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The hobbit watched them, now realizing the trio was undoubtedly drunk. The two men fighting were taunting one another to make fatal blows by dropping their defenses and showing their necks. But they we no foolish fighters, what seemed like vulnerability was actually advantageous to their technique.

Their burly beards and scared faces showed they were hardened warriors who sparred even when overly intoxicated. Although they looked like savage men it was easy to tell they were master swordsmen, even when drunk. One of them looked to be older judging by the gray strands in his long black hair. The other could have been middle aged, his head was shaven besides a blonde braid fitted with iron rings. Both of them were falling over their own steps as they swung their blades and continued to insult each other.

"You handle that sword like a whore!" Shouted the older man as he stabbed at his opponent.

The other man quickly parried the strike and in one swift motion the tip of his sword stopped at the older man's neck,

"You wish I had the hand of a whore. But I'm afraid you wouldn't fill it."

There was a pause which settled into awkward silence. The two fighters looked each other in the eye. Jabit was absorbed by the situation, the suspense nearly frightened him. The ranger was also struck by the stillness, his laughter faded into a slow and awkward giggle -- his jaw agape in anticipation.

Suddenly the young man lowered his blade and the two warriors bursted into laughter. Snatching the wineskin from the ranger they both drank until it was nearly gone. Jabit was both relieved and confused by the outcome. He scanned their camp as the men sat by the fire scoffing down hog meat and occasionally cracking jokes about each others looks.

Moments went by before he spotted the contours of something in the moonlight, it was next to the road just yards from the camp. Adjusting his eyes he couldn't believe what he saw or what he thought he saw. A horse drawn caravan still in one piece. He didn't want to take the risk but the thought of stealing it when they slept crossed his mind. He knew the idea was crazy, but he needed to do something or he would never make it through the storm.

As soon as he finished his thought a crack of thunder broke the clouds. In seconds the rain started and gusts of wind were howling through the tops of the trees. The three men were finished their meal when the storm began. Cursing at the skies with drunken slur they each stumbled to their small tents. The messenger was without a bed, and only halfway through his journey home. These humans warriors were comfortable in the wilderness. Sleeping in the elements didn't phase them like it did Jabit Treadfoot.

The End

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