Mark of the Beast (Part 2)

Part 1 can be found here


Original Prompt: “Everyone is born with a natural tattoo of their spirit animal. Every person gets the traits and abilities of their respective animal. But when you were born your father, having a bear tattoo and your mother, bearing a dove tattoo, were horrified. Leviathan.”

 

Sigthyme and Tak met each other at the edge of the Gaea Mountains not far from the small town of Bishop. The plan was to stop briefly in the town to stock up on some supplies before heading towards Xylon. Sigthyme had heard that the large forested area that separated Xylong from Bishop, The Ollick Forest, was very expansive and hard to navigate. Also there were tales of creatures and dangerous groups in the forest. He knew that having someone like Tak by his side would help his survival rate, but he also wanted some supplies just in case. Sigthyme was unsure what kind of stuff a small town like Bishop would have, but he was hoping for some healing potions at the very least. Anything was better than nothing.

At this point, Sigthyme and Tak had been traveling together for a few days after their initial meeting. It took a while to traverse these foothills which at times seemed like small mountains. Tak enjoyed traveling with his new friend across the foothills and didn’t get slowed down by the rough terrain. Sigthyme however struggled with the travel. He was a much smaller person and was not used to the area.

“You slow, Siggy,” Tak said.

“I prefer the even, city streets over these mountains,” Sigthyme said through deep exhales.

Tak laughed.

“Love mountains. Remind me of home.”

“You…miss your home?”

“Sometimes miss home. Miss family. Don’t miss other, mean Goliaths.”

“Yeah that makes sense,” Sigthyme said.

He brushed some dirt off of his clothes and pulled a twig out of his curly, red hair.

“Almost to town,” Tak said.

“Really? You can tell?” Sigthyme asked.

“No idea,” Tak laughed. “Just thought it would cheer you up.”

“Well thanks Tak. I guess that helped.”

“We probably won’t die before reaching town.”

“….thanks, Tak.”

Tak gave Sigthyme a large smile.

It took another half-day’s travel until Sigthyme and Tak finally arrived in the flat fields outside of Bishop.

“Finally,” Sigthyme exclaimed.

“Made it,” Tak said.

“Glad we don’t have to camp out in the wild for tonight,” Sigthyme said. “We can finally sleep in a warm bed.”

“Bed?” Tak asked.

“Bed. Like the place you sleep,” Sigthyme said. “Wait, you’ve never slept in a bed?”

Tak shook his head.

“Usually sleep on ground. Peace let me sleep on pile of straw in the barn. That was comfy.”

“Well big guy, we can get you a proper bed for tonight. Of course I guess that depends on whether or not a place has a bed big enough for you.”

Tak shrugged his shoulders.

“Ok with ground too.”

“Good to know,” Sigthyme said.

Sigthyme and Tak made their way out of the fields and into the town proper. The streets were dirt and dry. Little clouds of dust rose withe very footstep. The sun was just setting and buildings were lit up with candlelight. Most of the town was quiet, but they were able to hear a loud commotion coming from a nearby building.

“That must be the inn,” Sigthyme said. “That’s where we’ll find beds for the evening. And more importantly food and drink.”

“Love food. Love drink,” Tak cheered.

“Hold up, big buy,” Sigthyme said putting a hand on Tak’s stomach. “We want to keep low and out of people’s sight. I’m not sure how people will react to you. We don’t want any riots on our hands. So just try your best to stick with me and blend in.”

“Right. Blend in.” Tak said not fully understanding.

Sigthyme opened the door and both of them walked into the Nick-Nack Inn.

Inside they were both hit with an overwhelming scent of sweat and alcohol. The bar was filled with mostly humans with a few other races in the mix. Sigthyme saw a group of Dwarves playing some kind of card game in one corner. A few Half-Elves were mixed in and other Halflings were also scattered among the bar customers. A Tiefling slammed down a mug and there were cheers from a group of people on the far side of the bar. The human sitting across from the Tiefling immediately turned and vomited all over the floor causing even more commotion.

“I think we’ll fit in fine,” Sigthyme said.

“What?” Tak yelled over the noise of the crowd.

“Nevermind. Let’s go to the bar,” Sigthyme tugged on Tak’s hand and they moved towards the bar.

