Part 3-B Interlude: I only know the sound it makes when it hits the ground

 
Part 3-B Interlude: I only know the sound it makes when it hits the ground

The half-elf had split off from the group for a reason. He needed to calm down.

He was frustrated beyond belief. His anger hadn't yet subsided and he hadn't helped his friends nearly as much as he should have (or so he'd led himself to believe). Ameiko had shunned him as he came to her rescue. He very nearly became in need of rescue himself, and to top it all off, he still felt sickly from the mystical serpent's poison running through his veins, poisoning him still. Though his body would eventually overcome the effects, it helped remind him of what he considered his overall failure at this point.

He couldn't face the others in this mindset. He needed to cool off and back away, however temporarily. So he decided for a stiff drink before reconvening with the others.

And if a bar brawl came of it, then so much the better.

On his way to the Hagfish, however, he heard screams. Female ones.


"Leave me alone! I already settled up with Cyrus!" Veritas turned to see a young woman dressed in a grey, hooded cloak being harassed by two men on one of the docks along the way to the Hagfish.

"Who said anything about Cyrus? We came to collect for ourselves this time, isn't that right, Sticks?" said one of the men, a burly human who likely had more muscles in his head than brains.

"But I don't owe you guys anything... now get out of my way," the woman responded, trying to push her way past the two men. But the enforcer grabbed her hard by the shoulder, preventing her from getting away as the second man, a bony figure with a thick cane, began poking his finger into the girl's chest.

"Not so fast, Spider. You think you can just move in and set up shop without paying your tribute? Well it doesn't work like that here, see? We decide who operates in this town, and if we say you owe, you gotta pay; in fact, I suggest you start right now or you'll soon be wishing it was the law that got their hands on you and not us, understand?" and to punctuate his point, the man flipped his cane up to hold it horizontally and jabbed the butt end into the distressed woman's gut, causing her to lose her breath and double over in pain.

"What an eyesore. And here I was hoping I could clear my eyes of the ugliness before I got back to the others."

The monk calmly stood just a couple of meters away from where the argument took place, almost as if he'd appeared out of thin air. He popped his neck sideways as if to stretch, but his overall demeanor betrayed a foul mood. He practically exhaled his annoyance.

"I'm going to give you three seconds of pretending I didn't see two scumbags trying to get into a woman's purse. And no, I don't care what she sells, who you work for, how many of you there are, or even if you figure the two of you can take me on.

I also don't care if you're going to leave this place breathing. So get your asses out of here before I change my mind."


He was trying faintly to remember his master's teachings. "Never be the first to use violence." To which he ammended, "unless that's the whole point."

The skinny man called Sticks spun around to face Veritas. He was a middle aged man with dark hair salted with greys and a disturbing lack of front teeth. "You got no business here, kid..." the man scolded, "...and I dare say you're in no position to make threats." On cue, the larger man flexed his muscled arms and grasped the girl with his other hand, tightening his grip around her neck and shoulders. "Now move along before you earn yourself some trouble that you can't afford," the skinny man warned.

From under her hood, the girl's dark eyes met Veritas gaze for a brief instant, seeming to plead silently for help, but turned helplessly back to the ground as Sticks followed up his warning with another stiff jab of his cane into the girl's midesction.

Fast as lightning and just as violent, Veritas' leg shot out with the tip of his foot aimed at the skinny man's throat. The resulting impact would feel like hell on earth: he would cough and gasp for breath, his eyes would water as he tasted blood in his mouth. The disorientation was the worst part.

"I guess now I know how you lost your teeth. That also explains why you hang out with a lover twice your size."

He turned to the bigger man. "The next one I'm going to aim at his ribs. They'll break and rip through his lungs, filling them with blood. He'll die a slow, agonizing death being unable to breathe.

I'm sure you've seen how ugly death by asphyxia is. Every muscle relaxes, so the victim starts to drool and void their bladders while making the most awful gasping noises...

So what's it going to be, big man?"

