It was a late night in a small tavern in a small town. The bartender was chatting with a patron. The kitchen busy cleaning the pots and grills. The dozen or so patrons relaxing after a long day. It was a night like most others, quiet but welcoming, in strutted a finely dressed man surrounded by six guards. At once, conversation stopped and an air of resignation filled the room.
"Mmmmhmmm. Mighty fine place you have here Roberts. Such a . . . quaint place."
"My lord Hendricks" sputtered Robert, scurrying out from behind the bar. "What brings you to humble tavern?"
"Oh, me and the gents were just returning from the Morgan's farms. Seems they lied about how much livestock they raised. And after going through the unpleasant business of confiscating their food stocks I figured the boys could use a good hot bowl of stew."
"But sir, the maids just cleaned the pots. There's no stew left."
"Well then, make some more. Lads, throw some tables together!"
Robert stated blankly as the guards dragged several of the patrons out of their chairs and swept the plates onto the floor. "But sir! The maids are tired!" Robert cried. "You can't. ."
With a loud crack Robert stumbled backwards, reeling from the the lords mailed back hand. Blinking, he staggered, tasting blood and feeling a sharp pain in his jaw. "Do not tell your lord what he can and can not do" lord Hendrick said with a snort. With a look of utter contempt he took in the shocked faces of the peasants. "I think we shall dine alone tonight."
Slowly Robert bowed, trying not to loose his balance. As the patrons carefully made their way around the guards to the door the kitchen staff, having seen everything, began preparing the kitchen once again. "As you wish." He said.
Within moments, the tavern was cleared of everyone save lord Hendrick, Robert, and hooded man in a back corner calmly eating his bowl of soup. While Robert was trying to remember who the poor fool was, a guard strolled up to the old man's table. "Dinners over drudge."
"Not done soup." replied the man, in a frail, quiet voice.
"Oh yes you are" said the guard, sweeping the bowl of soup onto the man's lap. At least, thats what the guard tried to do. Instead, without realizing how it happened, the guard was on his knees, screaming in pain as the man wrenched back a finger with his right hand. The hand that was holding the soup spoon. Calmly, the man continued eating, now with his left hand.
As the other guards rushed forward, the man released his grip. Gasping, he got to his feet, the other guards raising their swords to the sitting man.
"Wasting foods a sin." The man replied, calmly. "You aren't a sinner. Are you?"
The guards shifted their, looking between themselves. The subtle shift in the mans voice coupled with his perfect calmness signaled that primitive part of their brains that all men who fight, and survive, learn to listen to. And it was saying "DON'T SAY YES!!!!"
"What are you doing?" blustered lord Hendrick, far to slow to catch on. When the guards didn't answer, still unsure how to react, lord Hendrick shoved his way through his men, face redder and redder.
"What is the meaning of this! Do you have any idea who I am? Are you even listening to me?!?!"
Eyes bulging and face bright red, lord Hendrick pointed his finger at the man's temple. "Guards! Kill this. . . this. . . *gurgle*". A disbelieving hand shakily raising to the black pommeled knife protruding from his throat, lord Hendrick collapsed.
"Your life has been judged and found wanting." The man lowered his spoon into the empty bowl and stood. His body unfolded slowly and the guards had to look up into the face of this seven foot tall man. If indeed he could be called a man. His pale gaunt face framed was by his long grey hair. The man had a filthy grey, blood soaked bandage wrapped over his eyes, but still looked directly into the face of each of the guards.
Wordlessly he stepped over the fresh corpse, the guards stepped aside and quickly lowered their eyes and weapons. They'd all heard the stories. They knew they lived or died by this mans whim.
As the man walked by Robert, broken jaw slack, he dropped a heavy bag on the table. "Good soup."
The guards watched the man's back as he left, not one making a move for the throwing dagger at their belt. No one would strike a priest of the fallen church. Not even in the back.
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