4. Hopeful Interview

Follow the comical trials of the anti social warrior Stacy Brancomb.
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4. Hopeful Interview

Post by Wraithwriter »

Stacy Brancomb was severely irritated with this most recent turn in her life. For one the wooden bench she sat upon was highly uncomfortable and even she, as lacking in knowledge in furniture making, could have shown the maker how to properly smooth and sand it. So with slivers digging at her rump through her woolen trousers, she sat brooding in one of Vargbriton's jailhouses. This led to the other thing that was eating at her.

Here she was, the only woman in a cell with ten men and not one had even remotely bothered her. No,the low lives of Vargbriton, mostly drunks and brawlers, were all cowering on the other side of the cell. If she had been in any other mood she would have found it all very comical, but as it was the sight only served to fuel Stacy's ire.

The week started with such great potential. First the ditch digging gig ended due to the City Council changing its policies on caring for the dead following the recent undead scare; now instead of burying, the town switched to burning. Even better in Stacy view point was that even though the job had ended early she was still awarded a letter of recommendation, if a little begrudgingly by the foreman.

With the letter in hand Stacy wasted no time in taking it to the offices of a near to do well merchant she'd heard was hiring. Unfortunately, the merchant had no need for additional guards, it not being caravan season, but he did have an opening for a common laborer with a promise of being hired on as guard when the time came. Having no other leads for a new job, and she refused to return to the hiring hall, she had taken it. It was on the second day at the merchants warehouse when opportunity rode into town.

A party of six rode in wearing armor and other gear that had plainly seen better times and many battles. In the lead rode a man with a shock of red hair strumming a cord on a gold inlaid lute, clearly a bard of sorts. Behind him came a laughing Halfling riding on the back of giant wolf without benefit of harness. Following the Halfling came a pair of half-elves riding side-by-side, they looked so much alike that at first Stacy thought she was seeing double. Next rode a figure in heavy armor sitting on one of the largest horses she had ever seen. Finally, bringing up the rear on foot, was a hulking brute of a man covered form head to waist in tattoos, in his left hand he held the reigns of a sixth horse in which a covered body was tied.

"Stacy!" shouted one of her fellow laborers as he tossed a bag of grain up into a large wagon. "Quit gawking and go get another bag!" Throwing a rude gesture the others way, Stacy turned and went back to work. It was not till after her shift ended that she went in search of the party.

It was not difficult to track the party down this being Vargbriton after all; the party was likely the most exciting thing to happen since the undead scare. All Stacy had to do was follow the whispering and flocking youths to the inn which they had taken up residency. The inn was one of the higher end establishments in Vargbriton located only two streets from Council Hall and was normally reserved for visiting dignitaries and their entourage. This gave proof of the groups success and made Stacy hopeful in filling the slot opened up by their fallen companion.

As Stacy approached the Quill & Parchment Inn she observed a stylized wooden placard hanging in the inn's main window. The placard read: Attention! Calling all who wish to join the famous Dragon's Eye Company. Interview now for a chance to join!

At the sight of the sign Stacy's hopes for her future soared. With her experience there was no way this group would pass her over for another with lesser, which was what they would find here. So brushing herself off and straightening to her full height she marched on into the inn. Not two steps across the threshold and she was brought up short, apparently she was not the only one seeking a way out of Vargbriton because there was a line of twenty others waiting for an interview.

Irritated at this little set back, Stacy stood waiting her turn fuming at the fate that put such insignificant obstacles in her path. As the line shortened she was able to study how the party was conducting the interview. They had separated into two groups of three and were sitting at tables on separate sides of the inn's common room. At the table to the left sat a tall lithe blonde woman with milky white eyes, the laughing Halfling, and one of the twin half-elves. This left the bard who still plucked at his lute, the tattooed brute downing a tankard of ale, and the other twin at the table on the right.

