funds are not going to last me long, with pissing off Bruce all the time or dealing with Malik and the Dock boys.”

By his snoring, I know Pete understands.”It is the same thing every day, find a labouring job earn money to then be taken away the Dock Boys. Bloody Malik and his second, Jimmy always finds out when I have money.”

This conversation needs a drink. Ah, my amber brew! “Oh, cause you know Pete, they demanded my money to pay back the last loan with interest. Then Malik in his element turns around and lends me money so I can survive. Not much I can do.”

I can see Pete is pondering my last statement. “You are right, Pete! Unless you are a knight, in the military, or a registered Adventurer, the law isn’t always around to protect you. They are the only ones allowed to carry arms or wear armour. And then I don’t have to put up with their nonsense.”

Pete lifts his leg and lets out a terrible fart; I drown my nose in the sweet elixir of my ale. As he finishes and should be proud, my ale has finished. “Pete you have out did yourself as well, shouting me a drink.” Grabbing his pouch off his belt, there is one silver slip inside, enough for two drinks. “I’ll grab you one as well, Pete, don’t you worry!”

Glad that to be moving back to the bar, allowing it to air. Don’t call him Stinky Pete for anything. “Bruce, couple more ales!”

“Sure.” I think it was sure; there were a ‘s and e’ in his grunt.

I will be looking forward to one day being a proper place, maybe with a beautiful woman cooking me dinner.

“Thanks, Bruce, keep the change!”

Not like there is any but better to pretend he isn’t ripping me off. Pete is still sleeping, dropping his glass in front of him, I take a long draw of my ale. The best thing for the morning, a good lukewarm brew!

As I drop my drink, I spy my lady ‘friend’ coming down the stairs. She looks at me and waves. What is her name again? Cin or Bel? Damn it.  “Hey, there handsome.” Grabbing Pete’s ale and having a long swig. “I woke up, and you weren’t there.”

Cin or Bel? She is staring at me. “Sorry, Love, I wanted to come down and have some breakfast.” Shaking my half empty cup. “Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?”

Well, it is a stretch, with her acne and scabby skin but she is cheap and warm. I think she is blushing, but I can’t tell. “You are embarrassing me.”

“It is part of my charm.” As she walks off to her ‘pimp’ Bruce, I smack her on her arse. Turning back to Pete. “Sorry about that Pete, I get you another drink later. So what were we talking about?”

Pete lets out a loud snore. “Oh yes, thanks, Pete. Watch is out of the question, and I am never going back to the army. So I could head west to the City States, join a mercenary band like my ‘dad’ was a part of. But again that is too army and those encounters I had with rogue groups    

I can see Pete is uncomfortable about this, me too. “So Merc band is out, City Watch is out, Army is out, so Pete what is left?” he shrugs, I think. “That means there is only one option, join the knighthood!”

Standing up branding my cup like a sword. I laugh Pete ‘laughs’. “Yeah, could you imagine that, me being part of the Duke’s Shields? Bloody Jara, they have stuck up prigs.”

The creaky front door swings open, Bruce needs to oil that. And for Jara’s Hammer, it is a Dock Boy. It the rat-face one, not sure what his name is but he is always in that huge group that corners me. If we were one on one “Ah, it seems that is time for me to go, Pete.” Ratty sneers at me and forcefully flings the door open and runs out. “You are right Pete; the only answer is becoming an Adventurer. I guess I’m off to the Hall.”

Jara, Mela, Jenell, what horrible timing. Thought I would be not seeing them all week, they have been thick as thieves with that rogue charter, Fellowship of the Sword. I hate that group, Ex-Duke’s Shield Helmut and his thugs, love killing people for fun and money. I don’t want to be on either list.

Running up those rotten stairs into my room, so I’m glad that there is a back door, won’t be caught by the Boys. What do I need, my peace-bound sword, my armour vest; my Jack, some knives and done. Where is my slip pouch of savings? Ah yeah in my dirty underwear, glad I have the foresight to hide money.

Now I need to avoid the dock boys if I can make it onto Route, avoiding Fish and Dock as that is their territory. There are three back streets, to get to Route Street. Avoiding the morning crowds or would it to be better to blend in?

Glad I was trained to be a scout in the army. Is there anyone in this next alley, great there is a Dock Boy. What to do? Bold is best in this. “Hey, what are you doing here? Doesn’t Malik have you lot on the docks every morning?”

He turns to me and bunches his shoulder, bunch anymore, and he’ll rip his shirt. “Oi, you stay right here.”

He starts sauntering toward me. Drawing my dagger behind my back and hold it in my fist. He grabs me, and I smash him across the face, and he drops to his knee. I step around him and run.

So only rat-face and Brute-boy have seen me, only one more lane and I’m blending into that morning crowd.

And I run into a smell that is worse than my morning movement after a night of drinking. “You .”

Yes me, and here is a knee to your ‘Jara’s Hammers’.

There it is, carts, fish, market goods, fishmongers, a crowd best place to blend. Hearing a call out as I leave the alley. “There he is, Malik!”

The crowd parts, and that son of a thankless mother, Malik! Thank you so much, faceless mob.

 

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