The Half-Elven Woman behind the bar was running back and forth filling drink orders and taking coin from the patrons. She had short brown hair and tattoos covering both her arms from her hands to her shoulders. Sigthyme figured that she probably had them all over her body.

Sigthyme hopped up on an open bar stool and tried to get the bar tender’s attention.

“Excuse me, Miss. Excuse me!” He waved his hand at her, but she was distracted pouring ale for two Dwarves.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” He yelled.

Tak slammed his fist on the bar with a large thud.

“PRETTY LADY!”

The bar quieted a bit as people looked over at Sigthyme and Tak. Then most went back to doing what they were doing and the noise rose again.

The bartender came over to the two of them.

“What’s up fellows. What can I do for you tonight?” She asked.

“Hello, yes I am inquiring about two rooms for the evening. You do that here, right?” Sigthyme asked.

“Of course. That will be five Gold per room per night. Thirty Gold for the week,” She said.

“Come on, that’s pretty ridiculous. Five Gold. That’s pricey,” Sigthyme said.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“Sleep outside then,” She said.

“Ok,” Tak said unfazed.

“Hold on big guy,” Sigthyme looked at the bar tender and gave her a smile. “How about nine Gold for two rooms. I promise were heavy drinkers. You’ll get your money back.”

She looked both Sigthyme and Tak up and .down and then sighed.

“Fine. Two rooms. One night. Nine gold. If you break anything, you buy it.”

“Sounds good,” Sigthyme smiled.

“And you better drink,” She said.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Don’t call me that,” She said giving a glare to Sigthyme.

There was shouting from the other end of the bar.

“Be there in just one second,” She turned back to the two gentleman. “Now what can I get for you to drink.”

“Ale!” Tak yelled.

“Surprise me,” Sigthyme said. “Something local if you have it.”

“Two ales coming right up,” She said with a wink. “Take a seat if you can find one and someone will bring you your drink and your room keys.”

“Great! Thanks!”

Sigthyme and Tak wandered through the crowds of people in the bar. All the tables were filled with people of all races enjoying themselves. There was a table in the corner that was mostly empty. There was just a single, hooded figure sitting at it.

“Let’s try there!” Sigthyme said pointing towards the table.

They made their way to the table dodging bar patrons and a few different Human females that were going from table to table replenishing trays of drink and food. They must be waitresses for the establishment.

“Mind if we sit here?” Sigthyme asked the cloaked figure.

“We don’t bite. Just smash sometimes,” Tak said.

Sigthyme laughed it off.

“He’s talking about using his warhammer…not like smash as in…”

“I don’t care,” The figure said cutting him off.

“Right, thanks,” Sigthyme said.

“Thanks,” Tak said sitting at the table. The chair under him nearly buckled.

Sigthyme took a seat and stood on it to reach the table’s height.

He studied the hood figure. He could tell that it was female. Or a more feminine man. Either Human or Elven. He couldn’t see any ears.

“I’m Sigthyme,” He said extending his hand.

The hooded figure didn’t extend theirs.

“Tak,” He said.

“Whatever,” The figure muttered.

“Well thank you for letting us sit here. This place sure is busy,” Sigthyme said. “Is it always like this?”

“I don’t know. I just got here,” The figure said.

“Oh a traveler. Just like me and Tak here.”

A waitress stopped by and dropped off two mugs of ale as well as two room keys for Tak and Sigthyme.

“Liza said you haven’t paid yet,” The waitress said.

Liza must have been the name of the bartender.

“Right,” Sigthyme said pulling out a stack of Gold coins. He handed the waitress twenty one Gold. “This should be enough to cover our rooms and a few round of drinks.”

“Of course,” The waitress said collecting the gold and then headed back towards the bar.

There was another disturbance from the Dwarves playing cards. Someone must have won or lost. Sigthyme couldn’t tell.

Tak was focused on his mug of ale.

“So what brings you to Bishop?” Sigthyme asked the hooded figure. “Also what’s the deal with the hood?”

“I’m on the run. I murdered someone who wouldn’t mind their own business.”

Sigthyme held up his hands.

“Sorry, just trying to make conversation.”

