The tavern was smoky, the light dim as Braun walked in. His armour clinked as he sauntered over to the bar.
He knew that the patrons would be watching him. He had the dangerous grace of a killer about him.
He walked over to the bar and sat. The barman knew him, knew his order. He turned to look at the crowd as he picked up his usual snifter of Fellwinter wine. He twisted slightly so that his greatsword would not jab into his back as he took a small sip of the drink.
It was expensive, and needed to be made in very specific and dangerous conditions. It was also potent, strong enough to stun the proverbial horse. It was one of the few drinks that he enjoyed.
He sipped it again and felt its icy coldness flow down his throat. He could feel it all the way down into his stomach when it finally warmed up enough so as to be similar to his body temperature.
He sipped again and smiled at the taste. It was exquisite.
He put the glass down on the counter, careful not to warm it with his hands. As he put it down embers danced on his hands. Ever since the transformation he had had troubles with that. Those embers, the heat, the fact that most drinks could do nothing to cool him and often boiled as they went down his throat. Some called it a gift in this land, but he called it a curse. Never to be cold, never to have a moments respite from the burning heat. He could no longer sweat, as his body expelled liquids faster than he could take them in. The one upside of that was that it seemed he no longer needed to drink.
He turned back to look at the crowd and saw a man staring at him. The tight fitting skullcap with the point at the top was an obvious sign of a wizard if the robes weren’t a giveaway. Or the age and the beard. Or the staff.
Some people just overdid things. Like the woman at his side. She had her hair braided with blades tied into it. Then she had the leather armour and the twin bandoliers covered in throwing knives, tools, picks, and assorted odds and ends. She practically screamed ‘housebreaker’. Likely those two would be looking for a front man for their adventures.
Braun did not do stupid things like that. He worked his jobs. But he did not ‘adventure’. he was not some fool looking for death.
As if determined to prove his point the two got up and started walking towards him.
“You’d do better to look at the Monkey’s Paw. Its down the street. That place attracts more adventuring types”
He turned to pick up his glass when he caught a flash of motion from the corner of his eye.
His instincts saved him as he fell backwards off the chair and his glass exploded in a hail of magical darts. He rolled back to his feet as the mage began another spell and the woman drew a dagger and a wand.
“Whatever you want its not worth getting involved with me” he growled as he reached for his sword.
But it was too crowded in the tavern for him to use his sword to best effect and he didn’t want to risk hurting the other patrons until they joined in the fight against him.
So he grabbed a chair and lobbed it at the woman. She ducked it of course but that gave him enough time to run out of the way of the wizard’s next spell, an orb of acid.
He kept his running dodge going, barreling into the woman. If he could lock her down the wizard would likely not want to risk throwing another spell lest he hit her and he could hopefully stop her from activating the wand or throwing a dagger at him.
He locked his arms around her, pinning her arms at her sides. He could feel her dagger pressed against his armour, but it was his armour. The blade would not get through.
He began to squeeze and his arms burst into flame as he did so. He smelled burning flesh and she screamed in pain as her flesh charred and blackened.
Mid scream her voice cut out into chanted words and bolts of silvery light flashed from the wand to smack into his stomach. He couldn’t see them but he had recognized the spell so he knew what they would do. The darts caused him little pain but there was no way for him to dodge these ones. Eventually they would wear him down.
He squeezed harder, hoping to take the woman out of the fight before she could do much more damage. He felt her bend, and saw her flesh char before she finally passed out.
As soon as he dropped her and turned to face the wizard he was hit in the chest by a lightning bolt. The force of the bolt lifted him off his feet, every hair on his head standing on end, as he was flung across the room and through the wall. He landed and bounced to a stop in the snow drifts outside. His heat immediately began to melt them into a slush puddle.
He pushed himself to his feet and stood, wavering, muscles still quivering from the electrical discharge. The wizard was taking a moment to make sure that his companion still lived. Admirable, but it gave Braun time to recover.
Now that he was outside he had room to use his sword. He reached over his shoulder and drew it forth, six feet of cold blue steel, forged in the fires of the smith city of Mithror. It gleamed in the afternoon sunlight as he stood in the puddle, legs set waiting for the wizard.
The wizard looked up from the body and took in the man with the gleaming, if muddied plate and the glowing sword.
Then he began another incantation.
Braun didn’t give him the chance to finish it. He whipped his sword around his head and slammed into down into the ground. As it hit the ground fire flowed down his arms and lanced out, racing in a sheet until it struck the wizard. It was the wizards turn to fly backwards, launched by the force of the blast.
He fell against the far wall, robes smoking.