Free Read: This Chapter one of Forgotten Heroes-Tides of War. I do apologize for some errors, this is an older format and the book didn’t transfer correctly. But This is as close to the real deal without me purchasing an e-book and copying.
A morning breeze silently blew between the trees as it snaked around the trunks of mammoth oaks. The grim world under the towering canopy was dark and full of gnarled branches, mold, and sprouting fungi through thick layers of leaves that had been compiled from several years of seasonal changes. Other vegetation such as ferns and bushes also claimed the jumbled real estate and made any movement quite difficult.
A lone warrior dressed in heavy armor designed for the toughest Centurions of Rome moved nimbly through the underbrush, despite the bulkiness of the armor on his shoulders. No ordinary tribesman clumsily bounding through the shrubs; he was a highly revered warrior and an expensive mercenary. His dark brown hair seemed to be almost black as it barely clung to his shoulders and matched the color of his distinguishable goatee covering his chin
and lined his lower lip.
Breathing heavily, he took a few lengthy bounds up from the entangled vegetation onto an old distorted root of an ancient oak birthed from the Earth centuries ago. Peering off in the distance he scanned the area for any visual signs of his prey. There were no sight of them yet, but the faint voices and horse shoes clanking against the stone of the Roman roads was barely audible, and the location of his intended target was now revealed.
Luchief jumped to the ground and inched his way for the break in the tree line where a small road traveled to the distant icy north
of his home country. Creeping quietly along the edges’ of the road he saw the distinctive outlines of men emerging from the broken foliage.
Standard Roman Numerii guards escorted an over sized carriage pulled by two horses, and behind the vehicle a lone rider mounted on his horse was handsomely dressed in officer attire.
Slowly squatting down in the debris beneath his knees, he drew his favored gladius from its sheath. Examining his armor for any noticeable flaws, he thought silently to himself; to be dressed in Roman armor doesn’t make you a Roman, those poor fools.
A dark blood feud had risen between Luchief and the local governors of Germania. The persecutions of thousands of civilians over mundane laws that seemed to be only held against the barbaric tribes of the north had grown tiresome over the years. The nobles were well known to have tortured men in front of their families, to incite the population to abide by their rules.
But to command authority, the reigning lords needed a hand to their destruction, and the soldiers were the muscle used for their voices. The fine line between entertainment and punishment was blurred at best when it came to disciplining the natives. To stop the mindless torture against the accused, they often gave a false confession whether it was for criminal or religious persecutions. By the animalistic actions of their owners, the populous had
grown an undying hatred for Roman rule. Forced to revert to gorilla fighting tactics, skirmishes had drawn to a stalemate between Rome and the Germanic tribes of the North. Roman nobles living on the outskirts of their imperial rule forfeited money, man power, and supplies for a stagnant campaign with no clear winners. Left with any means necessary to re-establish order in their lands, lords were free to use their power and morbid brutality as long as it got results. The outlying barbarian villages were too remote for the wealthy citizens of Rome to settle in the chilly highlands, nor would they care to live beside these dirty animals who dared to call themselves human. In the end, the Roman citizens were left in the
dark about the atrocious acts their beloved city bestowed upon the helpless thousands of tribesmen.
Most of the locals slowly began to submit to the tyrannical rule of their governors to stop the suffocating pressure of the mighty arm of Rome. Living under constant fear of murder, rape, theft, or their sons being drafted into the Roman army, they humbly put aside their differences and obeyed the commands of their ruling nobles.
However, many more would not allow Rome to go unpunished for their deeds. There was always a need for weapons and armor in these lands, and a skilled warrior could make an easy fortune by raiding small patrols. The conflicting differences between the Northlanders and the occupying invaders were at an all-time high; soon the tension would break and plunge the entire continent into war.
It just needed a catalyst, and Luchief often desired to be that spark.
Reaching into a pouch bounded to his leather belt, he removed a handful of berries and crushed them into a fine pulp. He than smeared the red juices across his face and arms, the act wasn’t for camouflage, but for deception. The berries’ juices and pulverized skins, at a distance had a remarkable resemblance to blood and flesh from open wounds.
