Hall of Fame and Honour

Info
1. This will be a separate blog dedicated to A Ranger's Tale and every related stuff.
2. Once this blog is 100% up and running, I'll transfer everything here.
3. Anything to do with fanwork will NOT be here, but rather remaining in That Random Blade.
4. Any songs/clips shown are solely the works of other individuals ten times more talented than yours truly. In short, respect those who made everything possible.

Honour to the worthy

OP

ED

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Roaring Dawn

More oft than not, one will not find a hero blessed with wealth and standing. Legends do not live to be mortals bearing arms nor exalting some righteous cause. A hero is meant to be immortal even though he is not. Indeed such an individual can only be a lion hidden amongst men.

~Ser Jon Wood the Young; Marquis Warden of the Throne


)0(

A Ranger's Tale

)0(

"Guy, I have something to tell you..."

Damn, I don't like where this is going. Dammit, Ales!  Stop rocking back forth like that!

"Actually... I like you."

Wait a holy sec… what the fuck is that? Guy Cody, you lucky, lucky sod. I can't be hearing fairy tales, right? Is that her confession of love? The intoxicating fragrance from her dark flowing locks... is that a dream as well? Rosy cheeks now slightly flushed? Her doe-like eyes shying away from me?

"Wait a holy sec… me? Why me?"

"Why yes, you heard me, Guy… YOU."

Oh damn… this is some weird shit. I must have been smoking some funny herbs. Catts is gonna get it from me. For the very first time in history, I manage to believe that anything is possible once your brains go ‘pop’…

Wait a holy sec… I think I've just kept my composure.

Her affirmation to incredulous thoughts playing catch with me ends with a timid nod, a blissful smile sealing the best deal of my life. A lifelong dream finally arrives, the dreamer in me hitting an all-time high.

"Yes! Finally you've accepted me! Alestrial Eliaden! The one and only!"

Leaping in joy, I pump my fist like an eighteen year old virgin about to score with his first date. Finally freed, this rabbit here is now free to munch his carrot.

Wait a holy sec… am I using the correct term?

"I've always liked you all the while. It's just that I never had the chance to tell you," smiles my petite Cinha angel as she rested her delicate hands against my chest. Holding onto Ales’ shoulders, I can only bob my head like an enthusiastic puppy while feeling fountains of joy gushing from my eyes.

"I understand now, Ales. Our Father in heaven will bless our union for sure!"

"Of course He will. The Church has always been a fair system for the entire North. In my opinion, that is,” giggles Ales, “He will definitely give us His blessings as the Head of Quintet Faith, but if only..."

"Tell me, Ales. I'll do it for you! Even if it’ll cost me my life and my greatest pride! Unto the abyss and heavens high!"

They say pointing towards the skies is a guarantee of sincerity. Yep, I always saw that in the mimes and I learn stuff really fast.

"Oh, don't worry. Your life won't be at stake, but you're correct on the other count," says my fair lady as her eyes start emitting a green eerie glow, "I just want to take your manhood."

Wait a holy sec, that's the greatest comedy skit ever, right? Or maybe she just wants my manhood?

"Why are you giving me this expression? You've heard me right. That 'thing' in between your legs," giggles my fair lady again as a knife abruptly appears out of thin air. Great, just like epic tales recounting feats of Magic.

"You know one thing, Guy Cody? I really like my man to be incomplete. Please accede to my demands if you really love me," smiles my innocent Cinha angel, her knife flipping about with crazy dexterity, "Don't worry though. I know this will be painful, but we both know I shall take care of you forever. Unless of course you want to renege on our promise made six years ago."

Wait a holy sec, me getting chained all over and trapped in a dungeon? Great, marionette Guy is now shackled for life.

Wait a holy sec… am I gaping like that fish Uncle Parky boned years ago?

Shit! Shit’s all too damned real now! I can only shake my head violently in denial as my fountains manage to warp big time from joy to despair. Yeah, I know I’m getting way too calm. Sucks to be me alright.

"No! It shouldn't end like this! You're not the real deal! A faker! The real Alestrial Eliaden will never do such a thing to me! No... Nooo... NOOOOOOO!"

I really hate that stupid knife now! I know that vilest abomination is starting to dominate my sweetheart!

Then…

"Shut the fuck up!"

