Legends of Belariath


The Villain Apparent - And Chose The Wrong Route I

(excerpted from a longer "interview" of sorts with Prydain Mozenwrathe)

*This little excerpt is from a longer work from a bard who was trying to get the stories of traveling smiths in one of the eastern cities within the realms of Lord Stormbringer. This was shortly before Prydain was none-to-politely asked to leave the city and not return for "a while." That while, in this case, being up to five years. The local authorities thought briefly about arresting the smith (whom the entire time had his wings hidden from the populace), but thought better of it. After all, most of his "crimes" had been in self-defense or had left the general public bemused. Sure, those of the Temple of Ishtar were not pleased by the decision, but Prydain had been primarily getting into conflict with them. Their champion had not been available to "deal" with the smith, which meant the local high priestess of Aden'Ver had much material to mock the Temple of Ishtar with.*

Have I ever made the wrong choice? The one that society frowns on more than celebrates? That decision that harms the greater good of a city instead of doing what was proper and expected of me? That would be the same as asking me if I had ever eaten a cake baked by a dwarf, or been asked to lift up a hay bale on a farm. In short: Yes, I have. Everyone in their lifetime will end up doing something selfish that isn't accepted by the greater powers that rule this society. After all, strength is everything - except where it's not, of course. There are rules to limit what you are allowed to do with your power. Rules that keep those on top of the food chain sitting pretty. Rules that ensure justice is a word only those whom are blessed with allies and chosen by the gods are allowed to even dream of. I know I may sound a little bitter, but I can assure you there is plenty of callousness and contempt in my heart as well to match. Try not to laugh as your sweet wine turns to vinegar as I give it a cold stare. I have been practicing that particular trick for weeks.

Everyone else, as you may have already figured out, can go and eat the offal from the stables of the local noble. Especially if said noble demands maidenheads and tributes on a regular basis. It's just the way the world works, and we all should be very thankful to our beloved Nobility that we are given such a wonderful place to live in. Those whom are not satisfied are encouraged to offer up their necks to the local authorities so they may be re-educated. OF course, that's just the twin cities here. I can't exactly talk freely about anywhere else at the moment, now can I? I would not be surprised if it's worse in other areas where the Imperial Guard is not around to insist the Nobles stay to a particular protocol. You know, taxation must reach the Emperor instead of lining their own coin-purses, for example. I have heard there are a few that try to set themselves up as children of the gods themselves, but I doubt such last long. There's always someone that wants to be a god-killer, but I digress.

Now then, back on the topic of bad decisions. I would say killing a slave master would go under that. People seem to hate it when you take out someone that is just like them. There is always that thought of "that could have been me" which runs through the minds of witnesses. Of course, if you play things out right, you can walk away from the entire thing and nobody will really do anything. Sure, it'll weigh in the back of your mind that you ended the life of another living being but... who feels that sort of guilt in a land where a life can be bought and sold for less coin than staying at a quality inn? I think I felt ill at ease the first time I fought someone to the death, but not all that much afterwards.

Back to the tale of the slave owner. They were doing nothing wrong in the eyes of the masses. After all, they were just taking advantage of one of their pleasure slaves - a torian I think it was. Right there in public, on the table I was going to actually have dinner on. Those around were cheering him on, wanting to know how many mehrials it would cost for each of them to have a turn. The young man underneath the human was mewling and screeching in anguish, nails clawing at the wood of the table for dear life. It was when the slave owner spit in his face and called the worked over flesh toy "a worthless lump of bison meat" that I chose to do something about it. First off, -never- compare living beings to food in such a callous fashion in a restaurant. It will put people off their meals, and they paid good money for that food on their plates. Secondly, all slaves have worth, even if the Master or Mistress refuses to acknowledge it. Most importantly, don't try making yourself look all educated and rich with iron pyrite jewelery with hematite stones. Real workers of gemstone and metal will recognize it at a distance. Cheap bastard trying to make himself look powerful with fake jewelery. For that alone, he deserved a slap.

I pushed my way to the front, angering a few of those in attendance. One of them thought to shove me, as he was a barbarian of good size and strength. I let him, thinking I could still make my way to the front without much fuss or drama. The man then raised his hand to strike me across the face, given that he believed he was much better than others. I suppose that letting him beat me across the jaw was a bad idea, for he went for another swing. Now there were -two- shows for people to watch, as the man - though a little shorter than I was - had plenty of muscle to him. His fist to my chest made me cough up blood and threw me backward into another table. I do not remember hearing anything rip or break when that blow struck me, but I can recall seeing stars and sapphires in my line of sight. I felt like I had lost my ability to breathe, and my throat was dying for air. Money started being called out: people were betting on whether they'd see two rapes for the price of one that evening. One of the barbarian's clan mates came up from behind me, pinning my arms with a vice-like grip. Things were looking pretty bad for me at the time, with so many crowding around the three of us.

