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The tavern was busy, as usual. The fire was roaring, and the serving wenches were run off their feet.

Arnold led a goat up to the bar, trying not to look into the darker corners of the room.

“Two pints of best, please, Burt,” he said to the barkeep.

Burt frowned. “What’s with the goat? You know I don’t usually allow livestock…”

Arnold sighed. “It’s not a goat, Burt. It’s Trev. Some bloody adventurer wizard did this to him.”

Burt looked down at the goat.

“Sorry, Trev,” he said as he pulled the ale. “Shall I put this in a dish for you?”

The goat bleated, which Burt took as an affirmative.

Arnold paid with a shrug. “It should wear off soon enough,” he said. “These things usually do.”

Arnold and Trev made their way over to one of the tables in the brighter part of the taproom. At first, Trev tried to get up onto a seat, but he couldn’t co-ordinate properly with four legs and hooves, so he settled down on the floor and Arnold put his beer dish in front of him.

“Alright, Arnold!”

He looked up. Alf and his brother Dave had just limped in, blackened from head to toe.

“By all the Gods,” Arnold exclaimed. “What happened to you two?”

“Bloody adventurers,” Alf said, sitting down gingerly as Dave went to fetch them drinks. “Burnin’ arrows, fire bombs, magic fireballs, the ‘ole lot. We din’t stand a chance.”

Arnold nodded. “Tell me about it. Me and Trev here, we caught ’em trying to break into the Baron’s castle.”

Dave arrived at the table. “Trying,” he asked. “Did you-”

“Holy saint’s knickers,” Alf cried. “Did you actually stop the buggers?”

Arnold laughed. “Hell, no. They had one of those sneaky rogue types, she stabbed me right in the kidneys.”

Alf and Dave stared at him.

“But you- you look fine!”

Arnold sat back. “Strange thing, that. You know those little red potions we carry around?”

Alf and Dave nodded.

“You ever tried drinking one?”

They stared.

“Seriously. Turns out that they’re some kind of health potion or something.”

There was a sudden popping sound as Trev turned back into a man.

“Bloody hell, mate, why did nobody tell us that before? The number of fights we could’ve won if we’d been drinking those things!”

© Kari Fay

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