)0(

The sandy blond finds himself sprawling face first on the lacquered wooden floor, his eyes opened wide greeting every face glowering before him. Veins bulging along every temple sending him his mates’ regards, Guy Cody feels a sore bump on his forehead.

"Erm... it's a dream, no?" smiles a sheepish Guy in the face of all dressed in brown shorts and white collarless shirts.

"You're obviously having a nightmare," growls his closest friend, a fiery grimace complimenting his fiery hair, "To be straight, I don't give a flying ass on why you're drooling and screaming. But for the love of the entire Holy Quintet, DON’T WAKE US UP!"

"Eh, did I really scream that loud, Catts?" Guy replies, one hand still rubbing his forehead gently.

"There's no such thing as a quiet arsehole," snarls another lad, massive hands seizing by Guy by the collar, "Hopefully our bunk officers didn't end up hearing a stuck pig screaming. If not…”

For the first time in his life, Guy feels like a swine ready for slaughter. The image of a million knives stuck inside his body playing a macabre game with him, he’d rather be sentenced to castration by his beloved.

"Erm, okay Morris. I get the picture."

"What are all of you doing here?"

A question hollered out swiftly cutting into every listener’s ears, the impact akin to setting a hot knife against butter. Hastily shuffled themselves into position, the group of fifteen stand in ranks of three as a stocky bunk officer receives a proper salute.

"Catterm Leen! Guy Cody! Why are the two of you still not standing at attention?" barks their brunette superior decked in padded armour.

"Sorry, sir!" exclaims Catterm, "Erm, actually we're pretty much surprised at your surprise assault. As you can see, I was way too engrossed in teaching our stuck friend here some lessons on how civilisation works."

"Teach? You, Catts? Puh’lease, you're balmy beyond cure! And why mention civi..." before Guy can finish his statement, his best friend slapped him across the head.

"Shut up, fuckwit! You'll only get us all buggered good."

Delivering a wry smile conceived from his well humoured nature, Southgate Garrat doesn’t have to be a half-baked idiot in reaching a conclusion.

"It’s only natural for people to have nightmares especially those your age,” clearing his throat in an exaggerated manner, Southgate continues his speech, “But I do not desire any more shenanigans being shitted out. The Third Company’s repute within the Second Support Command has officially preceded everything else. Understand me, laddie bucks?"

The youths under his charge sing a song of relief within their hearts as they managed to escape jaws of the abyss. They could have easily been screwed ten times over, each individual making a mental note to buy himself a carving knife.

"Okie, lads! With all things said, prepare yourselves for the roll call. Dawn is nearing ‘pon us and may the Roar be with us! Understand?" exclaims a grinning Southgate, his right arm dramatically sweeping across.

"Yes, sir!"

"Man, it's a good thing seeing nice bloke Southgate as our bunk chief. Definitely luckier than us playing buff poker with them mad cats from Wearside and Tyneside years ago."

"Do you mind, Guy Cody?" snaps Catterm, “When was the last time an idiot mopped the floor with anyone from either Division?”

"Erm, last week? Or last month? You need to tell me, Catts."

“Guy Cody, I swear you’re asking for…”

Peals of intent tolling forth disrupting his best buddy’s threat, anticipation towards a long day ahead washes over the sandy blond like a cold morning bath. Cheesy smile worn like a badge of pride, Guy Cody instinctively cracks his knuckles. Four rigorous years spent in the Merseyside Academy and the life he has wanted so much since adopted begins to unfold like a drama on stage. The Red Lions' infamous quote instantly burnishing in his heart, strides stoked by passion taking him all the way unto the bathhouse.

Time to roar off the monkey piss.

)0(

Breakfast is a simple platter of bacon, scrambled eggs and plain buttered toast, both officers and recruits dining side by side. Military regulars always gladly steer clear from such practice, this is something used to earning sniggers. They call it a rarity in society, an insult to the military. The Red Lions would have nothing of it though, their penchant for trouble appreciated only by the smallborne. Frequent arrests beget only a slap in the wrist, no ruler is ever foolhardy enough to rile the masses. And the Red Lions belong to the smallborne in every sense of the word.

"Never bounded by blood, our pride will never fall. If one elite bugger pummels one of us, let him taste a hundred of us. "

"Eh, the food here rocks..." quips Guy with an off-tune whistle blown, his own plate cleared and returned personally.

