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The Wind At The Hanged Man


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The Hanged Man on a dark night was a beacon in Low-Town, vagabonds, thieves, dockworkers and sailors all came to The Hanged Man or The Blooming Rose, the two premiere attractions in Kirkwall. The city itself was a living and breathing beast that truly awakened at night. Currently the place was filled with a party of dwarves that drank and caroused while they spent enormous amounts of gold earned from their recent return from the Deep Roads.


Sitting around the bar counter in the right corner of the room next to the door was the usual crowd, mostly street vendors and dockworkers but in the corner, far from the light of the hearth sat a lone figure. Small in stature but athletically built, his face was hidden behind the deep hood of his leather cloak. A slender and young woman who routinely made trips from the kitchen to the dwarves table came by with a plate of pork and a fresh cup of beer, she gave the mystery man a quick wink as she served him his order and left.


"Hey Corff, who's the guy in the corner?" Asked a ratty dark haired human. He was young and strong, a well used blade rested next to him. He wore a thick leather cuirass and had the rough hands of an experienced swordsmen.


The Bartender set his leather rag down on the table and the other regulars looked to the young man that had asked the question. Corff smiled and leaned in as if to speak a whisper.


"He is a man I will not cross by answering that question..." Replied the wizened old man.


The swordsmen looked over his shoulder at the mysterious figure and smiled, "He doesn't look so tough..." Said the swordsmen with a cocky tone and a not so restrained sense of aggression. "I would have a harder time gutting a knife-ear..." He added and drank deep of his cup. The other patrons looked to the young warrior and then one another.


Corff chuckled and removed the cup he had been drinking and hid it behind the counter, "I think you have had enough... the drink is getting the best of you lad." Spoke the bartender, he hoped taking away the booze would make the warrior come to reason but the hard stare that was fixed to him told him all he knew of the upcoming events.


The Warrior glared hard at the bartender, he reached out like a coiled snake and pulled the bartender close to him, nearly hauling him over the counter. "I should beat you for that... but I think I'll beat him instead..." Growled the Warrior, one of the men at the counter finally found his words. "Calm down Gerall... he meant nothin' by it." Gerall let go of Corff and snatched up his blade, he pulled the sword free and stormed towards where the stranger sat but when he got close enough the man had vanished.


It was then that Gerall found himself flying face first into the wooden wall behind the chair where the mystery man sat. He quickly composed himself and wildly slashed at the darkness as the world spun around him and his mind began to clear of the fog from the hit. He felt a shadow move to his right and he slashed there too but only cut air, in the seconds after all light within the tavern vanished in a large gust of wind that blew out all the candles that had lit the room and the fire faded to a low ember, the only solid light was that of the moon shining through a window that illuminated the center of the tavern. The only sound Gerall could hear was the loud crunch of a man biting into an apple that seemed to come from the walls.


"Reveal yourself coward!" Yelled the Warrior as he swiped at the darkness, the young mercenary had fought many foes but he had never fought darkness itself, despite all his rage he could not choke down the exponentially growing fear within himself.


He turned circles in hopes of finding his foe and after three turns he saw only one thing, in the center of the ray of moonlight that shone down in the middle of the tavern was a bright red apple with a large chunk missing from it's side. A soft and soothing voice came from behind him, 'Only a true fool enters a battle he cannot win.... I suggest you leave this place amigo.' Spoke the formless voice, it's accent a strong Antivan that seemed to echo through the Tavern.


The onlookers knew exactly what this meant and waited with baited breath as the events played out. Gerall backhand slashed at the source of the voice only to have his blade strike the stone wall with a loud clang that caused the weathered metal to shatter into pieces. Gerall roared in pain as the rebounding vibration ran up his arm.


It was then that the mercenary felt the tell tale cold of a blades edge to his throat, he knew that in a hearts beat he would be dead and he closed his eyes, as he did his violent and bloody life passed before his eyes. In his life as a soldier-for-hire he had never been bested without laying a single blow on his opponent. He waited for the blade to run along his neck but it never moved, he opened his eyes to the blinding light of a fully lit tavern and the mystery man had been long gone.


Corff stood at the bar with a wide smile on his face, Gerall stared blankly at the now open door for a long while as he contemplated what had happened. When he finally came to reality he looked to Corff, "Who was that?" Asked the Mercenary.


Corff smiled and set out a fresh cup of beer for him, "That my friend... was The Wind."

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