The lone warrior darted out of the tree line and coyly began yelping and limping behind the convoy. His gladius fully concealed in his right hand and inside the black cloak, he reached out with his free hand screaming to get their attention as he collapsed on
The carriage halted its forward progression, startled by the cries for help. Two escorting foot soldiers saw the wounded man and quickly rushed to his aid. “The villagers . . . they ambushed my patrol several days ago. They slaughtered all my men and stole our supplies. The brutes even forced our captain to undress and run bloodied and battered through the forest naked. He was nothing but a crude toy to lure the wolves and bears to him. I watched as beasts feasted upon his bones and I can still hear his screams in the night. These people are mad I say, mad!” Luchief whimpered as two soldiers picked him up under his armpits and dragged him to their patrol leader sitting high on his horse.
“So what is your name young Roman?” The officer asked as he trotted closer and the two guards released Luchief, allowing him to fall in a collapsed heap before their Duplicarius. “Well my boy, do you have a name or has the wilderness taken it . . . along with your Roman dignity! Why didn’t you stand up to them and how did your entire patrol get killed by these oversized rodents? Do you know what tribe they came from?” The officer circled over Luchief and
interrogated him as he lay on the ground.
The warrior stared down at the ground, keeping his peripheral vision on alert as he counted the shadows on the road; estimating the number of targets, distances, and weapons. He concluded with three men standing beside him, a driver, and six scattered heavy guards. Ten men, this would be almost too easy, Luchief thought.
The Roman soldiers casually talked with one and another while their commander probed to get answers from what seemed to be a wounded fellow comrade; none expected the ambush.
“Get ahold of yourself boy! What happened to the rest of your platoon? Is there a chance that some may still be alive? What is your name? Come on lad, speak up!” Frustration began set over the leader and he broke his military bearings to lean over the side of his horse just inches away from the man.
“I killed them!” Luchief quietly replied so only the Roman officer was able to hear the remark.
Suddenly the mercenary leapt to his feet drawing his sword and drove the blade’s sharpened edges deep into the patrol leader’s throat. Allowing his anger to overwhelm him, Luchief turned the blade ninety degrees and violently retracted it from the cavities it created. Holding the weight of the dead Duplicarius on his shoulders, the warrior shrugged off the body and let if fall to the ground with a single bounce and remained frozen. Confronting the rest of the alerted patrol, in a last act of defiance to their rule he desecrated the corpse by driving his sword through the eye socket.
“Too arms! We’re under attack!” One guard shouted as he unsheathed his sword.
The two Roman soldiers who had carried Luchief to the patrol and witnessed the demise of their late commander, rushed to engage the perpetrator.
Seizing the Duplicarius’s sword, Luchief rotated his wrist to get a feel for the weapon in his off hand. He watched the two guards race towards him and timing his first strikes perfectly he jabbed one blade into each of their chests.
Two other Numerii were too far away to assist their brothers and took refuge behind their shields as the warrior stormed towards them with a battle roar. Wielding two swords with precision and grace, he exhibited a fighting style the Roman infantry had never seen before. The warrior fought with a magnificent display of agility, twirling the blades around his body and made tracking one of his weapons nearly impossible.
Holding fast behind their false hopes of being protected by their shields, like a porcupine’s soft underbelly, hidden behind the shielded wall was the squishy vulnerable targets tucked behind their bowed scutums. Luchief jumped in the air lifting his legs to his chest and landed his feet on top of the human wall and early steel. His weight caused the edges of the scutums to arch backward and topple on their owners. With their backs pinned against the ground under their shields, ironically what were used to protect them have now become their coffins. Failing to free their arms for a counter, Luchief executed the two helpless men, impaling each of his swords into their gapped mouths and left their last attempts of communication nothing more than choked gurgling sounds.
The remaining four soldiers performing guard detail for the carriage charged to the rear guard to confront this impostor. As they rounded the corner, they were exposed to the horrors of their first casualties. The guards halted, keeping a safe distance between them and the warrior while they utilized some time to ready their shields. Equipped and ready for the conflict to unfold, they slammed their bowed scutums against the road’s rocky surface and braced for impact.
Though the shields were bulky and awkward to run with, their protective barriers would be enough to defend against this one man.
The carriage driver climbed down from his seat and scampered to get behind the assembled guards. Calmly he pulled out his sword and held the formation behind his brothers; compromised without a shield, he took command.
Astonished to see one man standing over five corpses in a matter of a few seconds of combat had left the survivors’ morale weakened, yet secured in numbers the shielded unit maneuvered around their enemy and kept the faces of their shields pointed in Luchief’s direction. Gladius extruded through open slits of the phalanx as they marched in unison to the driver’s cadence from behind the four men, careful not to create any loose ends and open up a weak spot in their wall.