"A blimey as well. This ain't the Tyneside Division because no one knows what their cooks are smoking before lighting the stove," chuckles Catterm, his foul mood dissipated fast, "Hey, there's still a bit of time before we gear up, so why not a little bant?”

“Hell yeah! Beater and Dickhead are back!”

Guy Cody promptly receives his reward for outspoken enthusiasm, a punch across the back of his skull being his keep.

)0(

“Do you want to get me killed?” snarls Catterm, his fiery hair ruffled in frustration, “Who told you out ourselves? Do you even know what Beater and Dickhead means?”

“Whoa, calm down! Cool your fire, Catts!”

“I suspect the only way to cool my fire is to roast you alive. I know Guy Cody is Beater, but are you so obsessed in letting Elys know my nickname?”

“Erm… yes? You’re damn good in pleasing girls.”

“I swear you should have fucked Adine when you got the chance,” growls Catterm with a palm placing over his face, “At least you won’t die a virgin.”

“Adine?”

“Yeah. Anything wrong?” questions Catterm with an eyebrow raised.

“That hot pretty serving girl who got every dude hot under his pants?”

“You’re not just a cretin I see,” sighs the redhead, exasperation wearing him down like some insatiable lover, “You blind cretin. Which Adine are we now talking about?”

“Old Crocker’s daughter?”

“Yep, bingo there. Ugly as fuck, I hope you’re at least wise enough to remember,” comes the snorting reply. Then shock starts creeping into Catterm Leen, sudden realisation staking claim on him like a hungry lioness, “Wait a fucking minute, please don’t tell me…”

“Yep, bingo there!” grins a victorious Guy, “Saw her while during on job training just last cycle! At Old Crocker’s watering-hole no less. Can you believe she recognised me first?”

Oh shit. I must be hearing things since lying is the last thing Guy will ever do. Errgh! Why must I be his friend?

)0(

Welcome to Crocks, this is the sign greeting every patron upon stepping through a door of birch. Famed for its sweet apple ale and fluffy lamb pastries, Crock Tayn will always ensure only the best should suffice. Despite rival establishments earning more profit via adding harlots and gambling sport, Old Crocker, as old timers enjoy calling him, firmly believes in principles and integrity. Troubadours, in particular, enjoy his hospitality granted without deceit while children, young lads and fillies alike will always enjoy a mug of berry tea with tales of yore sung.

“So how’s business?”

The crippled man eyes his friend, emotions pulsating inside the soul. Silence means only one thing. Bad news. Crocks has endured plenty of years and recent losses. The old timers, their children and grandchildren are still around, but stubborn insistence has given many a leeway for those carving out a niche or more. Times change and people change, let alone honour and rules. Word has it that Old Crocker will close down his fruit yielded through hard work before the current winter starts, the greatest worry will surely be Adine.

“Closing by autumn.”

Three words it takes to wrench a fighter’s guts, Garyth Parkins starts cursing those unscrupulous upstarts. Old Crocker has aged quite a fair bit, only the Holy Quintet knows when he will ascend. And speaking of the gods…

One does not simply offer prayers and righteous act to succeed. Wonder how Parish Blauser is doing right now in that humble little shithole we call chapel.

“The age of lions is now standing at nadir, I’m afraid our time has ended long ago,” says Crock, wistful tone giving birth to welling tears.

“The Red Lions remain strong!”

Waving off Garyth’s protest, Crock puffs his cheeks. Getting up from the wooden stool, he fingers a portrait framed in reddish wood. The picture remains clear, yet one of the three is no longer around.

“If only we can get Guy and Adine together.”

“They would make a stunning pair,” nods Garyth, determination fuelling his inner fire, “Don’t worry, Old Crocker. I’ll take good care of her after you’re gone.”

“After this place is gone,” corrects a smiling Crock, the cold hard reality no longer strangling him like weeks before, “The poulter has predicted I won’t live anywhere beyond the coming month.”

“A little wonder why you’re so eager to sell this off. You’d rather sell out your hard earned keep than to sell out your only kin,” thumping a fist against his own chest, Garyth Parkins displays his approval, “My brother in spirit, I’ll back you this time round.”

“What’s wrong with the fearsome Crazy Park?” chuckles Crock, a wrinkled thumb caressing his chin.

“You know how besotted that stupid boy of mine is when it comes to a certain false noble.”

“Oh, you mean Alestrial Eliaden? Let them be, I say. Reckless youth will always make one wiser. Aren’t we the same as well? Me, you, a few others and the ten division gaffers?”

