From the wizard who brought you the award-winning This Huscarl (100% of one reviews were positive) comes another story inspired by Pirates Vikings and Knights!
Normally, a day behind the bar of a tavern involved serving drinks and collecting money. Sometimes a patron would drink too much, and attempt to buy more ale. Knowing what happens when somebody drinks too much, a responsible bartender is obligated to turn the drunken fool away. On the first day, this is almost what happened...
It had been a quiet day, what with the unexplained and sudden appearance of dark clouds and light rain. Most people had decided to quickly return to their homes, as the rain showed no signs of letting up or going away. There were still a few people in the tavern, quietly drinking away, when suddenly...
The tavern door opened to reveal an old man in a green shirt and an iron helmet with a spear on his back. He looked... Tired. He walked up to the apron-wearing bartender, and asked for some ale.
The bartender gave him some, and accepted a few gold coins in exchange. Nothing unusual so far. Warriors came in all the time. Loud, obnoxious, and eager to part with their... Earnings...
Although, they weren't usually so old. Nor did they usually go to an empty table and sulk. This is what caught the attention of the bartender.
After the man's third mug, the bartender casually overheard the man mumble something about "Valhalla" and something else about "Odin."
Now, loud and obnoxious warriors were always coming in, and it wasn't hard to overhear various stories that sometimes involved those exact names. The stories that did involve things like Odin and Valhalla invariably involved hordes of blood-thirsty Vikings.
Then it hit the bartender. An obvious weapon. Foreign words. A strange accent. He quickly checked the coins that he'd been given, and found that they were from all over the place. That was it then. This old man was a Viking.
What was he going to do? What was the Viking going to do?! He couldn't simply ask him to leave, he might burn the place down! But he could have done that first... He might burn it down in a drunken rage! Something had to be done! But what?
The bartender subtly retreated as far away from the old man as possible, hiding behind the the decorative beer keg on the counter. This didn't help him for long, however.
"Innkeeper! Bring me more ale!"
If there was one thing the bartender knew, it was that you didn't keep drunken warriors waiting when they asked you to bring them more ale. So he filled up another mug, and brought it to the Viking's table.
The Viking accepted the ale, and gave the bartender some more of those mis-matched coins. Just as the bartender was turning around to beat a hasty retreat, one of the tavern's more average patrons spoke up:
"Oi, you're not from around 'ere, are you?"
The bartender rapidly picked up speed as he nonchalantly sped behind the bar once more.
Things did not look good back at the tables. The Viking had decided to stand upon his none-too-stable legs, instead of simply turn around.
"I come from the land of ice and snow." he said in his deep old-man voice.
Taking this as a kind of challenge, the other man stood up.
"What, you're from Iceland? You one of those Vikings?"
Taking this as yet another challenge, the old man took a shaky step forward and said:
"No, I am not a Viking. For Vikings die in glorious battle, and I have not died yet!"
The Viking was quite obviously annoyed at this foolish young man, who was only just beginning to see how stupid angering a drunken Viking really was.
He began to stammer, but failed to speak as the reality of his terrible idea caught up to him. His eyes darted around, looking for... ANYTHING. He eventually located the front door.
The Viking was not caught off guard when the man charged at him, but he was drunk, and old, and he was also expecting a punch, rather than a push. His partial dodge worked against him as he went down to the floor.
The door slammed into it's frame, and was left swaying in the wind as the slightly-drunk man dashed off into the night. The bartender hesitated for only a moment, before hurrying over to the fallen Viking, and helping the old man back to his still shaky feet.
He didn't get a chance to do or say anything before the Viking grabbed his spear, and charged out after the other man, shouting to him:
"Face me! I'm just a harmless old man! Come on, you veakling!"
The bartender was glad to have the Viking out of his establishment, but he couldn't shake off the feeling that this wasn't over.
He had no idea of just what was coming next.
On the second day, a cold wind was blowing, in addition to the already excruciatingly mind-numbing grey skies and drizzle.
Everything was normal. Until the flaming arrow flew through the front window.
