"Then the blitz came, the dozen bearded monsters running waving swords and spears. My men and I met them, our own steel hungry for their sacrifice. We made short work of them, we did; Sending them to whatever hell their demon gods had prepared for them. It left just the chief, staring dumb struck and raging."
He took a draw off his pipe, letting the silence breath as he rested a second.
"He walked slowly towards me, pointing his sword and cursing. And I met him, my own curses getting thrown back. He was good, I'll give him that..." He paused, setting his clay pipe down for Aaron to repack it.
"Gave me a hell of a fight, he did. But it ended the same as any other heathen charging at me headstrong and defiant... His head sent off to the Lord Marshal, the rest of his to what remained of his people as warning."
"Don't believe a word that man says!" A booming voice interrupted, cutting through the reverential silence like a hot blade through flesh. Serg turned to meet the voice, his dulled ears half thinking it was Davey starting their bit. But his eyes grew wide as he didn't see cocksure Davey starting his bullshit, but rather the shining armor of the Marshal's men; one in particular interrupting his story.
Serg went to speak up, but the man cut him off with a subtle wave of his hand.
"I remember this battle, the uprising of Widow's Mill. But I remember you having no men left by the time the dozen came upon you; those three you bragged having backed you no better to you than butchered meat, with all their wounds. And those dogs were looking to finish them, when Lord Sergen took their to their graves. And that wooly chief, too; brave and nasty as he was. Took them all without nary a scrape to show off to the camp women later for sympathy." The soldier continued, his shined armed gleaming in the roaring firelight.
"That would be a more historically accurate retelling of the tale, mister...." Serg replied, wanting to know who the man was that interrupted his tale.
"Captain Kendell, quartermaster of Smythe. At your service, my Lord," he said, respectfully, as he introduced himself; his heavy armor clicking loudly at attention as he did so.
"Warren here sent word to my men and I, knowing I would have been heartbroken to have rode out on patrol of the region and having missed meeting you." He continued, giving a nod to the barkeep (apparently called Warren) as he extended his mail covered hand to greet Serg. The old knight took it, giving it a hard shake as he took measure of the man. He was younger than Serg, but had seen his share of war and death; his eyes black and cut. His men were rugged and rough as well, their black eyes wide as a childhood story came to life before them.
"Forgive their stares, Lord Sergen," Kendell said as he made his way to a seat at Serg's table.
"Many of these men grew up with their fathers and brothers recounting the tales of your adventures."
"It's never a shame to accept the admiration of brave men, Captain. Please," he said, motioning to the men to join him (the civilians standing up to clear the chairs for the soldiers).
"I know that the Marshal's patrols must be made, but to share a drink with these men would be my honor," Serg said, nodding to Aaron to have drinks poured all around.
"In fact, let the whole bar drink at the honor I share!" The gruff, old soldier continued, taking his coin purse off his belt and tossing it to Wallace.
"We drink to the Marshal's men, the keepers of his peace and security. And to Lord Kendell, for his choosing to honor me with their presence."
The captain blushed slightly at the mention of his name, raising a glass with Serg (the rest of the men doing the same as their presented themselves).
The men and Serg drank and told stories, him more eager to hear the adventures the soldiers had seen on their tour than he was to share his. He could feel the eyes of the bar upon him, eating his humility as eagerly as they had his boasts. And he enjoyed it, both the observation and the revelry; seeming to have been ages that he shared a drink with true fighting men. But as the time passed, Serg could see Kendell growing uneasy.