“Life is all about method training, but…” Garyth’s words trail off into nothing bar grief.

“I know your brother and his wife were good honest folks. Not even the gods could’ve predicted Redcart utterly razed.”

“Is it okay for us to change the subject right now, right here?” smiles Garyth Parkins abruptly, mischievous glint seen in iron grey eyes failing to obscure his lingering wound, “Remember how my boy met Fatty Leen’s boy?”

“Ah yes, Beater and Dickhead!” guffaws Crock Tayn, unbridled mirth reversing his age by half, “Wasn’t that because of Catterm insulting Adine? Holy Quintet be praised, for Catterm was merely insulting her looks.”

“Glad Adine proved Dickhead wrong. Feels weird seeing her and Elys being best of friends though,” shrugs Garyth, wry humour adorning both his visage and Old Crock’s like accolades allotted to veterans.

)0(

“You can’t touch me! I am under protection!”

This is a load of bollocks. I might’ve been to the Imperial Zoo only once, but I don’t remember some bloody animal on display that reads “seventy three winters.”

“C’mon, Guy. Bastard’s not worth your time.”

That’s a load of bollocks, Bruno. If Guy Cody wants something done, he’ll get it done.

“GUY! YOU HEAR ME???”

I’m getting sick and tired of people telling me about the law. Whatever happening to the good ol’days before I'm born is irrelevant. Change in the law? Bullshit if you tell me. Sorry, Catts. You’re yelling and Bruno’s advice won’t work on me. At least for this time.

“I am protected by the law!”

That’s it, you seventy three year old freak. You’re fucking dead.

“Tell me, old fuck.”

Wow, I must have sounded cool. Scoundrel’s face seems to freeze on the spot. Now that’s priceless.

“How many funeral songs have you sung?”

Anger boils up in me as I ask him this damning question. I don’t care who the fuck he is or what the fuck he did before coming here. Looks like Ales’ fellow Cinha, but he stinks of money and piss. You stay in Teesside, you better respect those in Teesside. If he thinks making fun of those kids drowned in some boating mishap is funny, I’ll show him real comedy.

“HOW MANY?!”

Fury finally becomes my food, the steel pole gripped in my hand released. There’s no point sending my own ass to jail since there’s a promise I need to fulfil with Ales. But if I must recall any lessons learnt from uncle Parky, this will be it.

“Well, you know what people say about retribution…”

Wow, I must have learnt well from those mimes two days ago. You seventy three winters jackass, betcha never see a pissed off Kalaran, let alone three. Should’ve wagered a tenner with Catts and gay Bruno on whether you’re impotent.

“Wait, what are you doing to my wheelchair? Help! Somebody! Security!”

What am I doing? Go eat some shit, you dumb fuck.

“NOOOOO!!!!”

This has to be the best part of my life. Seeing a scoundrel scream is one thing, knowing you’re the one shoving his wheels is seven times the value.

“By the gods! Garyth’s boy killed him!”

“Pah! That bastard!”

Then a strong hand grips my shoulder, relief taking over me when I realise who.

“Moron! What if you killed him? Trading a scum for jail time, who’s your classroom teacher by the way?”

I’d like to say uncle Parky, but Catts would flay me like a dead cat.

“Catts, he’s still alive!”

Wait, he’s still alive? What kind of freak is that old bugger? Some weird being infiltrating Teesside? Think I need to do something about this.

“No, Guy,” snaps Bruno, his sharp tone holding me in place just like always, “The Cinha geezer might be okay, but it seems that he has lost control of his bladder.”

“So how, Luk? I heard this old bum is some high end merchant doing business in our Saltburn. Just a few trot apart by my guess.”

Well, no one can fault Catts for being rational. Brains plus package, no wonder Elys is so desperate for him.

“I’ll make sure he lives,” smirks our pretty buddy, “And while I’m at it, staying noiseless as well.”

Okay, slight change in statement. Catts is rational, but Bruno is crafty. As for me, seeing old folks somersaulting like some lame acrobat is more than enough.

)0(

“Erm, sir…”

“What is it, Southgate? Spit it out before I do it for you.”

“You seem stressed out.”

“More likely pressed out of shape due to those jokers from the Third Company. Now do you want to talk? If not, please get the…”

“It’s Guy Cody again. Lost big time against those lads from Tyneside and Wearside. Via buff poker no less.”