Being a man of many drinks, the bartender had some water on hand to douse the flames. No sooner had a calamitous inferno been averted than a man carrying a bow rushed in.
He looked around frantically for a moment, before addressing the bartender:
"Hark! Has thou perchance witnessed any a- oh there it is..." he cut himself off when he noticed the arrow that was lodged firmly in the wall. He pried it loose, and placed it back in his quiver.
"Bit of a close call eh what? Ta ta!" Said the strangely high-pitched Archer as he made a move for the door. He didn't quite make it, however, because another man clad in a full suit of armor pushed it open and exclaimed to the room at large that:
"We have prevailed!" He thrust his sword skyward. "Huzzah!"
The Archer seemed inspired by this turn of events. "Huzzah indeed my friend! I believe this calls for a drink! Bar-keep! A round of ale, for everyone!"
It wasn't too long before they were merrily singing away.
What with all the drinks they were buying for everybody, it wasn't much longer before the other few people present had joined in.
All in all, despite the flaming arrow, it had been a good day. The two warriors had left shortly after everyone else, slurring something about seeking the REAL Holy Grail.
As he locked his doors and settled in to sleep, the bartender didn't notice the wind getting a little stronger, or the rain getting a little harder.
As a tavern owner, he sometimes found a person that was in need of a room for a night. Or a day. On the third day, somebody was looking for a room, but not necessarily to sleep in it.
Almost nobody except his nearest customers had turned up that day. The weather was just too bad. This didn't stop one man from turning up though.
He was wearing a deep red waistcoat, and he sported a moustache. He also had the most charming smile...
"Ah, senor. Is there a room for rent here?"
The bartender was caught off-guard by the man's deep voice and apparently-Spanish nationality, but he was only stunned for a moment before replying:
"Y-yes. But it's not free."
The Spaniard rolled his mesmerizing eyes and procured a single solid-gold coin. It was larger than average.
"Er... That should do." He said, taking the coin. "It's the room at the end of the hall upstairs."
The man-with-a-tan nodded and casually took to the stairs. The bartender was completely oblivious to the man's guns. Must have been that dashing smile...
Of course, without the man's face to distract him, it was easy enough to hear the periodic bangs that kept coming down through the ceiling. Being a man of drinks, rather than violence, he wasn't very happy that a paying customer was using his tavern as a sniper's perch. He resolved to go up there and give him a piece of his mind.
Not once as he climbed the stairs, did he doubt that his idea was a good one.
"Hey! I didn't sell you this room so you could shoot people from it! Either put the gun down, or... Or..."
That is, until he actually tried to speak to the gunner, who simply glared at him from his comfortable spot by the window. THEN he had a doubt or two.
"... How about... I just shoot Y-"
Thus, the second arrow in as many days entered the tavern. The dashingly-handsome man was now as dead as a dead man. The bartender shoved him out of the window after he got over the initial shock of being threatened in his own bar. Wait a moment...
He forgot to take the man's gold coins! Tsk. At least he didn't get shot.
After something good happens to somebody, they might decide to celebrate with a pint. Or a mug. Or two. Or, in some cases, become a one-man party. This is what happened on the fourth day.
Thunder could now be heard in the distance. The bartender had decided to clean up his cellar. Just in case things got even worse. It's not like he was going to miss any customers, seeing as there weren't any.
"OI! Where's the rum 'round 'ere?!"
Except that one.
He jogged up the stairs in an orderly manner and greeted his new customer. A short man in a red and white stripey shirt, dirty trousers and a keg on his back.
"Yes? Can I get you something to drink?"
"Aye! Fill this up, would ya?"
The man tossed a two-handled cup to the bartender. It didn't look all that special, but he filled it up anyway.
Not only did the filthy bare-foot man not pay him, but he got progressively more drunk as time went on. He got louder, crazier, more active and more jovial with each increasingly-inaccurate swig.
