The Inn, by Rory O'Connor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Originally just called 'The Inn', but it didn't like that for some reason... anyway, the titular inn is set upon by a group of bandits, leaving one employee to take matters into his own hands. A bloody battle occurs, but will the employee survive?

Submitted: August 19, 2010

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Submitted: August 19, 2010

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Dark clouds hung in the air above a small village, pelting it with torrential rain. The sheer size of the raindrops was almost ridiculous, with puddles forming almost instantly. A slight breeze in the air made very little difference to the rain. A flash of lightning caused all a manner of shadows to cover the village for a split second, making the area seem cursed. Thunder roared above the sound of the raindrops hammering down on the village, making the deluge seem somewhat calmer for a brief moment. In the village, people had locked their doors and decided to wait the storm out in their homes, despite the fact they seemed defenceless in the face of the enormous downpour.

One building in the village had opened doors and was prepared to welcome anyone whatever the weather. It was an inn that was known as 'Home Away from Home' by the local residents. Travellers often passed through the village en route to the larger cities in the country, as it was located in a central point between the biggest cities. 'Home Away from Home' had become well known throughout the land, with even royalty sampling the inn's food and beds.

Today the inn was busier than usual, due to the massive unexpected storm. Employees of the inn raced back and forth between the guests, everyone attempting to cater to their needs. The mixed aromas of freshly cooked food wafted from the kitchen area of the inn, causing those who could smell it to suddenly really look forward to their next meal. The inn itself was quite large, as it needed to house a fair few travellers each day.

People who had planned to set out that day had decided it would be much wiser to enjoy the warmth and comfort of the inn whilst the rain lasted, which was causing a lack of space. The various conversations taking place formed one big mess of noise that was practically inaudible. Snippets of conversations could be heard here and there, such as '...the cake was actually not true...', 'turns out it was a value greater than nine thousand...' and '...the miracle never happen.'

From one of the upper rooms, a young man descended into the noise of the inn. The man had red hair and was dressed in black clothes. The most striking feature about this man was the sword that was hanging off his back. For a brief moment the man paused, examined the different faces in the inn and then dashed through the hustle and bustle towards the inn's kitchen.

"Will you please stop parading around with that sword?" the owner of the inn questioned the man as soon as he entered the kitchen.

"Why?" the man replied.

"Because, Red, it's a dangerous weapon," the owner responded, "I pay you to work here, not run around putting people's lives in danger."

"It won't leave the scabbard unless absolutely necessary," Red reassured the owner. Red had earned his name due to the colour of his hair and his affinity for the colour red. It was unusual to see Red wearing anything other than the colour red, yet today he made an exception.

"So you keep telling me... just get on with your job..."

Red obeyed the request, wandering over the area where chefs were preparing the food. He took up his usual spot, grabbed his usual knife and proceeded to cut vegetables at an unbelievable pace. After a couple of minutes, Red started to become more showy with the knife, whilst cutting through the vegetables faster than any of his colleagues.

The other chefs were used to Red's antics in the kitchen. Often they would try to unload their work onto him. No one had ever successfully made Red do more than his fair share of work, even through trickery. New employees would often just stop working and watch Red's amazing knife skills until he informed them that he think they should probably be doing some work. Red followed practically the same routine every day; getting up late, chopping vegetables, cooking meals and then going to bed early. No one ever complained about Red's work, since he would always do it efficiently.

Due to the extra workload at the inn, Red had decided he would also take on the duties of a waiter, delivering meals to those who were waiting patiently. Although this was a new job for him, he managed it with the utmost expertise, even making small talk amongst the guests. Once Red felt he had done enough work, he went and sat down at a table and ordered his own food. Whilst waiting, a group of children had surrounded him and started asking questions.

"What's your name, mister?" a boy asked. Red answered his question, then proceeded to answer the questions of the interviewees. Most questions were trivial, yet the last question asked was also Red's favourite.

"Where did you get that sword, Mister Red?" a young girl asked, eyeing the hilt of Red's blade.

"Well," Red smiled, "Let me explain..."