“What did he do?”

“Floored the entire lot with only his boxers on. And in public view no less. Permission to summon, sir?”

“THAT’S IT! Get that little bugger in, I’m gonna bray him fucking hard.”

Moggray Tonn grins ruefully before a past not so distant. Three months have passed by swiftly, the moment where he will step forth into the training square igniting fire within his heart. He has known Garyth Parkins for years, the only individual in Crazy Park’s generation closer to the Northern Lion being Southgate Garatt. A knock then makes its presence heard, the guest none other than Southgate himself.

“Announcing combat readiness, sir! Permission to…”

“Don’t ask me a stupid question in private, Southgate,” chortles the war veteran, a friendly slap knocking the wind off Southgate’s lungs. As his number two tries catching his breath while remaining bent, the grizzled soldier sneaks a glimpse towards a banner of white emblazoned with a pouncing lion in red. The past revisiting him like one mass deluge, the Northern Lion recalls only too well Garyth Parkins’ shocking revelation.

“He ain’t even my nephew, can you believe it? I know this sounds absurd, but please keep this secret between us. That boy… I mean Guy… he’s actually discovered by my sister-in-law as a baby suckling from a lioness’ teats.”

“Parky, you fucking idiot,” glowers Moggray as he prepares to step beyond the door, “If the lad ain’t your kin, why did you lie by telling him your brother’s name ends at Cody?”

Futile questions growled merely begetting a bugle blared afar, Moggray Tonn can only settle for something crystal clear from the start.

That boy may not have any share in Garyth Parkins’ blood, but he’s truly the heir.

)0(

Monday, 9 June 2014

Dark Moon

No one takes heed of a bastard when they see one, the world itself will never remember one as you. Therefore, arm yourself with every ridicule spat at you by forging the keenest blade from the coldest steel. Only then can you slice apart everything and everyone denying your existence.
~Ziron, Lord of the Lancers



)0(

The heavy breathing is sensed by every nocturnal life, their sights staying clear from the runner. Knowing not the reason, the escapee's fear nevertheless remains all too tell-tale. Going back to their foraging life, none gives heed to the very end.

Utterly shaken by all coming to pass, the lone Orc can only recall his infant joy born from the womb of success. The merchant caravan hours earlier were doomed to a certain voyage, its one way trip pointing towards imminent rape, murder and despair. Fools are meant to be fodder for the strong, a sea of blood completed with heads, limbs and enslaved maids no longer chaste justifying the Orcish pride.

All believe this foulest race to be notorious for raiding tactics, they say his people are cursed with nothing else of value. Cowardice is the only trait rivalling the merit of superior strength, this is nothing more than a lie. A rally in numbers will always work, but only if their numbers are lesser. This has to be the greatest insult known to the Homm’Kur.

If baleful leers and lustful cocks are to be his people’s finest weapons, it is because these damn Terrans deserve it. Driven from their inheritance, the only thing unnatural would be not shagging any of the Terran whores. At least these whores have always been given the mercy and honour to bear their offspring, for womenfolk belonging to the Homm’Kur has died out due to pestilence. No doubt a dastardly ploy hatched by those oathbreakers.

And then there’s that thrice damned Demon stumbling before his sight and of his brudders. This is a plaything, all whispered amongst themselves gleefully. Flay him, roast him, feed him to the beasts and give his entrails to the birds. Then…

Weapons were flashed, blood was spilt upon the nightly earth. Alas there could only be one victor. Forty brudders against one single lamb, orbs of scarlet red unveiled a ravenous wolf instead. A being hailing from Azrael must be him. If not, why then would he be capable of horrifying feats only the Great Abyss himself is able to?

Sensing unbridled chaos and absolute power coursing within that animal, the crazed killer has etched inside Bork the real meaning behind terror. Corrosive fear becoming affirmation, nary a survivor could been seen from his fallen brudders brutally gutted. Only one question remains for Bork. Flight or fight? Bork chose flight.

“Daynjer pass, daynjer pass now oredee…”

Stamina caving in at last, he pauses to take a breather. The coast should be clear by now, whatever distance covered is already far enough for comfort.

“Fak! Fak! Fak! Faaaak!!!!”

