[Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

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CrazyBernie
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[Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

Post by CrazyBernie » March 2nd, 2010, 3:17 am

The long forgotten cavern which contained the bandits' hideout was fairly spacious, and yet there were several stone buildings crammed within. They once served as living quarters for the dwarven miners and their families; now they were used for more nefarious purposes. On opposite sides were passageways - one leading back to the surface, another leading deeper into the mine. Screeching noises could be heard emanating from the mine path as they reverberated off the cavern walls.

A door to one of the buildings opened and two bandits stepped out. One was middle-aged and a bit heavyset, and had a tobacco pipe clenched in his teeth. The other was barely more than a teenager - awkwardly tall and lanky for his age - likely drawn to the band of thieves by empty promises of grandiose adventure.

"Take a torch and go check it out."

"Aw, Mack... why the hell should I have to go?"

"This 'ere group is all about seniority, bud. Maybe someday - if you last long enough - you'll get to boss some greenhorns around. Until then, get yer ass out there and check out those noises. Don't forget the torch... the critters down 'ere tend to dislike fire." He flicked his wrist several times in a shooing motion while lighting his pipe with the other hand. "Don't come back until you're sure of the cause. Consider it a test of your abilities... we can't have our precious hideout overrun by rodents, or anyone that might have disturbed 'em."

Grumbling under his breath, the youth went back inside, and returned holding a freshly lit torch and a rusty shortsword. A ragged hide scullcap atop his shaggy head matched the vest he had adorned. All of his gear had seen much better days, and was in serious need of repair. As he stomped off in the direction of the mine, the elder bandit paid him little mind.

Guess we need to work on our recruitment policies. If I'm lucky, he won't make it back. Mack took up position on a stool and leaned back against the building. After taking a long tug at the pipe, he blew smoke circles to amuse himself. Then I could afford me some better shoes.

About half an hour later, the screeching died down, and all was quiet... save the noisy game of goblin dice being played a couple of buildings away. Mack had all but nodded off when a distant scuffling noise jerked him back to his senses. He cursed as his pipe hit the ground, its smoldering contents spilling onto the stone. A dark figured emerged from the mine entrance, limping and holding an extinguished torch.

"Damnit Randal, announce yourself next time! Are you trying to get yourself killed?" The grizzled rogue lowered the bow he had hastily readied. "What the hell happened out there? You get attacked by those things?"

There was no response. The figure kept limping towards the building. Squinting, Mack was unable to make out a face in the darkness. He grabbed a torch off the wall and tossed it down the path. As the figure was lit up, the bandit's eyes widened and he raised his bow. "Hey guys!" He shouted. "We've go an intru-"

His voice suddenly left him, and he was unable to breathe. Dropping the bow and reaching for his neck, he discovered a dagger imbedded in his throat. Pulling it out, a breath escaped the hole, only to be filled with blood, producing no more than a gurgle for noise. As he fell to his knees, the figure approaching dropped the torch and drew a sword that was anything but rusty.

******


"What the hell is wrong with you idiots!" Infuriated, the bandit leader shouted at his remaining two underlings. "It's only one man, and twelve of you couldn't hold him off! One man!"

"He's one hell of a fighter, boss," came a reply from one of the pair. "An' we aren't exactly in an open field." The brigand fired another arrow down the hall at the intruder. They had him pinned, preventing further advancement.

"You moron! If we weren't in this fix, I'd run you through myself!" The leader kicked a nearby crate, breaking a board and spilling some of the gold inside. "Damn it! Whichever of you puts an arrow in his eye is getting a fifty percent bonus! But if I end up killing him, your both fired!"

"Yes sir!" Came the simultaneous reply. Another volley flew down the hall.

They were holed up in what used to be the dwarves' armory. Since they were mainly miners, the armory was a relatively small building built into a side of the cavern. There were no windows, and only one entrance, aside from a small chimney that was no longer used. A relatively long hallway seperated the bandits from the entrance, and they stored their weapons and most of their loot in the room they were now defending.

The leader directed his anger toward the assailant. "Give up, you fool, we've got hundreds of arrows, and eventually you're gonna eat some!" The lack of response only served to fuel his anger. "I'm going to gut you, and spread your innards all over this cave!"

The intruder suddenly darted past the entrance, tossing a bottle. "Get down!" One of the thugs yelled as he dove to the side, away from the hallway.

As the three bandits cowered, the bottle hit the stone floor, shattering and spraying it's liquid contents everywhere. Nothing happened, and a string of curses was heard from outside. The leader got up from the crate he was hiding behind and shouted, "Ha! You're a fool!" A second bottle landed at his feet, once again breaking and the leader's leather armor was drenched with the viscous substance.

"You'd better run back to the alchemist who sold you these Demon Oils... someone obviously robbed you blind!" A putrid odor assailed the bandit's nose. He ran a finger through the liquid and gave it a quick sniff. "You mean to tell me you can't even tell the difference between Demon Oil and regular-" Eyes widening in horror, he looked up.

