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 Ten Gold Coins

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Owyn
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PostSubject: Ten Gold Coins   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:31 pm

This was written two or three years ago now, but I figure no harm in dusting it off and chucking it up on the forums.

Ten Gold Coins

Owyn looked down at the wretched little man giving him the assignment. Small, wiry and with a near permanent sneer across his face accept when talking to those of higher rank. Quite how this rodent of a human being came to be the officer in charge of handing out the mercenary assignments was a mystery to him, his appearance being less of a professional soldier and more that of some unwashed beggar and better still not to dwell on the smell emanating from him But the army could never have enough men, so they took them where they could get them he supposed.

“Ten gold coins payment at the end of the escort, provisions for the journey and of course the 'eternal gratitude' of the league of Arathor” the officer sat at the desk smirked at this last reward even as he mentioned it. “Though I’m sure to a man of the light such as yourself a reward of gold will be of little worth in comparison to the warm glow I’m sure you no doubt feel inside every time you do one of your innumerable good deeds”

The 'good deed' in question, to lead a convoy of small time merchants and craftsmen down to the docks at Southshore where they could take a ship to one of the capital cities the rest of the way. A road of only thirty-odd miles, unfortunately those miles were through territory that would likely be less than welcoming. The initial part of the journey would be over the highland plains of Arathi, then through the great gate at the now abandoned dwarfish construct of Thoradin’s wall and into the grasslands surrounding the fishing hamlet of Southshore. The road from here to there, whilst not near any major horde settlements was nevertheless a popular spot for Defias bandit raids on any traveller. Owyn sometimes wondered if the Defias raided simply for the sheer pleasure of the fear they instilled in the civilian population. The Defias never seemed to need the goods they stole, every rogue belonging to their little gang he had come across seemed well fed and more importantly well armed.

“The payment is acceptable, when are we to set off?” said Owyn with a calm steady voice. Despite his disgust at the man he wasn’t going to let it show. He suspected were he to tell the sergeant what he thought of him it would only provide him with some perverse pleasure at knowing how much Owyn reviled him.

“The caravan is all packed up ready to go, there is ah-ha, one slight deviation from what was originally planned”

“You’ll also be taking an extra coach, some distant member of the royal family, Baron Persivine. He insists on a full escort to ensure his safety. That’s you by the way”, the little man pointed at Owyn.

“If we’re to provide a full escort to royalty, low ranking or otherwise, I should be provided with extra guards other than just myself to guarantee the Baron’s safety”, the reproach in Owyn’s voice clear as to what he though about the man’s attitude to his work.

“Well, then you’ll be very happy to hear the Baron has had similar thoughts and gone ahead and hired an additional bodyguard to ensure his safety and well-being for the duration of the journey, some member from Ravenholdt it seems. As soon as they arrive and make their introductions to the duke you can be off on your merry way. And if you need further inspiration then you’ll be happy to hear the baron is the one who’ll be holding your payment for the escort”

“Very well then, I’ll be ready to leave as soon as they arrive” A sharp salute returned with a dismissive wave from the Sergeant and Owyn strode out of the tent into the morning.
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PostSubject: Re: Ten Gold Coins   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:31 pm

The sunlight greeting his face as Owyn shielded his eyes against the morning glare, the rays providing slight warmth to the otherwise chilly day. He cast his eyes over the soldiers, merchant peddlers and the various other hanger-ons that are a part of any army camp, seeking out the baron’s coach from amongst the crowd. It was waiting towards the rear of one of the larger tents, standing out from the crowd with its obvious wealth and decadence, a distinct difference to the somewhat ramshackle nature of its military surroundings. Wheels painted gold, a bright red hue given to its frame. Owyn groaned inwardly, escorting such a tempting target would not have been his first choice of assignment had he known about it. Nevertheless he had his duty and made his way over to the coach to introduce himself to the baron.

Taking a moment to compose himself Owyn rapped on the carriage door with his gauntlet. After waiting a minute and eliciting no response from within, he tapped on the door again, though with greater force.

“Hmmm, what? Yes my lovely come in I’ve been expecting you” called a voice from within, the voice sounding like it had just woken up. A look of confusion crossed Owyn’s face at the thought of being considered a “my lovely” but nevertheless he opened the carriage door to find the baron lying across the seats spread out leisurely. As the baron’s gaze came to rest on Owyn a look of confusion, follow by embarrassment crossed his face and the baron quickly sat up and adjusted his attire. “And you are?”

The man before Owyn was a short, overweight man with a piggy look on his face hinting at a somewhat inbred royal lineage perhaps? Dressed in a golden gown, white ruffles at the neck and cuffs that did nothing to disguise his bloated nature, and an impressive collection of jewelled rings on his sausage fingers.

“I’m Sir Owyn your grace, I’ll be leading the caravan and ensuring the safety of you and the others in it” murmured Owyn.

“Ah of course, of course! How simply delightful” exclaimed the Baron.

“I’ve taken care of most of the preparations needed, but I was given to understand you had hired additional protection for your journey?”

“Yes indeed, hence the moment’s confusion a moment ago. I thought it was her knocking on my carriage door. Not that I’m delighted to have you with us Sir Owyn but I have indeed hired a professional with exceptional talents to aid us in our journey across this bandit ridden territory”

“Her?” questioned Owyn. But the baron was no longer paying Owyn anymore attention, his stare was directed behind him to another.