Unleashing a barrage of cursing, Bork’s lethargy warps into anger. How dare this hooded bastard smears the Orcish pride! How dare this hooded bastard raise his sword against the Great Children! How dare him! How dare him! This is a mockery of the highest level, the greatest insult and blasphemy!

Yet there’s a time for curses, a time for seeking allies. Glancing towards northbound, a trail of red smoke raising only means one thing. This is not any camp belonging to travellers foolhardy, but an encampment fortified by his other brudders. Bork will tell them what happened, surely all his brudders will take up arms. If a Raidband numbering forty strong wasn’t enough, then surely at least hundreds will do. This is why Warbands exist. To defend the Orcish pride once push comes to shove.

A sudden rustling sound sows panic in Bork, his heart racing like a galloping Wrug. Chilling fear seeps into his spine, the only sight greeting him is a fox pursuing its prey.

“Stoolpit rabitses, stoolpit fuxes. Nau me wan sum preetee elfee beyotchees.”

Five parts annoyance and five parts getting hard, Bork decides to vent his sexual cravings on any unfortunate Elven lass. Even if one cannot be found, surely some hapless Terran whore will suffice. For now. Then fear grips him like jaws of a wolf sinking into its unlucky prey.

Bork slowly turns around, the inevitable marking its arrival. With eyes still wholly tainted in blood and murder staring back, merciless steel laced with azure blue sliced into his chest. Searing pain exploding from within, Bork’s world abruptly goes black.

)0(

Lindel, a modest city famed in the eyes of bounty hunters. Rooted within the Eagle Horn and protected by the much respected Red Lions, folly of underestimation may seem tempting at first. Yet payment would surely be demanded from every fool, the Kalaran dream being this militia's solid rock. They say that meritocracy is fair and flawless, such is why the Kalarans are so prosperous. Alas, the world has never been fair to anybody and all. If all mortals are born to be slaves, what then is the one thing enslaving them?

Mid-summer is always a season to cheer about, but to him. Children frolicking within shallow fountains is nothing to him, same goes for the womenfolk indulging themselves in idle gossips. Dwarven requiem of yore ringing aloud, he pays no heed to the sound of anvils struck. No one can understand the Goblins’ looney obsession over their haphazard technology, he doesn’t give a care. Verbal spats erupting from grocery stores lined at either side, he ignores the sight of flustered female Halflings on the verge of strangling every male Kobold alive. Occasional sightings of the enigmatic Elves unquestioned by prudent folks, he supressed an urge to cause trouble.

A bundle slung over the shoulder, this is to be his prize. His left hand resting upon the pommel of his longsword sheathed, this is to be his solace. A settled life is one he despises, innocuous greetings he desires not. All he wants is a bulging purse and some entertainment, whores and drinks would be atop his list if not for a growling stomach.

And to think I have to wait for three days without taking a shit or piss.

Continuing his silent walk, the sellsword ignores the numerous glances cast to his direction. Attention neither straying left nor to the right, a single storey building looms into view. Bells of copper sounding their chimes, the adventurer pushes open a wooden door plastered with mould. Shedding a fa├žade covered by his cowl, the indomitable wolf greets a bespectacled old man with the briefest nod.

Lazy bastard trying to act hardworking…

"Taking or ending?" glares the old man much to his satisfaction. Apparently, pushing this old fart’s glasses has served the purpose. As the mercenary is prepared to disclose his answer, a sudden flash of thought races across his mind. Understanding what he himself is capable of, the predator within is promptly restrained.

Bummer to count himself lucky. At least there’s no excuse for me to kill him without that bastard’s Geis.

“Ending.”

"Evidence? Target?" retorts the crusty coot.

You fucking jackass. Be thankful that I’m not about to shove a boot down your arse.

"Max Henry. Here's the evidence."

Flinging the gruesome package unceremoniously onto the desk, a decapitated head adorned with shock and terror greets the astounded clerk.

"That's the cunt we're after alright," grins the old man wryly, an impressed whistle blown paying final respects to a dead man’s head rolling off the desk, "Then again, I thought that pretty boy is said to be extremely dangerous.”

“Rape, strangling, blah, blah and blah,” comes a derisive snort, “You ever heard of Rangers and what they do best?”

“Hunting random buggers and striking from behind. I suppose you did just that.”

"Using more than three seconds to end this shitty butterfly would have wasted three hours of my life," sighs the rugged warrior while absently scratching the back of his head, "Offed him with his pants down, that pretty young thing didn’t seem that happy nevertheless."

