"HOLD! Your life depends on his!" I couldn't see him, but I heard the voice of the Black sword wielder.
The dagger stopped a hair's breadth from the throat of the half-orc. The fighting fury behind the eyes of the mercenary went out like oil lamps in the storm. But the raw hatred that fueled it never left.
"You've won. Leave it at that! Take your men," the contempt in his voice was unmistakable,"and go! NOW!"
The Mercenary, struggling to maintain any dignity, did as ordered.
I blacked out, unconscious.
I came to under the healing hands of priest of Tempus, going by the Holy Symbol visible on the man's armour.
"Please join me at my table." It was more like a command than a request, but the big warrior was smiling, and friendly. I took him up on his offer. The half orc was already seated, somewhat in awe of the man. "I am Rygor Stormhammer."
The half-orc said, "I am Azzarak." And then they turned to me.
"I am Eddard, of Mystra," I said, a little overwhelmed by the sheer force of the man's personality.
He laughed, "By Tempus, I never would have believed the two of you to have such fight, and you nearly took him down! A great fight to top off a great victory!" He heaved a great big jingling bag of coin onto the table." Barkeep! Drinks for all, until the bag is empty! Spoils of war!"
Cheering erupted in the inn as the bar was overwhelmed by people ordering drinks.
"That man has spoiled many a good night. And no one stood up to him. But you two! Tempus! I offer you the use of my suite for night."
I wasn't proud. I was footsore and fight weary. It sounded great. I accepted immediately.
The half-orc politely declined, claiming it would interfere with his morning rituals. I shrugged. I wasn't comfortable around half-orcs anyway. Though his motive for getting involved was noble, I had to consider who he was versus what he did. His refusal suited me.
"Drink my friends, drink!"
He showed Azzarak his blade, by request. "This is Stormhammer, a holy Relic of Tempus. I took it in battle from its last holder, killing him in combat. I used the blade to great effect in many combats, but I did get it identified, and took it to a temple. They told me it was mine, and to keep it."
The half orc studied the blade, in more awe than before. "May I handle it?"
At Rygor's nod, he lifted the blade, ugly features obviously radiating something resembling ecstasy.
The Squire returned, with the son of Baron Redhand.
"Sir Garrus," roared Stormhammer.
I turned to see a well muscled man, in shining plate mail make his way over to the table. I stood up to greet him formally, but he was intercepted. "Sir Garrus," said a thin man.
"Deputy Mayor," He replied, stopping a feet from the table. Even over the noise of the celebration of victory, I was close enough to hear the conversation.
The deputy mayor said,"Are you ready to help us as you promised?"
"I will help, and in fact, my next meeting is to discuss, in part, just that. Rest assured, sir, I will assist the village, A Redhand keeps his word. I will speak to you further, tomorrow."
The deputy mayor, perhaps because he needed Redhand, opened his mouth to say something, but changed his mind mid breath and instead nodded and let Sir Garrus through. I shook hands with the nobleman before he took his seat. Stormhammer made introductions around the table.
Garrus got right down to business. "What is it that you hope to find at the fort?"
I told him why I was sent to the area, about the suspicions of the Temple. I wanted to keep a low profile for the moment, but being that he was a noble from the immediate area, I also felt obligated because of my position, to be honest.
Throughout my abbreviated explanation, he nodded, or asked the occasional question. When I was done, he said, "I can help you. But I need you to help me." He was matter-of-fact in tone.
I was a bit surprised, "How so?"
"There is a village about a day and a half from here, it's called Halfbrook. A gang of humanoid bandits have taken to raiding the village and its surrounds. The area has been looted, valuables taken. Livestock and people have gone missing. They need help, but village is, apparently, outside claimed land of any nobility and because of that, they won't help. Neither my father no the Baron to whom my family thinks the village belongs will assist as both warrior pools have been depleted because of the war, with men stationed elsewhere. The village militia is completely inadequate to the defence of the town, let alone mount any kind concentrated effort to purge the bandits."
"A noble conflict!" bellowed the half-orc,"To save the innocent and engage in just combat. Here is Honour! This will add to the Glory of Tempus, I will help you."
I wouldn't have phrased it quite that way, but I did agree, more or less, with the half-orc. Still, I had been ordered on a mission. I had to make sure I could carry it through.
"I help you. You help me, agreed." I said.
"But we will need more people," said Garrus musing.
Just then, and if on cue, a Dwarf approached. He was 4 foot tall and nearly 6 foot wide, made his way to the table.