"I'm afraid that we have had a change of leadership. Zarbossa is no longer leading us. As such, you need to pay me to ensure your safety and that of your goods, of course."
The leader of the bandits shifts to but his hand on the pommel of his sword, sunlight glinting off the copper-colored scales of his armor.
"This is an outrage! You cannot do this! Besides I have no more coin to pay you with, it's all tied up in my wares." The merchant huffs after his outburst, his face nearly as purple as his jacket.
"Then we'll just have to take what you have." The mirth is gone from the bandits voice, replaced with a dangerous edge like that of a thunderstorm suddenly rolling in were before there was not a cloud.
Meanwhile the hawk-eyed merchant spot our Wanderer as he sneaks across the desert floor behind the bandits line. Recognizing his armor as that of a Slayer, he cries out: "Master Slayer, help us drive off these curs and you will be rewarded! I swear it!"
As their master entreats with the Slayer, his guards are quick to act on the momentary distraction. Bahn strides towards the sneaks intending to stab him in the back and with a mighty swing from his curved sword he nearly splits the bandit in twain!
Sparks fly as their blades meet, but as they clash again and again the bandit manages to score a deep cut on the guards naked chest, causing Gahn to cry out in pain.
Decision made, the Slayer runs around a rock to attack the bandits from a better angle. Too late the closest bandit hear his steps, and he is dealt a crippling wound as he turns to face his attacker.
A lucky strike slides the blade along the inside of the rogue's arm, causing him to cry out and drop his blade. With this his fate is sealed, when less than breath passes before the Slayer expertly drives his blade through the boss' skull, slaying him instantly.
"Let them run master Slayer. We must tend to my master and my brother!" He exclaims.
Both turn out to be lucky, having received fairly light wounds. After some bandages and poultices have been administered, their patience is soon rewarded as both men regain their senses, sore but most definitely alive.
"My name is Miklos, a humble merchant. I, along with Bahn and Gahn here (he gestures to the two brother guardsmen) were traveling back to our home, a small town near here called Biru Kutha."
The Slayer regarded Miklos. It was a stroke of luck that he happened to know the way to a nearby town. Maybe he could find some clues to the ancient ruins there?
"Hail and well met Miklos the merchant, I am Emerik the Slayer. You mentioned a reward for your rescue if I am not mistaken?"
"Yes, you speak true master Slayer. Alas I carry no coin as all is invested in the merchandise on this pack-mule." Miklos sheepishly indicates the beast behind him.
It's laden with a whole host of goods, from food and drink to arms and armor. Emerik is surprised the beast can stand, nevermind move, with such a load.
"I feared as much. No matter, I could use a few nights in a bed after this time on the road." the Slayer admitted to the merchant's party.
"It's only a short bit away, if you follow us." Gahn and Bahn say in unison, indicating that the wanderer should follow them.
Some time later, as the sun begings to dip, the party in within reach of the walls of Biru Kutha.
"Any civilized village would have done at this point." Emerik answered.
"This is not just any town my friend, but I might be biased, having helped found it! You will stay in my house as a guest for as long as you need and I shall repay you as soon as I am able, of course."
"Very generous of you, merchant Miklos." Emerik says, somewhat distracted. He finds it peculiar that the gates look unguarded and he can't see any townfolk about. It reminds him more of an abandoned village than a bustling small town. Maybe they are wary of strangers..
As they get closer, he notice the guards and Miklos seem concerned as well.
"Where are all the people? Is this common for this town? " Emerik finally asks. "No, it most definitely is not. Come, we must see the priest, he can no doubt tell me what has transpired since we left!"
What happened to the people? Where is the town guard? What happened in Biru Kutha?
Til next time!