“I don’t know what to make of this.” One man muttered to his friend, both sitting by the bar counter; presumably for easier access to the innkeeper and the establishment’s supply of ale. “Two of them ambushed my brother-in-law the other day. They let him go because his traps were empty, but they warned him that next time they wouldn’t be so lenient. I spoke to the City Guard, they said they have no influence outside the city. That we should hire mercenaries if we want protection. The mercenaries refuse to touch any work related to this. The pay is not worth the risk, they say. Well, how are we supposed to make a living? If I lay my hands on the man behind these… Wolves… I’ll give him a piece of my mind.”
“Don’t be stupid. Those Wolves are trained assassins their leader would destroy you without effort.” The other man reasoned. “We’ll just have to make do with hunting other prey and leave the wolf population in peace. What else can we do, fight them? We can’t exactly hide the practice from them, those people know the forest better than we ever will.”
“Who the hell gave them the authority to say where or what we are allowed to hunt? The forest does not belong to them.”
“And who do you reckon should own the forests, friend? The Cities?” A young lady questioned suddenly. She had been quietly listening to the man ranting to his friend about how he was being denied his livelihood by not being allowed to set traps in the woods or shoot his crossbow on the wolves residing there, as the new leader of the Wolfpack had decreed the animals to be off limits to hunters and that his assassins would actively pursue anyone who slaughtered a wolf in their forest. The demand for wolf fur had increased in the past couple of years and the hunters had a considerable increase of income for slaying the animals. Surely, they wouldn’t profit so greatly now, but they would not starve. “The wolves are considered spiritual guardians of the Valcrest forest since the Gods were still known to walk these lands. They are sacred animals as far as the assassins are concerned; they call themselves The Wolfpack for a reason, yes? I personally think it’s a fair request on their part that these animals are not harmed.”
The Angry Hunter turned in his seat to see who was this young girl, so casually injecting herself into the conversation as though it was any of her business. “The forests belong to no one, Little Girl. They are unclaimed territory.”
“Are they? For what I’ve seen, they’ve been more than expertly claimed.” The girl responded with an amused spark to her blue eyes as she moved from her corner table to sit by the angered man at the bar. She had been wearing a hooded cloak which did a wonderful job of making her blend in to the environment of the bar, but as she waved the barkeep for a drink she let the hood fall to reveal long red hair that flowed past her shoulders, which seemed to catch the attention of many patrons of the Inn. “Tell me then, Sir… This man who leads the assassins… What would you say to him if you were face to face?”
“I would say that if he would like us to stop hunting in his forests, as he claims they are, perhaps he should refrain from murdering our citizens.” The hunter muttered.
“Maybe he would argue that if your citizens wish for the freedom to spill blood in his soil then maybe your City Guard should extend his clan the same courtesy. That would be fair wouldn’t it?” The girl chuckled softly, seeming to already know what the man’s response would be to her hypothetical.
“One cannot compare hunting down a wild animal to taking a human life.” The Reasonable Hunter spoke instead of his friend, probably sensing how impolite the man’s response would have been. “It’s not the same thing.”
“Maybe not.” The girl agreed. “There is an hypocrisy however, in expecting others to follow the laws in your territory and consider it within your right to ignore their customs and laws while in theirs. The assassins suffer the consequences if caught killing in your city, violating your laws, so should you be if caught disrespecting theirs. Whose fault is it if they are better in upholding the law in their territory than your City Guard will ever be?”
“Who the hell do you think you are, Girl?” The Angry Hunter questioned, seeming to lose whatever was left of his patience.
“Oh, I know who I am. Do you know where you are? This is neutral grounds, so no one is to be harmed here unless absolutely necessary, but I reckon you should be informed of who owns this fine establishment, Kind Sir.”
Both hunters seemed a bit alarmed as several of the patrons stood up at the young woman’s words, exposing sheathed weapons along their waists in warning. “I see…” The Angry Hunter growled under his breath as he looked the girl straight in the eyes. “So you are what, his daughter or something? Wife?”
The girl laughed softly at the man, reaching for the drink she had left untouched and taking a quick sip from it before replying simply. “No. The Alpha has no daughter, or wife.”
“Then who are you to speak on his behalf?” The Angry Hunter challenged.
The girl sighed softly, choosing to finish her drink this time before answering the man’s question, an eerie silence lingered in the bar as she stalled her response, slowly and quietly sipping the beverage. As she finished, she calmly stood and turned to face the man. “No one speaks for the Alpha. That said, the Alpha has been made aware of your protests, my good citizen… Sit down…” The girl muttered in a tone that was uncharacteristically aggressive as the man motioned to stand and defy her, her right hand automatically retrieving a dagger and embedding it into the wood of the man’s seat, dangerously near his crotch. “I know what you are thinking… Your alcohol filled brain is saying ‘she’s just a puny little girl, I can take her’, but I’ll have you know right now that you can’t. Are you familiar with the Wolf Hunters? They were a different kind of hunter than you, Sir, they hunted a different type of Wolf. They were only seven or eight people, but they nearly brought us down… They were the toughest, meanest, badasses Valcrest will ever see… And they thought, as you did just now, that they could take me. I’m still here, that should tell you how that ended. Now… I’ve listened to your arguments, and my opinion on the matter is that you’d be wise to heed your friend’s advice and make do with what we give you permission to kill and be happy with it. Because he’s right, I can destroy you without effort and now I know your face. I’ve caught your scent. So you better wipe the scum off your shoes and paint a grateful smile on your face before you even consider stepping foot in my home again, because rest assured we will be watching you at every step you take. Am I being clear?” The girl didn’t wait for the man to answer as she pulled her dagger from the wooden stool and sheathed it somewhere that was hidden underneath her cloak. Before turning to leave she smiled at the two men. “Have a pleasant afternoon.”
Written in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/daily-prompt-brilliant-disguise/
Assassins are such trolls, are they not? 😛