“Well don’t. If you want conversation, go to another table.”

“Like her a lot,” Tak said with a large grin.

The figure flinched then proceeded to drink from their cup.

“Keen eye, Tak. To know are friend here is a female,” Sigthyme said.

“Could hear in voice,” Tak said.

“Sometimes you surprise me. You’re so smart and so dumb,” Sigthyme said with a laugh.

Sigthyme and Tak spent the next hour talking to one another while going through several mugs of ale as well as a hearty, home cooked meal. The hooded figure didn’t say much, but Sigthyme could tell she was studying the room. Maybe she was really on the run. Sigthyme couldn’t tell from just seeing the bottoms of her eyes darting about.

A moment later, there was a large commotion from the center of the bar and both Sigthyme and Tak turned to investigate. Sigthyme wasn’t sure of all the details, but he could see that the group of Dwarves and the group around the drinking contest were now converging in the center. There was a lot of yelling and cursing in all kinds of languages, some he understood and others he did not.

One of the humans swung out with a glass cup and smashed it over the head of one of the Dwarves. Then all hell broke loose as the two groups clashed with fists and whatever they could get their hands on. Chairs were broken and fists collided with faces. People shouted and yelled as the violence spread through the bar.

“Oh no,” Sigthyme said.

“FIGHT!” Tak yelled jumping up from the table.

He picked up the chair he was sitting on and moved towards the crowd.

“No, Tak!’ Sigthyme yelled, but it was too late. Tak was charging in.

The poor drunken man didn’t see it coming. One minute he was grappling a Blue Tiefling and the next moment, he was hit over the head with a wooden chair with Goliath strength. The chair shattered into splinters as the man crumpled to the ground. Sigthyme was pretty sure that he was just knocked out and not dead, but not completely sure.

Then Tak swung a fist and hit a Dwarf knocking the Dwarf back into a tray of ale which spilled all over the table and floor.

Tak laughed as he took another strike at a nearby Halfling. He was nondiscriminatory when it came to who he was going to get into a fist fight with. He fought everyone.

Someone across the room threw a half-full mug of ale towards Sigthyme and the hooded figure. Sigthyme ducked and it landed on the table splashing all over the hooded figure. She stood up and her hood fell back revealing her face.

She was human with black hair. Beautiful features.

“Oh no, you don’t,” She said.

She crossed the room fighting through the group of fighters. One Half-Elf woman threw a punch at her and she intercepted the fist. Then Sigthyme’s new friend grabbed an empty mug and smacked the Half-Elf woman who crumpled against the wall. The female Human then approached the man who threw the mug and punched him square in the face. The man fell back hitting his head on the bar and then fell to the ground.

The woman just kept on walking towards the back of the room. There was stairs which lead to the second floor of the inn.

“That must be the way to the rooms,” Sigthyme said out loud.

He turned back to the fight. The waitresses were trying to seperate the few people still fighting. Most people were leaning against walls or laying on the floor or tables passed out.

“BREAK IT UP! IF YOU BREAK ANYTHING YOU’RE BUYING IT! BREAK IT UP!” Liz was standing on the bar screaming at the fighters while banging two iron skillets together.

“Truly a masterpiece,” Sigthyme said while finishing off the rest of his ale.

Tak was currently slamming the heads of two Dwarvern men together while laughing. A third Dwarf was hanging on Tak’s back and punching Tak in the back of the head.

“TAK! TAK!” Sigthyme yelled over the crowd.

Tak turned and dropped the two Dwarves.

“SIGGY!!”

“Come on, we’re going to our rooms. Enough of this!” Sigthyme said pointing to the stairs.

“Ok!” Tak gave Sigthyme a big thumbs up.

Then he reached back and pulled the Dwarf off his back and sat him on a table. The Dwarf turned over and fell off the table onto the floor.

Eventually everyone was either too drunk, too tired, or too unconscious to continue fighting. A few people were stumbling about, but most everyone was passed out around the bar.

“Goodnight Liz,” Sigthyme gave her a little wave as they went up the stairs.

She gave Sigthyme a strange look, but her stressed out look was mostly directed towards the large, bar brawl.

A few armored individuals entered the tavern responding to the sound of the fight.