Just before the bartender ran out of patience, the red-capped man sat bolt upright from his position on the floor, looked directly through the front door, grabbed a pistol from seemingly no-where, and charged out the door with a cry of:
The bartender's mood picked up considerably, even if he was slightly befuddled. He became even more befuddled when he noticed the cup that had been left behind by that crazy man.
You see, it was still full.
Intrigued, the bartender approached the cup. Far from it's uninteresting appearance earlier, it was now literally GLOWING... He reached out to it...
*BARTENDER HAS GAINED THE GROG CUP FOR THE PIRATES*
He didn't know what just happened, what it meant, or why it happened at all, but he DID know that it wasn't good. No matter how much healthier he felt. All too soon he was proved right by a voice outside:
"Ah ha! The salty scum is hiding in the tavern! Men! To me!"
They were coming for him! Without hesitation, he fled down to his cellar and locked it's door. There he waited.
"Face me coward, or else I shall rend this door with mine sword!"
He didn't budge.
With that, the cellar's door was unceremoniously ruined by a large two-handed sword.
"I have you now, filthy pira-... What's this? Bar keep? Why do you have the Pirate's Trinket?"
"I-I-I-I don't know! That man just left it here! I don't want it! What do I do!?"
"You unhand the wretched thing, and leave it be!"
He dropped it immediately.
*PIRATES HAVE LOST THE GROG CUP*
"Th-that's it? Really? I just had to drop it?"
"Aye, now try not to let me catch you holding the weapons of the enemy again."
The cup had disappeared, right in front of his eyes!
"Oh, it's always vanishing. Black magic no doubt. Worry not my good fellow, for I shall seek it out in God's name. Farewell!"
The Knight turned smartly on his well-armored foot, and left.
The bartender felt that he needed a strong drink...
On the fifth day, the rain had become significantly stronger, as had the wind. Far from a dark night, lightning was crashing around the town like a drunkard in a cart drawn by none-too sober horses.
The bartender was not the least bit startled when the Archer and Knight came rushing into his tavern, again.
"Hail! Might we evade the storm awhile?"
He wasn't too keen on letting them stay, but it WAS a tavern.
"Very well. There are rooms upstairs and a cellar through that door. If you want a drink, then you'll have to stay in here."
"Excellent! I am most surely deserving of a bed after this dreadful business. This should pay for it."
He gave the bartender some coins. They were the usual currency. A refreshing change.
Just as the Knights reached the top of the stairs and started planning how to best defend the area, the door opened again.
"Brothers, this way! We can take refuge in this place!"
That voice... That BEARD! It was the old man from a few days ago!
"We should be FIGHTING! Not RUNNING AWAY!"
"We cannot fight in such a storm, those damned Pirates would only fool us into striking each other."
Another one!? Between the increasing sound of the storm and the three Vikings, the bartender was almost overwhelmed!
"At least Thor is lending us a hand! Ah haa!"
"Aye. I want to be far, FAR away from those amateurs when they are struck down."
"Quickly, inside here!"
The eldest was beckoning the other two down into the cellar.
"Running away AND hiding... This makes me MAD!"
He certainly looked mad, but he still followed his companions.
No sooner had the door to the cellar shut than the door to the outside opened once more, and revealed another old man, this time in a red coat and a tricorne. He didn't look happy, or the slightest bit out of place. He was closely followed by the short man from yesterday, and the Spanish man from the day before.
"Are ye sure they came in here, boy?"
"Yes, and- OI! You stole our grog!"
"Oh ho, it's you! I forgot to pay you for the room..."
Just as the devilishly-handsome sniper pulled out his pistol, a creak was heard from the stairs.
"Ah ha! We meet again, pirates! Only ones such as yourselves would care to threaten defenseless barkeepers!"
Before the Pirates could formulate a cutting-edge retort, the cellar door opened to reveal the largest of the three Vikings.
"I thought I heard you, and now I have you! VALHALLA!"
The Berserker charged, the Archer shot, the Pirates dived, the Heavy Knight fell down the stairs, and the bartender hid behind the counter.
Thus began the battle, of the breakable tavern.