The First Tavern

When the first settlers arrived to Vintrius, the First Tavern was their residence. Through the years, good managements had made the place an attraction to travelers from all places, being between the road to the castle of the baron and the main city. With the rampant civil war, news of rebel raiders making their way had emptied all the trestle tables and the clean mugs were lined on the counter. Carla and Rolf had of course not opened that day. They were in their bedroom because Rolf did not want to leave their lives’ work behind. They were praying the armies would walk past, but the tavern had been markedly a favorite place for visits from barons across the years and trophies of past wars lined the walls, an attraction to foreign ambassadors.

Their bedroom in the third floor had a window that overlooked to the road and they could see the smoke rising from the castle, and saw as the mob brought the baron and the baroness to be executed. Carla had sobbed as she saw her confidant and friend’s head roll on the ground and then be presented to the crowds; she awaited her fate hopelessly, sat on her bed. She wanted to escape but her husband would not leave the tavern and there was no way to convince him otherwise. He had shouted that he would never leave that place. He wanted to die there.

When they came it was a group of just seven men and they stopped outside to talk amongst themselves. Carla couldn’t see them but she could hear them. “…gonna buy my pa some fine noble food with this,” a rough one commented between dry chuckles.

The others laughed and one young voice excitedly said, “Ow, nay, did ya’ see the silks in the chest uv’ the lady? I got my wife these.“ After a brief pause, there was a general air of surprise.

“I just got coins,” the rough one sounded disappointed.

“Well, we can see if we can change that,” one that had never spoke before spoke. Silence.

The door opened. Carla and Rolf exchanged looks and the merchant man hugged his wife, both of them seated on the bed. “Whatever happens, Carla, I love you,” he whispered in a subdued tone; he did not expect this to be real. He did not expect them to actually come in here. They were out of their mind. “We will meet our children and the Lord now if everything goes well.”

Carla looked at him as he parted to get his stick and clutched it with both hands, staring to the door, awaiting. They were taking their time downstairs, moving everything. Metallic clatters, wooden chairs falling to the ground, coins being poured into bags, they tried to leave enough bounty for them to bore themselves downstairs but they didn’t and their steps approached the stairs after they filled their bags with all they had earned in decades. The doorknob twisted and one of them crossed the threshold.

BAM! The end of Rolf’s stick hit the first to enter in the face while Carla rushed to claw at the immediate second as they had planned. The rough-voiced man looked thinner than they had expected and had several scars that spoke of his past battles but she managed to sink a finger in his eyes. A third one came and she tried to kick him in the crotch before she managed to drop him to the ground; the three men shoved her and gripped her still and a fist found her nose. “Aah!” she spitted out, biting at whatever he could find: a wrist. After the shout of the man whom she couldn’t see in her frenzy, Another fist found her jaw and it ringed her ears. The third set of knuckles finding her jaw was too much and she fell to the ground. She could feel blood flowing out of her nose. She still heard Rolf’s stick slamming them, still fighting, and when she looked up she saw as he was tackled by the fifth of the seven to enter the room. They had been shorted only by three.

Then, she heard as they punched him unconscious, groans, spits and blood plowed out of his nose, out of his mouth, that mouth she knew she would miss when he was killed and later when they took what only he had took from her on that bed that once had been theirs. They took their turns at her and when she was left aching they slashed her throat, condemning her a traitor without the baron’s scepter to confirm it. The revolution was traveling to Moungrey, one of the many areas that were agreed to be used as stronghold by the revolution until the year passes.

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