Luchief bellowed a deep laugh at the advancing men, “I just killed five of you, and do you really think that you can slay me? I’m sorry young Romans you will need more men if you are to kill me!”
The Roman line halted by order of the newly self-promoted commander so he could speak. “Oh great warrior how is it you plan on defeating all of us at once? Are you a warlock, a wizard, or even a god? Regretfully . . . I doubt you are neither. You lost your element of a surprise, you’re in the open, and now it’s our move.” He laughed at the mercenary’s pathetic bluff to have him and his soldiers flee for their lives. With a series of grunted commands, he ordered his men to continue their march with a militaristic beat.
Luchief continued to hold his ground, not flinching to grab a discarded shield, or realizing that the odds were greatly stacked against him. With five dead Romans lying at his feet with their blood stained across his customized charcoaled Centurion armor; he embraced the fear that would overtake any commoner in his position. With one more trick up his sleeve, the lone warrior made a sharp whistle that echoed throughout the forest.
The Romans ceased their movement, realizing this could be the signal for dozens of natives to come charging from the forest’s edge and envelop the remaining patrol. Instead there was only the
faint bird songs up in the treetops, the gusts of wind rustling the surrounding bushes, and no evidence of an approaching army.
“Umm . . . well boys my plan failed and it is time for me to go.” The warrior admitted and turned around to retreat from the skirmish, luring them to follow him. Roman cries of war followed the one man who had killed their leader and four of their comrades as the formation broke from its ranks. The premonition of his plan had worked flawlessly.
Chasing after the dark armored warrior the driver stopped, thinking he could hear the faint sounds of padded footsteps on the road. Cocking his head to one side, he tried to pick up the direction of the clamor. More interested in listening for the barely audible racket, he ignored the fleeing warrior momentarily, certain the guards should be able to take care of the situation. At the last moment the driver was able to catch a glimpse of a large black wolf running in his direction. Hair darker than any midnight he had ever seen and eyes redder than the coals from the furnaces of Hell itself. Any individual unlucky enough to see those eyes, were on a one way journey to the portal of the underworld. Jumping from the road’s surface, Hades stretched his claws outward and barred his teeth.
With the force of being kicked by a wild horse, the driver was struck directly in the chest and knocked down. Terror was exposed through his eyes as the wolf clamped down on the soft tissue of his throat, yanking and pulling until it removed a large chunk of bloody meat.
The other Romans stopped their pursuit and saw a wolf tearing into the driver’s body. Two of them surged after the beast while the others stared blankly as Hades feasted on their comrade.Snapping back into reality, the other two turned around and where greeted by Luchief leaping from the corner of the carriage and catching them both completely by surprise. One guard was killed by a gladius cutting through his neck; the other was quicker to react to save his own life and swung wildly in the air as he tried to hit the skilled warrior.
Luchief lifted his secondary blade and blocked the guard’s amateur attacks, halting the soldier’s blade with the sword of his late patrol leader. Flicking his wrist, Luchief swayed the blade away from either of them and released his grip on the sword to snatch the soldier’s wrist and twisted the hand outward so that it wrenched on the guard’s elbow.
His foe subdued, Luchief delivered a devastating blow with his own elbow to the back of the man’s elbow and painfully snapped the joint. The apprehended man was forced to relinquish his weapon and the warrior rolled his body into the disarmed guard. By using leverage and momentum of his own body, he sent the guard over his shoulders and for a hard landing when his head impacted the ground, breaking his neck.
The two remaining guards were preoccupied chasing Hades down the road when the dark wolf stopped and performed a one hundred and eighty degree turn and sprinted back at the soldiers. At the last moment the wolf lowered its head and slipped between the guards’ legs and retreated back in the carriage’s direction. Swinging around to confront the wolf once more they were instead confronted by the loud screech of the carriage’s wheels as the behemoth pulverized a path towards them.
Acting quickly to avoid being struck by the runaway vehicle, they dove to either side of the road at the last moment and watched as the transport crashed into the berm, rolled twice, and spilled its contents on the ground. Hades disappeared back into the shadows of the forest, and left the remaining two Numerii to deal with his master.
The warrior picked up the discarded officer’s blade once more and gently walked to the side of the road to a pack that was conveniently set aside. Rummaging through the rucksack, he removed a bronze helmet painted black with tar and red etchings across its surface. A plume of dyed red horse hairs aligning the crest described the details of a customized Corinthian war helmet.