“Ah, speak of angels and we shall hear their wings. My dearest, lovely to have you along with us Miss Robinas” exclaimed the baron as he brushed past Owyn towards the newcomer.

“Miss…….Robinas……?” sighed Owyn, how very typical he thought. Somewhere, the gods were laughing. He slowly turned to face his new found travelling “companion” and sure enough there she was, a nonchalant smile on her face, leaning idly against the coach exterior. Did she….did she just wink at him?

“Let me be clear, Miss Robinas is to be the one to escort us through bandit ridden, rogue haunted territory?” though he didn’t show it outwardly, the irony of being escorted by a rogue to protect them from people of a similar ilk did amuse him slightly. Though the more he thought about it the less amusing the idea of waking with a knife to his throat became.

“Why yes indeed she is, I’m sure her skills will ensure an enjoyable journey for us all” panted the baron. Looking at his expression, it was clear as to why he wanted Robinas on the trip. Whilst she vexed Owyn no end, it had to be conceded Robinas was an attractive woman. Long raven hair, tied back, a face that would be considered beautiful by many was it not for the almost permanent look of condescension and superiority that was on it when she looked at you. The body of a toned athlete to match, though you couldn’t help but notice the blades strapped to the side of that body. Owyn knew she could fight, but whether he’d want to fight alongside her would be another question entirely.

Owyn had first been introduced to Robinas in one of the narrow cobbled streets of Stormwind city. He’d been shocked to look down and see a delicate hand reaching for his money belt, and at the end of that hand had been the equally shocked face of Robinas who seemed genuinely surprised at being caught red handed so to speak. The look of surprise had rapidly turned into a cheeky grin followed by a sharp shove in the middle of his back that sent him sprawling on the ground as she danced away. Subsequent meetings between the two of them had followed in very much a similar ilk, almost like a private game between the two of them. Owyn suspected he was losing.

As these thoughts passed through Owyn’s head the baron was busy preening himself in front of Robinas complementing her on her looks and thanking her for taking the time to ensure the safety of him and the others in the convoy. “….and this is Sir um, er….yes, the army insisted on providing an additional amount of protection for us. Though I’ve no doubt you could set any trouble to rights that should descend upon us”

Even whilst the duke was busy rabbiting at Robinas, her gaze had descended upon Owyn along with a wry smile.

“Why Sir Owyn, an absolute pleasure to see you again” her silky voice dripping with sarcastic venom.

“You two know each other already?” enquired Persivine.

Before Owyn could answer the barons question Robinas jumped in “Oh Sir Owyn is renowned, a famous knight of the land such as himself. We should count ourselves lucky indeed that one such as him could spare the time to defend us grateful mortals”, bowing before Owyn with a long over-extended curtsy. To a third party, what might have seemed a warm greeting Owyn knew to be nothing more than a veiled poke at him ”I’m sure the rogues of this world must just melt away when they see you coming”.

Focussing straight ahead, not meeting Robinas’ gaze Owyn softly stated “sadly not Miss Robinas, there still seem to be one or two of the criminal classes that don’t take the hint that their presence is unwanted”, and allowed himself a secret inner smile at the brief frown that came over her face as he caught it out of the corner of his eye. He probably wouldn’t have even noticed it had he not been looking for it.

Robinas however quickly composed herself and a smile reappeared on her face “You are so right Sir Owyn, there are people out there that would steal the insides of a man’s boots right off his feet”

“Surely you mean steal the shoes off of a man’s feet my dear” interjected the baron.

“Oh of course, that’s what I meant your grace” said Robinas as she flashed Owyn a wicked smile.

“We should depart as quickly as possible your grace, to make the most of the light” stated Owyn, quickly trying to return the conversation to the matter at hand.

“Very good Sir……Owyn was it? I’ll let you handle these things, perhaps my dear you’d care to ride with me in my carriage? To better protect my person?” urged the baron, as he attempted to guide her towards a seat.

“Why of course Baron Persivine, will be a pleasure to ride with a man of standing such as yourself” said Robinas, flashing Owyn another wicked smile as she sat down in the carriage but his back was already turned as he trudged to the front of the column.
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PostSubject: Re: Ten Gold Coins   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:33 pm

“Hoo, and of course the women were the most beautiful in the world. Beyond compare! Hair like silk, lips so delicious, and a rear that.....” exclaimed the gnome

“...of course!” Owyn exclaimed interrupting the gnome before he finished the sentence.

“Ah and our technological marvels were the envy of Azeroth, flying machines, metallic men that walked, lights powered by thunder from the skies”, the gnome now even becoming more enthusiastic in his descriptions.

Being at the head of the column had left Owyn with the somewhat dubious honour of riding alongside the self-proclaimed Doctor Tinkletin, gnomish practitioner of magic and science rolled into one humble little being. The tiny man whilst not exactly without charm, was incessant in his narrations and could prove somewhat wearing even to the greatest lover of stories.

“Hoo, all gone now though. Gone for good.” the gnome emitting a somewhat theatrical sigh as he said this.

