Author: S. J. Smith
Rating: PG13 (I guess)
Everything else: Mature innuendo's, mild comic violence, don't drink your coke while you read it. An intro to the novel I've written and trying to sell, want to put this on my website and would be grateful for any corrections, comments or fuzzy bits that anyone can find. Thanks, SJ
"Wow, nice place bubs."
"Yes, very," Huw glared at Fred hoping the inept farmhand wouldn't do something to embarrass them again. Huw was impressed though, the heavy oak beams, warm crackling fire and Queen Anne chairs (though he'd never heard of Queen Anne he was prepared to accept she existed somewhere) were several notches up from old Rufus' The Stucke Pigge. Even if they didn't serve Bavaorian brandy here.
"It's okay," the princess gave the place a cursory glance. "Though my clan back home have much nicer beer tents than this."
"Certainly much better than The Swamp Delight," Jum, swamp man and loyal friend admitted. "And definitely drier."
Huw shuddered. Just running over Waterfarsah with these guys was bad enough but to come into an inn this classy. Well, he guessed he was asking for trouble.
"Er, princess, would you mind putting that guy down," Huw spoke calmly, trying not to startle her, "I'm sure he'll apologize for whatever he did."
Muscles bulged and the princess' barely armored pectorals shivered in a delightful manner as she lifted the unfortunately lecher higher off the ground. Lifting him with her left hand by his collar the poor man looked like a scolded kitten. His nose already resembled an IWOP pancake after it had been run over by a stampede of elephants drenched in red currant syrup. The trick now remained in preventing the whole of him looking like that.
"He pinched my bum," the princess snarled, (in a lady-like fashion of course). "Anyone pinches my bum, they die."
To emphasize this point the princess pulled Martha from its sheath on her back. The four and half foot blade glinting in the candle, torch and electric bulb light, (the innkeeper not yet decided which form of lighting gave the best ambience for the place).
All the men from the nearby tables retired to the walls.
"Don't waste time on scum like him," a small feisty dark-haired lady plucked the wounded man from the princess' grasp and tossed him unceremoniously out of the door. "Come have a glass of Bavaorian brandy, on the house."
Huw's mouth watered and his eyes watered. In her shock the princess had accidentally slapped her blade into his groin.
"Sounds wonderful," Huw croaked, "lead on Plum Duff."
"The name's Dot," Dot gave him a strange look. "you might wanna get that sorted before you talk to me," she added before slipping behind the bar again.
The small group settled on the tall bar stools, Jum's loincloth getting snagged on the velvet seating and causing a nearby serving wench to faint. They carried her off while she gibbered hysterically about 'Heaven had come'. Men still ogled the princess, though no one came near her. Huw could attest from experience, she may look scantily clad, but the 3 ounces of steel plate armor she wore seemed an awful lot more in battle.
"There ya go, and enjoy yourselves." Dot plonked three heavy jugs and a brandy snifter onto the bar top, "you staying the night?"
"Maybe," Huw answered.
"Wow! Marzie's Swamp Juice Bitter," Jum cooed. "My favorite."
"Getcha a load of this bubs," Fred blurbed through a mass of beery foam, "Elfskin Lager, the best!"
"Yungulian Red Wine, 75th year of the Barnstack vintage," the princess gurgled as she finished the jug in one swallow. "Dot, you have outdone yourself." She tried to give Dot a hearty pat on the back but found the barmaid somehow at the other end of the bar.
Cautiously Huw sipped his drink. The warm honey-peat taste of True Bavaorian slid down his throat. For the first time in months he smiled.
"Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful."
Dot wandered back to speaking range, making sure the princess didn't get near enough to give her a friendly clout.
"You sure you don't want us to pay for these?" Huw asked incredulous. "They must have cost you a fortune."
"You can't afford it," Dot grinned, "not once you've paid for the damages."
Huw swallowed nervously, a quick glance round told him little.
