The Marshal's Road: The Last of the Strongmen - 7.

"My Lord," he finally spoke up, as the stories turned from tales of battle glory to those of large titted conquest," While this has been the honor of my life, I'm afraid we must part."

He rose to his feet, heavy mail clinking against his steel plating. 

"But, a toast, if I may... For sir, you don't recognize me- that is clear. And why would you have? For when we met first, I was but a low squire fighting for his life on a battlefield in the north and you, Lord Sergen, were the wrath I had prayed for." 

He turned to the onlooking room, the eyes of the crowd now on him. 

"It was the Battle of Crimen; at the gates of that stone and wood stronghold those barbarians had constructed. The gods of war feasted that day, seating the entire first cavalry of the Marshal's Northern Army at their great hall- my master, the sturdy Lord Devonshire among them. And when Lord Sergen found me, I was near being seated as well; a mob of those wooly demons closing in upon me, when I heard the voice of a god command "to the boy, you dogs... And a curse to any who lets him fall!" And then he was on them, the bearded demon of the Marshal's Keep. Swinging sword and ax the way a painter does his brushes, I saw true artistry in his valorous ride. Singlehanded, he saved me; taking me up with his heavy paw as he handed me his ax. "There is more death to deal, son" he said to me, wild eyed and blood drunk as he led me and his men into the stronghold. A hundred men could not do what Lord Sergen did, tearing that ungodly structure down with his mighty hand as he tamed the North with his sword that day." Kendell continued, raising his glass as his men stood up in respect. The onlookers did as well, raising their glasses to toast the hero before them. Serg could feel his cheeks warming at the mention, feeling the respect and love the room held him in. 

"Oh yes... All hail the hero of Crimen!" He heard a voice say, the pitch a bit too gruff to be further well wishing. The statement was punctuated with sarcastic clapping as his dull ears finally picked up Davey's voice taunting him. His eyes grew wide once he realized the poorly timed taunt from the drunken boy, his hawk like eyes catching him across the room slowly moving towards him. 

"Oh I too remember that Battle, fair captain... Though I don't recall the valor you describe. Oh I recall how Lord Sergen the Butcher mowed through the Grey King's men. How could I forget; my father and brother among their rank. But I seem to recall his sacking of the stronghold a bit different than you. How the butcher sauntered in victorious; the camp had nothing more than old men and frightened women and children left to defend it. How he put every man to the blade and every woman to his legion. How he conscripted the boys and kept the girls as slaves. I remember the fires and the screams and lamenting... But I don't recall the valor..." Davey continued, his voice drunk and cocky; Stephan slowly moving behind him.

"I'll have you in chain, barbarian," Kendell cursed, turning aggressive to Davey. 

"For speaking my mind, sir? I slur not the Marshal, his wisdom a grace to us all. Nor am I a barbarian, my freedom paid in full in the legion, same as you. What I am is a man who grows tired of hearing the legend of this old butcher grow as I know him to be nothing but a woman killing coward." He was facing Serg now, for an instant close enough to strike had he wanted to before the Captain's men had him and Stephan grabbed; drawn knives pressed against their throats. 

"Insolent dog! I'll have your tongue!" The captain declared, his voice angry and insulted. 

"Over my body you will, captain, " Serg stepped in, needing to control the mess Davey's piss poor timing had created. 

"Excuse me?" The captain asked confused.

"Do you know this man?" 

"Hardly. Probably is some poor bastard who watched me cleave his mother and father before sending him off to the legion. But no, captain... I won't be having you or anyone else handle that which I can do myself." He said with a smile. 

"So, please. Lock the whelps up in the stocks. Leave me to my drink and women. Tomorrow, with fresh legs and a clear head, I'll see to their discipline myself before all to see, so the world understands the error of questioning the work of the Marshal's loyal men." Serg said, beads of sweat gathering along his brow. He looked over to Davey, scared eyes flashing his understanding of how wretched his timing had been. 

"I'd very much like to see such a display," Kendell said, his better judgements being fogged by the drink and revelry. 

"But by morning, we shall be hours away... Why not settle it now, my Lord? Even piss eyed, these whelps would be but a snack for an accomplished soldier as yourself..." 


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