“Yes doctor, I know” and Owyn felt moved to give the good doctor a reassuring pat on the back. The loss of the gnome capital city of gnomeragan had devastated the brilliant gnome population, now forced into exile and forming their own refugee community in the city of their dwarven cousins. “But all may not yet be lost, I think that you could get your home back one day”

“By golly you’re right little human, never give up that’s the spirit. Ah, and talking of spirit, the beers we made, well they’d knock your socks off you young one”, the doctor seeming to regain some of his previous enthusiasm and returned to his nostalgia of all things gnomish and good.

“You can buy me one sometime then”, Owyn smiled as he said this “but if you’ll excuse me I need to check the rest of the caravans before we reach the wall”. The dwarfish construct of Thoradin’s wall had been in view for the past few hours now and at this point was less than half an hour slow ride away. Pulling on the reins he steered the horse around, pointing it in the direction opposite to the movement of the convoy. Giving each wagon and its driver a cursory inspection and a nod as they passed by, just shy of a dozen wagons all told, with the baron’s coach riding in the middle of the convoy. And there bringing up the rear of the convoy on her Palamino horse was Robinas.

“Aren’t you supposed to be guarding the baron, his coach went past a few minutes ago” enquired Owyn

Robinas sneered as Owyn asked about the Baron “Pfft, believe me it’s in the Baron’s best interests to be as far away from me as possible right now. Fat pig thought he’d try and get me drunk with a few bottles of wine he had with him in his carriage. I chucked my drink out the window every time he wasn’t looking, he kept topping up both our glasses and now he’s safely passed out in his carriage”

Owyn nodded at Robinas in acknowledgement, whilst he might not like her. He could at least respect her, unlike the Baron. Owyn had realised what kind of a man he was about five seconds after meeting him. Robinas might be a thief, spy, assassin and pickpocket but you’d still describe her as honest and decent, for a given value of each anyway.

“We’re nearing the gate. Keep an eye out, it’s the perfect spot for an ambush” said Owyn, pointing ahead to the huge gap in the approaching wall, sliding his sword from its scabbard and unbuckling the shield from its resting place on his back, arms ready to hand if needed. Robinas too had loosened the sheath on her daggers, though they were still in their holders strapped to her legs they could be withdrawn at a moments notice and pointed at whoever or whatever was needed.

As the lead of the convoy started to pass through the crumbling gate, the decaying masonry casting long grasping shadows at the wagons as they passed, Owyn could see the nervous looks on the driver’s faces. He was a little nervous too; maybe even excited at the possibility of crossing blades but he knew not to let himself get carried away. His duty was to protect the convoy, not chase bandits down. He glanced over to Robinas who seemed just terribly bored more than anything, slouching over in the saddle, giving an affected yawn to further emphasise her disinterest. But look at her eyes, and you saw she was watching everything around her, intently if not obviously.

Distracted damn it, she was distracting him. Keep your eyes and ears open. Owyn strained his hearing sieving the air for the slightest whisper, but all that could be heard was the distant crow of some small bird and the wooden creak of wagon wheels turning. The last of the convoy was nearly through now, and moving into the open lands beyond. Surveying the road ahead, the land was empty, but a dull green and not all together unpleasant to the eye. But more importantly the open nature of the landscape meant you could spot any potential trouble miles before you came to it. Inwardly, Owyn sighed, both from disappointment and relief. The chances of an attack were slim now, as it would be difficult if not impossible to approach the convoy unawares.

Robinas trotted over to him on her horse, that same cheeky annoying grin on her face. “How boring, looks like I’ll have nothing to do this journey. Still I can’t say it was completely without amusement”. She stuck out her tongue at Owyn as she raised a weighty look money pouch in the air, dangling on the end of one of her daggers. “The baron could do with having a little less drinking money as I see it anyhow”

Owyn chuckled lightly at this, seemingly amused at the baron’s discomfort, before suddenly shoving his shield arm at Robinas with an ominous thunk, knocking her from her saddle. Robinas’ fall from the back of the horse actually a rather graceful acrobat’s tumble as she landed softly on both feet.

Livid with anger, Robinas turned to look at him, a look of incandescent fury on her face and shouted at him “What the hell!? There was no ne…….” but her voice quickly trailed off as she saw the black feathered arrow that had penetrated and was now perpendicular to the plane of Owyn’s shield, still vibrating slightly from the energy of the impact.

Reeling his horse round, he saw figures rapidly emerging from camouflaged dugouts in the ground parallel to both sides of the convoy. The dugouts being nothing more than simple holes in the ground covered with various pieces of bracken and foliage to mask their presence, simple but effective. The figures, near a dozen or so now it seemed, swathed in dark green hooded cloaks, faces obscured beneath a mask of black. Most of them seemed to be armed with swords and one handed axes, with the odd polearm scattered amongst them too and a figure at the back with a crossbow which he was now in the middle of reloading.

Quickly formulating a plan of action in his mind, he shouted back to Robinas “Take the ones on the other side, I’ll handle these ones” pointing with his sword to the left flank of the convoy. Glancing back over his shoulder however he saw that she’d disappeared without a trace.

“Gods dammit Robinas”, Owyn cursed loudly. Still, no choice now, he kicked the horse into a gallop and aimed straight for the bandit with the crossbow. Whilst confident in his skills to handle those armed with swords and such on foot, there would be little he could do against a man aiming a bolt for his head. He was fortunate he’d missed the first time, and reminded himself to utter a short prayer later for this small miracle, but now speed was of the essence. The crossbow whilst deadly in its own right, was normally wielded by those without the muscle to pull back the string on a full longbow, and was loaded via a slow unwieldy winding mechanism meaning you couldn’t shoot at anyone with great speed. He had to run him down before he could get another bolt off.

