Another Time – An Unfinished Short Story

This is a short story I started but never finished

The air was crisp and fevered, a very high temperature for a late fall day. Off in the distance, a female was conjuring magic out of the dust for her own amusement. She was dressed in a dark purple robe with the symbol of the local church centered within the area covering the small of her back. Her long black hair streamed over her shoulders, barely hiding the pale skin on her neck and the half-elven ears on her head. She turns and sees me watching her. I freeze.

“Do you enjoy watching maidens when they assume that they are alone,” she speaks in a tone that froze my blood so cold that I was afraid an icicle would penetrate my heart.

“No…uh..I..,” I stammered.

“Out with it you stupid fool, I do not have time for incompetence from beings that are intellectually beneath me stammering about. Do you wish to say something in your defense?” She says as she glares into my soul. I feel wetness coming from the crotch of my trousers, for a second I thought the lady had cut me until the pungent smell of urine hits my nostrils. Before I could get myself in any more trouble I run away.

I run for what seems to be an eternity but I finally make it back to the town I was staying in, the beautiful and safe Mizraith. I take a look at the prize, the reason I am here, a huge 20-pound diamond that sits upon the steeple of the Nogod temple. If I manage to swipe that gem I will be set for life. I might even manage to leverage the cash and become the richest man in the country. Then the king will ask to borrow money from me; of course, I would lend it to him, with the interest of course. The sun is beginning to set and my taste buds are yearning for a taste of ale. I head to the Cramped Pigeon and set myself on a bar stool preparing for a long night.

“What ale’s ya,” asks the bartender, a gruff figure of a dwarf

“Ale’s ya…I love that one Crom…every time I love that. What ale’s ya” says a drunken halfling down the bar.

“Never mind Creve,” Crom says. “What can I get for you tonight Mikel?”

“Crom my dear man, I think I am in love. Today in the forest I saw the most beautiful creature wandering. She was also one of the rudest characters I have met in my travels.”

“Do you know if this lass of yours is a local?”

“I would assume so, she had the mark of the Nogod temple upon her robe, tell me Crom—Are the priestesses of Nogod allowed to wed?”

“Mikel, my lucky bastard of a guest, they are allowed to marry, frolic, and have children. There is actually pretty little outlawed by the religion. So tell me what did the vision that you would want to warm your bed look like? Quite a few of the priestesses come in here from time to time. Perhaps I could arrange an introduction for you, the cost will only be naming your firstborn after me,” he says with a jovial smile.

“She was a half-elf, with black hair wearing a purple robe with eyes the color of….”

“The color of the greenest grass,” Crom says cutting me off with a scared look crossing into his eyes. “or the color of the truest goblin blood.”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“I mean that you should give up this girl and leave town immediately,” he states as the color starts to drain from his face. “For your own good forget the girl and put her into your past.”

“Why, who is this woman”

“Her name is Bethany Stronstrom, High Priestess of Nogod, and Protector of Mizraith.”

“Bethany Stronstrom, as in the town ruler of this city?”

“One and the same.”

“Why should I be afraid, is she this cruel and unjust tyrant who kills men who so much as look in her direction?”

“Not quite, actually, she is one of the least strict rulers in the land, she travels quite often and leaves a priest by the name of Tomas in charge, a friendly sort of bloke.”

“Then why should I just walk away?”

“First off, any man who has tried to court has always mysteriously disappeared. Secondly, she is devoted to her beliefs and if you do not think like her she believes you are beneath her. She has no friends within the city walls save one, a dwarf by the name of Quinn. I have even heard that good nature fellow say a few harsh words about her. The only other people close to her live-in Thornwood Keep, which is about a two-week ride away. For your own safety and sanity, you should just forget about her.”

“My dear men, the Gods have stricken my heart with a disease that has no cure. I swear by it now I will leave this town with my beauty,” referring to Bethany and the diamond.

“I hope you have led a fulfilling life, Mikel.”

The dawn creeps into my room like an unwanted visitor. I try to cover my head with a thin sheet, but the light pierces through my flimsy shield. As I open my eyes and can see a diamond from here. I purposely chose this room just for that purpose, so every morning in which I have been lax the night before, I would be tortured by the site of the diamond shining down in all of its glory. I close the window shutters and go back to sleep.
It’s been about two hours since my battle with dawn and I am finally preparing myself to go out and embrace the day. I head downstairs to the tavern and order two eggs over easy from the waitress. Then I sit back and rest my eyes, which are still in their early morning drowsy state. Something clatters down on the table in front of me and I notice that I have drowsed off. Barely opening my eyes I look down to where the noise had come from, my eggs, here are my beautiful eggs. It might just be a good morning after all.

After finishing my wonderful breakfast, I drop my gold piece down and head out and around the town. It is time to start asking around town about this “Quinn” fellow that Bethany is friends with. I notice a dwarven shopkeeper selling candles scented with fragrant oils and decided that he was as good a place as any to start.

“Excuse me, Merchant”

“Yes, young sir?”

“I’m looking for a dwarf by the name of Quinn, a friend of Bethany Stronstrom.”

“Quinn, is quite easy to find, head down to the Guard Master Station, ask to speak to the City’s Chief Constable of Mizraith and they’ll fix you right up……now that will be 5 gold pieces.”

“Five gold pieces for what?”

“Well by seeing the way your jaw dropped, it’ll be 5 gold pieces to keep my mouth shut. Trust me, I know the look of dishonesty anywhere and I know your around here to only cause trouble, I’m just offering to help you cover your own tracks.”

“Hardly, go about your business merchant”

“Ok, but when you see Quinn, tell him that his godson Sarif Maxim said hi.”

I walk quietly away five gold pieces poorer than I was ten minutes ago with nothing but a couple of copper’s worth of candles to show for it. Damn cheating dwarf, I’ll have my revenge on him yet. Godfather Quinn….that knowledge might be worth the 5 gold pieces itself.