A late winter chill was in the air as the warrior made his way to the inn. It was near an outpost that should have been well guarded. But he’d heard of English debauchery and knew there was a brothel nearby.
His longbow, slung crosswise on his back, tapped lightly against his mage’s staff. His family crest was smudged, and his tunic torn. His long journey was about to be over, and with every step the worn mail of his armor creaked.
It snowed lightly under the dark sky.
The stench of spilt lager was in the air. A slight breeze caught his cloak and whipped it up from his heels and the snow.
A soft glow from a hearth seeped through the slats in the heavy mahogany door. Muffled merriment and the clear clang of steins greeted him next, followed by a cheer and the unmistakable laughter of polite company.
In the pause of a breath he thanked Valhalla for safe journey. His father’s sword slid out of its hilt with ease. He rapped lightly against the dark wood with the hilt of his drawn sword, ready for what wait on the other side.
He tapped it again, thinking the first knock was drowned out by laughter.
By the third rap, the laughter stopped, silverware crashed, and a lone plate could be heard rolling across the floor.
A moment later, the shuffling and shushing quieted, and an eye-level slot slid open. Shiny eyes stared hard at him.
“What?” the brute bellowed, in coarse Welsh. “We didn’t ask for entertainment!” They laughed hard at this, and went back to stuffing their faces. The brute slapped the slot closed.
The warrior smiled, and called, “No one is dancing.” While he waited for the response, he let his free hand fall back, and readied his blade. The slot slapped back open.
“Oh, your funny, alright.” The brute pulled away and spat “Nobody’s dancing!” to the patrons behind him. Some random voice cackled at that, and he turned back. “Real fuhurk!”
Inside, the brute was frantically kicking and beating at the door. Before long, his flailing slowed, and he slumped and slid oddly, back and away.
The door creaked open as he fell, pulled by the massive weight of his body. The warrior’s staff, shoved through portal and into the brute’s mouth, now guided the body to a seat against the near wall.
The women screamed and the soldiers, who sobered quickly, drew swords. But just as quickly they stopped.
There, framed by the dark of the starless night, gently lit by the orange glow from the fire, the warrior was set, bow drawn and ready.
“I don’t want your gold, your food, or your women. My aim is true and my steel is deadly. I am here for one thing.”
He scanned the room, looking for the face he had followed for many years and thousands of miles, across desert and bitter cold.
“The one called I-N-I. He is a King of Colden Things. Six years ago, they stole our queen. Where is he?”
The soldiers grumbled, the women ran, and the bartender, who until now had been otherwise uninterested, spoke:
“That cat named Intellect? He had to leave the party.”