Reading Roo's fiction gets my creative juices pumping. No, not -those- creative juices. Forgive my paragraphing, I'm starting to forget the English language. Also forgive the egocentric story, I'll try to include more heads from Midgard if I follow this up. To those bored at work, enjoy. --- Ayam reined in his jet black horse at the stable, tossing the dozing attendant a grimy copper piece that failed to glint in the torchlight. The attendant fumbled at the spinning disc, a dirty, chewed straw falling out of his mouth as he chased the copper’s path, rolling along the ground on its narrow edge. The coin hit the wall and oscillated on the stone floor, the attendant scowling as he slid it into his palm. “Damn copper piece, more trouble than it was worth,” he grunted. Looking up, the rider was gone, the front door of the inn swinging back and forth till it came to a rest. The powerful horse stood proudly, its eyes following the attendant as he gingerly approached, inspecting him with an almost haughty poise. The attendant chuckled nervously, “Don’t think you frighten me big fella, we get travellers like your master every night”. The horse snorted in response, the steam from its flaring nostrils startling the attendant who took a quick pace backwards. “It’s just a horse,” he exclaimed, punching the air frustratedly as he straightened his back, “no, it doesn’t frighten me”. The attendant’s hand rose to clutch the reins, but the horse simply shook its head to send the attendant scurrying backwards into a bale of hay. Ayam drew up a chair in the crowded inn. He was not alone at his table. An old merchant smoked a pipe, blowing smoke Ayam’s way with disdain. A large man beside the old merchant sat with folded arms, smirking at the merchant’s mischief. “Kindly stop blowing smoke my way,” Ayam said in a muffled voice. The old merchant cackled, “I didn’t get where I am today by bending to others’ requests, let an old man have his fun”. “You may have your fun, old man, just not at my expense”. Ayam blinked lazily at the merchant. The merchant inhaled from his pipe again and blew the noxious smoke in Ayam’s direction. “You have a scarf over your mouth, and your nose. This smoke can’t bother you really,” said the merchant, his wrinkled face wrinkling further as a malicious smile spread across his thin lips, “whatever disfigurement you hide under there must bother you, though, eh?”. The large man by the merchant snickered, his eyes trying to gauge Ayam’s tensed figure under the wide-brimmed black hat and heavy cloak. “You chose to sit at our table, you chose to sit with our habits.” The merchant raised an eyebrow arrogantly and put the pipe to his lips again. Ayam shot the merchant an icy glare with pupils forged from frost. The merchant caught the glare and gulped down the smoke in a startled manner. Buckling over with his head in his lap he wheezed violently. The large man placed a hand on the back of the merchant which was quickly shoved away. In a seething rasp the merchant exclaimed, “Ask this man to leave our table, he is not welcome at my side.” Getting halfway out of his seat, the large man coughed and said, “You heard Master Forburs, leave our –“. The large man gave a flustered sigh as Ayam waved a barmaid his way. “Kindly bring a mug of your house ale to me at this table”. Ayam tapped his index finger on his side of the table twice. The old merchant, still wheezing, got up from his position. “Leave this table!” the large man growled, leaning forward aggressively, his bulk casting an imposing shadow over Ayam’s face. “Move along now or I’ll teach you a less-“. Ayam crashed his fist down onto one of the tabletop’s planks of wood. The other end of the plank lifted with lightning speed, smashing into the bottom of the large man’s jaw so hard, knocking him clean off his feet. The din of the other patrons’ conversation faded somewhat as he lay sprawled on the floor, fingers twitching. The merchant stood with mouth half-open, the arrogance had left his eyes. Too shocked to look outraged he stood gawping at Ayam. Ayam felt a heavy gauntlet lay on his shoulder. “Master Forburs has more than one guard, you fool,” Ayam felt his arms being twisted behind his back into a full nelson, his face smashed into the spilled ale on the table. “What delightful accompaniment music,” Ayam jested in a hoarse voice through a bloody grin, the squeals of panic from the barmaids triggering his sarcasm. Blood trickled into Ayam’s eyes from his temple. Face pressed into the table’s wood, Ayam heard the voice of the approaching stable attendant through the crowd’s conversations. “…I mean, LOOK at this bruise! Even his HORSE headbutted me! This man is TROUBLE!”. Ayam felt the stable attendant’s weak fists hit his shoulderblades a few times. Snickering at the attendant’s pummelling spurred one of Forburs’ guards to bring his gauntlet crashing into Ayam’s skull. He fell unconscious with an awkward toothy grin on his face.