Griever: A ChoiceMature

A mercenary lived by the sword.. and died by the sword. There was little in the way of oddities when it came to a mercenary. The only way one was remembered was their skill and accomplishments in battle. Otherwise, they were just another dead man doomed to be forgotten in the torrent of time that would follow their demise. It was a cruel, yet honorable, fate. One that Griever thought he wanted more than anything. 

Only now it seemed to have changed.

The morning sun was bright as Griever wandered back from the nearby road, Eternal Lion resting on his back and a large sack now hanging from his side. The Bird had been true to his word and sent the payment quickly. It was doubled as well. Griever should have been happy. With this much gold he could have left and lived well for a few months before having to find another employer. 

"Lionhawk!"

Griever turned and saw George running toward him. An involuntary smile crossed under Grievers large beard when he saw the former farmer with only grass-stained trousers on. Well then, the Hawks seemed to have lured another honest man in without trying.

"George, what can I do for you?"

The man paused just in front of Griever to catch his breath. How late had the poor guy been up? Depending on the Hawk - if he had indeed snatched one - it could have been all night. "I was worried you were leaving."

Griever sighed. Why were they worried anyway? A fine woman and some drinks are all a man needs. Not Griever. "No, not yet."

The man then surprised Griever by saluting. What in the name of the Beasts? 

"Sir, I wish to leave with you when you go," George said, his face showing him to be honest, "I want to fight with you from now on."

Bloody fool. "Look, that's nice and all, but why don't you think on this for a few more weeks, ok? Being a mercenary is not as glamorous as you might think." I was less than glamorous, really. Some nights Griever had to kill rats just to get his dinner. 

"I don't have weeks," George retorted, pointing at the sack at Griever's hip. Smart man.

"Look, I'll let you know before I leave, ok?" Griever lied, "Now go crawl back to your Hawk and sleep. I doubt you did much of that last night." The man laughed at that but thankfully didn't argue further, thank the Beasts.

Griever continued on his way to find Jem. He till had time to think on what he would do after the dust settled, but first came that woman. He would have gone to Kate, but... she was probably too busy tending to the Marshall. From what Griever had heard, the man slipped back into unconsciousness after a while. Kiera said it was his body being exhausted from fighting off the poison and that he would be ok after a few days of rest. At least the worst was over. Griever still wanted to fight that man. It would be fun.

Griever passed the training ground on the outskirts of the camp. Someone was training there, surprisingly. That was odd, who was up at this hour aside from the sentries...

It was the Marshall! 

Griever turned straight toward the training grounds and marched toward the foolish man. If he passed by without saying anything Kate or Jem might turn this into Griever's fault! God alone knew what would happen then if the man killed himself from exhaustion!

"Marshall!" Griever called, causing the bloody fool to turn his way, "What in the name of the Beasts are you doing up this early? You know if you kill yourself the women will blame the best looking guy!"

The other man laughed, causing Griever to lighten up a bit. It seemed like he was doing well. Besides, warriors could take this. No need to worry then. 

"It seems my time in bed has allowed my muscles to grow weak," the Marshall said with a soft smile. He had changed, it seemed. Was it Kate's doing? "What are you doing up this early Leonard?"

Griever paused and started to grow irritated. Where had he heard that? Was it that Rowan bastard? "Who told you that was my name?" Griever demanded, anger rising. 

Thankfully, the Marshall simply shook his head and kept talking using Griever instead of Leonard. Smart man. "So, would you care for a bout, Griever?" It was tempting, especially with the little bit of leftover anger from the moment before, but Griever refused, saying he had someone to meet. 

"Is it Jem?" 

Griever stopped in midstep. Well, damn, was everyone going to read him like a bloody book now? Even Selena had backed off the night before! "Yes, seeing as Kate is probably not the best one to talk to at the moment."

"Griever."

Damn. The LAST one Griever expected to catch and lose his ear to was the bloody Marshall. "What is it, my dear Marshall? Want advice on how to impress the ladies, or is it some other girl troubles? Maybe some involving our dear lead-"

"We are leaving tonight."

Griever turned and looked the Marshall dead in green eyes. He looked more like the leader of men he was then. His brown hair and stubble across his face made him even look like generals Griever had met in the past. Yes, there was conviction there in this man. 

"Why?"

"What a foolish question from you of all people," the Marshall replied slowly. "I have a duty to the Sheriff, no matter how much I wish I could do otherwise. Surely you, as a mercenary, understand this. It isn't hard to tell your 'job' has ended. I heard your predicament from Kate a while back and the money at your waist is a pretty sizable lump. I assume you are doing the same as me."

Griever smiled, realizing something now. Sure, this man could be considered a man among men for his conviction to his duty, but was there a point other than honor and duty? No, there was no true accomplishment or pleasure. "Thanks to your words, Marshall, "Griever said, turning to leave, "I may not be leaving just yet."

The man didn't reply and Griever continued onto where Jem's sleeping quarters were. Why was he excited now? Just a few minutes before - prior to speaking with that Marshall - he had been reluctant and confused. Maybe it was having a path lay bare, no matter how dishonorable or broken, that created this excitement. 

Jem was not in her cot, so he decided to check the woods. Just as he thought, she was practicing with her bow. Griever paused before he walked into her field of awareness to watch. Each strike was paced and precise, and a few even managed to split the arrow before. Was she always that beautiful? Her dark hair was tied back in it's usual braid to keep out of the way and her grey eyes shone with concentration on each shot. Other men would find her too small and dull, but Griever found her to be a rare specimen and one of the few that he could respect. Was this true attraction, then? Like the Marshall and Kate?

After a moment of shooting Jem noticed his presence. Was that a slight blush on her face? No, surely it was just imaginary. "Well, hello there Jem!"

She refused to meet his eyes and instead reloaded her bow. "What is it, Griever?"

Griever untied the sack at his waist. Was this the right thing to do? Well.... Might as well do it before he got cold feet. This much money though.... Fighting the lion fae would be easier than getting over this much money... 

He sighed and tossed the heavy bag at Jem's feet. The bag ripped open and spilled the golden coins on the ground beside her feet. 

Jem's eyes went to the gold, then to Griever, now wide. "Where did...?"

Griever laughed. She looked funny with that surprised gaze. "There are three hundred gold marks there. I seem to have been eating a lot since I came and wanted to pay you guys back." Jem started to say something, but Griever hushed her up with a wave of his hand. Well, the fact that that actually worked surprised him, but he continued speaking anyway. "If you have any questions at all, you can ask me now, but that goes to helping the villagers."

"Is this what he paid you, Griever?"

Griever nodded, still feeling the weight of the loss in his stomach. Sure was a lot of money... even for a mercenary of his skill... "You can call me Leonard if you want to," Griever said, surprising even himself, "But that is for you and you alone. And don't get me wrong, I'm not coming on to you or anything - though you can take it that way if you want - it's just payback for helping me out during the battle."

There! A whole night of thinking and planning and it was out. Well, the money was not planned, but it was fine. Now all he had to do was ask Kate if he could officially join the Hawks...

The End

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