Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Fire Drakes|
Flower crossed the floor with the tray of food and set it on the table. The four guards grinned and one slipped her a coin before she turned away. She came back towards me with a huge grin on her face. I smiled and glanced at the two older girls that moved around the room serving a smooth sweet ale I had made. Everyone seemed to like it and they sure seemed to like Song’s cooking.
My eyes went to the door as the guard commander stepped in. He looked around and smiled before crossing the room. Several guards called out and a few of the traders nodded. He stopped next to me and looked back before looking into my eyes, “Fire Drakes have been spotted on the far side of the city.”
I looked across the room, “And?”
He smiled, “They will move around the city like they have in the past. Anyplace with people will be attacked.”
I glanced at Flower on her way to collect dishes from another table. I looked at the commander, “will the guards try to do anything?”
He shook his head, “The drakes will stay outside for a few days and then continue on their way. The city lords won’t risk sending people out.”
I looked around at everything I had accomplished before sighing, “I’ll take care of it.”
The commander blinked, “What?”
I looked at him, “I will kill the drakes.”
He looked at me as if I was crazy, “But they breathe fire.”
I smiled, “Than I will have to avoid their breath.”
I moved away from the bar and headed up the stairs. The black clothing I wore was special because it didn’t burn. I placed my weapons carefully and then pulled out the small vial of poison. One by one I coated the tips of several arrows before putting the poison away. When I walked back downstairs most of the people were gone. I smiled at Song as she stood in front of Flower and the two new girls, “stay inside until I return.”
She nodded, “May the girls return to their homes?”
I glanced at the two and nodded before turning towards the door. I began a slow jog around the outer wall of the city. My eyes continued to scan the ground far in front of me. I was half way around before I slowed and watched a fire burn a little ways out from the wall. I knelt and slipped into the tall grass before moving closer. When I was a hundred paces away I placed an arrow on the string of my bow.
There were two animals that almost looked like drama except they had wings and narrower tails. From the size of the wings I doubted they could actually fly. They were at least as tall as a horse and twice as long. The fire came from the grass around the burned body of a cow. I watched and slowly pulled my bow back as I took carefully aim.
The release of the arrow was almost secondary and then I was putting a second arrow in the bow. The drake I was aiming for screamed and roared fire as the arrow sank into its eye. The other drake spun and roared as it searched for me. I released and pulled another arrow as they suddenly started charging. My second arrow slammed into the drake’s nostril and it jerked up with a bellow of rage.
The first drake stumbled and fell to its knees as I dropped back into the grass and began moving away. I could hear the roars and fire began to burn the green grass. A couple of minutes later I heard the answering roars of two other drakes. I looked through the grass at the first two. One was on the ground convulsing and the other was spasming as it staggered around.
I quickly moved away from the city wall and towards the direction the other two drakes were coming from. I was in a shallow ditch when they rushed past. I went to my knees and pulled the bow back as one slid to a stop with its nose in the air. I released and dropped down as the arrow struck in the ear hole. The drake screamed and roared as it rushed in my direction.
I dropped flat as it went right over me and the other unhurt drake began roaring fire. I lifted slightly to see the last drake looking around and its head froze. I knew it had seen me and came to my feet as it roared and rushed me. The other drake was already staggering and I ignored it. As the last drake shot a stream of fire at me, I dropped and rolled to one side before coming to my feet.
I pulled a small poisoned dart and threw as the drake leaped. I quickly moved sideways before leaping. I came down on top of the drake and grabbed its neck as it went crazy. It spun and tried to reach back to bite me but I slid down onto its opposite side. I pulled a dagger and stabbed down into the spine between its shoulders as I came back up onto its back.
As it screamed and dropped to the ground I sprang away. I rolled and spun back to face the drake as it screamed and convulsed on the ground. I moved around carefully with another small poisoned dart and then threw it into its eye to kill it so it wouldn’t continue to suffer. I went to retrieve my bow before heading back to the first drake.
I was at the second drake pulling out the arrow when something made me look back. I dove over the drake and rolled as fire exploded against it and the area where I had been standing. I came to my feet and threw a dart before diving aside. Another spray of flame washed over the area I had been in. I came to my feet with a dagger in my off hand.
A drake lunged towards me and I stabbed the dagger through the ear hole. Its momentum knocked me back and I rolled aside as it collapsed. The other drake was right there and its long snake like head struck towards me. I rolled straight back and stabbed up through the bottom of the head before rolling aside and coming to my feet. It was shaking its head as the other drake spasmed and convulsed on the ground.
I moved to the side slowly and it hissed before sucking in air. I spun and took a couple of running steps before diving over the dead drake. I scooted back against the body as flames washed over it. The flames cut off and I came to my feet quickly to see the last drake shaking its head and staggering around almost blindly.
