Song of the Seven Suns, Part 2
Taglist (ask to be added/removed!): @hellishhin
(content warnings: violence, implied sex)
“You were making gay eyes at the guard. How’d it go?”
“I- Um. We’re gonna talk. Later.”
“Nice. Good for you.”
“Thanks, I think.”
Jetra smiled. A least Faulkron was quickly making friends. That would end up helping both of them. And honestly, what kind of bard would she be if she didn’t get her friends laid? Getting her new friend set up with somebody less than an hour after meeting said friend was a new record though, even for her.
As much as she enjoyed watching awkward gays at work, however, they had a purpose here other than flirting with cute mercenaries. Sighing and switching the subject to why they were actually here, she said, “Well, now that we’re here, we should see what trouble we can get into before the sun fully sets.”Seeing Faulkron’s reaction, she quickly amended her statement. “Metaphorically, that is.”
Faulkron chuckled a bit. “Hopefully it’s only metaphorical.” Then, he turned his amber eyes back towards the mercenaries, beginning to look around. “We should probably find whoever’s in charge first. Elikon, I think he mentioned?”
With eyes peeled for someone who looked important, the duo walked further into the compound. They could see mercenaries all around, some lounging, some sparring, some sitting intently around tables, planning jobs in hushed tones. Others were playing dice games or otherwise passing the time.
Jetra noted some other mercenaries around who looked promising. A particular halfling and dragonborn were sitting at a table, competitively playing cards. She made a mental note to talk to them later. She also noted a large wooden board, almost completely covered with papyrus scrolls nailed to its surface, likely detailing jobs and notices. Another thing to remember.
She was shaken from her scan of the place by Faulkron’s hand on her shoulder. She turned back to him, following where he was pointing with her eyes.
There in a small courtyard, in a pit of sand, stood 9 figures. The first 8 were standing in two rows, all of them standing dazed and sweaty. Standing in front of the two rows of exhausted trainees was a towering woman with a large spear in her hand. Her dark gray-brown skin was covered in white tattoos. The ones on her face were made like a stylized helmet, to match the gray mohawk that topped her head, as if it were the helmet’s crest. Jetra nodded her approval. Very cool. The woman watched as they approached, sizing them up as they got closer. When she spoke, her voice was rough and firm.
“Well, well, well. What’s this? Wait, hold on.”
She paused her regard of the newcomers to look at the trainees.
“Hey! You eight. You’re dismissed. Take a rest, get some water.”
While the trainees filed off to recover their strength, Faulkron walked forward, holding up a hand in greeting. “I’m Faulkron Rhodes, this is Jetra. Are you Elikon?”
The woman nodded, looking Faulkron and Jetra up and down. “In the flesh. What’s got you asking for me?”
Jetra had never really felt short before. She was happy with her height. However, given that Faulkron was nearly 6 foot, and Elikon was nearly 7 and a half, she was almost considering finding a box to stand on.
“We’ve come searching for opportunities. We were thinking about heading inland, most likely. We’d like to know of any offers, or jobs?”
“Hm. Well we’ve got a board up over by the barracks, you could look there. You’ll probably have better luck tomorrow though, new ones will probably be up by then, and I’m sure the best contracts from today have been taken already. You looking to join, or just here for the info?”
Faulkron bowed his head slightly as they began to back way. “We did not intend on joining, no. But thank you for your help.”
“Well that’s a shame. I could use a warrior like you... If you can back up all that muscle with skill, that is.”
“Are you insulting me?”
At his question, Elikon only crossed her arms and smirked. “Am I?”
Jetra watched as Faulkron’s eyes narrowed in response, and she suddenly was very glad she wasn’t standing on a box. It made it much easier to back the fuck away from whatever was about to happen.
So much for only metaphorical trouble. And this time it wasn’t even her fault. Which was, in itself, another record for the books.
Elikon watched as Faulkron’s eyes narrowed in anger. She chuckled. “Don’t start this fight. I can spar ‘til dawn, and each mercenary here knows it, ‘cause they’ve seen it. I was only poking at ya. It ain’t worth the humiliation, kid.”
