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ZONE: The Rusty Axe


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#1 Sephsekla

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 07:41 AM

The Rusty Axe is the tavern of choice for the discerning traveller, regardless of their station or their journey. A rich red axe swings from a beam outside, and the bustle of patrons can generally be heard from outside.

 

Agnar, the owner of the inn, enjoys a friendly relationship with the other tavern owners of Stonebridge. Plenty of travellers for all of them, after all.

 

Adventurer recruiting for a grand crusade? Farmer on the way to market? Agnar doesn’t much care as long as you check your weapons at the door and pay your tab on time. Some say that in his youth the man was a great hero of men, and the sword on the wall behind the door is a named blade that slayed dragons and turned the tide of battle. Others say he’s worked behind the bar since he was a child, and has never seen a greater skirmish than a drunken patron being ejected by his dwarven bouncer. Agnar himself will never say, just smiling and taking drink orders.

 

----

 

Today started like many others. The sun shone brightly, and although there was a chill in the air Agnar enjoyed the opportunity to start with some fresh air. He swept the short path up to the inn's door, a slight limp noticeable in his step.

 

After a while, he seemed happy with his work, and walked back inside to stand behind the bar, awaiting deliveries. And patrons.


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#2 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 10:31 AM

Shortly after sun-up, a pitch-black stallion with a white forehead star trotted down the streets of Stonebridge, and his tall rider gently halted him before the Rusty Axe. He was clad in armor much like a hoplite's but with trousers. Such sleeveless attire showed off his impressive build, and his breastplate, gauntlet,s and boots were decorated in some red dragons and the golden crown of the Empire. But it was hard to make out many details while he wore his long, red traveling cloak, which he occasionally bothered to try and keep around his shoulders instead of letting it billow down his back.

 

He loosely tied his stallion to the hitching post, giving him a pat on the neck before he entered the tavern, still in his cloak, hood, and a black mask over his lower face. His green-and-gold eyes, so vibrant they almost seemed to faintly glow (and, perhaps, they were), quickly took in his surroundings before he approached the bar.

 

Taking a seat, he pushed his hood back and pulled the mask off, shoving it in a pouch on his belt, to reveal his strikingly handsome face. Tom Drake dispensed two gold coins on the counter and said amicably, "I'd like a strong drink and whatever's on the menu, so long as it includes meat. Keep the change."


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#3 Sephsekla

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:40 AM

Agnar smiled good-naturedly.

 

"Certainly., and most appreciated." He pocketed the two coins before grabbing a bottle with a strange script on it.

 

"This is definitely a strong one, friend, and you've certainly paid for it. A friend brought a few bottles of this from the south."

 

He passed the glass to Tom before shouting over his shoulder.

 

"Yel, can you get a meat pie for our gentleman guest?"

 

"So,what brings you to Stonebridge, if you don't mind me asking? You don't look like a local."


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#4 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

"This is definitely a strong one, friend, and you've certainly paid for it. A friend brought a few bottles of this from the south."

 

Drake nodded gratefully as Agnar handed him the glass, which he took a long swallow from before the barkeep addressed him again.

 

"So,what brings you to Stonebridge, if you don't mind me asking? You don't look like a local."

 

Tom shrugged. "I'm sorta local. Not from Stonebridge, but not from too far off," he replied a bit cryptically. "As for why I'm here, just passing through. I've been doing a lot of traveling lately, so it's nice to stop by civilization again."


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#5 Sephsekla

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 12:19 PM

"I've been doing a lot of traveling lately, so it's nice to stop by civilization again."

 

Agnar nodded. "Indeed. It's hard to beat a strong drink and a hot fire." He leaned forward on the bar. "That's some impressive armour you have there. Are you part of the legion?"


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#6 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 01:20 PM

Agnar nodded. "Indeed. It's hard to beat a strong drink and a hot fire." He leaned forward on the bar. "That's some impressive armour you have there. Are you part of the legion?"

 

Drake couldn't help but laugh. "Thanks. But no, you won't see any legionary in this armor. Custom made, just for me. I'm Sir Tom Drake, the Demon Slayer of Illikon." He shrugged the cloak away from his shoulders just before he offered a hand to shake.


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#7 Sephsekla

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 02:30 PM

Agnar took the outstretched hand in his firm grip, and shook.

 

"Ah, I think I've heard your name. I somehow doubt you'll find any demons in this neck of the woods though."

 

At that moment a young woman entered through the kitchen door, carrying a large wooden plate with an enormous pie on it. She walked over to the bar and placed it in front of Drake.