I leaped to the top of the dead smoking drake and then leaped out towards the staggering drake. I came down on the neck and back and stabbed into the neck with the dagger. Even as I rolled off, the drake was crashing to the ground.
I moved back and looked around before going back to collecting darts and arrows. I barely glanced at the city walls as I began the long walk around and back home. When I walked in the front door Flower rushed to hug me tightly. Song walked to me awkwardly and embraced me, “We were worried Quillan.”
I squeezed Flower and kissed Song’s cheek, “Let me change and put these clothes out to be washed.”
The crowd of people that night was huge and stayed half the night.A visit from Relatives
Song’s daughter was born in the early morning and Flower spent most of her time with Song and her daughter I had named Autumn Sky. It was strange for me because before a week was out she was back to cooking and often she would just come out and put Sky in my arms, “She is restless.”
For being restless she was always calm for me but holding the child in my arms felt comforting. The guards seemed amused when she did it. I had hired two young homeless boys to care for my stables and they often helped in the kitchen. Flower was the darling of the people that filled the tavern. Every afternoon she would sing as she cleaned tables and the place would always fill up.
I was rocking Sky in a wooden cradle, Flower was singing as she worked and the tavern was full. The tall sidhe that stepped into the doorway was followed by two others. He was staring straight at Flower and frowning. I knew as he started walking towards her that he was trouble. I stood and started across the floor as everyone turned.
When he reached Flower she was just turning from the table she had been cleaning and his hand reached out to grab her. Mine closed on his wrist and I spun him to face me, “You don’t touch her.”
His eyes met mine and widened before he tried to yank his hand free. It didn’t budge and the two other sidhe hissed and put hands to swords. I smiled, “You pull a blade in my house and I will kill you.”
They froze and I released the one I held, “There will be no violence in my house.”
He looked at a frightened Flower, “She was to be sold as a whore!”
I nodded to the door, “She is my daughter now. Leave before something happens to you.”
He looked me up and down, “You have no idea what my clan...”
I laughed and pointed to the door, “Fool, I was raised in clan Quirrin. What is your clan to me?”
He was still, “Quirrin?”
He looked at the two others who looked frightened. I nodded to the door, “leave.”
He spun and headed towards the door and the two others followed. I glanced at Flower, “Stay with someone while you work and never be alone.”
She nodded and I turned to see Song in the kitchen doorway. A guard cleared his throat, “If the sidhe clans are here there will be others.”
I shrugged, “Unless they bother my custom it is not my concern.”
The tavern filled for dinner and Flower was calmer. One of the stable boys poked his head in the door and crossed to me quickly, “A dozen sidhe are here. They are caring for their own horses.”
I nodded and he left quickly, a few minutes later the group of sidhe walked in. They chose a large table and sat. One of the serving girls took their order and left. They looked around and one by one they began watching Flower. I gestured when she looked at me and she crossed the room, “Father?”
I smiled, “sing something for me?”
She smiled and nodded before turning. She began a soft song as she walked through the tables. The room went silent, everyone knew this was a treat, Flower seldom sang in the evenings. I watched the sidhe and they smiled softly. When Flower stopped singing the room broke out in clapping. She grinned and bowed before turning to pick up her cleaning rag.
The room went silent suddenly as one of the sidhe stood. He crossed the room to stand in front of me, “I am Herald of the Sky Clan.”
I bowed my head slightly, “How may I help you?”
His eyes narrowed slightly, “You are sidhe?”
I shrugged, “I am Quillan.”
He sucked in his breath, “Quirrin!”
I smiled, “Once but no more. Now I am only the master of this tavern.”
He looked at me and then turned to point at Flower, “She was taken from her family.”
I glanced at Flower to see her with Song by the kitchen door, “Flower was sold by a sidhe to a human. She was to be made a whore for the humans.”
His eyes widened, “You lie!”
I smiled as the whole table of sidhe stood, “I have no need to lie. The one that sold her was here this afternoon.”
He glared at me and then looked at Flower. His eyes took in Song and he gasped, “Winter’s Song!”
I glanced at her and back to him as he spun to face me, “She was a maid promised to the Clan chief!”
I shrugged, “She was sold with the girl and pregnant. She is my mate now and Flower is my daughter.”
He turned as the other sidhe crossed to him. He stood silently before turning back to me, “We will return to talk of this more.”
It was late, I had closed up and the few guests staying with us were sleeping in their room. I caressed Song as she lay half on me, “They spoke of you.”
She lifted her head and then put it back on my shoulder, “I am your mate now Lan.”
I caressed her, “The other ones will try something.”
She only nodded and I sighed, “go sleep with the baby and Flower.”