“Well you’re bloody too late, now aren’t you!” Liz yelled as Sigthyme and Tak reached the top of the stairs.

They were out of earshot for the rest of the conversation.

Tak stumbled and slumped against the wall.

“Lots of fun,” Tak yelled.

“Yeah it was, big guy,” Sigthyme said with a smile.

He looked down at the room keys he had been given.

“Rooms 1 and 3. Which one do you want, Tak?” Sigthyme asked.

“ONE!” Tak yelled holding up two fingers.

“One it is,” Sigthyme said handing over the proper key.

“Thank! You!”

Sigthyme directed Tak towards the right door and then walked towards his room.

“See you tomorrow, big guy,” Sigthyme said walking towards his door.

“Night. Night.” Tak mumbled.

Sigthyme walked to his room and struggled with the key for a moment. He finally opened it and walked into his room. He shut the door behind him and then flopped down on the bed. It only took a second, before Sigthyme was passed out.

 

Sigthyme dreamed the same dream he had been having for a little while now. He was floating in a completely black space. So dark he couldn’t even see his own hands in front of his face.

He floated there for a second before shouting out.

“Hello?”

His voice echoed throughout the darkness in all directions.

He heard a voice. It was sourceless and seemed to come from all directions.

“You can run, Sigthyme. But you cannot outrun your fate. You cannot run forever. We are coming, Sigthyme. We will find you.”

“Who are you?” Sigthyme asked into the darkness, but there was no response. Only that question echoing forever.

Who are you?

 

Sigthyme woke up with a splitting headache. He only had blurry memories of how he got up here. Also blurry memories of a bar fight. Beautiful women. And a voice. A voice he did not recognize.

He wasn’t sure what time it was, but he assumed that the sun was probably high in the sky by now. He wasn’t the early bird type.

Sigthyme opened his door. There was Tak fast asleep laying in the door frame of his room. The key laid by his side.

Sigthyme laughed.

“All that effort and gold and he still didn’t get to sleep in a bed.”

Sigthyme walked over to Tak and gave him a gentle shake.

“Dwarf beards,” Tak said waking up from his sleep.

“Good morning, big guy. How did you sleep?” Sigthyme asked.

Tak smiled.

“Had great time. Good sleep,” Tak said.

“Well that’s good,” Sigthyme said. “We better see if there’s some kind of food or something. Then we need to find some supplies.”

“Agreed.”

Sigthyme and Tak walked downstairs. The bar looked completely different. There was an older, Dwarven Male cleaning tables and putting things back together. The bar was almost completely empty except a few people strewn about asleep on tables and the floor.

“Looks completely different in the daytime,” Sigthyme said.

“Well good morning,” Liz stood at the bar washing a few glasses. “If it isn’t my favorite fighter.”

Sigthyme tilted his head in confusion.

“Favorite fighter?”

“Not you, him,” Liz said pointing at Tak. “He kicked some major butt last night. Of course I’m sure he also caused some damage to this fine establishment.”

Tak smiled.

“Yeah sorry about that,” Sigthyme said. “How much do I owe you?”

“Oh nothing,” Liz said. “I overcharged you on the rooms and the drinks. So we’re even.”

“Well I’m glad you’re honest with me now,” Sigthyme said.

Liz just shrugged.

“So breakfast is on the house?” Sigthyme asked.

“I mean it’s midday, but sure. What do you two want?”

“Eggs. Bacon. Whatever meat you have back there. We’re not picky,” Sigthyme said.

“BACON!” Tak yelled.

“Sure,” Liz smiled.

Before Sigthyme and Tak could take their seats, the door slammed open and there stood a Half-Elven Man in the doorway. He wore silver armor draped over with a large, black fur coat. His black hair was matted on the top of his head and he looked both exhausted and on edge.

“Please, I need your help. There’s a Human Woman here. Her name is Lillian Evergreen. Have you seen her?”

There standing in the doorway was Prince Riffen Selorn.

 


Other Dungeons and Dragons inspired pieces:

Writing Prompt #15: A Band of Misfits Try Saving The Day

Beware the Dragon!

The Half-Elven Prince

 


Header Photo Credit to Myth Weaver’s Wiki
https://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=389100

Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/DeAndrich

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