Tre finished hammering the last nail in a board and sighed. The front of the shop was now scarred with a wooden board covering up the broken window. Wiping the sweat off using a shirt sleeve, he headed back into the shop. Setting the hammer on the counter next to a notebook, he opened the book and leaned over.
The page was still blank. Going back a page, his handwriting sat there unanswered. “Need supplies, timetable advancing.” Closing the book Tre went around dusting and cleaning items for the third time.
After the seventh time of checking, Tre gave up and put the book under the counter. With the sun high overhead, he loaded up a small wagon with the extra armors and swords he had. Some of them were goblin origin, he hoped no one would mind. Once it was all loaded up, he put a closed sign on the door and headed towards the City Hall.
City Hall was built in the center of town, like a miniature fort. It was the most defensible building in Woodale. When the city first started, it housed all the residents before the initial city wall was built. Inside it housed the hundred or so books owned by the town, barracks for the twenty full-time guards, and a small office for the mayor.
Outside of the Hall, two guards stood at attention in full chainmail armor. Both took a step away from the door as Tre approached.
“Can I leave these here while I talk to Captain Dumont?” Tre said tilting his head at the wagon of armor and weapons.
“We’ll keep an eye on them.” The left guard said, he leaned towards Tre and softly spoke, “Is it true you fought the necromancer?”
“My buddy said you came in during the night, looking tired as a dog, but no undead followed you.”
“No, gods, no,” Tre widened his eyes and shook a little. “Trust me, if there was undead, I’d be the first in line to get in here, or I’d be hiding in my shop.”
The left guard stood straighter and laughed. The other guard's helm shook a little but no audible laughter came from it.
“However, I understand that there are better men, those who don’t shit themselves when faced with a creature of darkness,” Tre paused for a second then added softly, “or my ex-wife. Those who will bravely destroy such monsters, I’ll do my best to ensure they are protected.”
Both guards laughed this time, Tre stepped inside the hall and went towards the Mayor’s office. The door was open and several people were gathered inside the small room. Two of the taller and well-built men were dressed in some old but usable chainmail.
“Um, hem,” Tre coughed a little after a minute of not being noticed. One of the armored men turned around to look at him. The guard had short white hair and a face like old leather left out in the sun. Chainmail jingled a little as he turned to give Tre the full power of his scowl.
“Eh, Ya should have bought a shop in Centralia eh.” The man said and Tre noticed the captain insignia.
“Woodale is strong, I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Tre said giving a small bow towards everyone that now looked in his direction.
“Heh, what brings you here? Were you a battle tactician before you bought the shop?” Captain Dumont said.
“Oh, no, gods no,” Tre said and took a small step back, putting his hands up. “I promised to bring some armor and weapons I had spare to ensure everyone was equipped.”
“So they can protect your ass.” The Captain said.
“Sirs, I hold no illusions about my lack of martial prowess. I do however happen to have several sets of armor and swords that while not legendary, will function for someone who has nothing other than a butchers knife.” Tre said looking directly into the eyes of the captain. He took a step forward and stopped himself from going further.
“So there's some salt in ye,” Captain Dumont nodded, “All men able to carry a sword will help with the defense, I want ye to join our group training session today, don't want anyone killing themselves.”
Tre bowed a little before stepping away. Remembering his reason for visiting he turned back towards the Captain, Mayor, and others, but they were already studying something. Tre headed back towards the guards in the front.
“Give these to the Captain when he comes out, also when is the group training session?” Tre said nudging the wagon.
“Two hours from now will be near the fountain.” The left guard said.
Tre nodded and headed back towards his shop. The sign saying closed was still up and nothing seemed amiss. He opened the door and froze once he saw inside.
Hunched over and sitting on the floor in the shop was Utul. The massive Ogre even sitting barely fit inside the building. Tre stepped in and was able to barely close and latch the door.
“Utul, can we go somewhere private?” Tre said. Utul grunted and Tre placed a hand on the Ogre. The ogre cast a teleport spell and they were again at the foot of a mountain. Tre recognized it as the same place Utul had dropped off the previous corpse’s.