Leaning into the saddle with his sword held back ready to swing, he could see the man fumbling with the crossbow, taking longer than he should simply due to nerves. His associates meanwhile seemed to almost be ignoring Owyn altogether and were converging on the convoy, giving him a wide berth and moving in rapidly. As he closed the last few feet on his target he lifted his weapon to point it at Owyn but it was already too late. Owyn’s blade sliced through the heavy wooden stock of the crossbow and slashed across the bandits chest, a spurt of dark red splattering across the dry grass and the man gurgling as he fell to the ground.

Barely breaking his horse’s stride he wheeled round in a small circle to come back about facing the convoy. Taking in the scene he could see three hooded attackers all nearing the baron’s coach in a ragged semi-circle formation, weapons poised but with their backs to him. They seemed quite intent on their target, uninterested in the rest of the wagons. It made sense, if you were hoping for a quick smash and grab then the baron’s coach would be the target liable to contain the most profit. A bellowing shout from Owyn though caused them to look back and regroup ready for his charge, weapons held fast in front of them. His charger Blinky snorted in derision, pawing at the ground ready to gallop forward but Owyn held him back on the reins. “Not this time, they’re liable to take a hoof off”, patting his horse reassuringly on the side of the neck. The long reaching polearms would unfortunately be ideal to slice at his steed and bring him down whilst keeping a safe distance from his attacks.

Sliding off the back of Blink and onto the ground with a metallic clink of armour, he approached the trio warily. He knew he’d have to strike hard and fast before they could encircle him and use their numbers to his advantage. The three seemed nervous but determined, glancing back at the body of their now deceased crossbow wielding comrade now and then. Tensing his whole body, Owyn swung his sword in a lazy arc in front of him in a deliberately inviting move. One of the attackers jumped on this opportunity to leap forward at Owyn, bringing his sword down sharply aiming to slice through his shoulder. The change in Owyn’s stance was instant, stepping forward quickly inside his assailant’s sword swing rendering it useless; he slammed his shield into the man’s chest with a sickening crunch, the impact of the shield sending waves of excruciating pain through Owyn’s injured hand.

Not pausing for breath he span in a half circle his sword out wide at neck height and was rewarded with a satisfying cutting sound, a scream that quickly turned into a bloodied gurgle. The one remaining villain, now visibly shaking at being found all alone. His opponent before him standing pointing at him with his bloodied sword, teeth bared and a grimace on his face. With a high pitched squeak he turned tail and ran back up the road from whence the convoy had travelled down. The pain in Owyn’s arm discouraged him from chasing after, and he wasn’t a threat anymore anyway. But the attack on the convoy had been from both sides, and he’d only beaten off those that had attacked on this flank.

Dashing round the coach to the opposite side he was greeted with a surprising sight. Two bodies lay on their back on the ground in a growing pool of blood right before the door to the coach, their throats slit and a look of genuine surprise on their faces. How someone had managed to sneak up on them from behind when it was them launching a surprise attack was a puzzle. Another body lay a few feet away, a small throwing knife piercing the eye in a grizzly sight. Further away still another corpse, his back to the convoy, had he tried to run away? He hadn’t got far, his back was a home to a half dozen stab wounds at least.

“Ah, I see our brave Sir do-right Knight has once again saved the day….eventually” smirked a soft voice from above him. Turning round and looking up, there was Robinas. She was lounging lazily on top of the coach, twirling a dagger casually in her hand. Not a speck of blood on her or the blade.

“You?” Owyn murmured, gesturing to the deceased attackers.

“Me? I’m just a harmless little pick boot…..you know that Sir Owyn”, Robinas grinned down at him like a Cheshire Cat. Owyn couldn’t help but smile weakly back. The pain in his hand was however begging for his attention.

After a moments contemplative silence, Owyn quietly whispered “I could do with your help….if you’d be so kind”

“Help? With what? I thought our great Sir Owyn was beyond needing help from us lowly rogue types.” chirped Robinas.

Owyn didn’t say anything to this; he merely offered forward his shield arm. Palm up to Robinas. The initial arrow that signalled the start of the attack had gone right through the shield, and penetrated the gauntlet underneath and unfortunately his hand too. Small drops of rivulets of blood were even now making their way down the shattered gauntlet and along the limb of his armour.

Robinas opened her mouth like she was about to say something but stopped short. She leapt down from the back of the coach and took Owyn’s hand in hers peering intently at the wound. “It’s a clean wound, went right through. You’re lucky….but this is going to hurt sorry”. She wrapped her hand around the broken shaft of the arrow….then yanked the arrow in one smooth fast motion.

“Gah”, Owyn winced as the offending arrow was pulled free.

“Idiot…..getting yourself shot up like this”, Robinas’ voice low as she said this. Pulling at the fabric of her tabard, she tore a long strip from it and then started to dress Owyn’s wounded hand with it as a makeshift bandage.

“Thanks Robi”

“Don’t mention it Owyn. You too”

This brief moment of companionship was interrupted however by a loud screech from inside the coach.

