Bindaro the pugilist looked up from his freshly spilled tankard of ale, at he, she, or maybe it, or they, who had just spilled it. The gnoll across the table from him growled chucklingly, in obvious contempt for his peace of mind, and despite his reputation. For you see, Bindaro had never in his long career as a mercenary used a weapon in combat. This was not because of some notion of fairness or honor, though he was no stranger to those. It was because when aroused to fight, his strength made it impossible to wield a weapon in his hand without breaking it, even a bowstring, which snapped when he pulled back to launch an arrow. Even a crossbow was not exempt, as his grip and the strength of his trigger-finger damaged it beyond a single use. So he fought using only his fists, and in battle had a durability to match his strength, permitting otherwise impossible feats. He could brain a mountain giant with a single blow to the skull, and punch through stone walls without injuring himself, it was said. The gnoll, however, apparently harbored doubts, or at least, some strong measure of foolhardiness. Bindaro looked crossly at his annoyer at the other side of the table.
“Young fella,” Bindaro began, “…do you have any idea what you’re getting into?” The scaly lips of the gnoll curled upward, showing serrated backward-pointing teeth. It growled with amusement as did its companions across the tavern room. “You, my friend, are a special kind of stupid. Let me show you why.” “Hurr, hurr, hurr! Man-thing think him scary…Urk!” Bindaro’s fingers had gripped the gnoll’s neck, as the humanoid was lifted off its feet with one arm, gasping uselessly for air. Bindaro’s eyes shone with a seething orange light as his inner source fueled his strength, hand tightened around the gnoll’s windpipe. Rather than kill the humanoid, he tossed it across the room like a wet rag doll, unconscious, bruised, and limp. “Never piss me off like that again, or I won’t be so kind next time. That goes for all of you. You won’t like it when I’m angry.” He turned to sit back down and ordered another ale.
“Excuse me, Sir. Would you be Bindaro the Pugilist?” A young wizard, wet behind the ears by the looks of him, had seen his display of strength, and seemed either wanting to interview him, or wanting to hire him for something. He was hoping on the latter. Cash had been a bit short lately with no local battles to get involved in. “It depends, my boy. What’s it worth to you?”
“My associates and I will pay you handsomely for your skills if you accompany us to an abandoned monastery in the Baskona mountains. Twenty-five gold sigmas downpayment plus five gold sigmas per week, and a 20% cut of whatever we find there.”
Bindaro thought about it for a second, and responded.“Will there be danger? If so, have anyone in your group good with a pen who knows contract law draft up something, talk to my legician at the local barristers’ office, and meet me here…” Bindaro handed the young wizard a slip of parchment with his current lodgings written on it.
Well, he thought, as guests filed out of the tavern at closing time. It looked like I’ll be able to pay my rent and upkeep for another year…Finally, a job!
To be continued…