The Adventures of Calan Stonebridge Part Four
by, 11-03-2012 at 05:15 PM (819 Views)
This is Part Four of the text only version of the Adventures of Calan Stonebridge
Calan Stonebridge wondered how much pain the human body could endure before it simply quit. He had spent the last unknown amount of hours cramped into an uncomfortable shape clinging to the bottom of a wagon as it sped along a rough dirt track. The sun had begun to set as finally the wagon groaned to a halt. He fell with ah grunt to the hard earth and scurried behind a small building. He had no idea where he was. He could see that he was in the center of what must have been a small town. There were people moving about and he could smell meat cooking. The wagon's drivers stepped off of the wagon and made a great show of stretching. After tying the horses to a post they entered a squat stone and timber building with a sign that read" The Axe & Stump" Calan knew with a name like that the building had to be a tavern. He moved cautiously across the street and took a up a position on the side of the building facing away from the street. He craned his neck and peered into a dirty window....
Calan Stonebridge had practically grown up in a tavern. He and his mother had lived and worked in one in the city of Riverhewn. While The Stabbed Soldier was a rough and seedy place it was a palace compared to the Axe & Stump. Calan peered through the window in disbelief. The common row was filled with drunken men sitting at long rough hewn tables. Although the sun had barely begun it's descent through the sky these men were already very drunk. Tired looking serving girls navigated between the tables fighting off the rough advances of the patrons as often as serving drinks. Calan spotted a vicious fight going on in one corner of the room. The entire place was lit by torches it seemed and they let off a hellish glow that did little to brighten the mood of this dark place. Calan spotted the wagon drivers sitting at one of the long tables in what appeared to be a intense conversation with two other men. After a while the group rose and moved towards the back of the tavern. Calan followed moving along the outside of the tavern which he discovered was very large. He flattened himself up against the back wall and looked through a partially open door. What he saw both fascinated and sickened him. In the center of the large shadow filled room sat an octagon made from giant wooden beams. Tall thin logs had been affixed to form a grid around it's outside. on these hung more torches that lit the scene with an almost evil glow. In the center of the structure two men were fighting. Calan had seen men fight before of course but never like this. The ferocity and brutality of the fight terrified him. These men were trying to kill each other. Around the outside of the octagon a crowd had formed cheering and booing and betting. The room was dark except for the octagon and the air was heavy with the smell of unwashed bodies and split liquor. There was a great cheer from the crowd and Calan watched as one of the men landed a brutal blow on the other. The struck man fell like a tree in the forest and laid still. The other man raised his hands in victory and let out a massive roar. Tavern workers entered the octagon and dragged the lifeless body of the loser away. Fresh dirt was sprinkled over the blood stains and two more men readied themselves to enter the pit. Calan was about to turn away when a strong hand clamped down on his shoulder and a voice rough with drink said " Now what do we have here?"