“Robbed! I’ve been robbed!” the door to the carriage burst open, and baron emerged in a state of angry dishevelment, having just woken up it seemed. “My money pouch, has gone, it must have been that little witch…” the baron broke off mid-sentence as he took in the scene of his coach surrounded by a half score of dead bandits in various poses.

Looking at the Baron, then turning his gaze and holding it on Robinas, Owyn spoke carefully and deliberately to Baron Persivine with measured words “We’ve managed to route the attack sir, but one of them managed to get away. He must have managed to snatch it in the confusion. Robinas has been here helping with your defence”

Looking momentarily flustered from this counter argument “Yes, well this…this….is just not acceptable Sir Knight. It was your duty to guard this coach, not to let some miscreant run off with the contents of my purse”

“It was my duty to ensure the safety of this caravan and the people in it, including you sir. No-one was injured, and they won’t be robbing anyone again”

Returning to his previous pompous self, rising up and inflating his pigeon chest, a smug look on his face “Well, of course since they have managed to escape with MY purse, your payment has been stolen too. Not that you deserve it anyway”

“I shall go check on the rest of the wagons”, Owyn gave a short curt bow to the duke and a longer more meaning one to Robinas, before turning his back and walking away.

“Argh, my rings too!” cried the baron as Owyn wandered off.
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PostSubject: Re: Ten Gold Coins   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:33 pm

Later that day, after escorting the caravan for the rest of the journey without incident Owyn found himself a tiny room at the Bucket and Spade inn in Southshore. The pokey little room all he could afford after failing to gain any monetary reward from the escort, despite there being no injury to any of the travellers.

Robinas had vanished without a trace after they reached the safety of the town, and the Baron too had left in a hurry on the first boat. Owyn was alone again.

As he prepared to retire for the night he took off his boots, as he did so there was a muffled clink. Upending his boot onto his palm, he found ten small glinting coins deposited there. He stared at the coins for a moment before a grin stole across his face.
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PostSubject: Re: Ten Gold Coins   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:57 pm

((again a good couple of years old, this was her side, I hasten to add Robi isn't and never has been a pickpocket but decided to let the poetic licence stay ))


10 gold coins…..her view.

Robinas looked defiantly at Fahrad, her chin jutting slightly as she looked up into his face.
“ I won’t do it.” she almost growled. “ I’m not babysitting some fat Baron…”
Fahrad looked down at Robi and smiled humouring at her.
“Robinas…Robi…It’s not babysitting. He asked for a guard, preferably a pretty one. And I’m afraid you’re it. Ravenholdt rogues are not known for their beauty and you’re about the prettiest we got, you’ll have to do.”
“ Well thanks a lot! I’ll have to do? The answer is still no, send Cal, you never know maybe the duke prefers men.” Robi retorted, her eyes still flashing defiance and stubbornness.
Fahrad shook his head as he returned her look.
“Not a request Miss Zaoldyeck, you’re going, for the honour of your father…” he stopped short of tempting her with promises of a fat reward at the end of it. He learned long ago that she didn’t work primarily for the rewards, she took what she wanted no more and worked to her own agenda, whatever that might be. He would have to be reduced to blackmailing her with the memory of her beloved father.
“ Traitorous bastard that he was” Fahrad added mentally.
Robinas sighed and shrugged slightly “ Fat pig to Southshore….when?”

Fahrad briefed her, explained that Baron Persivine was joining a merchant convoy from Arathi to Southshore, the convoy itself was being protected by men hired by The league of Arathor, she herself would answer to none of their soldiers and was only responsible for the Baron, no more.
“ Oh and Robi?” he added. “ He may have some useful information, see what you can get out of him will you?”
Robi snorted as Fahrad laughed “I hear he’s a leg and ass man. Wear the Nightscape leather..”
He ducked back as Robi swung a non too playful blow at his upper arm.

Robi reined her horse in just outside of the convoy area and slid deftly of its back, a short soft whistle and a gesture to the south and the horse trotted out of sight. “ Good boy Indy ”
She had decided to survey the camp unannounced first, look around see where any potential problems could lie. She walked around the collection of wagons and its baggage of humanity, regarding the contents with a seemingly impassive eye. She was a little concerned at the lack of armed protection, she had assumed that there were soldiers escorting the convoy, she hoped she hadn’t come across them yet, because good as she was with a dagger, if the convoy was waylaid by the defias or syndicate she couldn’t hope to defend it alone.
“Not that I would anyway..” she thought wryly “ Arathors lot…I owe them nothing”
She sighed as she saw the hideously garish carriage in the centre and somehow knew that its owner would look the same. “ Thanks Fahrad” she muttered under her breath “Just paint a target on my ass why didn’t you…”
She felt some small relief as the odd soldier hove into view now and then, all of them mercenary by the look of it, all in league with Arathor rather than the League of Arathor she mused. She sighed and sincerely hoped that there would be no assault on the route.