In one corner a green dragon was curled up nibbling a cabbage and drinking a curious liquid that looked suspiciously like green cabbage juice.
"Yes, from the fight you're going to have."
A strange woman with tarot cards smiled enigmatically at Huw as he glanced at her. Three trolls on the table behind her were nearly comatose from drinking Thudwieder all day.
"Er, I'd rather not fight today, thank you."
Just out of sight behind him two dark elves and a comely fair elf were trying to decide if they should play a game called 'hide the sausage'.
After working with pigs all his life Huw couldn't even face seeing another sausage let alone playing games with them.
Dot just gave a small 'I know something you don't' smile and left Huw pondering his thoughts.
None of the patrons appeared particularly dangerous or even that interested in him. A few of the wenches kept staring at Jum, the Mr Universe of the Swamp world, and whispered and giggled about him. No one ever paid any attention to Huw unless they wanted to kill him. Why did this ALWAYS happen to him anyway? Life just wasn't fair and all because the god's wanted to watch his life on godlevision's RealVid.
He shrugged a weary shoulder, smiled wanly at Dot as she busied herself at the other end of the bar, and drank his drink. Leaving his thoughts, his fears and his three, sometimes very irritating, companions to fend for themselves.
"Hey Bubs, don'tcha be looking over there," Fred whispered theatrically. All the pub patrons turned to see where Fred was pointing. "I think she fancies you." Fred concluded, already half pickled by the ale.
Huw shuddered. The woman was indeed looking at Huw with a lust in her eyes. Small details like the fact she was wearing even less clothing than the princess was and her chest was definitely larger than the princess' left Huw kinda speechless. It is, after all, fairly hard to speak when your lower jaw rests on the bar in front of you.
The woman was very attractive, long black hair, long blood-red fingernails, cherry colored lipstick and a cute tongue that peeped out now and then to draw seductively over her lips. Not to mention there was an awful lot of pink.
Huw almost forgot about the princess until he heard the familiar sound of steel being hurriedly unclasped by a magical scabbard.
The woman, fixing him with her gaze, slid slowly off the stool and idled towards him, the cut up the leg of the skirt going higher than her waist and giving no indication at all that she was wearing underwear.
Huw decided it was long past time to invest in looser pants.
Still entranced by the woman's angelic face he missed seeing the princess leap forwards in an uncharacteristic flash of jealousy, until Huw remembered he was the one carrying the cash.
He reached for the princess, attempting to stop her foolhardy dash. It was enough to break the spell.
The lady still came for him, lust in her eyes. But the rather elongated fangs ready to tear at his throat sort of gave the game away.
"Vampire!" Jum yelled, leaping back.
The other patrons looked over, mildly interested, though a small group of young lads were searching around for some of the cheaper chairs to break up. Chair legs tending to make good stakes in an emergency.
Huw, rather unbalanced by the princess' inertia and an almost full snifter of Bavaorian brandy on an empty stomach, began to totter over backwards. He fell ungainly, though he always wondered what ungainly looked like, and landed painfully on his rear. Several of the stools came crashing around him. Blinking in stupored pain he saw the princess tossed easily aside by his supernatural assailant.
"Huw the hero," the vampiress hissed. "Ten thousand golds duplets I'll get for your head, preferably dead." The creature gave an eerie laugh. "Oh yes, Esmarellada is going to make the Council pay well for this."
Huw struggled to right himself as the vampire leapt towards him. He leant on a nearby stool for support and slipped, the stool breaking under his clutch. Panic locked his grip on the broken leg and blindly he attempted to push the evil creature away. Something thudded heavily onto the stool leg he held, a woman screamed horribly and he was suddenly covered by an awful lot of dust.
When he finally brushed the dust and ashes from his eyes Huw could see Dot's cheery face staring down at him. Several of the human patrons came to help him up, congratulating him on his performance and handing out invites to the next vampire hunt -- with pot luck and bring your own beer.