Song looked into my face before slipping out of bed. I rose and dressed carefully before slipping into the shadows of the tavern. They moved well but not as well as a master of the Quirrin clan. I took the first by the low stone wall between the stable and the tavern. The second I took in the shadows of the kitchen. The third and forth I took in the common room and the last two I took as they entered my room.
They were bound and gagged when they woke, which was amazing. All six were in the tavern yard and I was placing the last of six posts in the ground. Two of the six had been with the first sidhe that had come into my Tavern. One at a time I put them against a post and tied them, I also added a cord around the throat. I stood in front of them, “If you struggle the cord around your throat will tighten.”
I looked at the six glaring sidhe, “For your trespass upon what is mine I will brand each of you. If you ever return and I see you, your life will be forfeit.”
I ignored their threats and shouts as I build a small fire. I used a thick copper wire I twisted into a glyph before attaching it to a stick. I heated the wire and moved to the first man who glared at me. I smiled and stabbed the glowing brand into his forehead. He screamed as I pulled it back and went back to the fire. One by one I branded each man before putting the fire out.
I ignored the two guards that came to see what was happening and sat facing the posts to wait. Song appeared after the sun had come up and handed me a plate of food and a cup of my favorite tea. She ignored the sidhe tied to the posts as I ate and took the plate and cup when I was done. A few minutes later two dozen sidhe arrived on horses. I waited as the horses milled around and then the sidhe swung down and started for the posts and I stood, “Leave them.”
The Hearld swung down as the sidhe hesitated. He drew a sword as he walked towards me, “No sidhe will be treated this way.”
I smiled as two daggers dropped into my hands, “My name is Quillan and this is my house and clan. Those that trespass and attack me or mine will receive MY justice.”
The Herald hesitated, “Trespass? Attack?”
I nodded, “These came to my house with weapons drawn.”
He stopped a few feet from me a frowned, “Why?”
I shrugged, “What matter is that to me? They will stay where they are for one day and then I will release them. If they return, I will kill them.”
The other sidhe hissed but the Herald nodded and sheathed his sword, “May I approach and speak with them?”
I slipped my daggers back into my sleeve, “Yes but do not touch them.”
He turned and walked to one of the men in the middle, “Who sent you?”
The sidhe looked at him defiantly and the Herald pulled a thick studded glove from his belt. He looked at me and I shrugged, he turned and slapped the man across the face hard, “Who!”
The man didn’t answer and the Herald turned and walked towards his horse, “Leave them!”
They swung up on the horses and turned to ride towards the city gates. Those that came to the tavern were nervous. I watched and waited and around mid day the band of sidhe returned. Unlike the others they smiled as the boys took their horses and slipped them small coins. Flower soft voice drifted out of the tavern and across the yard.
The Herald walked to me and I stood, he nodded to the men, “The clan chief will be here soon to judge these. He also wishes to have words with you.”
I smiled, “Winter’s Song is making something special for dinner.”
He looked towards the tavern, “He wishes to speak with her also.”
I looked at him, “If she wishes she may speak with him.”
The Herald looked at me and then nodded before heading towards the door with the others. It was a couple of hours before another large party of sidhe rode in. A powerful looking sidhe swung down and absently handed the reins to one of the boys and slipped a silver coin to him. The other sidhe followed as he crossed to me, there was something about him that seemed to hold my attention.
He seemed to take in the details as he walked and finally stopped in front of me. He looked me in the eye and his widened as if in recognition. He shook his head, “I was told you are Quirrin.”
I smiled, “Once. Now I am the master of this tavern.”
He smiled and glanced at the tavern, “A sidhe?”
I shrugged, “A man.”
He looked at the men against the stakes, “I came to speak to these.”
I glanced at the others, “They can stay where they are.”
He turned and gestured before walking to the sidhe tied to the stakes, “Who sent you?”
They shifted but didn’t answer and he finally turned to face the crowd of sidhe, “if these return to the clan they are to be killed.”
The men against the stakes hissed but the others nodded. He walked back to me calmly, “Now, the woman Winter’s Song. I was told she is your mate and has born a child?”
I smiled, “Yes. She was pregnant when I took her from the human.”
His eyes narrowed, “And she was to be sold as a whore?”
I nodded and he looked down, “She disappeared the night before we were to be paired.”
I shrugged, “Look to one of your own.”
He looked at me, “may I speak with her?”
I glanced at those against the stakes and walked down the line cutting them free, “leave.”
I walked towards the front door of the tavern and the Clan chief walked beside me, “I am called Kalib.”
He looked at me as I held the door for him, “You look familiar.”
I gestured and he stepped in ahead of me, I crossed to my table as the room quieted. Kalid sat across from me as his men filled the rest the room. Flower crossed to set a tankard of water in front of me. She smiled and looked at Kalid before looking down. He smiled, “hello clan daughter.”
