Jorheim's mug came down with a crash, "Issa damn hero's nowadays," he drawled. "No damn good at heroing."
The lads gathered round the bar grunted their agreement.
Silas, a nimble pine tree of a man with a large, crooked nose, and beady eyes, nodded solemnly. "When I healed for the realm, my talents brought me in contact with the finest heroes this land had to offer. Gaewyn the Broad, Fulrheim the Wicked, and Sir Antowin, those were adventurers of the highest quality." Hs large nose and pinched mouth gave his words a pinched, aristocratic quality--traits rarely welcomed in such an establishment, let alone praised--yet they were accepted with row of enthusiastic nodding.
"Life was better on the other side." Old Callum summarized. "Afore they started organizing the little 'uns together. Teachin' 'em as one. Bad practice." He lowered his head, shaking it slowly. His mouth remained open and his eyes down, as if his next words had been carved in perpetuity on the bar, a grave warning for any brave enough to listen. But his lips smacked shut with a clap, only opening again when he raised his mug to them.
The abrupt end to his speech gave it a chilling quality. As if the old codger couldn't bring himself to explain any further.
The men gathered in Callywigs most nights. Recent news--the dirth in battles, felled monsters, and other acts of barbaric heroism--had hit them hard. If no one was getting split [intwain] by an axe, then something must be wrong.
"S'the young ins," Jorheim concluded. "No damn soul among em worth entering the Starlight." He glanced upward and in a single reverential motion, raised his glass toward the resting place of titans. "S'better that way, I suppose. Don't want 'em treating kitties like lions and sendin' em off to the Great Hall when they don't deserve no more'n a candle burning to remember them."
Another round of agreeable, contemplative nods.
"Like'in they used to." Grengal let his words settle. Sipping his beer, he let his eyes take their time drifting from face to face, waiting for someone to challenge him. He and Jorheim greeted the sun in the same year. Most men in Callywigs had seen the same number of moons as they. Give or take a few on either end.
Young Henson--who was not very young--and a few others belonged to the cohort Grengal had referenced. The children of the "used to." They had had friends who Jorheim might consider kittens.
The bar held its breath. Young Henson raised his mug to his lips, sipped his beer, then nodded as if coming to some secret agreement with himself. "Makes the true lions seem lesser, aye. A pity it happened. Cowan the Strong deserves be up on that wall." He indicated a bronze [relief] over the fireplace, heroes of old gathered round a large table, a hearty meal before them, a tableau of another famous image, "The Feast of the Gods," Young Henson should his head, "But he never will be. Cus'a too many kittens got let in along the way." He gulped bitterly from his mug.
Like branches unthawing after an overnight frost, heads began to rise and fall. "Aye, he was a good lad, Cowan. Never met him, but heard his stories told with vigor. A shame," Old Callum agreed. Then, raising his glass to The Great Beyond, drank deeply his respect. "A shame."
A susurrus of agreement as the rest of the room followed suit and drained their glasses.
"What I wouldn't give to show these young 'uns. Prove to them the old ways are right."
The bottoms of mugs slapped tables in support followed by a round of grunts.
Shifty Pete, shaking his head, threw down his cards. "They'd prolly be so scared at the sight of ya they go runnin home to their mommies."
A roar of laughter. Old Callum and Young Henson slapped their knees. Jorheim howled in joy at the thought. Even tall Silas snickered under his robes, his laughter coming out like a chattering of wooden teeth.
Romish lined up glasses and filled them. The bar's caretaker had bec
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Location A tavern
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Character A lithe doctor
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Sentence "Life was better on the other side."
Words Reach 600 words
Prop Include a card
Event Your character laughs uncontrollably
Character A wonderful caretaker
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