Faulkron felt his cheeks flush. He didn’t come here to fight, not technically. But he wasn’t gonna let this lady talk to him like that, no matter who she was. He’d take the challenge. And he definitely wasn’t gonna let her call him “kid”. Sure he was young for an elf, but not that young.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that at some point, most of the mercenaries had stopped their leisure activities to watch, and had even drawn a circle in the sand.
“I’m not a kid. And if you want to see skill, I’ll show you skill.”
Elikon chuckled. “Alright then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She threw him a wooden sparring sword, taking a wooden version of her own weapon from a rack just outside the circle. Then, she quickly got back into a fighting stance. He tried to get into his own stance, but before he could, the butt of Elikon’s spear swung towards his temple. He managed to duck, leaping to the side and readying the blade.
Elikon laughed. “Not bad, not bad.”
Before she could go on the offensive again, he stepped forward, slashing downward with a heavy swing. It was powerful, enough to send sand spraying when it hit the ground rather than its target. Elikon was surprisingly nimble for such a large woman, and she had already sidestepped.
He turned back towards her, just in time to deflect away a jab with the spear and make a quick swing of his own. This one she simply knocked away with her gauntlet, before continuing her assault.
The fight went on, both fighters attacking back and forth, blow after blow. Faulkron could feel himself wearing out, but Elikon kept going, barely even winded. After quite a few minutes of intense sparring, Faulkron was panting, sweat pouring down his face. Thankfully, the sun had set, and it was cooling off now, but his muscles were aching, and the temperature wasn’t helping him much now.
He watched as Elikon stalked forward, spear held aloft. Before he could make another attack, she spun her weapon, aiming to slam the shaft into his side. Before the hit could land, however, he caught the spear, using his other hand to swing his sword forward with all his weight. She twisted to dodge, but she wasn’t fast enough, and blade cracked across her chest. Quite literally, cracked. Faulkron watched in shock as the other half of the sword fell to the ground, Elikon laughing all the while. There was no evidence, save the broken sword, that he’d even hit her at all.
“This skin’s tough, but that was a good one! I like the spirit.” He almost thought it was over, until his legs were swept from under him. He slammed onto his back, hard. Elikon just laughed again, before she offered a hand to help him up. Defeated and exhausted, he accepted. She pulled him to his feet easily, clapping him on the back. “You could use some training still, but you’ve definitely got skill. The offer to join up still stands, if you wanna think about it. You did well. Now go get some rest, and drink some water.”
As Faulkron made his way out of the courtyard with his wounded pride in tow, he saw Jetra talking to two more mercenaries, where it looked like they had been watching the fight. They were all sitting around a table with some game pieces scattered across it. Jetra stood as he approached, tossing him a cloth.
“If it makes you feel any better, it was at least one hell of a show.”
Faulkron sighed. “Not much, but thanks.” He turned to the other two people at the table. “Who are they?”
The first one stood on his chair at being mentioned, hands on his hips, bringing him to just about eye level.
“I’m Fuego Tamir. Sorcerer, assassin, and baddest bitch around. ‘Sup.”
Faulkron looked over Fuego. The halfling was dressed in dark robes with flame designs on it, and the chest and arms were open, showing off a startling amount of tattoos. The biggest one, right on the center of his chest, was a large stylized skull with “RUN” written beneath it, right between two small identical u-shaped scars just under his chest muscles. His hair was dyed a fiery red at the ends, and held up in a ponytail, shaved at the sides of his head to make room for more tattoos. He had a scimitar on his hip that also had crimson flame designs carved onto it.
“I’m Faulkron. And who are you?” He looked over to the blue dragonborn warrior who sat in the other chair. Her scales were a vibrant blue, but they were covered with various cloths that looked suited for desert travel. A khopesh hung off of their left hip.
“I am Shakari. You fought well, Faulkron.”
Jetra nodded. “They’re headed inland too. We were talking, and it looks they’ve both got experience with both magic and the blade. Figured they might join us. Could always use some extra swords.”