The mercenary proceeded to mount the dead officer’s horse and shouted “Yaw!” then kicked the sides of the animal. The horse reared up and charged at the two infantrymen and once the warrior was upon the staggering Romans, he swung both swords simultaneously. One strike took off a guard’s head and the other held up his right hand to protect him from the incoming blow, and paid for the mistake as the blade severed his hand.
The wounded soldier collapsed to the ground and scrambled to the base of a berm running parallel with the road. Flipping onto his back in submission, he pleaded while holding his bloody nub in his other hand. “Please good sir, have you no mercy?”
Luchief turned the horse around and hopped to the ground, his armored boots clacked against the hardened surface as he slowly stepped towards the wounded man. “I told you that you were outmatched.” Luchief warned as he tossed the Roman Duplicarius’s sword in the bushes. Holding a casual pace as he shook an extended finger and comically mocked the voice of the Roman soldier and began to raise it to a more stern level as he closed in. “Now what will I do with you? Shall I allow you to do as you please run and find your mommy or governor . . . I guess whoever tucks you in bed at night and kisses you on the forehead when you don’t feel well. I could leave you here in the road and hope that help will come? Or you can try to plead with my friend behind you that you taste like a Gaelic woman’s cooking? Yuck! It tastes like burned horse manure to me.” Luchief said and scrunched his face in disgust.
The warrior thought for a moment and simply turned away without a word than strolled confidently down the way he came as his cape flowed elegantly with the wind, making him seem like a he was a descendent of the gods.
From behind the guard, heavy breathing was felt down the back of his neck from an unseen beast and made him quiver. He knew it was likely the large wolf standing behind him and his imagination began to get the better of him as he could smell the stench of blood wrapping its way around his neck, the white enlarged canines dripping with drool from its salivating mouth, waiting for the feast to come. The Roman looked around gradually to see the bringer of his demise, but to his surprise it wasn’t the wolf standing behind him. Instead the creature had hoofed feet, brown fur, and a set of antlers resting on its head. The soldier let out a sigh of laughter, the imaginative wolf was nothing more than a red deer coming to feed in the pastures farther up the road. “You know . . . you scared me to my very soul, beast.” The Roman hooted and rejoiced at the sight.
He put his bloody nub in his shirt and tried to keep the flow of blood containable. Wiping the sweat from his brow with his good hand, the last surviving soldier breathed easily now.
However not long after the animal’s heavy breaths ended, they tickled his ears once more. With his hand he went to push the deer away, for it had already shortened his life span for scaring him halfway to death’s gates. But upon reaching back, he didn’t feel the coarse short hair he expected; instead it felt shaggy and sticky. Withdrawing his hand back to his face he saw that it was covered in blood and he came face to face with Hade’s hellish eyes. As soon as they locked eyes with each other, the wolf’s jaws snapped at his face.
Jumping from the road’s edge in front of the terrified soldier, Hades clasped down on the Numerii’s belly and the man’s screams echoed off the trees for miles around as the wolf dug its teeth deeper into his abdomen and pulled out strands of entrails. Taking only a few bites each time, this was a reward for a job well done, and he was going to savor each tasty morsel.
* * *
The man laid there slowly breathing with his eyes half opened. He had watched the wolf feed off him for several hours, forced to hear the sounds of his bones cracking and feeling the pain of his flesh being torn from his body until the beast had its fill and wandered back in the woods. The soldier moved higher on the berm to keep a watchful eye on his surroundings. He couldn’t help but stare down the path the warrior had taken and questioned if the man would return.
Hope had found its way back into his thoughts as faint footsteps were heard farther down the road. After losing so much blood, the man laid there hoping that it would be someone coming to rescue him, possibly a scouting party searching for his lost patrol. His eyes tried to focus in on a blurred image of a man standing before him, the figure waved forward with its hand and ushered a large group of peasants to the area. Men, women, and children briskly ran to the discarded bodies of the Romans and the toppled carriage, looting the royal treasure and possessions of the dead.
The bloodied soldier kept his eyes fixated on the image in front of him; the voice was familiar but he couldn’t clearly remember who it was.
“Now you know what it is like to live under the veil of tyranny.” The words were whispered to the soldier and he immediately came to the realization of who the mysterious man was. At the moment of understanding, a hardened steel blade cut through his throat and his vision turned to darkness.
