A brief start to a childhood idea I always wanted to write based on my early D&D adventures in a world I created based on biblical imagery and ideas and Christian worldview. I even created a very detailed map of the continent. This is an old story I started way back in high school and never even came close to completing. Some of the pages I found weren't even worth salvaging... but this one had some merit... so here it is.
CHINK! TINK, TINK! CLANK!
The clattering sound of silver chips filling a small grey leather bag, pulled on the frayed nerves of the hob-goblins slouched over their empty ale mugs.
"Well boys, I guess that wraps up this little social event. Quite nice and tidy like, wouldn't you say?" The three disgruntled creatures said nothing, but sat glaring with confused frowns on their faces at the young knight who had just emptied their purses.
"Now fellas, don't go looking so down. You spoil a good win. Here, I'll tell you what. Why don't the three of you get a drink on me?"
Standing suddenly, the young man called to the bar. "Barkeeper, drinks for my friends, a consolation prize for their losses." This last remark was made with a slight sneer of triumph as he pulled the draw string on his coin sack and prepared to attach it to his belt. He couldn't help himself. He was enjoying this far too much.
One of the hob-goblins, the biggest and most sober, stirred from its stupor enough to detect the knight's boastful comment and began to rise angrily, if not unsteadily, to its feet. Dragging its partner up with it, the inebriated creature leaned across the table breathing nauseous fumes in the young man's face.
"You cheat! Then mak fun of ushh! We don' want more drinksh! You get ush more drunk and shteal ev'rything!"
The third hob-goblin, suddenly struck by the reality of its penny-less predicament, slumped forward in a comatose heap with a guttural groan. The large hob continued threateningly, "We KILL you fursht!"
With that the bulky, pig-snouted creature lunged across the table for the bulging coin purse. The knight stepped back, his hand reaching for his sword, preparing for a fight, however uneven it would be against opponents who were already half unconscious. But before the bartender could even shout a word of warning, a burly arm reached in and grabbed the hob-goblins' wrist firmly, holding it with an iron grip.
The arm belonged to a rather tall, barrel-chested dwarf with a bluish-tinted black beard trailing down his chest. He had a dark complexion to match his rather plain, dark garb and black cloak. He spoke firmly and with an edge of menace in his voice as he addressed the Hob-goblins.
"Now gentlemen, we can't have 'friends' parting on such ill terms can we?" He fixed his dark gaze on the young man and adjusted his grip on the dazed hob-goblin. The second goblin who had caught a flash of the dwarf's gaze as he first approached, was already heading for the door. The dwarf released his grip on the first one, ignoring its presence and broke into a toothy grin as he looked at the brash young Chavalier.
"Now, sir, if you are as good as you appear to be, judging by your full purse, why don't you put your money up against a more worthy opponent. We will have to find a more isolated table, of course, and one that doesn't smell so bad." This was said with a nod to the hobgoblin snoring away on the table. "Of course, when I say worthy, I only mean, more civilized. I don't know that I will present so great a challenge for one of such talent as yourself."
All was silent for a moment. Except for the loud flapping of the large hob-goblin stumbling in the direction of its retreating companion, no one in the small establishment made a sound, too caught up in the drama of the moment. The two men locked eyes and a shudder ran involuntarily through the knight, though he knew not why. It was something about this dwarf's eyes. They were not exactly dwarfish. They were too blue. In that moment, something unseen passed between the two and the knight's hand fell away from his sword hilt as a smile, brighter than the dwarf's strange, blue eyes, lighted the young man's face with a competitive spirit.
"Alright, dwarf. The evening has just begun and so have I. I would be doing you a great injustice allowing you to leave uneducated."
The dwarf's eyes never left the human's face and he could see the blinding pride in the young man's eyes. That was good. Pride always was the easiest weapon to use against a knight, especially this new breed that had arisen in recent years, started by the Hellords to uphold their new laws. Dubbed by many, "Fallen Knights," these knights of the Iron Claw were even more arrogant than the knights of old had been and twice as greedy. It seemed that easy earnings would be filling the dwarf's empty purse tonight and this pleased him greatly.
The numbing winter weather had lifted unnaturally the last day or so, but it was sure to return. The travel-worn dwarf knew this and had come to this small, lower class inn hoping to make his drained funds last longer. He had not expected an opportunity such as this to present itself to him. He had been on the run for years now, hunted by the Hellords and their knights. To walk away this night with the wealthy purse of a young officer who was taking advantage of the low-lifes would make this win that much more satisfying. And this was, without a doubt, an officer of the knights that stood before him. Only those of high rank were bestowed with crested armor such as his, and this officer wore his with excessive pride.
Yes. Khalei the Outcast would elude his pursuers again as he always did, but this time with their hard earned coins under his belt.