I looked at the four men that shoved the door open and walked in as if they owned the tavern. I sighed and glanced at the man behind the bar who shook his head. I watched the men as they picked a table close to the fire while yelling for ale. Gloria came out of the back and glanced at the table before filling four tankards.
The others in the tavern had glanced at the men before they ignored them. I began to move as Gloria reached the table and one of the men reached for her. She struggled and the tankards spilled and fell. The men laughed and then I was there and one thick iron core stick broke a wrist as the other slammed into his face.
He flew to the side unconscious as the other three leaped to their feet. I jabbed into one man's gut and slapped the other stick across and into the side of another man's head. I brought the first down on the back of the head of the man that was bent and falling. The last man growled as he pulled a dagger, "I am going to gut you worm."
I snorted, "come try loud mouth piece of dung."
He leaped and I side stepped while turning and snapping a stick down. He screamed as the stick smashed his wrist and broke bones. I lashed out and into his side to break ribs before bring the other stick around and into his teeth. I followed as he went down and knelt to grab his throat before I stood and yanked him up.
I spun him and took his purse and started shoving him towards the door. Greg held it and I shoved the man out, "do not return!"
I put the weighted sticks away as I went to throw the other three men out. They were probably from the gang that was trying to get us to pay protection. I tossed their purses on the bar when I was done and leaned against the wall. This was the fourth time, the first had been two men that tried to break up the common room.
The second group had been three men threatening customers outside, (very dumb in Retreat). The third had been another two armed men that had tried to use swords. I glanced at Greg when he slid a tankard of cider to me with a small pouch. I nodded and took a drink before slipping the pouch into my belt.
I had not always been a tavern breaker. I had been a trained soldier since I was very young and since I was a half breed elf that was not yesterday. More customers came in and most nodded to me before going to sit. The Serpent's Head was one of the few tavern in the lawless port city where you could eat and not be poisoned.
There was only one thing everyone in the city agreed on and that was they did not like fire. That was why this gang had avoided trying to burn the tavern down. Next would be an attack while I tried to walk to where I was staying. It was very late when the last man left and the door was barred.
I stretched and headed through the kitchen and smiled at the sleepy girls on the pallet. I slipped out the back door and heard Greg's wife placing the bar in the brackets. I went around the tavern and walked down the silent street towards the docks. I was barely a block from the tavern when six men rushed me.
I spun and stepped back as I lashed out with one of the weighted stick. I pulled the long knife from the sheath on my thigh and slid a dagger away. I kept stepping back as they got in each others way and then stepped in. I struck out with the stick and two men tried to bend back to avoid it.
My knife slide into one under his ribs and he gasped before falling. I stepped to the side as they hesitated. Three leaped over the fallen man and I hit one with the stick and knocked him into the second. I stabbed through the third's arm and twisted and he screamed. I turned and he went with it and stumbled into the other two.
I yanked my knife out and slashed out and through the throat of the second man as he shoved both men away from him. He fell and they backed away and I started following, "come play."
They spun and walked away, leaving the two dead men in the street. I knelt and cleaned my knife before taking their pouches. I stood and started to walk, next would be attacks with bows or crossbows. The ship I boarded had holes in the sides and all the masts were broken off. The holes were above the waterline so it still floated.
I went down and opened the door into the captain's cabin. I mixed two liquids in small vials and poured to it into a bowl. They slowly brightened until the cabin was full of light. I closed the door and stripped before going into the small water closet to wash. I was up by midmorning and dressed in scale armor before I left.
The old tavern I walked into only had a few people but four turned from a table by the back door. They stiffened as I started across the room and the old server headed for the kitchen door while two of the men stood. I ignored them pulling daggers as I closed with them and barely paused as I snapped a kick out and into a groin.
I caught the wrist of the other man as he lunged to stab me. I turned and twisted the wrist as I locked the arm. I kicked across and into his knee and he screamed as it broke. I let him fall as I started around the table and the other two men came to their feet. Their faces had gone pale as they pulled daggers.
One growled as I walked towards them, "you are a dead..."
I reached over my right shoulder and pulled the sword I was carrying, "I am going to leave your head for your gang as a warning."
The other man spun and ran for the back door as the gang leader's face went white. I fainted and let him twist and try to block with his dagger before I snapped the sword down. He screamed as the blade took his hand and he staggered back. I followed as I whirled the sword and the blade flashed out and through his throat.