“I found more corpse’s the lady had agreed to complete the deal,” Utul said motioning towards some undead and some crates, further up the slope. “What you need to talk?”
“The adventurers are heading back early, the dungeon needs to be ready,” Tre said.
“I can transport to the dungeon, but I must go do tasks for Eft,” Utul said.
“Can you leave me a couple of your fighters?”
“No, we all needed.”
“Dammit,” Tre said and thought for a moment, “Will the undead follow my instructions?”
“Yes,” A feminine voice said nearby. The dark lady Leatha appeared from shadows of a tree. She walked forward with a necklace in her hand. It looked like finger bones linked together with silver wire. “Wear this and they will obey your command. Take it off and they will attack you.”
Tre took the necklace without hesitation and placed it around his neck. Mentally he commanded the undead to stand on one foot. The skeletons and zombies all lifted one foot in the air. Nodding appreciatively, Tre commanded them to lower the foot and wait for further instructions.
“Excellent,” Tre said and looking at Lady Leatha, “I’m glad we could do business, I hope we can conduct more in the future.” Feeling a sense of hope, Tre even gave a small bow. The lady smiled and gave a little bow in return.
“Utul can you transport these to the dungeon and me back to my shop?”
“You to shop yes, these, tomorrow, will take several trips.”
Tre nodded and reached a hand out to Utul while preparing to teleport. The world lurched a little and Tre appeared in the shop alone. Looking around he frowned once he realized Utul wasn’t going to join him. The ogre had been quite resourceful and had been growing on Tre. Sighing, he decided he needed to get back to work and at least maintain appearances.
Heading to the storeroom, Tre found the best-made sword and grabbed it. Along with the best sheath. Putting both on, he went out to the fountain to start practicing his sword swings. Early, he was the only one there, so he started practicing. One of the guards walked up to him after a dozen or so swings.
“You either are the worst swordsman around or are cursed.” The guard said.
“Fighting isn’t really my thing,” Tre said.
“Perhaps we can put you on a bow,” The guard said, then slowly looking at Tre, “maybe a crossbow.” The guard took off towards the little building next to the gates. Tre sighed but waited and practiced the horrible swings.
Armored footsteps jingled behind Tre. Pausing he turned around to see Captain Dumont looking at him. He was dressed in chainmail with some plate spaulders covering his neck and shoulders. His helm in one hand, his other clenching the hilt of his sword.
“If ye think this is a joke, put ye in front as bait.” Captain Dumont said. “Ye gripping the sword correctly and while swinging wildly. Ye manage to not take off a foot nor hit the dirt. So either incredibly lucky or ye faking it.”
“I… I,” Tre stuttered to get some time to think, “I can use a sword, it is the sight of blood and actual killing that gets me.”
“Show me a proper form.”
Tre took a defensive stance, going through a couple of blocks, he made a single counter attack. The Captain nodded his head.
“Normally I’d throw ye up front to drive the cowardice out of ye. However, I’m certain the city will need yee after we defend the town. I want you on the walls every other night, we can have you run messages, and give support. If you run in battle, I’ll skin ye myself.
Tre nodded his head and bowed a little. The practice sessions with the other townsfolk went quickly. Immediately Tre could see what the captain meant, those with no skill in the sword, dropped it, fumbled, or hit the dirt with the blade. An hour of training left his muscles twitching with exertion.
Dragging himself to the shop, he rested for only a little bit. As tired as he was, he needed to make sure the dungeon was set up. By this time tomorrow, his time in Woodale should be ended. Leaning back in his chair he sighed and made a deal with himself. A short nap, then he’ll head to the dungeon.
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Life long gamer and geek, after decades of RPG's, decided to start telling his own tales. Ones where the players can't derail.
I love fantasy and sci-fi. Have for decades, from the first time I read Dragons of Autumn Twilight to Stormlight archive, the worlds created have entrapped me. Now after years of attempting to complete a story, I've finished a few and am working on a new ones.