'Now, a few years ago, I didn't live here. I didn't have a job and I was also quite alone. I would spend time wondering from village to village, just because I had nothing better to do. One village I came across was completely empty, yet it looked so new. This piqued my interest, so I investigated. Upon closer investigation, it looked like the villagers had been taken away by some strange force, yet there were no signs of a stuggle. Mystified by this village, I entered the largest building. Inside was a lone person. When they turned to me, I could tell there was something odd. That was when the door slammed shut behind me, and the moon lit up the room. I was quite amazed at the time, as it was the middle of the day. I still haven't figured out how they got the moon to do that. My guess is that a wizard did it. Anyway, this person that faced me was a strange sight. It was definitely human shaped, yet it has qualities that I could only describe as inhuman. When I called out to it, the creature disappeared. There was a puff of smoke, but that seems like some kind of cliche to me... On the floor where the creature had been was this sword that I have here right now. Now I quite like swords, so I decided that I would claim this one. Of course, you should never probably pick stuff up off the ground, especially when you are unaware of the origin. That's the moral of this story.'

"I wish you would stop telling ghost stories," the inn's owner interrupted, bringing Red's food, "you'll give the kids nightmares."

"You worry too much. The kids are made of sterner stuff then you give them credit for," Red replied, before almost instantly devouring the meal.

"I know this will seem like worrying to you, but didn't you eat that a little fast?"

"Stop. Worrying." Red said, leaving the table and retiring to bed. Before he could leave the room, there was a loud splintering sound and the inn's door shattered into millions of pieces. Silence filled the inn, whilst the customers and the inn owner trained their eyes on the now doorless entrance.

"What was that?" the inn's owner fretted.

Red sighed, walked over to the entrance and looked out. His gaze was met with nothing but the village, which was the same as it ever was.

"Huh, turns out to be a massive..." Red paused to see the reaction of the customers. He was quite pleased by the result.

"Massive? Nothing described as massive is ever good..." one person said.

"We're gonna die!" someone else shouted.

"...nothing," Red concluded, to the relief of the customers.

"Don't worry us like that!" the replied a member of the crowd.

"I tell you what, though, you should probably worry most when something is caused by nothing..."

This was met with confusion from the crowd who had seemed reassured that they were fine. A murmur spread through the crowd, which eventually reached Red. Once again, he was satisfied with the reaction since everyone seemed to think he was somewhat crazy. He watched the crowd turn back to their meals and calm down and glanced outside.

"Hey, I was right!" Red exclaimed to himself, just dodging an arrow that embedded itself in the wall of the inn. A group of men were advancing on the inn and they didn't seem like a happy group. The person who appeared to the be the leader of the group was holding an oversized axe and had multiple blades strapped to his back. Everyone else in the pack only wielded one weapon each, which all looked rather old and worn compared to the ringleader's weapons. As soon as the group reached the inn, Red stepped aside to let them in, as the inn's policy was to serve anyone, no matter what. Although Red knew the policy, he couldn't help but think that serving this particular group was a good idea. The next event that transpired confirmed Red's fears.

Once the group had entered into the warmth of the inn, the leader exclaimed aloud 'feel free to take what you want lads! No one will stop you, they're a pathetic lot!' On this order, the group of bandits scattered over the inn, grabbing whatever was not nailed down, and ripping up whatever was. Terrified customers were rushing back and forth, trying to avoid the onslaught of the bandits. There were an unfortunate few who were trampled underfoot, and several of the bandits had decided to take some of the customers against their will. The group of bandits seemed to have increased in number, and around five men were advancing towards Red, all with their eyes on his sword.

"I don't think so, fellas," Red said, launching into combat mode. He hit the nearest bandit squarely in the stomach, winding him. Red then proceeded to fight off the remaining four bandits, which took little effort as their hand-to-hand combat skills left a lot to be desired. Red then stepped over the grounded thugs and started to neaten up the inn around the area where he stood.

"Are you kidding me?" the leader of the bandits said upon seeing Red's actions. Red continued to tidy the inn, blanking the bandit. This enraged the attention seeking man, who began to shout, spraying saliva everywhere. "NO ONE BLANKS THE MIGHTY GLASS!"

"There are several flaws in your statement, sir," Red responded, back to Glass, "First, you're too loud. You're in the same room as everyone who needs to hear, so I don't see any reason for the increased volume. Secondly, don't give yourself titles that you have given youself. Finally, glass generally shatters into pieces, so how can it be mighty?"

