New players.

(Sorry. I should have put this in earlier. Its a prelude to the Peppercorn and Eclipse’s stories.)

John was pretty fed up about this. It wasn’t that he hated teaching new players about the game, in fact that was one of the greatest bane and privileged about being a game master.

The physicist professor was not miffed that all but one of his original players could make it too the table, with the fifth still absent, after these things happen.

No, what really bothered John was how that ex-chubby miscreant, Jessy, managed to end up married to a Wood Elf with a hotter and much older other woman fighting other him.

Second lieutenant Kollkie kept her steel gaze on John. “How many people live in that tower of yours? Can you tell me that.”

John averted his gaze. “I’m not really cleared to answer that. Can we just concentrated on the game?”

Apparently no one bothered to tell the second lieutenant that she sucked a subtly.

Enough with these stupid games.” Kollkie said harshly and slammed her open palm on the table causing the dice to jump.

You tell’em Lieutenant.” A solider yelled.

Apparently Kollkie had been stationed within the new watch barracks, the roll of sheriff was still undecided but while McKellen was off on an errand, she was the highest ranked individual in the new watch.

Casually, John glanced over his shoulder to see nearly everybody in the establishment whispering about his group.

Due to the innkeeper of the Poor Sod coming into some money with the diamond he got for all the hopes he sold Jessy, so while the inn was being renovated the game needed new accommodations.

Lez had offered to take the group to his watering hole which still did not have a name, as it was both company owned and dry, which John had mistakenly agreed to.

Too bad nobody had bothered to reserve the hall, causing every sticky beak in the main camps to try and observe the game.

Did anyone tell you, you look pretty when you’re angry?” a thirty something man with horns growing out of his head asked.

Stuart.” John warned.

Oh, she’s just angry that her boyfriend decided to leave her for a few dozen prostitutes and sexy teachers.” Stuart said, he then grimaced as a set of yellow crooked teeth stared back at him.

When a worried Kollkie had returned with a regiment of soldiers to pacify the crowd she located an unconscious McKellen.

Tom, reassured no one would enter the ring with a notorious witch hunter trying to cut him with her poisoned daggers and a gang of boys, was unprepared when Kollkie shot him in the leg with an arrow.

Second lieutenant Kollkie’s muscle’s tensed. “Sargent McKellen and I aren’t together.”

Then you don’t mind if an…” Stuart snapped his fingers trying to think of a name. “Enya. That’s it. Enya girl pinches him? With their husbands dead they might find a unmarried Sargent a find catch.”

John held his head, why did people like Stuart and Jessy volunteer if they weren’t going to at least act civil?

From what he knew Jessy, Sorie, and the Sargent were making their way to Talia with nearly every mage and witch as an escort. No matter how secure one ton of gold was it was going to be targeted by every bandit in the area.

He looked to the newest player of the group.

She was charming woman that hailed from Seoid the kingdom of the High Elves. A proper lady, incredibly beautiful. Golden hair, skin as white as porcelain, and a sense of authority that came with nobility. This was an elf straight out of the game they were playing.

I’m sorry for Stuart, my lady.” John apologised.

The woman who called herself Maween Tubhair Suas nodded politely with dignity. “Even in Nail you may find a rouge deviant.”

Stuart made a kissing sound at Maween, “Nice eye patch.” his smile grew wide. “You know, when Mortimer Collective mentioned you were coming, you think they would have said that fun little feature. “Oh, don’t worry, you want miss her. She’s the High Elf with the nice ass and the eye patch.””

There was some choking laughs from the crowed and Maween slid back but did not flinch. “The road is a terrible place Stuart.”

As John had heard Maween had been attacked by bandits, men that had followed her from the port that noticed her fine clothes and attacked them on the road. The cowards had done things to her before she was rescued and so she was ashamed to meet the Techs for fear they would shun her.