"You've got a warped sense of jest here, black stud," chortles the old man, his yellowed teeth bared, "Reminds me of my youth. Mark my words, you're not gonna be popular with all the rich missus, but Holy Quintet be damned if you're no wench bait. What's your name by the way, sonny?"

"Aeranath," yawns the Ranger unsightly, "Congratulations for wasting three seconds of my precious life."

“You don’t look natural though…”

"Money or your life please," Aeranath is getting clearly annoyed, his finger tracing doodling patterns on the mortar wall, "You're boring the shit out of me and you’ve proven me right.”

"Okie dokie, I know. Don't be such a grouch. You’re still young, you're in serious need of getting laid," puffing out his cheeks, the clerk tosses into Aeranath’s hand a leather pouch brimming with crowns, "Here's your moolah. Bugger's a jackpot and son of an eel."

Stashing his well-earned keep away, Aeranath slammed the door shut. A resultant boom reverberating down the old man’s spine, a good humoured smile nonetheless accompanies a wry expression.

Brown skin, long ears, sharp features… Half-Elf with Tamurian blood, eh? Doesn’t seem right though with that white hair of his…

)0(

Enjoying a hearty meal of grilled beef and creamy corn soup, Aeranath casually tosses a crown at a waiting boy's feet. Ignoring his persistent thanks, the Ranger continues savouring his meal. It has been quite a while since Aerantah has a decent meal, definitely the handsome prize earned is worth every excruciating minute. How long did he have to lie in wait behind shadows of clustered trees? A day or three? Mayhap even one week or beyond. It matters not to him, for the only sight more pleasing than whores, wine and a nice meal combined is beholding final moments belonging to his prey.

Remember this, Aeranath. Once the hunter becomes the hunted, only death awaits. Upon being the Answerer’s wielder, there’s no turning back.

Losing appetite in an instance, Aeranath rises up in full ire. Taking no heed unto curious looks amounting to judgmental derision, he nevertheless mutters his blessing.

Go take some honeycomb and fuck a jackass.

)0(

Lesser individuals would have gone hungry in a jiffy, but not to Aeranath. Years of hunting has taught the last True Apostle the importance of physical tolerance, the only thing surpassing fortitude is a mind of steel. Unpleasant memories banished at last, the Ranger can finally cast off his glower. Bearing a wry grin in public has its disadvantages, but at least no one will be that insane to challenge someone armed with a sword.

Every one of us is fated to wear a mask. What is yours, Aera?

Damning past searing him like a lightning bolt knifing through his chest, Aeranath lashes out in anger. A yelp is followed by a whimper, kicking a stray dog do serve a therapeutic purpose after all. Then a loud commotion greets his keen pointed ears.

“"Whatcha lookin' at? Ne'er seen some'un killin' befah’? We fahkin’ dung a old biatch an’ sen’ ah’ stoopit tard to jail! Wee god ahawy cuz’ wee da very best in de business an’ sekuritee ferz uz! Servz dis bitch rite for spillin' al'on us!"

Piss drunk arseholes downing too much cheap booze…

“Murderers, all these people!”

“Do something!”

“Do so then!”

“O’ Father above, smite these bloodthirsty men in Your anger!”

Okay, add to that arseholes too retarded to do anything…

Turning his back on the commotion, Aeranath cares not over the fact that he’s nowhere better. Apathy is one thing, disdain for trouble quite another. If every quarrel can be resolved by talking cheap, then he’d like to be everybody’s friend. A casual stroll ignoring children wailing for their mother, it takes one idiotic ox to rile a lone wolf wild and dangerous.

"Hay 'u! A'm talkin' to yer, farkah!"

That’s a good grip and some loud voice. Time to get busy killing and dying.

"What the fuck do you want?"

Vexation briefly giving way to smug satisfaction equally fleeting, Aeranath nevertheless savours his moment of vulgar wit.

"Yer got gutz, 'uh? Lemme tell ye wat 'appen to peepz like ye. See dat beyotch o'er dere?" bellows a burly man, his wild gestures pointing towards where the crowd have parted out of cowering fear. Lifeless eyes of a bloodied woman dressed in black and a white apron dirtied never tugged at the Ranger’s heartstrings, let alone a couple of bawling kids.

"See dat, 'uh? dat kan bee 'u nex!"

