The bar patrons were dumbstruck. They argued among themselves for a few minutes until a slammed mug on the far table got their attention. “Blast it! If you would look at the man, you would see he is a seasoned warrior!” At the table, a older man in aged chainmail and a ratty tabard took a long drink of his mug. “State your kingdom son..” The knight remained silent, reminded that he gave up everything in pursuit of the true threat. “I am without a king.”
The bar nearly erupted in argument, but the old man suddenly stood and stifled the crowd with his salty demeanor and iron stare. “Then your code?” The Nameless Knight stood silent. A sudden horror crawled up the knights spine. What were the words?! I knew them just minutes ago. The memories seemed as a whisper. “I…keep faith. Protect the weak and defenseless. To live and die for glory. I acknowledge the gods and fear their power. To obey those placed in authority. To only speak the truth. Never refuse a challenge of an equal…” Struggling with the final verse, the old man raised his mug to the knight. “AND never turn my back upon a foe.”
With a final swig of his drink the old man threw down the mug, and pulled his shield and spear from under the table. “I’m with you lad. Though my bones are old, my code has never faltered.” Taking what little was in the bar, the patrons fashioned a makeshift shield out of oak board and the cauldron lid from the kitchen for the Nameless Knight.
The two leaped out of the bar, weapons at the ready. When he heard the door was secured, the old man marched forth. The Nameless Knight took to the right of the old man. As they moved, the hissing in the dark echoed through the town square. In just the few minutes they were inside, the sky had grown so dark that it seemed like night time. In a flash of lightning, the creature was spotted. Its reptilian form crawled down the side of the building quickly. Though not tall, its body was long. At least twelve feet in length. Its eyes opened and glowed a fearsome yellow. A long snout full of warped and dagger-like teeth cut its breath into a fearsome hiss. Stranger still was its six legs and sickly green scaly hide.
Before the two could share, it leaped the distance in an instant. The two separated, rolling to opposite sides of the thing. It turned its head towards the knight, letting out a low roar. The knight stepped back, trying to give a little distance for the old man and his spear. This unspoken tactic was clear to both men. Flank, then confuse, and go for a telling blow. But the creature had a plan of its own.
When the knight took another step, instead of following him, the creature belched up a thick bile. Using his makeshift shield, the knight blocked the majority of it. A moment later, the bile started to bubble and smoke as it ate through the iron lid in a terrifying speed. Using his broadsword, the knight cut the ropes fastening the shield to his arm. When he looked up, the creatures jaws were wide open and nearly upon him. Though it was only seconds, the world seemed to slow down to a near halt. At the last moment, the creatures head turned and deflected.
The creature was rammed in the back by the old man! Though his shield was now damaged, the creature bucked on the ground. “NOW!” the elder shouted. Taking the initiative, the Nameless Knight came down on the creatures head. With two hands, the knight rammed his blade through the creatures skull. It divided with surprising ease. “Elder, are you well?” The Nameless Knight shouted as he removed his sword.
“Nay. My pride… is broken.” The old man looked at the huge dent in his steel shield. “Were I a decade younger, I could have done this deed.” The knight helped the man back to his feet. “You are strong, elder. I respect you.” As the two examined the monster, war horns echoed through the streets. Suddenly, the creature lurched upright and scurried up the side of the building, back to the shadows.
“You killed it though…” The elder said. “I’ve never seen something take a blade to the brain and live.” Soon after, the guard and captain arrived. With a brief exchange, they explained the situation. Though the captain was displeased with the breaking of a peace bond, he let it by as self defense.
“Son, you have the look of a warrior, but you seem worn down.” The elder said as they left the scene. “You are right. I’ve just finished traveling here. Fatigue weighs heavily on me.” With a pat on the back, the old man chuckled. “Then you’ve more than earned the spare room at my home.”