A lit torch tumbled end over end through the air. It hit the back wall of the armory and landed on the floor, slowly rolling until it touched the liquid. Almost instantaneously, the room was set ablaze with a bright yellow flame. The screams of the burning bandits echoed far louder than the screeching of the spiders.

After the flames had died out, Lewis entered the armory and began searching for the pendant. Finding it amongst the loot, he put it in his gold-pouch, and then began picking through the bandit's treasure. Anything of value he placed in his backpack.

On the way out, he remarked offhandedly to the smoldering corpses, "I hope you don't mind if I take a few of your torches; those were my last bottles of lamp oil."

******

"It's ruined!" Maddock threw the pendant onto the table. The chain was broken, and the gold was partially melted from the fire. The pendant itself looked ready to fall out of its fixture. "Completely worthless!"

"I figured that's why you wanted it back." Lewis shrugged. "Regardless, I retrieved it, so I'll take my gold and be off."

A vein above the retired courier's left eye threatened to burst. "You bring me back this piece of junk, and expect me to pay you?"

"Payment is due for a job done... I kept my end of the deal, now it's your turn. There was no guarantee of the necklace's condition"

"That's outrageous! I'm not paying you for bringing me back this junk!" The old man swept the pendant onto the floor. "Get out of my house!"

Lewis shrugged again. "Suit yourself, but I'll be informing the town guard of your nightly... transgressions."

Maddock stared at the able-bodied adventurer, dumbfounded. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"I had a little chat with one of the bandits, right before I eliminated the rest of his group. Don't worry though, he was just a kid... I excused him from the group and sent him home to his parents. Before he left though, he told me an interesting little story about how him an a few of the other bandits robbed an old man who they caught leaving the cemetery one night." The fighter pulled out a dagger and began cleaning his nails.

"Are you stupid? You're telling me you believe the story of some teenage thief over a respectable citizen of this town?" A slight quiver could be heard in Maddock's voice.

"Of course not. That's why I had a little chat with the caretaker before coming here. Seems that there were actually several robberies that occurred at that cemetery, and twice the culprit was witnessed leaving the scene. Both of those times, the description of a silver haired individual with a limp was provided." Lewis gestured at the courier's left leg. "That is why you retired, is it not? Oh, and also: I found out that you were never married, at least not in this town. Therefore that pendant can't possibly belong to your wife."

The old man's anger quickly turned to panic. "Listen, you don't know what it's like around here! This place is rotting away, and no one is doing anything about it! An invasion is coming, but everyone thinks they're safe... I need to get out of here, and it was the only way I could afford passage on the next ship! I can't die with these fools!"

Another shrug was the response. "I've got my own problems to deal with. I shall accept full payment plus another fifty percent for taking the chance of not turning you in."

Shoulders slumping, Maddock sat down on his stool. "We're all going to die..."

He slowly shook his head in despair, but he reached for his purse of coins.

******

Lewis set out the next morning after selling most of the bandit loot and resupplying his backpack. As he left the town of Aridell behind and headed north, dark clouds began to form on the horizon.

Damn, I wish there was a quicker way to travel....

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Re: [Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

Post by AK_Marty » March 2nd, 2010, 5:44 am

Another fine chapter in the ongoing saga of Lewis the Fighter, good work Bernie.
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Re: [Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

Post by Painted Lady » March 2nd, 2010, 9:55 am

First - that was great! Loved the blending of the old (Maddock and Aridell) with the new (dwarven hideout in a cave).

Second - throwing both a torch and a bottle of oil. Is that going to be possible in Book II, or were you using poetic license?

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Re: [Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

Post by Randomizer » March 4th, 2010, 9:31 pm

In Book 2 you place a powder keg, then retreat and fire at it. More work and not as exciting literature like the Adventures of Lewis.

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Re: [Fan Fiction] Lewis the Fighter - "Sidetracked," Part 2

Post by CrazyBernie » March 5th, 2010, 2:05 am

I'll say two things:

1. Whenever I have ideas that I think would be good for Eschalon, I usually forward them to BW. However, it's up to him what get's put into the game. I won't confirm or deny anything he might have used... 'cause that wouldn't be any fun! :mrgreen:

2. Read BW's Disclaimer, and then take a gander at mine.

Ok, three things. When I write a piece of fiction about Eschalon, I usually start out by asking myself, "Could 'this' happen in Eschalon? Is it possible that 'this' has happened at some point in Eschalon's history?" When I do finish up a piece, I'll often send it to BW first and foremost for review. The reason for being this thorough is mostly selfish: I don't want to write about something that would be absolutely impossible in the Eschalon Universe. I'd like for my stuff to be cohesive with what's going on/going to happen already. Think of it as "filling in the gaps" in the EU. It doesn't make that piece any more "canon" than BW's disclaimer dictates, but it makes me feel better about it. Plus, if BW ever decides he likes any of it enough to steal for himself, well that's just gravy. 8)

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