As she continued her covert surveillance, from the corner of her eye she saw a figure emerge from a tent, his hand shielding his face from the early but bright wintry sun. “Ah at last..a soldier…she thought as she took in the tall muscular frame, even from this distance she could see he was a fighting man and beneath the armour he wore he was lean and toned.
“hmm..not bad at all…” she mused as she followed with her eyes. The physique of the man impressed her, broad shoulders and chest, slim waist and hips. Might be an interesting journey yet…she was suddenly quite pleased she’d chosen to wear the Fel leather pants that she knew hugged her hips and legs and showed them off to their best advantage. As she watched he lowered his hand from his face Her first glimpse of his face showed her a chiselled jaw and defined cheekbones, promising a classically handsome man, second glance and she recognised Sir ‘Onerable Owyn, The Uptight Knight, as she referred to him, the bane of her time in Stormwind and Robinas jaw dropped, she stood totally taken aback. She wondered why she had never noticed his looks before and decided it was probably due to the fact that he blinded all around him by that aura of ..what was the word she wanted..? Dogoodiness…yes that seemed to sum it up. That air of “ I’m so good and can help you…” and it irritated the hell out of her. Just what she needed…not…! She just hoped he was as good with his sword as he was with his moralising, no way she fancied having to fight beside him while he preached at her for not thanking any attacker for dying…or would he just preach to them the error of their ways until they just gave up the will to live and jumped on his sword to put him out of their misery? She smirked to herself at the mental image.

She sighed quietly and continued with her surveillance. Luckily she knew the area quite well, being close to both her old home of Hillsbrad Fields and her ‘finishing’ school of Ravenholdt. The whole area was riddled with little pockets of Syndicate camps, she spat mentally at the thought of them and snorted with derision. Poor mans Ravenholdt was how she thought of them, their lack of co-ordination and defined leadership made them little more than highway robbers in her eyes, very efficient and quite deadly but highway robbers nonetheless. Whist she hoped for no trouble along the way, she knew that the Syndicate or Defias wouldn’t pass up a chance to instil a little more fear into the hearts of the common man.
Another sigh as she realised she couldn’t put off meeting the baron any longer, she hoped he wasn’t some lecherous old sod who would spend his time talking to her cleavage, but in her heart suspected he probably was.
She made her way to the barons carriage and huffed quietly as she saw Owyn was already there. Ah well she thought a bit of fun to be had at his expense.

She heard the baron say her name and saw Owyns back tense at the sound of it. She smirked to herself, round one to her and she hadn’t even started yet..
As Owyn turned she leant against the side of the carriage and gave him a small almost imperceptible wink and flashed a smile to the baron.
“ what a disgusting looking specimen” she thought as she took in the flabby opulent demeanour of the Baron, but her warm smile never faded as the baron introduced himself and gestured at Owyn.
She swept a curtsey to Owyn, looking up at him through her lashes with a condescending smirk, her voice dripping poison honey as she greeted him. The look he flashed her said the sarcasm wasn’t lost on him.

“…sadly not Miss Robinas, there still seem to be one or two of the criminal classes that don’t take the hint that their presence is unwanted” Owyns retort to her greeting cut into her thoughts and a small frown furrowed her brow for a split second, she knew he had seen it as the small smirk on his face showed.
“ round 2 to you..” she thought before turning her back and climbing into the coach at the barons request.

Robinas plastered a warm smile on her face as she sat opposite the baron, her legs curled to one side ensuring there was no room for the baron to sit next to her. “I want those fat hands where I can see ‘em Pal” she thought. “Hmmm nice rings…” she noticed as she saw heavy jewel encrusted rings jammed onto his every finger.

Not listening with any great interest to the baron, Robinas looked out of the carriage window, watching and surveying the terrain closely, looking for any possible traps and ambush points.
“ A drink my dear…” the baron handed her a glass of rich looking wine “ to your very very good health..”
Robinas flashed a smile as she took the drink, but the baron didn’t see it, his eyes were firmly fixed on her curves, almost staring transfixed at her cleavage, his breathing rapid and rasping as he looked laviciously at her.
“ dirty sod” she thought and raised the glass to her lips and doing so crossed her arm across her chest hiding herself from his lecherous eyes.
“Drink up my dear. I have a good bottle or so for us, make the journey so much more pleasant for us..” he panted at her.
Robinas smiled and nodded and while the barons eyes were held by her breasts she tipped the wine out of the carriage window. She knew his idea was to get her slightly drunk and paw her probably, she shuddered inside at the thought of those fat hands violating her.
“I hate you Fahrad..” she thought

He continued to ply her with wine, she continued to tip it out of the window, a short while later he was slurring his words and making unveiled lewd stares at her body, his podgy hands pawing at the air just in front of her body. Robinas’ hand hovered by her dagger,
“ Just try it you lecherous git…I dare you” she muttered under breath. One of his hands brushed her breast and his eyes flashed with lust.
Robinas let out an affected drunken giggle.
“Oh you naughty little baron…Robi have to smack you…”she deliberately slurred her words.
The baron gave a breathless laugh and lunged forward his hands clawing at the air in front of her heaving breasts.
She flashed him a broad smile. “Oh you’ve asked for this your grace…”
“Oh Miss Robinas I have, I have indeed…”he panted
Robinas held her arms out to the baron and as he came forward slid one arm over his shoulder and swiftly squeezed the nape of his neck, his eyes rolled up and he slumped forward face down onto the seat beside her, obliviously unconscious.
Robi sneered down at the baron before leaning down and unclipping his purse from his waist. She raised an eyebrow at the weight and threw it up in the air deftly catching it, nodding with satisfaction at the jingle it made before sliding it into a pouch at her waist.
“For services rendered your grace…” she laughed and poked the now snoring baron with her foot. “ You should thank me for this…”
Then with a humourless laugh she slid out of the carriage window, all but somersaulted onto the roof before dropping with almost feline grace onto her horses back, which had been trotting along behind the coach.