Annoying son of a bitch…

Choosing not to betray a single shred of reaction, why should he concern himself with people either dead or nowhere different? People die every day, even this reeking alcoholic. Oral stench invading his nostrils unable to move his heart, Aeranath’s life has always been forged from an icy steel.

Tough luck. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

"I don't give a rat's ass to you, what you've done or whatever dead drunk bullshitting here. Go find something else to wank on and you’ll have your life as a reward," hisses Aeranath, his visage lifted in full view. Formalities promptly done together with a finger shown, he shoves the dishevelled scoundrel away with a forceful hand.

"U dar too turn 'ur bac' on mee? Dy lik'ah dawg!"

A dirge sung by heaven's fury shocking all unto their very core, Aeranath brings forth his inner world. Judgment has been proclaimed, an azure edge utmost deadly and swift leaving the scabbard.

Revelling in the crimson warmth splashed across his cheek, the True Apostle scores his first kill. Booting the skewered dead off his blade, Aeranath spits his contempt onto his fallen foe’s axe. Twirling Fragarach about, its weight, balance and crackling sound reinvigorates the wolf in him.

“Why would a decent being raise his junk against me? He's a fuzzy ape with an equally fuzzy brain after all.”

His statement yet to run its course, Aeranath beckons the remaining quartet.

“I don't always kill people. But when I do, I make sure they stay dead.”

"Yar basterd! Yev gott'us on'to u nao!"

And so begins the hunt…
Keeping his sights open to the surroundings, the lunging thug is to be Aeranath’s second target. With half-muddled anger filling his bloodshot eyes, the Ranger pays back an intoxicated swing of the bardiche with a parry and wide arcing slash. His quarry’s throat sliced cleanly, the True Apostle ups the momentum.

Two down, three to go...

Getting circled behind in spite of martial technique wholly honed, scum number three descends a broadsword swing against Aeranath's exposed back.

Boring as a frigid whore. Die.

Triggering a force unseen within his left hand, the Ranger reaches out for his enemy’s blade. Only blunt force amounting to a pebble hitting hard greets Aeranath’s senses, his third kill’s expression is anything but cheap.

"A simple trick. You can call this turning skin into stone. What a shame to see an idiot's mug."

One stride forward and a hard rap from the pommel against an exposed knee manages to floor the worthless scoundrel, Aeranath can sense two more coming from behind. Gripping the first man’s weapon hand like an eagle’s grasp, a ruffian prone on the ground becomes a ruffian dead on the ground. Hesitation strangling the last two alive, one of them ends up staring downwards at his belly opened up.

A killing blow swift as the wind... shit is getting fast and boring.

Seizing the advantage proffered by the element of shock, Aeranath casually lops off his last victim’s head.

"Red Lions! The Red Lions are coming!"

Thundering boots making tremors known to his ears, Aeranath finds it faintly amusing that nobody is left watching the show. An impressive sight of hardened clowns adopting a phalanx formation greets his view. He sees halberds lowered for battle, helmets of steel and coats of mail complimenting the comedy.

Murderous whims opening up a can of worms, this the Ranger knows. Retaining a vicious grin as he set about correcting his sole mistake, Aeranath chooses to pay mock heed before some pompous idiot by digging his ear.

No action, talk only. Here’s my applause, cretins.

)0(

Motherfucker... ain't mortal... an absolute monster...

What’s his name? The leader’s name? Redknapp something, he supposes. There can be only one ending for stupid people baring their arms against him. Aeranath knows that he is born a wolf, only no prey deserves the right to lower its horns and paw the soil. Recalling those final words, the True Apostle finds it ironic that the fodder is right after all. No elk should ever see a wolf as anything but that, let alone a useless bunch embroiled in a cutting vortex of volatile wind.

At least he lasted a bit longer than the rest. What a bloody bummer.

Looking at the night time sky cloaked in midnight black, Aeranath realises this to be the most beautiful scenario ever. Crickets chirping is music to his ears, a mournful howl hailing from a wolf some distance away reverberating in his soul. This is a symphony of solitude, an aria of solace. Hooting owls perching nearby, no qualms are given before roasted game tossed in their direction. A young fox nearby feasts on a partridge carcass half-eaten, Aeranath flashes a glance before reverting to his original focus.

The night is lovely and full of glimmering stars, the lunar moon both crimson and blue.

)0(