"I told you, you couldn't afford anything after the damages," Dot grinned.
Huw sat on one of the few remaining stools. He put his elbows on the bar and buried his face in his hands.
"God no," he moaned, "not another one. And I didn't have a hunting license for her either."
"Brilliant bubs, just brilliant."
"He's a really fine hunter," Jum confided to Dot, "always manages to make it look like an accident or self defense. Can't fault him at all."
Huw looked up to see yet another admiring stare from the princess. His brain took this as confirmation that he really did have something to worry about now. Especially when it came to bedtime. Swallowing heavily Huw turned to Dot.
"Oh, er, if a lawyer should come looking for me..."
"Lon Harme?" Dot asked, eyes twinkling.
"Er, yeah, you know him."
"Sure do, wouldn't worry about him coming here though."
"Uhm, why not," Huw was almost afraid to ask.
"Hmmph," Dot snorted, "that little fleabag owes me money, that's why not."
"Owes... you... money?" Huw stammered, suddenly aware of how powerful his benefactor must be. "I, er, won't ask you how."
"Just you run along to bed now," Dot tapped him gently on the shoulder. "The king and his knights will be here looking for you around midmorning tomorrow. Don't want to let them catch you, do we now."
"Er, no, thanks."
Shaking his head and followed by his admiring trio Huw went to his first proper bed in a long time -- hopefully, he glanced at the princess, to sleep.
After the bar closed that night Dot slipped up to her room, quickly turning the godlevision to the public domain channel, just in time for RealVid to start.
"For goodness sake Huw," she moaned to the flickering screen, "let's see some action. Let the princess to teach you more of those Warrior Rites…"
1 IWOP stands for Instantaneous Wagon of Pancakes. The Waterfarsah-wide collection of off-the-road diners and coffee bars which spring up everywhere without a moments notice. back
2 /a> Everyone knows, (or if they didn't they now do) that pulling a sword from a back sheath usually involves, at the least, a dislocated shoulder, a few lopped ears and a lot of struggling. The Princess, through a little ingenious bargaining with a local wizard involving a candle, a bag of gold and a very long spike. Arranged for her sword to be held by magical clamps. These tiny little hands arranged along two edges of a steel reinforced leather strap conveniently release and clasp the sword as and when the princess finds a use for it. Given the princess' propensity to fly into a fighting rage there are, unfortunately, several tiny severed fingers littered around Waterfarsah. The only ears that get lopped off with this new device are simply those of the princess' companions who stay too close to her when she draws her sword.back
3 /a>The princess' armor always amazed Huw that it worked at all. Dressed in nearly skin tight leather pants and jacket, (except the upper half of the jacket was missing to allow the top of her breasts to reserve sunbathing rights on weekends and days with a y in them). The main bits of armor consisted of a small crotch piece and two nipple cups attached over the leather itself. This left little doubt in the enemy's mind, they knew they were truly facing a late night exotic dancer from over the border and across the mountains. Most adversaries normally thought this until four and a half feet of solid steel split them from stem to stern -- by which time, of course, what they thought really didn't matter at all.back
4 /a>In truth it was only one night they'd traveled without sleeping in a proper bed. Still, what with the hardships of travelling, being chased, hounded and generally hunted down as a criminal -- all because a few mythical beasts decided to go and actually die when you were around - generally made a person miss one's bed so much more. Of course in the latter years of Huw's reign the bards had him suffering the hardships of the road for months and more. Indeed, by the time Huw had died in reality, he was still only half way through this amazing expedition. A great sigh of relief swept over the royal family when his great grandson took the throne because Huw's official expedition ended then. Fortunately no scholars have yet pointed out this time anomaly. At least those that did had very quick interviews with the reigning heir of Huw and discovered they had no portion of the body left to point things out with. On top of that their social circle suddenly shrunk to the inhabitants of a solitary cell in the local dungeon.back
Cross posted to spellweavers, cerulean_snow and silverquillls