The Old Sword part 2
The old bartender looked over his shoulder again. Still no one. He gulped and closed his eyes. “I’ll just give it back when its owner came back” thought the old bartender. He held his breath and gave the sword one powerful tug.
The sword yanked free from the wall and clanked to the wooden floor of the bar alongside the old bartender. Quickly, the bartender rolled to his side and picked the sword from the floor, looking at the door with sweat on his forehead. His breathing rose and falls with the coming and recede of the rain outside. The hilt felt cold to his hand and coursed up his arms. The old man looked to his shivering arms. He tried to pull them away, but something on the hilt clings to his skin like glue. Worried, the old man looked around for the sheath. He bends down and touched the sheath with the back of his hand. Automatically, the sword fell from his grip and landed on the wooden floor again. The old man, still with his hands trembling from the chill of the hilt, grabbed hold of the sheath.
“You two are no ordinary sword” said the old bartender. He picked up the sword from the floor but quickly frowned. He let go of the hilt and saw it stabbed the wooden floor. The old bartender picked the sword back and sheathed it. He looked to the slightly ajar door and listen to the constant tapping of the rain above. “It’s been awhile since we had rain this heavy” he said and retreat back to the bar counter.
The roads around the bastion filled with laughter and the merry of business and trading. Gallops of horses towing carriages became the constant companion of the walls around the bastion. The sun was shining again, a welcome sight to the people of the bastion after weeks of rain.
A middle aged man walked inside the empty bar heavy in his steps. Thud and tap. He stopped for a while, scanning the time eaten interior. He glanced at one end of the decrepit bar before making his way towards the counter.
Startled by the appearance of the hooded man, the old bartender gave the man a smile. He placed a small shot glass in front of the man and poured a bottle of fresh water. “Welcome, we have everything you need to quench your thirst here” said the old bartender. He eyed the large cloth wrapped object the man shouldered behind his back.
The middle aged man lowered his head to face the old man, looking from deep behind the shadows of his hood. “I’m seeking something” said the man. He eyed the rack behind the old bartender before turning back to him. “It was here” he said simple and eye the ceiling above the bartender.
The old bartender gulped. He gave a weary smile. His hands trembling but he kept it hidden from the man. “Are you seeking something?” said the bartender.
The hooded man turns to the old bartender. He stared deep into the old bartender’s eyes as if reading his thoughts, his anxieties, his worries. “You know” he said. The hooded man stood, his cane stood erected supporting him. He hunched forward, his hidden face closed to the old bartender. “You have the smell, you have touched it” said the man. “Where is it? Tell me”
The old bartender gulped but felt it stuck to his throat. He coughed, landing his hands on the counter to stop himself from falling to the floor. “Please” said the bartender. “I didn’t steal it” his whole body trembles as the hooded man pulls his head back. “I… If you’re talking about the sword, it is no longer here” said the old bartender. “I’ve sold it to a swordsman a few days ago.”
The hooded man went silent. He looked to the door behind him and then to the ceiling. “They are coming” said the hooded man. He glanced at the old bartender, still stun by the pressure from the hooded man.
“I… I didn’t mean…”
The hooded man unwrap the cloth behind him and pulls out a large broadsword. He points the sword to the old bartender’s neck. “You have tainted yourself. Only your blood will cleanse the taint” he said.
The old bartender slowly turned his head to the hooded man. His cheeks flooded with tears that dripped down to the edge of the broadsword. “I don’t want to die” he said.
The hooded man raised his sword high. “That is no longer an option” and slashed it down at the old bartender.
The hooded man pulls his blade close and watch as the cloth wrapping it turned darker red. He turned to the darkened road outside and the roaring thunder above.
You’re going to die!
They’re coming for you!
You are a sinner!
The hooded man slammed a fist onto the bar counter and let it sit, trembling inside the small crater it just build. For awhile, he stood with his fist firm on the counter. Unmoved until the first lightning cracked the sky outside. He pulls his hand away and made his way outside where the rain had only begun to invade the now empty bastion road.
The hooded man pulled his broadsword free from the cloth behind him and changed his cane to his left hand. He took a deep calm breath but kept his eyes vigilant. His vision darts from the roof of the houses in front of him to the empty plaza only a few paces from where he was standing. He eyed the small crater near the fountain at the center of the plaza and several others around its outer edge as well as the scratch mark around it. Slowly, the man looked up, giving his shadowed face the taste of the sky.
And then they appeared surrounding the hooded man. Twice the size of man, they each packed with blades on their backs and on their paws. Their eyes burn the color of ruby and their growl ethereal.