The sight of the lithe blonde threw Stacy off till she realized that the woman must be the heavily armored figure she had seen now out of armor. Well at least I won't be the only woman in the group, Stacy thought. It was about two hours according to the large standing clock when she reached the front of the line, and when the last interviewee in front of the blonde's group stood to leave Stacy stepped up to fill the vacated chair. What proceeded was educational if nothing else for apparently the Dragon's Eye Company had some very stringent and obscure requirements.

They inquired of her age, nationality, marital status, and physical prowess, none of which she minded answering; however, when the Halfling inquired about her sexual preferences she was highly offended and refused to answer, she also ensured the little pipsqueak knew it. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a fleeting smile appear on Blondie’s lips before her face was once more blank. Through the entire affair only Blondie and the Halfling spoke while the half-elf diligently recorded everything. After asking all their questions Blondie stood and extended her hand to shake Stacy's and asked her to wait off to the side while she and the Halfling discussed things with their other companions. This development seriously raised her hopes in landing a ticket out.

While sitting at a table waiting for what was to happen next, Stacy took the time to examine her competition. There was a pretty mocha skinned girl giggling with a young lad that looked more a bravo than a serious fighter, both did not look like they would last a minute against the trouble she felt the Dragon's Eye Company dealt with. At a table next to the pair was a hard looking man with all the signs of a talented knife fighter, but he apparently enjoyed his ale too much by the empty tankards on the table behind him. Finally, sitting together playing dice where four well dressed gentleman, one even wore one of those new firearms at his waist. However, it was the man wearing dark stained glasses with the piston driven arm that she really considered a threat to her chances, and apparently he thought the same of her since he gave her a brief nod before returning his attention to the dice.

After another hour Blondie called out her name and waved her over to the table where she sat with the bard and brute; of the Halfling and the twins there was no sign leaving her to believe they had retired for the night. Taking a seat in the chair left open for her she was not prepared for the reactions of the bard or the brute. When she sat down the bard looked up and as he took note of her he struck a discordant note on his lute, but other than that his façade remained neutral yet welcoming. The brute's reaction was more one with what he thought, in the middle of drinking from his tankard he paused as she sat and spewed his mouth's contents on the table in front of him.

"I do apologize for my friend's lack of manners," the bard stated smoothly while glaring at the offender. "He is from the Daggerwrath Tribe and they do not value manners like civilized folk. So, Dame Gravesfork has told me of your interview and the notes taken on your answers speak very highly of you. Now why do you think we should sign you on?"

Stacy had expected the question but was a little taken aback by the bard's directness. She had expected a drawn out oration about the Dragon's Eye Company and all its successes since all bards loved the sound of their own voice; however, she was not about to nit pick since she hated long orations being a person of action herself. So she immediately launched into her reasons why she should be the candidate they chose. When she had finished she sat back in her chair and took stock of the reactions of the three individuals across from her.

"Thank you Mistress Brancomb," the bard said as though bored. "We will send you a message if you make the cut." Thus she was dismissed and as she stood to leave she saw the furious look on Dame Gravesfork face, apparently the knight was not happy with the way the bard had handled her second interview. Giving a nod of farewell to the knight, Stacy left the inn and made the long dark walk back to her residence.

Two days later without any word from the Dragon's Eye Company, Stacy fumed at not getting her ticket out of Vargbriton. In an effort to channel her anger at fates choice, she threw herself into her labors at the warehouse. It was as she bent down to pick up another sack of grain that she spotted the Dragon's Eye Company at the farriers across the street from the warehouse. The brute and the Halfling were trying to help a giggling wisp of a girl into the saddle while the bard and Dame Gravesfork watched on. The site of the Company shocked her, but it was the sight of the giggling wisp that really set her aback.

The girl was the same she had seen flirting with the bravo at the inn and had summarily dismissed as useless. Her opinion of the girl did not improve as Stacy watched the girl fail to get in the saddle for a third time. The brute and the Halfing just stood laughing good-naturally at the girl's antics. It was on the fourth attempt that the girl finally made it into the saddle but backwards, and Stacy decided that she had had enough of watching this mockery.