As Sticks gasped for air and grasped helplessly at his throat, the larger man responded to Veritas' threat by squeezing the woman called Spider even tighter in his heavily muscled arms. "Great idea, punk... murdering an innocent sanitation worker in broad daylight..." As the thug spoke, his stranglehold on the girl rogue began to take its toll. She began to emit a stifled whimper and her face was starting to turn an uncomfortable shade of blue. "Well, we'll just see about that!" the brute declared in a threatening tone, and then stepping toward the edge of the dock, he effortlessly threw the cloaked woman over the side and watched with a grin as she fell nearly twenty feet into the waters of the harbor far below.

But he wasn't done there...
"Help! Guards! I'm being attacked! I need help!!" the man shouted, smirking wickedly at the impulsive monk as if to say, your move.

"Jeez, you're a pain in the ass no matter how I slice it, aren't ya?" Veritas noted.

"It's a good thing the guards have been told to respond to my orders, then."

He turned to the gasping Sticks, and reached for his collar. "This guy dies, you don't get paid, right? I say it's time to protect your investment."

Repeating the larger man's gesture, he dashed forward and flung the aging man into the water, with one difference: he dove right after in a different path after the cloaked woman.

Now, Veritas wasn't an olympic swimmer by any stretch of the imagination, but there's something to be said for the efforts of a crazy man doing the right thing. Beating his arms with as much strength as he could muster, he swam after the woman and attempted to drag her back to shore.

Veritas bravely dove into the sloshing waters of Sandpoint Harbor to save the fallen rogue, but try as he might, with his weakened strength and lack of swimming skill, before long it was the girl called Spider who struggled to keep the monk's head above water.

As the three did their best to stay afloat, several guards arrived on the docks above, listening as the burly man who identified himself as a local garbage collector describe how the crazed man had shown up while they were having lunch, kicked his uncle in the throat and proceeded to shove everyone within reach into the waters far below.
"See... even now he's trying to drown the girl! You've got to do something!" he brazenly claimed with no one around to differ with his story.

Acting quickly, the guards tossed some available floatation devices down to those in danger, and before long, all three had been pulled back up to the docks. The guards quickly surrounded and attempted to restrain Veritas, who they didn't immediately recognize without his signature, otherwordly physique and extra arms.
"Hold still!" one of the guards commanded as he struggled to contain the accused assailant. "You've got some explaining to do!"

"Really? I thought what happened was actually fairly obvious." Veritas noted as he glared at the guards attempting to restrain him.

"These two men were threatening the poor lady over here. The big one over there had his hands around her neck. He threw her into the water so she would drown.

I'm sure you'll find marks on her neck of his motion to strangle her."

"That's nonsense," said a dripping-wet Sticks, having now recovered from the earlier bludgeoning-by-foot. "We were just standing here on the dock, enjoying a nice, Fireday afternoon, and that guy showed up out of nowhere, fuming mad about who-knows-what," he said, pointing a gangly finger in Veritas' direction. "He kicked me in the throat, threatened to kill me, then pushed me and the girl into the harbor. He jumped in after us and tried to drown us both," he claimed, leaning down to retrieve his cane, and doing his best, helpless-older-man routine. "It's frightening to think what may have happened had you not arrived when you did," he continued, "Thank you so much."

The guards looked confused at the differing accounts of what had happened, and not knowing who to believe, they finally settled on the girl called Spider to set the record straight. "Young lady, are you alright to talk?" one guard asked the girl. "Can you tell us if what this man's saying is true?" the lawman asked, referring to the story told by Sticks.

The girl was still quite shaken. Her hood had fallen loose, revealing a head of boyish, black hair. Her wide eyes darted back and forth between her assailants and the guards, and then finally settled on Veritas. She peered at the monk for a few moments, appearing to consider her options, but in the end she caught a threatening glance from the large brute who was Sticks' right hand, and then her eyes lowered to her feet in barely detectable shame as she gave her answer.
"Yes, it's true."




 

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