A familiar chill in the air crept in again. The shades of crimson and gold along the horizon receded. The silence is only cut by the melodies of the crickets hiding amongst the vast, wavy seas of grasses, and the rhythms of the croaking frogs, congregating on the shores of the expansive lake, glistening in the moonlight. A scene so serene and pristine has for centuries, as it will for centuries to come, played host to countless occasions of strife between men. Were it not for the cleansing, frequent rains of the Plains of Thyrin, the lush greens of the low laying shrubs and the beautiful blues of the wild flowers would be forever tarnished by the blood of brave warriors and sinister rogues alike.
On this unassuming night, the only unnatural anomaly casting its presence amongst the landscape is the radiant glow of a warm campfire, in front of a crude pitched tent. A man, in a sense of the term, warms and rubs his hands together over the flames, which dance and cast reflections on his gleaming, steel chestplate and gauntlets. Undoubtedly, he, who stands at a common height, keeps his dark hair unkempt and his armor nicely polished, has seen his share of hardship with his striking green eyes. In the lands of Thyrin though, “hardship” is all too common.
Many scholars, philosophers, theologians, priests and even wizards like to entertain their impressive minds with pensive thought as to why so many young men must fall over dead with a blade in their gut, why so many peasant girls won't have enough food to keep them alive another harsh winter, or why another “great” king must dawn a crown still bloodied from the mortal wounds of his predecessor's assassination. However, those of a less intellectual upbringing, or simply those who deny the call of the quill, the gods, and the arcane in favor of a cold glass of mead and a warm smile from a wench know that there are not answers, nor questions, but only an instinctual drive to stay out of a grave for another season.
While his youthful face would make the naive, or those simply from a land of far greater prospering, think he is an individual of innocence, this is not the case. His thoughts focus on things of far greater importance than age, and thus his birth date is unknown to him, but he is a young man, maybe even a boy, if manhood wasn't unquestionably recognized at sword bearing age in these lands. Regardless of how many moons ago he was born, he shows an uncanny prowess with a blade. Such skill has probably delivered him from countless encounters, to this day in early autumn.
As the moon rises and sleep beckons the young man, something stirs in the distance. An approaching figure walks down the dirt path along the lake shore in the young man's direction. Has another traveler decided to foolishly make a route through this land? The young man, his camp a slight distance off the path, looked on, carefully observing the person traversing the road. His hand lay on the handle of his sword in its sheathe, the other on his left hip defiantly. As the traveler grew closer, he decided to make his way down to the road, to do what he has done countless times before. Hopefully it would be a simple transaction.
The young man, standing ever so proud and ready in the middle of the road with the lake in the background and the moon overhead, felt no fear as the traveler grew closer, until they were at speaking distance. “Halt! This road is under the protection of he who stands before you. A modest fee of ten silver is demanded. Don't try anything funny!” Said the man in a brave, audible and clear tone. The traveler, who can now be spotted as having a slender figure underneath a dark gray, hooded robe remained still, showing no indication of compliance. “Didn't you hear me?! Simply hand over your silver. I don't want this to get ugly!” The highwayman grew frustrated.
“Excuse me, dear, but I believe you are making a terrible mistake” Finally replied the hooded, now clearly feminine traveler, as she lowered her hood, revealing an attractive, youthful face. She has light blonde hair, and eyes more blue than the costliest of sapphires. The young highwayman looked astonished to see a woman traveling these roads at night, but it didn't make a difference. He is to have his spoils, that much he is determined to achieve! “Listen, I don't want this to get bloody. If you don't have the coin, just give me whatever you have. Jewelery, amulets, potions, what have you.” The young man looked the woman squarely in the face. “And if I refuse?” The woman, clearly defiant and unnerved by this robbery, crossed her arms and returned the glare. After a brief pause, the metallic sound of a well sharpened sword being drawn from a sheathe was heard. The young man, with blade in hand, began his approach of the uncooperative woman, only to be frozen by the easily distinguishable click of a flintlock pistol being readied. The woman, who has pulled a finely engraved and well crafted pistol from her robe, aimed at the still highwayman with her right hand. In the course of only a few seconds, the woman, starring down the young robber with a smile, blew him a kiss with her free left hand, and pulled the trigger. The powder was ignited, and within time for a brief thought, the projectile was fired. At this range, accuracy was guaranteed, and the lead ball easily penetrated the fine, well cleaned and polished armor worn by the late highwayman. Grasping his chest, he fell over, dead.
Obviously pleased by the way the events of tonight unfolded, the smiling woman let out a whistle. After a few moments of the woman standing alone above the bleeding corpse of the dead bandit, a crude horse drawn cart appeared in the distance, and before long, the horse, cart, and driver all were present on the road alongside the femme fatale. The driver, an older man in his middle ages, wore the same dark gray robes as the woman standing alongside the cart. The woman nodded to the man sitting atop the cart's driver's seat, and he disembarked. Hastefully, the two loaded the corpse onto the cart, and with a motion of the reins, the cart sped away, thus ending the events of the night with a death, as so many nights have ended before in these lands.