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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

By mick dawson


Banson mopped the bench by his beer taps. As soon as the logs in the fire became embers, he would tell the last of his customers to leave. The conversations were always the same as his fires guttered low.

Fergrin huddled by the tavern hearth, a hardened veteran of two wars. The mug visibly shook in his hand. He felt tempted to take another drought of his mead to settle his nerves, but his friend’s story, although chilling was compelling.

“I tell you,” said Orlanin, “that this one is clad like the mummies of Kundra.

Why do you shake so, you are a seasoned soldier”
Fergrin looked down at his shaking mug and set his other hand to the vessel to steady it, before drinking.

“Surviving two wars has not made me any braver. If anything, I have learned to fear most things more. Tell me more of this fiend.”

“Some say he is no fiend, but sent by the unknown God to deal out justice.”

Fergrin’s face shifted before the small red flames, revealing a neatly trimmed beard. The landlord slipped between the two men with a poker to turn the logs, instantly sprouting fire once more.

“Do you not believe me?” Orlanin asked.

“You are no liar Orlanin. Perhaps you are merely...mistaken.”

“I saw him myself!”

“I am sorry my friend go on.”

“Some whisper that he was a Blue River Guardsman returned from the dead for he wears the tattered remains of the king’s surcoat and a guardsman’s mail. He also carries the double edged axe used by the king’s elite.”

“But you said that he wears bandages over all the exposed parts of his flesh. Could he not be one of the king’s elite turned leprous?”

“Some have also said this, but I have seen the strength of this one. It is unnatural. I saw him overturn a wagon. Have you not heard of the cannibalistic dwellers of the tunnels beneath the city?”

Fergrin looked thoughtful.

“It is true. They exist,” interjected Banson. “They come out at night and claim the homeless from the streets.”

“In any case,” continued Orlanin. “I saw him cut down seven of them with his axe. They fell like wheat before the scythe. The axe was wielded in one hand like a cane.”

Fergrin snorted in disgust.

“No it is true!”

“And what is the name of this demon?”

“No one knows. It is said that he once had a name, but it is no longer spoken. He is merely known as The Forgotten One.”

“Time gentlemen!” Banson called.

The two men arose from their chairs by the coals, said their goodbyes, which Banson replied to with a non-committal nod. After the closing of the door, he gave a deep sigh, glad that the day was over. It was quiet, peaceful, now that the rowdy crowds had left. He peered into a darkened corner.

“You too, if you do not mind sir.” He said in a more conciliatory tone.

From out of the gloom, a bandaged hand appeared and tossed something. Banson caught a silver coin, already knowing he could keep the change.

“Thank you sir.”

The timber creaked as a man stood in the receding light, wearing the horned helmet, mail and tattered surcoat of a Blue River Guardsman. A long hafted, double-edged axe emerged as he stepped forward, revealing any exposed areas of his flesh wrapped in bandages.

“As the fires burn low, it seems my legend grows with each retelling. I’m a demon now. Good night Banson.”

“Good night Forgotten One.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
This was a great read. I really enjoyed the ending. Nice fresh take on the topic as well.
Lollie Hofer 11/09/10
I agree with Shann - good take on this week's topic, quite original. I could picture all of it taking place. Good descriptions and strong dialogue.