Monday, July 20, 2009

Berserker Part 35

After a few bites of Silva’s great cooking the group was complimenting her continuously.

“This beats gerda’s stew easily”, Lars boasted. After a moment of silence. “Only don’t tell her I said that”.

“Please give the chef my compliments miss”, Karnar added.

“Selenne”, she supplied. “My mother is the cook”.

“Really?” Lars asked in amazement. “I would’ve thought only you could’ve prepared something as angelic as this”. Selenne smiled in pleasure at Lars’ shameless flattery, nearly outmatched by the sour grins of disgust from the three other diners.

Upon her absence they continued eating in tranquility, so humbled by the godly woman’s cooking that they ceased ribbing each other of Selenne. By the time they had filled their bellies many men had become unbelievably given to drink, with still the same noise and laughter but with a tense atmosphere. The giddy teatotalers had already been weeded out and the sullen hard drinking pubgoers were left to hone their craft. For a small honest little town like the
travelers had seen there was a uncommonly large number of men staying out so late.

One such beer stained person had decided that he had imbibed enough for the evening. On his way to the door he tripped over his own feet, landing before the group who were sitting back after the satisftying meal. Before the travelers could do anything to help the man to his feet, he had sat up and was glaring at them.

“Too good to even help ush up then eh?”, he slurred full of surliness. “I figerd youd be too scared to join ush and dont acyu.. accush.. blame yoou for it, but thatsh shust cruel!”

Kyle tried to lend a hand to the drunk, but he slapped it away, to full of himself to allow being helped. By then they were much to aware of all the eyes in the room staring at them, full of malice and besotted anger.

Trying to calm them, kyle put on a compasionate face and asked the man what he meant by joining them. He was only too happy to comply.

“Dontcha know? Sa huge army coming thish way!”, he shouted at them in amazement at their denseness. “A shcout brought news a few daysh ago, all buncha monshters come together and marchin.”

Sensing he had a crowd now, the reprobait tried to steady himself and continued on in a more complaisant voice. “The mayor hired ssome new mershenar...merk... fighters to help. Their bosh drafted all men from shixteen to fifty for the milisha”. At his sobering words the crowd grew more restive, many others eyeing the travelers menacingly.

“But we just got here!”, Kyle protested .

“Don’t matter shon”, the drunk returned, staring at them all with the inkling of an idea.

“What if we refuse to join?”, Karnar asked in a quiet voice as he stared into his beer.

“Then we’ll make yer”, he responded with a certain relish. In his addled little brain a synapse fired. “Comon then, letsh go”.

“NO”, Jarn stated simply.

“I might get a raise for bringing you in then”, he said moving forward to attack, and along with him half the room.

The unsteady punch that the man threw at Jarn was easily deflected across his forearm, who in turn responded by kicking the man’s legs out from underneath him while still sitting, dropping the man quickly. The other three travelers had already unlimbered themselves for the ensuing brawl. Although they soon were to face twenty-some men in combat, they kept their composure, for the outcome of this fight was not kill but to subdue. Lars even looked happy. A hungry looks in his eyes and a feral grin on his lips.

The would-be recruiters created a rough semi-circle around the group, effectively cutting off all routes of retreat or escape. Not waiting for the militia men to come any closer the comrades-in-arms leapt forth as one.

Jarn and Lars came in swinging at either side of the semi-circle of flesh. Lars began howling like a mad wolf, taking one of his opponents off his guard. He quickly jabbed one man in the throat, and savagely brought his knee up to connect with his victim’s nose as he doubled over in pain. Seeing his friend go down in a spray of blood, another man snatched a tankard from a nearby table and ran bellowing at the stranger with his makeshift cudgel held high in anticipation of a knock-down blow. Lars openly laughed at the man’s utterly stupid mistake, he simply planted one foot in his solar plexus when the man came into range and sent him flying back in the other direction, crushing a table and chairs upon landing.

Karnar, who had grown up playing all types of games; push fall, tig, king of the hill, and had spent years wrestling with his friends decided that such rough and tumble play would be approptriate. With three running steps he had gone from floor to chair to table and finally flung himself into the center of the fray, stunning four others in his fall.

Getting to his knees, he then pushed off with his feet and planted his shoulders into the gut of one man who had not fallen and drove him all the way across the room to exit via the window. Feeling hands grip ahold of his shoulders he instinctively sprung up and kicked off the wall to fall horizontally, sending the whole of his considerable bulk to land sqaurely on the poor man underneath. Upon landing he heard the distinct crack of ribs and a whoosh of air driven from a human body.

Karnar allowed himself a genuine smile, such were the types of games he had learned as a child. Apparently a little too harsh for his new friends, but that was only to be expected from weak inlanders such as these. He got up eagerly to look for more playmates.

Jarn, upon charging his mark, stood within the man’s reach with shoulder’s sqaured and fists balled. Jigging up and down a little, he struck his opponent in the chest and stomache with quick, precise punches. Although the man was sent reeling for a few moments, Jarn did not capitalize on this and let him recover! Not sure what to make of this, Jarn’s opponent mimiked the stance of manly agression and faked a blow such as Jarn had landed, lashing out with his boot instead, catching Jarn painfully in the shin.

Surprised, Jarn reflexively backhanded the man, audibly breaking his nose and sending it and the man askew. Unlike his previous attack, this one had some lasting effect in that the force of the blow slammed him against the wall, knocking him unconcious.

As the next man approached Jarn once again sqaured up to him, but before he could throw a punch, a balled pair of hands slammed against the man’s neck from behind. The man toppled like an oak, going from vertical to horizontal in one perfect geometric swoop, revealing an enraged Lars as the assailant. He looked like the wolf whose call he imitated. His shirt was ripped, his nose was broken and bleeding, his eyes wild, his breathing fast and furious.

“What the hell are you doing boxing?!”, he shrieked wildly over the shouts and crashes of the rolling brawl.

“Boxing has rules, these people won’t follow them! There are no set rules! Now stop that and actually try to hurt them!”.

Given previous encounters, such advice would’ve either been ignored or instigated a massive conflict. Seeing as such a conflict was already underway and from Jarn knew from first hand experience that his fighting was lacking he decided to heed Lars’ angry words, leaping into the fray kicking and punching at head , groin, throat, and knees.

Unlike his comrades, Kyle was but a simple muleskinner and lacked the experience and fighting prowess of his three counterparts, but not the courage. Being diminutive in relation to the others, he chose to even the odds slightly. He did this by taking up a chair in both hands and swinging for all he was worth, quickly breaking to pieces over the head of the first person who dared come near, flooring him for the remainder of the evening. Holding nothing but two wooden splinters, he quickly retreated to the safety of the table, hurling plates, candlesticks, dinnerware, and mugs with abandon.

Some minutes later Kyle found he was not alone, the three others diving behind their table for a brief reprieve. All of them were tired, out of ideas, and didn’t want to kill any of these men. This was not helped by Kyle’s sharp eyes spotting that some of the men they had subdued were beginning to stir.

As the militia regrouped, Kyle had an idea. “Why doesn’t one of us go for help?”

“Good”, Jarn gasped out. “Who?”

“I’ll go”, Karnar said, “I just need running room”.

“Right, GO!”

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