 

"There you go sir, house special." Her smile was infectiously warm, easily reaching her eyes.


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#8 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 03:16 PM

"Ah, I think I've heard your name. I somehow doubt you'll find any demons in this neck of the woods though."

 

Drake chuckled. "Not looking for demons, trust me. Although, if there were any, I could certainly take care of it..."

 

He took another drink as a young woman came in, carrying some food, which she set in front of Tom.

 

"There you go sir, house special." Her smile was infectiously warm, easily reaching her eyes.

 

"Thank you, milady," Drake said, putting on his own smile, and a charming one at that. "May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"


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#9 Sephsekla

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 03:24 PM

The young woman blushed slightly. Behind them both Agnar noticed and rolled his eyes, unseen by the pair.

"My name is Yel, it's a pleasure to meet you." She perched on a chair at the bar next to him, taking in the unusual but handsome stranger in front of her.
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#10 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 03:33 PM

Drake certainly didn't notice Agnar's mild annoyance, as he was mostly focused on Yel, at this point.

 

"My name is Yel, it's a pleasure to meet you." She perched on a chair at the bar next to him.

 

Since she hadn't been present before, he introduced himself again. "Sir Tom Drake, Demon Slayer of Illikon," Tom said with a smile as he bowed his head slightly, taking her hand and giving it a respectful kiss. "The pleasure's all mine."


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#11 Sephsekla

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 05:54 AM

Yel blushed again, taking in the handsome stranger in front of her.

 

"A knight? It's an honour. What brings you to the Axe?"

 

 


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#12 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 06:25 AM

"A knight? It's an honour. What brings you to the Axe?"

 

Drake gave a casual shrug as he started eating. He managed somehow to wolf down his food at record speed without coming across as rude or slovenly, apparently from a lot of practice. But, between overly large bites that he didn't chew too much, he replied, "Just wandering. This is my first time in anything resembling civilization for a few months now, so I picked the best-looking tavern, and here I am."


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#13 Sephsekla

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 01:40 PM

"so I picked the best-looking tavern, and here I am."

Agnar smiled at that. "Flattery will get you everywhere, friend." He turned to Yel. "I'm going to see where Dargnin's got to. Keep an eye on things for me will you?"

 

Yel nodded, a mirror image of her father for a second, and he wandered through to the back. She returned her attention to Drake. He really was very handsome.

 

"You must have had all kinds of adventures, wandering like that."

 

 


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#14 Burger Warrior

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 02:30 PM

"You must have had all kinds of adventures, wandering like that."

 

“Yeah, him an’ me, both.” A new voice huffed from the door. Lydus Sticky-Fingers shuffled inside, cracking a rather crooked grin at the gorgeous knight and better-than-average lass. Eh, I could do better. He figured, shaking the dirt off his boots. Said action did nothing noticeable to the appearance of his ragged footwear.

 

If it wasn’t for his signature blue cloak, Lydus would have looked like any other bum coming off the streets of Stonebridge. Granted, the quaint little town didn’t have many of those…

 

He took the first stool he could reach, altogether too close to the pair as he sized them up. “Bu’ I can see you're both very busy so I’ll leave you to it.” Lydus added, his grin turning mischievous as he looked around… and slowly frowned, realizing no one else was working the counter.

 

“...Orrrr I’ll interrupt an’ ask for a drink. Lousy service.” The Venator murmured the last bit under his breath, sure the other two couldn’t make it out, supernatural hearing aside.

 

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#15 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 03:05 PM

"You must have had all kinds of adventures, wandering like that."

 

Drake chuckled. "I've seen stuff like you wouldn't believe..." he started, only for someone to butt in.

 

“Yeah, him an’ me, both.” A new voice huffed from the door. Drake narrowed his eyes and made a slight face, though he didn't give the stranger the benefit of a half-second glance until a moment later. When he did, he saw the deep blue cloak, and it raised his theoretical hackles... but he gave no outward reaction.

 

"Oh, yeah, we've got so much in common," Drake muttered with a snort as he turned back to Yel, rolling his shoulders in a seemingly absent and innocent way that definitely drew attention to the size of him, before the man sauntered in...

 

Only for the skinny little scruff-creature to take a seat much too close to him. Drake fought a growl that tried to claw its way up his throat as he briefly cast his fiery gaze to the monster hunter, arching a brow.

 

“Bu’ I can see you're both very busy so I’ll leave you to it.” Lydus added, his grin turning mischievous.

