Finally. Her head felt so much better now she could hardly believe it. Standing there, amidst the corpses of fifty or so slaughtered bandits, mages, and rogues, she felt the curtain of discomfort lift from behind her eyes and the world come in to sharp focus. Perhaps it was just her berserker rage dissipating, but she really felt clear headed. Of course, who wouldn’t feel clear headed drenched in blood, axe still humming from cleaving through the spines of her enemies? No one she knew, that’s for certain. None of the witch’s poultices or concoctions or potions had the same affect. She didn’t know a single thing in all the multiverse that she found more relaxing than the wholesale murder of bad guys. And, sometimes, good guys. Depends on who’s paying. Mostly bad guys though. She didn’t always feel good about storming into a monastery and killing a bunch of priests or monks or whatever, unless they were those monks that could fight. She had to admit that she did enjoy that. Taking the head off a man who is trying to fight you with his bare hands and crazy dancing with an axe was just too wonderful.
Puce approached her, arrow still nocked in his bow. He looked gloomy and she hoped he wouldn’t try to bring down her mood. “You’re not going to say something depressing right now, are you, elf?”
“The earth was not made for the spilling of so much evil blood. The ground cries…”
“Enough. Why don’t you wander off and make sure no one we care about is dead, huh? Do you think you can do that without being a total drag?” If he wasn’t such a master with his bow and arrow, she would have ditched his morose ass ages ago. Riding high, she had no patience for him right now. What she really wanted was another horn of mead or a mutton leg or maybe someone to bed. Any or all of those. It didn’t matter.
Off in the distance, Skinflint was digging through the pockets of corpses. “What are you looking for, Skinflint?” she called to him.
“Victor’s spoils, ma’am! Victor’s spoils!” he answered, held up a handful of cheap baubles, and shook them. He let out his weaselly little laugh and went back to robbing the dead. As long as he’s occupied, she thought.
She scanned the horizon for Ser Avery, quietly hoped he had a bandit’s sword shoved through his sanctimonious stomach, felt bad for wishing him ill, and then saw him coming toward her holding a bandit who didn’t look nearly dead enough for her taste. She didn’t mind a bandit, as long as he could only be referred to in the past tense. Sometimes she found great difficulty in being the only grammar barbarian.
“M’lady! M’lady!” Avery called.
“What is it?” she yelled back.
“Watch that sword, eh? ‘S sharp!” the bandit complained.
“Quiet you!” Avery scolded him and deftly made his way through the obstacle course of dead bodies strewn about the ground in the bandit camp. “This cad has something to tell you, m’lady.”
“Stop calling me that,” she said. “What do you have to say, bandit?”
“Avery. Let the man tell his story.”
“Right, Paladin! Let me tells my story!” the bandit said and stuck his tongue out at Ser Avery, causing the paladin to blush with rage.
Seeing that it was probably best to separate these two children, she said, “Ok, that’s enough. Avery, go make sure Puce isn’t off weeping and that Grisham hasn’t turned himself into something awful. Thanks.”
“But the bandit…”
“Are you saying I can’t handle him myself?”
“No… just that…”
“Go,” she said. After Avery had gotten far enough away, she turned to the bandit. “So what did you have to tell me?”