Robinas wheeled Indy around and took a place at the rear of the convoy, her eyes scanning the surrounding countryside for potential ambush. It was almost with a sense of disappointment that she noticed none, it was sometime since she’d crossed blades with the syndicate, tested her mettle as it were.
As they neared Thoradins wall she scanned the terrain voraciously. It was here if anywhere she thought, an ideal spot for ambush, once through the wall the terrain changed to open farmland, much less opportunity to launch a surprise assault. Nevertheless she unfastened the sheathes of her daggers as she slouched in the saddle, giving an impression of lassitude and boredom.
Ahead she saw Owyn, mounted but at a standstill as he sentried the wagons through the gap in the wall. She eyed his demeanour, he was she thought a really good looking man, deep blue eyes that she could notice even from this distance and the physique… the strong muscled arms and chest. She shook herself “pull yourself together girl…not the time not the place…and it’s probably all armour anyway” Casting him one last glance she dismissed him from her mind, she couldn’t afford the distraction.
Something niggled her, she was uneasy but didn’t quite know why, she scanned the countryside, nothing…she tried to dismiss the feeling and trotted across to Owyn. Between them they escorted the ragtag convoy through the gap in the wall and once through relaxed a little.
“…he could do with a little less drinking money anyway” said Robinas as she deftly caught the barons former purse, having shown it to Owyn. A split second too late she realised Owyn was probably not the person to show this to, let alone brag how she got it. What would she get, she wondered, a long meaningful reprimand about the error of her ways or a short term in the stockades…she smirked to herself. A smirk which quickly faded as with untold surprise Owyn grinned wickedly at her.
“Woo” she thought “maybe that’s the uneasy feeling I’ve had…”
Next thing she knew there was a push to her shoulder and she felt her balance tip and she rocked out of the saddle, as she coiled herself to land, eyes scanning for trouble, she gasped in furious surprise as she realised Owyn had hit her with his shield…bit harsh for pinchin’ a purse she thought.
“Hey there was no need…” she started to yell at Owyn furiously. Her words died on her lips as she saw, quivering in Owyns shield, the trademark black-flighted arrow of the Hillsbrad defias.
Her eyes darted across the scene, defias in dugouts…shallow scrapes each hiding one or two men and covered loosely with dirt and shrubbery.
“Damn…” she cursed under her breath “Oldest trick in the book and we walked into it…”
Vaguely she was aware of the commotion around her, people screaming in terror, sharp barked commands from the defias. All taken in and digested in a fleeting moment, she was dimly aware of Owyn growling a command as she melted into the shadows and sprinted towards the baron’s coach.
Funnily enough as she reached the now stationary coach the first thing she noticed was that she could hear the baron snoring…dismissing it from her mind as she took a moment to survey the area and assess her chances before making tactics.
“Pfft” she snorted in derision silently as she looked at the defias assault. She felt sure they were using the convoy as a training exercise.
A group of four were making the attempt to rob the baron’s coach; she watched them gesticulate their orders to each other. She translated them with a wry smile.
Two to assault the coach, one each to the right and left of the coach to threaten and warn of any potential disturbance.