 

"Great," Drake replied all too flatly, turning to Yel again.

 

“...Orrrr I’ll interrupt an’ ask for a drink. Lousy service.” The Venator murmured the last bit under his breath.

 

Drake didn't much care how quiet or not quiet that murmur was, as he remarked, "Might wanna watch your tongue, friend. I thought Venatori were supposed to be respectful."


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#16 Sephsekla

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 02:01 PM

Yel's focus was broken by the entrance of another man. This one was decidedly less handsome, and the same could be said for his manners.

 

“Bu’ I can see you're both very busy so I’ll leave you to it. ...Orrrr I’ll interrupt an’ ask for a drink. Lousy service.”

 

Yel felt more than a little insulted at the man's tone, and his insinuations. She found herself oddly pleased that Drake seemed to have the same reaction, but tried her best to be welcoming nonetheless, ignoring his murmurs.

 

"What can I get you sir?"


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#17 Burger Warrior

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:56 PM

Well, the fancy one? He was as rude as it came. Lydus none-too-silently scoffed at the nob. All high an’ mighty, that one. Bet he hasn’t worked a life in his day, inheriting titles an’ stories an’ stuff. The Venator thought, getting comfortable on his rough, wooden throne while he and Tom exchanged equally frosty quips. It culminated in Sticky-Fingers’ muttered comment, which by some miracle the knight had caught.

 

Drake remarked, "Might wanna watch your tongue, friend. I thought Venatori were supposed to be respectful."

 

“An’ I thought nobs didn’t muck their boots with comm’ner mud an’ all that, but here we are.” Lydus huffed, turning to Yel as he approached.

 

He almost braced for a slap, but he figured she was too much of a pansy to even manage that. Girls these days, can’t even stand fer themselves. Not that they should, anyway.

 

"What can I get you sir?"

 

“Well that’s what I wanna know, girlie.” Lydus crossed his wiry arms. “What do ya got that’s cheap? I ain’t money-bags over here.” He grumbled, jerking a filthy thumb in Tom’s direction.

 

Bet the bastard could buy this whole place. And a frelling mansion. Damn nobs...


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#18 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:49 PM

“An’ I thought nobs didn’t muck their boots with comm’ner mud an’ all that, but here we are.” Lydus huffed, turning to Yel as he approached.

 

"I muck my boots pretty often," Drake said, taking a healthy swig of his ale. "If the mud deserves it."

 

“Well that’s what I wanna know, girlie.” Lydus replied to Yel as he crossed his wiry arms. “What do ya got that’s cheap? I ain’t money-bags over here.” He grumbled, jerking a filthy thumb in Tom’s direction.

 

"There's some water in the horse trough outside," Drake interjected casually. "I hear that's free."


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#19 Sephsekla

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:56 AM

Yel winced internally. Two customers in the whole tavern and they were already bickering. Just her luck.

 

“What do ya got that’s cheap? I ain’t money-bags over here.”

 

"There's some water in the horse trough outside. I hear that's free."

 

Yel moved round behind the bar, waiting for a pause in the charming conversation.

 

"We have a local ale, two coppers."  She smiled in her customary way.


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#20 Burger Warrior

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:42 AM

"I muck my boots pretty often," Drake said, taking a healthy swig of his ale. "If the mud deserves it."

 

Lydus pointedly ignored that remark as Yel finally addressed his needs… though when he was pretty sure Tom wasn’t looking, the knight received an ugly little glare. Sticky-Fingers wasn’t quite drunk enough to do it to Drake’s face, but sooner than later...

 

On that note, he asked for the menu, only to get another snide response from the nob.

 

"There's some water in the horse trough outside," Drake interjected casually. "I hear that's free."

 

“Give your tongue a break an’ have some of that, why don’t you?” Lydus snapped, his temper shortening. “Save your gold for a gladiator school or somethin’.” The Venator grumbled, turning his attention back to Yel as she spook up.

 

"We have a local ale, two coppers."  She smiled in what seemed like a customary way. But hey, it was rare for anyone to manage a smile in Lydus’s direction (especially high-an’-mighty nobs) so he took what he could get.

 

The Venator considered the price for a moment - well, he was actually considering how wise it would be to nick Tom’s purse - before shrugging and fishing a couple coppers out of his pocket, murmuring quietly to himself. “Ech, works for me.” He hugged, slapping the coins on the counter.

 

Wonder how bad ale this cheap is gonna be…?


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