Oh dark Mistress! Destroyer of men! Drinker of still living blood! they called to her. We beseech thee to vanquish our enemies with your sword! Reave their skulls! Crush their bones! Dance in their viscera! That last one she liked quite a bit. But she needed time to decide if she would hear their pleas. Would she be a virtuous benefactor and avail them of their problems, bringing peace and tranquility to their miserable peasant lives? Or would she turn her whip on them and grind them beneath her blood-stained boot? Shall she save them or shall she be the instrument of their demise? Choices choices! She turned to Puce, her unfortunately named Elven companion, and then thought better of asking him for advice. Elves were always so dreary. For once, she’d like to meet an Elf who wasn’t all, “The forest is dying” this, “Nature is screaming” that. How about a flagon of mead once in a while, guys? Like, relax, man. The trees are going to be there. Lighten up. She looked past Puce to Skinflint, the rogue who came and went pretty much whenever he wanted. He was picking something from his teeth with a dagger which just grossed her out to no end. Where else had that dagger been? She had no problem wading knee deep through the blood of her enemies, but, jeez, keep that filthy thing out of your mouth. Even she had limits. She turned to the other side to ask Grisham, the not-all-together mage. He made eye contact with her, and then tore his eyes away.
“Yes?” he asked, twitching slightly and fidgeting with his fork.
“Uh, nothing,” she replied lamely. There was nothing to be gained from him. He hadn’t had a rational thought since the incident with the golem and the green dragon many seasons ago. She didn’t even really know why she kept him around. He was more of a liability than a help, but, still, there was a certain sense of nostalgia with him. Thinking about sending him off broke her steel-clad heart; better to just let him adventure with her until he caught a stray arrow in the eye or had his head split in two by some ogre’s axe. It was the least she could do.
Without much of a choice left, she turned to face Ser Avery, the paladin, across from her at the table. She cringed at the thought of asking him for counsel since he was such a prim and proper pain in the ass. Where the elf was morose, the paladin was self-righteous, and, GODS, did he like to hear himself speak. She had been enjoying this one, rare moment of relative quiet in him and was loathe to disturb it. She bit her tongue, but feared that even looking at him had been enough provocation for him to open his accursed mouth.
“Mistress, if I might make a…” Avery began.
“I don’t remember asking you, Avery,” she said, venom dripping from her teeth.
“Very good. It’s just that…”
“Shut it, Paladin.” She felt a headache setting on. An epic one, as if a thousand stone giants were waging war against thunder trolls in her head. The kind of headache that made the whole world grow dim and made every sound a knife in the skull. The kind of headache that could only be cured with two things; one of them, a unicorn’s tears, was not currently available, so she’d have to go with the alternative—killing. She stood gripping the pommel of her sword and walked toward the inn’s exit with her eyes closed. Light was the enemy of her headache, but she didn’t want to make too much of a mess inside the inn. The killing would have to take place outside this time. She would have to just bear the light outdoors until her bodycount got high enough that her headache went away. Where the headache was now, in its early stages, she’d probably be able to get rid of it in, say, 20 or 30 kills, 35 max.