He fell to his knees as I moved to the side and swung and took his head. I bent to grab it by the hair and set the head on the table. I walked around the table to the man I had kicked in the groin. I touched his throat when he looked up, "one more attack on the Serpent's Head or any of the workers and I will be the one to come for everyone."
He shook his head and I turned and walked out. I stopped outside the door to clean my sword before I put it away. I walked the few blocks to the Serpent's Head and went in through the kitchen. I grinned at the girls and their mother working at a table and headed through and into the other room.
I leaned on the bar and glanced at the owner, "the gang leader is dead."
Greg looked at me before grinning, "an accident while shaving?"
I laughed and turned to look at the door as a man wearing fancy clothes stepped in. He pulled a leash and a young woman stumbled in after him. I stared at him as he strode towards us with the girl following. He smiled but it never touched his eyes, "I would like to purchase your establishment."
Greg snorted, "it is not for sale."
The man barely looked at me, "it that case I will challenge you..."
I straightened, "finished it and I will kill you."
He turned and looked at me carefully, "a common bastard half breed?"
I grinned, "now you are getting close."
I reached up and pulled my sword as I took a step. Greg cleared his throat, "he is not wearing a sword."
I smiled, "that is his problem."
The man took a step back, "we can meet tomorrow..."
I lifted my sword and touched his throat, "this is Retreat not your fancy city. You insult me now so you can back it up or die."
He licked his lips as he backed into the woman, "you can not..."
I flicked the sword and sliced open his face, "this half breed bastard is going to carve you up and cut pieces off."
Suddenly he shifted and I turned and slid aside as a dagger brushed the sword away while he lunged. My off hand caught his wrist and I twisted and leaned before my foot lashed out and into his knee. He had pulled his weight off it and turned as I let him go. He smiled as he changed his stance, "so you are trained. It does not matter, you will die anyway."
We moved away from the bar and he kept one dagger moving. I ignored it and fainted and he brushed the tip of the sword away. He slid in and sliced towards my sword hand and my other struck from the waist as it pulled my long knife. I stabbed through his wrist and twisted and yanked.
He screamed and turned and I stabbed the sword into his leg. I stepped back as I ripped the knife out and lunged to stab the sword into his other arm. He staggered back as the dagger dropped to join the other on the floor. I moved after him as he tried to escape and sliced back and forth across his stomach.
He screamed and clutched his gut before looking at me in panic, "wait!"
I ignored his plea as I sliced into his inner thigh in a deep cut. He looked back as he ran into the wall and then looked around frantically, "I have gold!"
I snorted as I put the sword against his throat, "what would a half breed bastard do with gold?"
He looked around before looking at me, "you can have the girl!"
I tilted his head with the point, "I will after you are dead."
He chocked, "I have another!"
I sighed as I stepped back, "Greg witness this."
He snorted, "you should just kill him."
I smiled, "where is the other girl and what is her name?"
He sagged, "at the Blue Seagul in my room. Her name is Brianna."
I nodded, "witness that he has given me this slave and another named Brianna at the Blue Seagul."
Greg chuckled, "witnessed."
I stepped back and gestured to the door, "leave."
He staggered towards the door and I turned to clean my sword. Greg shook his head, "he will just try to kill you later."
I smiled as I put the sword away and bent to pick up the two daggers, "he will be dead before he gets a hundred paces."
I gestured to the large puddle of blood, "I cut the artery in his leg."
He laughed as I set the daggers on the bar and reached for the girl, "your name?"
She looked at the floor, "Nina."
I looked at the collar and removed the leash before I pushed her towards the kitchen door, "see Gloria and do what she tells you."
I started for the door, "want to bet it is another brothel scheme?"
I walked past the man's body a couple of dozen paces from the door. I headed down to the port area of the city and into a large run down tavern just off the docks. I knew why he had not tried anything here and smiled at the three men leaning against the bar, "you had to send him to us?"
They laughed and the one with a white bread gestured, "have a cider on us."
I walked to the bar and smiled at the lass behind the bar, "does he have another slave in his room May?"
She grinned and nodded, "a pretty thing too. He wanted to sell her time but asked to much."
I shook my head as I accepted a tin cup and warm cider, "would you believe the silly bastard tried to insult me and thought he could fight?"