It was then when I surrendered to the hatred within me, forgetting my so-called "spiritual heritage" and kicked the first barbarian in the groin. That got me slammed face first onto the table, breaking a plate with my forehead. My grunt of pain was ignored by the roaring cheers of the group, calling out for blood and my being taken up the ass by the two barbarians. People wanted to see suffering and screaming, and they were definitely getting their "free live dinner theater." Very few had bet on me to give much resistance, if any. Given what I must have looked like at the time, I would not have been likely to place money on myself, either. My head was slammed into the table twice more, causing blood to fill my vision. My forehead had been split open, but thankfully not to the bone. All I could think of was to escape, so I drove my heel into the man's foot. That squelching sound filled my ears with joy, and the agonized howling from the slave were joined by the shrieks of the man who had been holding my arms. By this time, the first barbarian had gotten up, but I was ready for this. Taking a spoon from the table that had my blood smeared on it, I charged the first barbarian and rammed it into his eye.

Let's just say he didn't see that coming... and he did not see anything after that, either.

Turning, the other barbarian was shocked by my actions. He was even more stunned when I ripped off the first barbarian's leather satchel of coins and mashed him in the face with it. There's an old saying that you can't take your riches with you. Lies, lies, lies. The second barbarian looked quite happy to choke on the mehrials I rammed down into his throat. Sure, I was cut badly and my arms were far more bruised and twisted than I gave credit for. The rush of battle had filled my body, and allowed me to move even though I should have been in too much pain to even think straight. Still, I wasn't quite done with the bar yet. After all, once you start sipping on bloodshed, it is hard not to drink until you get your fill. Kicking the second barbarian in the ribs, I grabbed the fallen man's dagger and turned around once again. It seemed that the slave owner had been put off by the noise in the background, and was about to demand the fight be brought outside.

The arrogant smirk on the bastard's face decided my next course of action. I threw the dagger at the man, fully expecting him to dodge it. Instead, he threw his slave in the way to "accept my gift" on his behalf. The torian was fortunate, as the twirling blade caught him face first with the hilt, only battering his right eye. Weeping even more, the broken slave fell to the floor. His master's seed was pouring out from his ass, and his battered face hidden with his hands. I actually felt bad at that time, for all I had done was add injury to injury. And by now, I had a splitting headache. The slave owner tried to summon the city guard, but they were far and away. Walking up to the man, I grabbed him up by the throat and choke-slammed him into the oak table.


I believe I did this around four or five times until I heard something snap. That sound was, in fact, the legs of the table giving way. As the table collapsed, I let the man go, his gibbering voice made further incomprehensible by the bubbling blood pouring out of the man's mouth. His nostrils were flared and his limbs twitched like a spider over an open flame. Snatching up the man's money satchel, I turned to look at the crowd that was now all eyeing me with fear and suspicion.

"This man owed me one hundred mehrial for smithing work! He refused to pay as I was an outsider and he believed he could do whatever he wanted. So do as you wish with him, for he is an oath-breaker. The two over there... obviously are weak. My tribe has warred with theirs for years, neither gaining true ground. I have no need of their kind. Their necks are bare and their bodies are warm, so you all may find yourselves some profit out of them when they are brought back."

Once again: Lies, lies, lies. The barbarians I had never seen before in my life. They might have been from the Four-Colours Waterfall Tribe I had heard much about, but I could not have cared less. I dropped about ten mehrial on the ground in front of the raped little torian male, instructing him to find himself a healer and then come back for whatever was left of his master. After that, I left the tavern without looking back. When I think back to that night, I remember waking up in the morning, both shoulders aching as if I had been stabbed. My face was swollen and my stomach was bruised horribly. Yet I didn't remember being struck in the abdomen even once. When I went to see a healer at the Grove of Gaea, I found out all of my ribs had been cracked. Apparently those two barbarians were far more powerful than I had given them credit for. As well, the healer and her head druid kept me there to tend to other wounds I had somehow gained from the brief tussle.

The worst part about that night? I forgot to pay for my meal. Even if I never really had a chance to eat it, that is just not proper form.