She moved over beside me, “The clan forsook me and sold me to be the humans whore. I am Lan’s daughter now.”
Kalib’s face darkened, “Thieves took you young one.”
Flower trembled and I caressed her face, “Who took you and brought you here?”
She looked at me and bit her lip, “The clan heir.”
Kalid stood suddenly, “You lie!”
The room was silent as she moved completely behind me. I turned and pushed her towards the kitchen, “Go help Song.”
She ran towards the kitchen as I turned back to Kalib, “You will mind your manners or leave.”
He frowned and finally nodded, “My apologizes.”
I nodded and gestured, “Sit. Flower told only what she knew or thought she knew.”
He looked away and I looked at the door as Song stepped out and looked at me. She glanced around and straightened before shifting her daughter on her hip and crossing the room. She ignored all the whispering as she handed her daughter to me and bowed to Kalib, “Lord.”
He looked from her to young Sky as I held her, “You ran away?”
Song snorted, “I was taken by your brother. He said it was at your orders.”
Kalib opened his mouth and I shifted. He stopped and looked at me before nodding, “And the father of the child?”
She smiled, “You Kalib.”
His eyes widened and then narrowed, “How do I know?”
I laughed and held Autumn Sky out, “Hold her.”
He looked at me for a long time before taking the baby. His expression softened and he cradled her against his chest, Song leaned against me as he finally looked up. He smiled and slowly held her out to Song, “She is my daughter.”
Song smiled and took Sky before looking at me, “Dinner is almost ready.”
She crossed to the kitchen door and the serving girls began moving around the room. Flower carried a large tray to our table and set two plates down before turning. Kalib sighed, “Flower’s Bloom.”
She turned to look at him as she trembled and he smiled, “I am sorry for frightening you. What was done was not done for the clan.”
He looked at me, “If you wish to remain with this one you may.”
She bowed before turning to walk back towards the kitchen. It was barely a minute before I heard her singing in the kitchen and then Song’s voice joined hers. The common room quieted as the haunting melody filled the tavern. The serving girls moved through the quiet room easily and the few men and the sidhe only smiled. It was a little later that the outer door opened to admit the sidhe that had first come to the tavern.
Flower was singing as she cleaned tables and Kalib was absently rocking Sky as we talked, mostly about what I remembered of my life. I stopped talking as six other sidhe stepped into the room with drawn swords. I slid off my chair and started walking, “Put them away or suffer the consequences.”
Kalib’s voice further silenced the room, “What are you doing brother?”
The tall sidhe sneered, “taking what should have been mine!”
A couple of sidhe stood as both my hands flicked and then twisted before tossing two more darts. Two of the sidhe by the door gasped as tiny darts hit them. By the time the others had looked two more were hit and I was throwing two more as I reached the tall one. He jerked out a sword as I shifted sideways and slid past the sword as it came out.
The others began screaming as the poison took effect and I stopped moving. My right hand held the tall sidhe’s head tilted back and my left held a dagger against his throat. His eyes widened and he let his sword drop. The other sidhe that had stood were surrounded as Kalib stood and crossed the room, “I would have never believed you would betray the clan.”
The sidhe snarled, “That old fool had no right to another woman let alone one from another clan. I would never follow a half breed clan leader.”
Kalib stopped in front of him with a frown, “What are you talking...”
Kalib looked at me and his eyes widened, “It was you that stole the heir and killed Sapphire!”
The sidhe tensed and I moved around behind him as I struck behind his knee. He dropped to his knees as I yanked his head back, “He took Flower and Song and give them to a slaver.”
The sidhe gasped, “I was meant to lead!”
I looked at Kalib before cutting the sidhe’s throat and dragging his body past the twitching corpses of his men. I pulled him out to the gateway into the tavern yard. I tied his body to a pole and turned to walk back to my tavern. Kalib looked at me when I walked in but I ignored him to begin pulling the other bodies out.
Several other sidhe moved to help me and when I finished Flower was washing the blood that had been spilled. Kalib had moved back to my table and I sat across from him. I looked at the quiet room, “My clan, my laws. No one draws blades in my house without facing my judgement.”
He smiled, “It saved me from having to kill him myself... nephew.”
I looked at him and he shrugged, “My... brother admitted killing your mother and taking you. How you got to...”
He shook his head and I sighed, “It explains a great deal.”
Kalib glanced at Song as she came to hand me Sky, “She is restless.”
I smiled as she walked back towards the kitchen and absently began patting and rocking Sky, “She is never restless with me.”
Kalib snorted and then laughed as he stood, “Care for my daughter nephew. The clan moves tomorrow. We must stay ahead of the other clans to reach our winter lands first.”
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