Solon’s Tale ((AUDIO BOOK))
It was a peaceful, sunny day in Meren Beach. Trade goods were in constant motion between the merchant vessels in the harbor and the warehouses on the shore. The village square had been moderately active all afternoon with bartering and trading for nearly anything that you could imagine, legal or not.
The Inn of Sweet Bread was just filling up as the sun started to set, and Gusdoff, the elderly, human Innkeeper, was looking forward to a profitable evening. Then, the hooded one arrived (1). Inconspicuous in his loosely fitted, drab, faded gray travelling clothes with a hood shielding his eyes, he quietly entered and took a seat opposite the door with his back to the far wall. He carried neither pack nor weapons. His only adornment was a wide, dull black sash; pleated and tied about his waist.
Gusdoff had a foreboding, a bad feeling about this one. Never having met him, yet, somehow he was very familiar – dangerously familiar. Standing only about five and a half feet tall and dressed in the colors of the night, he walked smoothly and silently like a Taskian Horned cat on the prowl! His hands were hidden in his long tapered sleeves and his head slowly, continuously, cycled from left to right as he observed everything in the Inn.
The hooded one softly ordered from one of the serving girls; “Your daily stew, a loaf of fresh bread and a pitcher of water if you please, young lady”
When served, he ate his meal, silently, alone, ever vigilant.
As the Inn filled with patrons much food was ordered and served. The mead and strong wine flowed copiously. The hooded one remained inconspicuous and nearly invisible.
Most of the patrons, locals and travelers alike, had completed their meal and were sharing stories and drink when the dark warrior entered, yet again. He was huge, well over 6 feet tall, visibly strong, and he wore chain armor under dented chest, arm and leg plate (2). A well-used deadly sword swung at his hip as did several vile looking daggers. He was dirty and he smelled rank. His attitude was far worse. Anger and aggressiveness were loudly directed toward everyone.
“Mead. NOW!” he bellowed.
He demanded and often just took whatever he wanted. When he decided to pay for anything, which was seldom, it was only with strange, foreign gold coins. This fearsome warrior had been coming to the Inn nearly every evening for the past two weeks and many patrons, and all of the serving staff, were terrified of him. He was the cause and center of many violent outbursts and his opponents were always carried from the Inn, bleeding and unconscious. Gusdoff spent many mornings mopping up blood and repairing shattered furniture.
The peaceful, almost jovial environment of the Inn rapidly deteriorated to one of gloom and fear. Local patrons started to quietly slip out and flee from the inevitable confrontation they knew was fast approaching.
Tonight, the warrior was more verbal and more abusive than he had ever been before. He targeted the young serving wenches with demands and curses from the moment he entered the Inn.
The dark warrior continued to terrorize the young serving girls until the Inn was emptied of all but a dozen or so silent, frightened patrons.
Against the back wall, the hooded one silently observed. If we could have seen his face we would have seen his deep, piercing, brown eyes coldly studying the warrior’s every move as the innocent serving girls’ plight worsened.
For no apparent reason, the warrior lost his temper and roughly pushed a very young girl, just out of her childhood, into the wooden serving bar! She screamed and crumpled to the floor in tears. The warrior stomped toward her and pulled his booted foot back to kick the innocent one where she lay, when, seemingly out of nowhere, the hooded one silently appeared between them. The hooded one threw back his hood and glared at the warrior. His head was bald and his eyes were coldly focused on the antagonist! His empty fingertips were just visible at the end of his sleeves.
“No”, he said directly to the warrior.
“This stops tonight” he softly continued.
In anger, the warrior sought to kick the monk, for that is what he was, and the monk easily flowed around the kick and lightly tapped the back of the warrior’s leg. The warrior missed his mark and crash heavily onto his back (3). Springing up with a terrifying battle cry the violent warrior sought to pommel the monk with his huge fists. Again, the monk simply moved, touched the back of the warrior’s hand and the violent blow swept past the ever silent monk and the warrior crashed face first into the wooden wall!
Dripping blood from his nose, the now enraged warrior angrily drew his sword and prepared to swiftly terminate the much smaller monk. The monk’s expression changed ever so slightly upon facing the drawn, deadly sword which suddenly lit the room with its bright crimson red glow (4). He faced the armed warrior with a look of calm resignation, as if he was inevitably facing that which he sought to avoid.
“Are you sure you want this to continue?” peacefully queried the monk.
The warrior, overwhelmed with battle lust and wine, bellowed a violent battle cry and charged! The monk moved with an unimaginable speed, avoided the sword strike, and seemed to flow around the warrior (5,6). The arms of his robe rose and fell faster than a hummingbird’s wings. One circle around the warrior and the monk silently stepped back. The warrior was frozen! His sword raised high over his head. His eyes were bulging in rage and silent screamed pain. Finally, from his tortured lungs he emitted his final scream, “Aaaaahhhhh..” and fell to the floor; dead.
While the warrior screamed and fell, the monk slipped unnoticed through the crowd and disappeared into the night.
Justice had been served.
Witnessing this spectacle, the Innkeeper now remembered. Once a royal guardsman of the king, he had seen another like this monk. In dress and mannerism they were twins. The other, a ‘special’ personal servant of the king, had been of a secret, unnamed order, cloistered in the faraway, high northern mountains, that professed absolute mental and physical self-control – true masters of silent death.
Single. Alone. Having no friends, no companions.
He was known simply as Solon – both a name and a title.
Today, three days after the warrior’s execution, Solon was meditating quietly in his room. Killing, even though sometimes an unavoidable necessity, was always deeply disturbing to him.
It had been just over twenty years since his parents were murdered in front of him by mercenaries very similar to the dead warrior. All of his childhood memories of fun and joy were overshadowed by his parents’ death and the subsequent, swift execution of their murderers by the townspeople. The locals, all dressed similarly in earth colored robes, took him in and raised him as their own.
These past few days Solon had been replaying in his mind the actions of the vicious warrior; seeking unsuccessfully to find anything he could have done to avoid the execution. This was the fourth such warrior he had to confront and terminate to protect innocents in just as few weeks. Where were they coming from? Where did they obtain the strange gold coins; all with the letter ‘Z’ centered in a 5-point star pressed into their face? Trouble was brewing and Solon felt deeply drawn to determine its source.
Ensconced in the Lotus position and meditating in the center of his room, Solon listened carefully to the melodic call of a lute and a bard’s voice, that strangely penetrated even his intense concentration. Then he….
But, that’s another Tale for another day.
To continue Solon’s story, please read “The Last Tale of T’Lar” by RJ Borton
- Venturers of Airth ® Species: Human
- Venturers of Airth: Class: Fighter
- Venturers of Airth: Class: Specialist
- Venturers of Airth: Fighter Class Spell: Enchant Blade
- Venturers of Airth: Class Probability: Hand-to-Hand Combat
- Venturers of Airth: Class Ability: Concentrated Focus (used at the table prior to
- encounter) +3 elevated Dexterity
by RJ Borton, 8/18/2014, updated 02/04/2017
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This story is a work of fiction. All names, characters, species, classes, places, things, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblances to fictitious or actual persons living or dead and events or locales real or imaginary are entirely coincidental.
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