“Ladies and gentlemen quickly gather everything you can. Leave the bodies to rot, we can use or sell the armor and weapons. Don’t leave anything behind for the Romans to recover; they will surely redistribute the belongings back to new recruits. When we’re done here, let’s get this gear back to Havenwood for separation and smelting.” Luchief’s orders carried over the crowd of scavenging people as they grabbed everything they could, even carrying objects within their teeth.
As quickly as the mob came, they left running back to the safety of the woods. “Hades lets go. Did you get your fill?” Luchief questioned the wolf as it trotted behind him, rubbing up against his greaves. “Good boy.” He praised and lowered his hand to stroke the animal.
* * *
The band of peasants led by Luchief entered the town of Havenwood and dispersed to the appointed collection points.
Luchief alternatively headed straight for the local town tavern for a couple glasses of well-deserved mead. As he walked to the tavern his armor clanged against itself with each step and with the cloak added to his wardrobe made him look more like an impressive specimen of war.
He emerged through the swinging door of the inn and strolled to his favorite seat located near the doorway. A wench came forth and presented the warrior with a mug and ran her fingers through his dark hair with flirty smile. She then headed back towards the counter to attend to new customers who were coming in groups with rowdy voices and shouts of victory against the defeated Romans. A few townsfolk raised their mugs out of respect and gave a cheer for the brave warrior and waited patiently for a return gesture of recognition before returning back to their drinks.
Luchief picked up his mug and took a sip from the glass before placing it back on the wooden table. Plenty of the female occupants in the tavern were taking notice of the attractive warrior and when he saw their seductive stares he flung his cloak over the back edge of his chair and let it drape to the floor, this allowed his potential suitors to see him in all his glory. His sword was safely tucked away under the table, sheathed in its protective case of deer hide and painted black with tar than smoothed down to a nice bright surface to match the sheen of his armor. The gladius was one solid slab of steel folded in on itself for superior strength and sharpened along the edges to give the weapon more deadly potential. The hilt was covered in solid gold entwined with tough ox leather to prevent any slippage from the handler’s grasp. The added grip on the sword’s hilt also acted as a cushion for the user’s hand, to allow the individual wielding the weapon to hold it after repetitive concussive blows. His fine cuirass impeded some of his movements, but a few added and removed sections of steel plates made it more maneuverable than the standard Roman chest plate. A pair of greaves forged with embedded steel plates within the chain mail protected any vulnerable parts of his body such as major arteries, nerves, and his groin. His boots and gauntlets were fitted with loosely stitched plates providing excellent movement and protection, also it added for more of a kinetic force behind each punch or kick when he was involved in hand to hand brawls.
“Luchief,” Mayor Edwards said and he eased himself down in the chair across from the paid mercenary. “We need to speak.” Edwards’s body was bloated and robust from years of an unhealthy diet and poor living conditions. A single dark blue coat covered his back down to his calves, beneath a white shirt, and a pair of brown wool stitched pants completed the outfit of a typical political peasant.
“My ears are open Edwards, speak your mind.” Luchief responded sipping on his drink.
“We here at Havenwood appreciate your excellent services, you are a great fighter and your teacher must’ve been proud to have had you as a pupil.” Edwards paused for a moment before he broke the news. “But . . . the Romans will be back and with a larger patrol, next time with twenty or thirty men to protect their gold and valuables. The Roman army seems to be limitless, you can slay one man and three more will take his place.”
“Get to the point, Edwards.” Luchief snorted lifting his mug up to his lips and savored the stiff alcoholic drink over his palette.
“You have to leave.” The mayor said under his breath, easy not to anger the warrior.
“What! You want me to leave? I give you all of the loot from all my missions and all I ask in return is for me to enjoy an evening with a willing lady friend. In addition to having a safe place to lay my head and a few free beverages for my services! I know your town is hurting, that is why I am not charging you. How is it that I destroyed your quiet little town? Explain this to me!” Luchief shouted his voice reverberating off the halls of the small tavern and startling the local townsfolk who set their drinks down to listen in on the quarrel between the mercenary and their mayor.
“That’s just it Luchief, we made a lot of wealth on your behalf and we will give you the money profited from your expeditions; consider the women, mead, and housing all a bonus tip for helping us. We are well hidden here in the dark forest; the Romans do not dare enter here. Their cavalry is useless in the trees and their infantry will scatter when a single arrow kills their commander. You are drawing far too much attention to our little town and soon a Roman scout will come looking in the woods and see our existence, than he will surely report us to his superiors and they will return here with a full army.”