Stuart turned his head back to Kollkie. “See Kollkie? That’s how you interrogate somebody. You don’t just blurt out. “How many weapons of mass destruction do you have?” and expect them to answer “Twelve, including the one I have under my bed.””

He made a gesture to Maween. “You notice something that slipped their mind to their back story. Then you make another observation that they get tripped up because it is so obvious they completely forgot about it.”

This was getting too much for John, Stuart was completely out of control, it was like he was a different person. “Stuart. That is enough. Lady Tubhair is our administrator in charge of the trading hub. She comes from a very influential family and she does not need you making fun of her.”

John’s frustrations not lost on Les and the travelling writer thought it best to help him with this imbecile. “Stuart. What do you do at Techscope?”

the talkative horned man shrugged. “Not much now that I’m here. I’m an engineer.”

Must be exciting.” Kollkie mocked.

Says the woman that doesn’t have anything better to do than play dungeons and dragons.” Stuart noted. “You do understand that the only people that play this game are social losers that don’t have a date. They are sad little rejects that have to close their eye and pretend to be knights and wizards because they need to think they are special.”

Stuart gestured to John. “Case and point.”

Eyes were now on John and it was like highschool all over again. “These people came here to play a game.”

They came here to scope us out, you retard.” Stuart yelled back. “They don’t care if the game was head butting a nail in the table. A little information dumb-ass, these people don’t need to pretend that a dragon wizard with a bus sized cock is about to rape a High Elf princess.”

He gestured to Maween noticing that she did not flinch at the words despite her story of her own molestation. “Nice lack of emotion by the way at the visual. Also you might want to think about shaking your head less, people who just have their eye poked out don’t have to ease into that habit.”

Maween noticed that eyes were now upon her but Stuart did not stop. “It’s like playing a fucking zombie apocalypse board game while there’s a real fucking happening.” He stopped as he noticed that John’s eyes were red. “Are you… are you crying.”

***

After John had finished crying in the Men’s room, which was where a real man cries, he returned to the table and picked up the game.

Don’t pack it up.” Kollkie said, she and almost every person in the hall were staring at Stuart and they were not happy.

Kollkie didn’t much care about the game but she cared less about bullies. Though she had no respect of John he was a pitiful creature who just wanted to play a silly game. No gambling, no danger, he just wanted to play for the purpose of enjoyment, and Stuart made fun at that.

A waitress passed by the table accidentally knocked a tankard across Stuart’s head, “So sorry milord.” she said not really sorry.

John saw something, something that didn’t look right about Stuart, something out of place. He tried to remember what he knew about Stuart, the guy from the engineering department.

But before he could raise a word the door to the hall opened as if a battering ram had been taken to it.

A middle-aged in a soggy large and ornate cowl, wearing the garb of a priestess of Badb, the goddess war, the battle crow, took off her cowl and shook it violently so to get the last droplets of ran free. “Bloody nightmare out there.” She said in an un-priestess like manner.

Two waitresses turned to aid the women. “Do you need aid my lady?” One asked respectfully.

Emotionally wounded John turned his curious eyes from Stuart to the women who was being disrobed. He took notice that underneath the woman’s black robes was a steel breastplate with gold leaf designs.

The crest of a raven bubbling in a cauldron with red and blue streams coming from the screaming creature was the sign that the women did follow her faith.

But what people were looking at, what their eyes could not stare away from was the wooden sword that was sheathed were a normal warrior’s sword would be, an odd weapon for a legendary battle nun would carry.

Despite the heavy armour the women did not seem bothered she thanked the waitresses and came to the table. “I am sorry I am tardy. The battle field is large and the weather is not helping.”

Lez stood up and pulled the Nun’s chair back for her. “I was unaware that a priestess from the temples would seek to play at this late an hour. How goes the hunt?”

Excuse me.” John said not sure what was going on, he knew there was supposed to be a sixth player but other than that he had no clue of the identity.

Oh I’m sorry.” The women said smiling. “My name is Sister Huebsch. I guess you may call me a ghost hunter.”

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