As the group dispersed towards their positions Robi pulled a small throwing knife from the cuff of her boot and aimed it at the nearest to her, he was furthest away from the group, if her aim was true and swift she could take him down without alerting the others. She let the knife fly from her hand, a tricky shot, she had it aimed for his eye, a true hit there would kill him before he could scream.
“…and down you go…” she smiled smugly to herself as the defias bandit slumped to the ground without uttering a sound.
The two were nearing the coach door; she’d spent too long patting herself on the back…
Again slipping into shadow she quickly but silently moved forwarded, formulating a plan of action on the move,
“Gah no time for tactics,” she spat quietly.
Creeping up behind the both of them, she gave a short stabbing punch in the kidneys to the one on her left, leaving him in stunned paralysis. At almost the same time she leapt to the one to her right and drew her short bladed dagger deftly across his throat, from ear to ear. She turned back to the other who was just starting to stir from the blow, she flashed him a grin as she darted behind him, pulled his head back by the hair and again cut the throat. As he slumped at her feet she wiped the blade of her dagger clean on his shirt.
The remaining bandit had seen her and ran to engage her brandishing a wicked looking sword.
Robi beckoned him on with a grin, before all but disappearing before his eyes. He stopped mid run, glanced fearfully around him, then ran away from the coach. Robi quickly let fly with another throwing knife which caught him in the back, he stumbled but regained his footing and staggered on. Robi caught him up and rammed her dagger home between his shoulder blades and again…just to show she meant it, and once more to make sure he was in fact dead. Then Oh what the hell, once more for the hell of it.
She looked around, no further oncomers…but realised the other side was probably still under assault, she’d better see how Owyn was faring. She sprinted to the coach and vaulted up onto its roof, landing in a graceful feline crouch. Her plan was to survey the fight and drop down to assist. It was with some surprise however that she saw defias dead and Owyn standing panting amongst them.
“Bloody hell…” she thought “the Knight can fight…”
She saw him begin to sprint around to the other side of the coach. Quickly she smoothed her hair, brushed her clothes straight with her hands and wiped the dagger clean on the underside of her boot. She lounged back on the coach roof and twirled her dagger with an air of nonchalance.
She watched as Owyn rounded the coach at a run and smugly grinned to herself as she saw him pull up and gaze around him at her carnage, a look of surprise and puzzlement on his features.
“Ah, I see our brave Sir do-right Knight has once again saved the day….eventually” she grinned down at him, still twirling the dagger in her hand.
He gesticulated at the bodies
“You..?” he said
“Me? I’m just a harmless little pick boot…..you know that Sir Owyn”, she replied, the grin still on her face.
She was surprised when Owyn smiled back, a little weakly but smiled nonetheless.
There was a moment’s slightly awkward silence and Robinas started to feel a little perturbed by it, she’d never been one of life’s great conversationists, this was her cue to go she thought.
Owyns voice cut into her thoughts.
“…if you’d be so kind?”
She shook herself and looked down at Owyn, he’d just asked for her help with something unless she was very much mistaken.
She came back with some sarcastic retort anticipating that his request would be something demeaning and poking fun at her.
She cocked her head and smirked at him waiting for his response, she was surprised when he merely held up his shield arm to her. In an instant she saw the growing trickle of blood building up by his shattered gauntlet.
She winced inwardly but skipped lightly down from the coach roof.
Gently and carefully she took his hand in hers, turned it over and looked at the wound, it was clean but the arrow head was still embedded in his hand.
She looked up into Owyns grey face, he must be in some pain but he was hiding it well.
“Gonna hurt…” she said and before he had time to reply she had coiled her hand around the remains of the shaft and yanked the arrow free.
The blood gushed as the arrow came free, without hesitation Robi tore a long strip from her tabard and started to carefully bind the wound in an effective field dressing.
As she worked she couldn’t help but notice Owyns scent, she breathed it in, the clean sweat of battle and a slightly metallic tinge of warm armour. “Mmm nice…” she thought idly.
“There you go…it’ll hold until you can get medical help.” she said as she tied the bandage off. “Here…take this” she rummaged in her pack and offered him a small vial, “drink a little of it, it’ll kill the pain”
Owyn took a small swig and felt some immediate relief.
“Thanks Robi” he said
“Don’t mention it” and realising this arrow was the one he had stopped hitting her she added “You too Owyn”
She smiled up at him briefly, then realising she was still holding his hand, coughed slightly and let go as if his armour had suddenly become molten.
The moment was broken by a shrill shriek from the baron as he realised he had been robbed.
“…that witch…” she heard him shriek.
“Cheeky git” she thought and her hand subconsciously went to her now sheathed dagger.
“My purse…my purse…” the baron continued to wail.
Robi glanced at Owyn and sighed, she knew this was where he was going to turn her in to the baron, Sir Do-right knew she’d taken the purse. Fahrad would find out, he’d deny he knew her and then kick her ass later for being stupid enough to get caught.
Stupid was the right word too, what on earth had possessed her to tell Dudley Do-right here that she’d stolen the Barons money?
She kept her face impassive, devoid of the complete and utter amazement she felt as Owyn kept his gaze on her while he suggested to the wailing baron, that the defias had stolen his money whilst she and he had dutifully saved his life.
She looked to the baron who by now was puffing himself up again and blaming Owyn for the loss of his purse. Telling him it had contained his pay anyway and as a result he wasn’t getting anything.
Robinas suspected that the baron wouldn’t have paid up anyway, finding some loophole to withhold the money from those he owed it to.
Owyn bowed respectfully to the baron, a feat Robinas was astounded by, she would have ignored the baron at the very least. He then turned to her and offered her a longer bow, accompanied by a deep meaningful stare before turning his back and walking over to his horse.
Despite being told he wasn’t getting paid for the job Owyn still continued with his duty and escorted the convoy to its destination. An act Robi was totally at a loss to understand.
The rest of the way to Southshore was uneventful, Owyn led the convoy whilst she rode the rearguard and their paths didn’t cross much throughout. Robi was relieved at that, for some reason she didn’t want to face him, she had effectively stolen his money and rather than claim it back by turning her in had lied about the theft, he’d also saved her life, well possibly, she thought. “I’d have seen it coming I’m sure…” she appeased herself with that thought.
The convoy rolled into Southshore and all but dispersed.
“Right that it” she thought “back to Ravenholdt for me”
She wheeled Indy round, a brisk canter and she’d be there in 20 minutes. As she prepared to heel Indy on she saw Owyn walk into the small hotel. She slid off Indys back and stole silently in behind him and watched as he checked into the poky room. A stab of guilt hit her as she realised Owyns misfortune was partly her fault.
Almost out of nowhere and totally out of character she opened the purse she’d lifted from the baron and quickly took out 10 gold.
Owyn sat on the bed and pulled off his boots and discarded them to the side, as he did so Robi leaned down from her position behind the door and dropped the coins into the boot with a small chink before disappearing out of the door and away down the stairs.

Mounting Indy quickly she heeled him on leaving Southshore behind in a cloud of dust.
As she hit the grasslands she reined in and set a pace at an ambling trot, enjoying the breeze in her hair.
“Don’t tell anyone Indy…what I just did…I’ll never live it down.” she laughed
She shrugged the feeling off and laughed at herself for being so soft before squeezing Indy’s flanks with her thighs, urging the horse into a flat out gallop home…laughing aloud with sheer exhilaration

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