Faulkron nodded. “Ah, good idea. If you all don’t mind though, I’m going to go recover. Jetra?”
“I’ll see you in the morning. Come find me at the Spinning Compass, by the marketplace. We can devise a plan then.”
“See you then.”
Fuego called out as well. “When you need to find us, we’ll be here.”
Faulkron nodded in response. He eventually recollected himself, and began heading off to find some place to rest. Before he could leave the compound though, he was approached by Alejandro, who was smiling and holding two flasks.
“Hola! You did pretty good out there. I haven’t been here long, but it seemed you made a lot of good impressions. Most of the warriors that spar with Elikon last half the time you did.”
Faulkron faltered a bit, not expecting such immediate praise from Alejandro, or to be told he actually did well.
“Well, I’m sure you did really well too.”
“I’d like to say I did, but it wasn’t quite as spectacular as your fight.”
Alejandro paused a moment. “I’m sure Elikon told you drink water, would you like some?” he asked, holding out the other flask.
“Yeah, she did. Thank you.” Faulkron gladly accepted, gulping down the water. After he finished, he stood for a moment, unsure what to say next.
“I... you wanted to talk, right?”
Alejandro nodded. “Sí, I was thinking maybe we could go somewhere with less rules and less deadly weapons, and talk a while? Maybe have some drinks?”
“That... yes! It sounds good, yes.” Faulkron was starting to stumble over himself a bit, still a little tired and kind of in shock that this was happening at this specific moment.
“Good! Come then. If you haven’t already heard, the wine here is to die for. It’s one of the things I’ve got to give the company credit for, they did pick a good city for a bunch of thirsty mercenaries to revel in.”
With that, Faulkron followed Alejandro back to the pavilion in the marketplace he’d seen earlier, which was now far busier. They drank and talked for a while, and by the time midnight came around they were both grinning like idiots. They danced with the music as the night went on, occasionally bumping into each other or other dancers. Eventually, Faulkron stepped away from the pavilion a few paces, Alejandro just behind him.
Faulkron took a deep breath of the night air to clear his mind. He was far more relaxed now, and he was enjoying his night with Alejandro immensely. They had talked about a lot of things, from fighting to weapons to the ocean to the wine. Overall, it was going quite well. Suddenly, he had an idea. “Let’s go on a walk. It’s way too hot and loud here, and I’m sure it looks nice here at night.”
“I agree, it is perhaps a little crowded. And the city does look quite nice at night, though I’m not certain that it’d compare with what I’ve already seen.” Alejandro said it nonchalantly, but there was a flirtatious tone in his voice as he regarded Faulkron.
Faulkron could only hope Alejandro couldn’t tell how hard he was blushing.
Decision made, they began to walk off, snaking their way out of the crowded pavilion, through the marketplace and out into the silent torchlit streets.
They walked along for a while, enjoying the fresh air, the tapestry of shining stars in the clear night sky, and each other’s company, letting the effects of the wine trickle away.
Eventually, Faulkron turned to Alejandro. It was late, and he started to ramble on before he could stop himself.
“Okay, so I know it’s late so you should probably head back to the camp and sleep. I will be fine, because I’m elvish, but you need your sleep, you know? This has been fun, please don’t get me wrong, I really liked it, but I don’t wanna keep you up and-“
He was halted by Alejandro’s finger on his lips.
“Hush. It’s alright. I can sleep in. It isn’t that much of an issue. Plus, they don’t exactly allow swordplay in the compound barracks.” Alejandro winked at the word ‘swordplay’.
Faulkron felt his face flush again as he caught the meaning.
“Oh. Good point. Okay. Yeah. I mean, if you say so. Are you sure?” Faulkron laughed a little with nervousness. How in all the worlds is he still interested?
Alejandro grinned, then slowly leaned forward, and placed a small kiss on Faulkron’s jaw. Faulkron felt it almost like a distant breeze, and his face got warm again.
Alejandro smiled at him again. “There’s more where that came from, you know.”
And Faulkron wasn’t about to say no to that.
With that, the two wandered off into the night.
Part 1 | Part 3