Chapter 2. My First Attempt At Honor, Fame and Dollarydoos We gathered against the warm wall. It was late evening and the ruined ramparts above cast long, jagged shadows across the ground below us. My stomach twisted in apprehension as I noticed some of the shadows were moving. There were actually men up there above us,…men we would soon be killing. “Ok, remember to stick together.” Instructed our fearless leader. Yeah it must be nice to weigh 335 pounds and fling a pair of 12 pound axes around like balsawood spoons. Maybe then, I too would be …fearless . …nah, probably not. “Any questions Andra?” Captain Savage asked. I scanned the small group huddled here. There was gentle concern in the eyes of our archer. She had true compassion. She was also very good company when you could catch her. Mostly though, she flitted around like a bee in springtime heat, doing one thing or the other. Yet, when things got serious she was certainly one archer you wanted at your back. Mouse was here as well. He was quite the gentleman in town, but I often wondered what he found to do alone, out in the wild so much. He always seemed to come back bloody. How could he find so much trouble all by himself? I often sat and shared a beer with him in the evenings. He would spin me tales of a far-away country where rats grew the size of small bears and hopped around upright on their hind legs. I didn’t believe a word of it , but it was marvelous entertainment, so I listened politely and smiled. Bacon and Darrelle rounded out our small party. Bacon was a new swordsman that had excelled recently. I was in awe of his progress, and yet, I found him as humble as any priest or simple laborer. And Darrelle was here. A down-right, sure-nough, proven killer. He was difficult to find, but they often said, when you finally rounded him up into a party, you knew you had the edge. I took all this in and slowly turned back to face our massive leader. “Yeah, I have a question. Remind me why I wanna kill these guys on the other side of this wall.” “That’s not a question, …that’s a request, nerd.” Savage stated simply. I hid my smile. He looked so big and dumb most times. It would always be my personal challenge to remember how brilliant he was. “ CAN YOU PLEASE remind me why we are killing these guys today?” I asked. “Aundraw, shhh, not so loud.” Bacon warned. I wanted to correct him. It was ANNNN-dra, not Auwn-draw. Perhaps I would correct him someday, …Someday when the blacksmith had his sword in repair…. “This fortification was once the pride of Mediah. It was lost in battle to a foreign army, the Sausan army. The few locals that survived were pushed into that rock condo we visited for supplies. We’re here to raid them, kill them , and steal their shit.” Savage said . He never minced words I noticed. “They have a lot of shit?” I asked in his own dialect. “They have so much shit, you wouldn’t believe how much shit they have.” He sounded committed to shit. “Ok.” I nodded. “We have to actually kill them to get their shit then?” I asked reluctantly. “We have to kill the shit out of them.” He smiled. I nodded. Perhaps someday, I too, would speak in this forth-with dialect . “How many are there behind this wall?” I asked softly. “Seven…” He said. I nodded firmly and felt better. “… hundred.” He added. I slumped back into the rock wall. “Ok, let’s go, it’s dark now.” Savage ordered and squeezed through a gap in the main wall. I watched as they all squeezed through, one by one. Parts of me, on which I shall not elaborate, seemed to hang up within the small opening. I exhaled and twisted and scraped my way through, only to see my team running in the distance. Catching up would not be easy, but to make it worse, there were perhaps 20 or 30 enemy soldiers chasing them. I, in turn, starting chasing these soldiers. I managed to catch and kill most of these enemies from behind. I made sure that I stopped to steal their shit. “Andra, keep up!” Captain Savage hollered back. I wanted to tell him I was stealing good shit, but I guess he knew best. This time I ran alongside the actual enemy as I caught up. They didn’t seem to notice me. Perhaps they too , had tall shapely female warriors that generally ran after shit. I tried my best to keep up. Mainly I would arrive to see a crumpled circle of smashed soldiers, their shit already gone. If I paused there too long , skinny old geezers with long flintlocks would zero in on me. I kept moving. Every so often, a mounted knight would ride back to assault me. At first I merely ran from them. I dearly loved horses and it seemed a shame to injure such a fine mount. However, after about the third clubbing from highly trained hoofs, I started just killing them. I took the horse‘s shit as well. I knew something was wrong when I actually caught up with my team. Mother of God, they were now killing other peoples. They were killing other teams dressed like us. I was confused and shocked and just stood there, my sword and shield slack at my side. That did not last long, for almost instantly a handsome warrior that I had seen, yea verily, that had stood next to so recently in the market place,…this same warrior now took a mighty swing at my head with a broad sword. By the grace of God, he was to miss. I fell into a strong defensive stance, of which I have great pride. This familiar warrior then proceeded to bang upon my shield with deadly intent. I began to wonder of my strength and stamina to resist. However, soon the raging warrior seemed to melt before my eyes. I was confused and wondering if I should steal his shit too. There didn’t appear to be any though. Much later, we were on our way home, each carrying our own bounty of various shit. I labored with my head down and counted to myself. I had killed 189 enemy soldiers. Oh, and 28 horses, …a fact I shall not share, even on the drunkest of nights. I was splattered in blood from head to toe. Parts of my fine armor trailed behind me like a dirty after-thought. When I finally returned to Heidel, I rode my horse straight into the tavern. I sat and drank beer after beer until the pain went away in my heart and I could no longer see the death. Captain Savage walked in and stood beside me. He looked down. “You did ok out there today. For a rookie. You think you still want to be a warrior?” He asked searchingly. I bolted up from my chair. There was a clank and a bang as my left shoulder armor slid off my body and hit the floor. Everyone looked around at us. “I AM a warrior damn it.” I slurred with conviction. “I stole lives and took shit, err, I mean I took lives and stole shit. I’d say it’s a little late now to decide. Here’s to Tenacious, the best of the best.” I raised my mug to toast. That’s when I fell back. All the way onto the tavern floor. I was told much later that, I and my horse, (Angel is her name), were closely guarded by the guild the rest of that night.