This was a new experience for Glass. Everytime he had shouted at someone, they had generally listened to him. Glass believed it was his voice, but he didn't mind brandishing his axe at every available opportunity. It took the bandit a couple of seconds to recover from the shock of Red not cowering like everyone else whom he had ever met.

"You're not a smart one," Glass growled at Red, trying to intimidate him.

When Red stretched his arms and yawned, Glass ordered several of his underlings to attack Red. Once again, Red expertly dispatched them with very little effort. Once Glass had exhausted his supply of underlings, all dispatched by Red without the aid of his sword, he charged at Red.

"Oh, you're different from that lot," Red smiled, unsheathing his sword. The sound of the blade leaving the scabbard sent a shiver down Red's spine. A feeling of familiarity washed over Red, and it felt like he had been fighting with the sword for all of his life. Glass swung his axe directly at Red's throat, but Red successfully parried it.

"I think someone wants me dead..." Red teased Glass before launching a counterattack. This time Glass parried Red's blow, and then the two launched into a whirlwind. The customers of the inn watched in awe as the fighters collided. Sparks flew every time the sword and axe made contact. The speed at which Red and Glass were moving was almost incomprehensible to the human eye. Suddenly, blood spilled across the floor and the wall, which lead to a pause from both combatants.

"Ow," Red grinned as blood began to pour from a cut that had appeared across his arm.

"Me too," replied Glass as his chest began to drip blood.

"I was closer to the mark," Red pointed out.

"That may be the case, but it's gonna hurt for you to swing your sword now."

"I'll live," Red cried, resuming the combat against Glass. This time however, Red's speed had been diminished by his injury and he was either evading or countering Glass's attacks through sheer luck.

"I don't think you will live," Glass taunted before knocking Red's sword out of his hands. Glass raised his axe over his head and swung it down at Red. The inn's customers had to look away, fearing the result of Glass's attack.

When one of the customers dared to look at the scene, they discovered that Glass's axe had come to an abrupt stop. Red had stopped the axe head with his bare hand, which was now streaming with blood as the edge cut into it. Glass had a look of disbelief on his face for a brief moment, which then turned into a malicious grin. Swiftly using his free hand, he pulled one of the blades strapped to his back out from its scabbard and thrust it into Red's chest. Red then coughed up some blood and fell to the ground.

"Pathetic," Glass snarled, "everyone here will die due to this fool's actions!"

The terrified customers began to scream and rush around in panic as the bandits who had recovered consciousness moved to attack them. However, before they could even swing their weapons at the terrified people, Red was back on his feet, swaying back and forth slightly.

"Clearly you do not know when to give up," Glass hissed at him, once again swinging his axe at Red, who did not move from the spot in which he was stood. The axe embedded itself into his shoulder, yet he did not give any cry of pain.

"This would have been easier if you had just got this close to begin with," Red said, making one swift movement. The onlookers watched as Red's blade arced through the air, seperating Glass's head from his body. One person retched at the sight, whereas most others had looked away.

"Sorry about that," Red apologized, pulling the axe free from his shoulder, which resulted in a shower of blood, "I'll clean that up when I don't feel dizzy..." At this point, Red collapsed in a puddle of blood. Glass's underlings almost rushed to attack him, but the owner of the inn quickly took charge of the situation.

"You're leader is dead, therefore you have no purpose. Now I'm the kind of person who believes in giving purposes to the purposeless, so I will let you work here. After all, that is the best way to pay off the damage you lot have caused. If you don't, we'll just kill you," the owner smiled sweetly.

The bandits swiftly agreed and were put to work straight away. The inn owner and two members of staff carried Red to an empty bed and began to attend to his wounds, which appeared more serious than they were.

The following day, old and new staff alike and the regular customers had gathered to wave farewell to Red, who had decided to take on a quest to become stronger and protect the weak with his sword, despite the fact he was covered in bandages. Red had insisted that he was sufficiently recovered from the fight and had been given more than enough time to restore his strength back to full. Swearing to return, Red set out into the distance, travelling down the path that destiny had laid out before him.


© Copyright 2020 roryoc1000. All rights reserved.

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