Dropping the sack she had picked-up and ignoring the shouts from her fellow laborers, Stacy proceeded to walk over to the farrier's place. As she neared she gave a shout to attract the attention of the bard and Dame Gravesfork. When they turned Stacy saw the smirk that appeared on the knights lips and the apprehensive look that came over the bard's face. That look told her much about the situation.

"What is the meaning of this?" Stacy demanded of the bard as she came face to face, and pointed at the girl trying to mount the horse.

The bard, in true fashion, smiled charmingly before answering. "By 'This' I assume you are speaking of why we hired..." at this he paused in thought before turning to Dame Gravesfork. "What is the girl's name, I can not recall?"

Dame Gravesfork gave the bard an irritated fuming look before answering, "It is Tanya Gillium, and it was you who hired her, not we."

"Semantics my dear knight," the bard returned. "Now where was I...Yes, you mean why I hired Tanya? Well she met the criteria."

"And what was that?" Stacy asked beginning to understand where this was going.

"Well she is pleasant to converse with, her face doesn't turn my stomach, and she answered correctly to the sexual orientation question," the bard proclaimed all the while holding his smile. "Besides, why would I ever consider hiring you, a common laborer? Sure you look the part, but I very seriously doubt that you are what you say. Good day to you!" This last was said with a wave of an arrogant hand as he began to turn but he never completed that turn.

As the bard waved his hand, Stacy swung and her left hook connected squarely with the arrogant bard's overly perfect smile. This was swiftly followed by a viscous uppercut that lifted the bard off his feet, but it was the knee to the groin that really finished him off. Groaning the bard fell to the ground and Stacy stood over him glaring down at him.

"Entertain yourself with your new flipskirt now!" Stacy spat, punctuating her comment with a brutal kick to the bard’s kidneys. That was all that Stacy had time for as the brute came barreling down on her.

Not waiting for him to arrive, she jumped over the prone bard taking the fight to the charging brute. At the last moment Stacy moved right letting her left leg fly out to trip the barbarian. In her years of fighting there was one lesson that she had learned most thoroughly, end it fast and violently; this was even truer when confronted with someone of the brute’s size and conditioning.

Using the momentum gained as the brute tripped over her leg, Stacy pivoted on the ball of her right foot to grab the back of the brutes neck. She then followed the brute down bringing her knees up as she did. Her added weight ended any chance the brute had in recovering and he landed flat on his face then cried out in pain as Stacy's knees connected with his lower spine. His cry was cutoff as Stacy’s elbow came down on the back of his neck completing her fall.

Standing up from the now prone brute, Stacy caught her breath and became aware of laughter and screaming. Then before she could identify where they were coming form intense pain hit her as electrical energy ran rampant through her body. She had forgotten about the Hafling, and the last sight she had before passing out herself was Dame Gravefork backhanding the Halfling across the face and the girl, Tanya Gillium, screaming as her horse bucked as she attempted to cling to the saddle straps.

When she had awakened she was in this jail cell with her cowering cellmates. Not wanting to spend anymore time than she had to here she demanded the right to send a message to Forwithe, her landlord and only close approximate to a friend she had in Vargbriton. So here she was, sitting on this poorly crafted bench getting splinters in her rump, waiting for her landlord to come and collect her.

"Brancomb!" came the shout from the jailer, "Your landlord is here! Kind of depressing when there is no one but your landlord to come bail you out."
This was said with a shake of the head as the jailer let her out and locked the cell again. "Over there," directed the jailer pointing toward where Forwithe stood.

"Thank you for coming to get me," Stacy thanked the man as she walked up to him.

"Don't mention it Stacy," Forwithe stated waving his hand in dismissal. "As tenants go you are as lousy as they come, but like a good guard dog you do keep the thieves at bay."

Stacy had to control her impulse to knock the man out at his unintended insult

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