“Then I will slay those pathetic excuses of soldiers again and again. Besides if I left your village, it wouldn’t be any safer tha with me here . . . you will only hurt your townspeople.” Luchief answered the comment with a just statement.
“Luchief you cannot take on a whole army by yourself, no matter how great you think you are. The best bakers are bound to mess up at least one meal when he bakes for hundreds.” Edwards attempted to reason with the stubborn warrior.
“Good than I shall die the way I want, at the end of a sharpened sword so I can look into my killer’s eyes and let him know that he was the one who was man enough to take me down.” The warrior snapped.
“Luchief,” Mayor Edwards raised his voice trying to get through to him. “Listen, I have a cousin who lives in the Northlands. He claims that there is a Roman noble up there and his post has practically been abandoned by the Empire. They have no need to keep lands that don’t turn out a profit . . . only debt and coffins await the Romans in Germania. By sacrificing us, who knows what will happen, you may be able to end the whole Roman occupation?”
“So, this noble . . . do you need me to kill him? Is he the key to the land’s suffering?” Luchief asked scratching his head and reached for another glass that was given to him by the same wench.
“No, no, go there and plead with the man, gain his confidence and get his assistance to raise an army and meet the Romans on their own ground for once.” Edwards explained with a different calmer tone in his voice. “Who knows . . . maybe you’ll get to meet the maker at the end of a sword as you wished in a large glorious battle. The only thing you’ll get here is short lived glory. Your name will be remembered by us and our children, and our children’s children but after that, your name will be lost and nothing more than a myth; much alike your great Achilles. Or worse you’ll be forgotten all together.”
“Listen Mayor if I do this, how do I know that this Roman noble won’t kill me on sight? There are many things that can go wrong with your plan; I don’t even know the name of this man.” Luchief contemplated the mayor’s offer but there was a lot at stake, he had a heavy bounty on his head by the Roman government for many years.
“His name is Lord Taxius. He was an emissary and a great general in his early years of service to the Empire. He explored the farthest reaches of the Earth to the East and there are rumors that he was even given training by the native people on an island in the East who are said to be the best swordsmen in the world. Now, he resides on the border of Germania and Rome meditating and supposedly practicing magic. He rules his two towns: Carnuntum and Vindobona quite fairly and he commands Legions Gemini X and Gemini XIV, these attributes should give you a great head start.”
“Ha,” Luchief laughed “magic doesn’t exist, that is a folk lore brought up by elders who don’t understand the ways of the world or the ways of gods.”
“Even the Romans and their new god Jesus Christ believe in it, so there has to be some truth to it.” Edwards answered with a spring to his voice.
“Let me think about it, I’m going to need a horse and more importantly money if I am to convert this Roman to our cause. I can’t believe that I am even contemplating this! You expect me to go to the Northlands, track down a very well beloved Roman governor, and convert him from his beliefs to a hypothetical chance to defeat the Roman Empire. I may not even survive the trip up north at all.” Luchief’s voice grew steady as the words of truth spilled from his mouth. The chances of reaching the Northlands and not get killed by traveling mercenaries or assassins was astronomical. The added thought of being able to convince two cities of strong Roman influence to abandon their ways and join the culture and traditions of the Germanic people was absolutely silly.
“I doubt you will have trouble in your negotiations. Taxius is pretty fed up with the ways of the new Roman culture. He is a Roman of old traditions and customs. He has as much of a dislike of their traditions as you and I.” Edwards paused and set his empty mug on the table, sliding it to Luchief’s growing army of empty glasses. “This is your last chance to become remembered throughout the ages, or you can waste it away here chasing vagina and getting drunk . . . it’s your choice.”
Luchief leaned back in the chair and again scratched his beard contemplating the possibility of a new beginning. “I’ll leave in the morning at first light, but tonight we get drunk!” He shouted raising his glass to the tavern’s occupants.
The crowd raised their glasses in acceptance and shouted in bellowed grunts, tipping their mugs back and finishing off the rest of their glasses. Luchief returned his gaze to Mayor Edwards smiling as he slammed his cup on the table and again shouted to the crowd, “Tonight is my last night here in Havenwood, the next time you’ll see me I will be a damned hero, and desired by the gods!”