The market streets of Edton are always packed during the day. Hot food stands mix the smells of their food into the rest of the crowd of scents from dirt, hay, and animal droppings to fruit, coal smoke, and incense. I like the market because it is diverse enough that I don’t stand out; halflings, dwarves, humans, and the occasional gnome move about the market and the diversity makes me less self-conscious of being a half-blood.
With my bow stashed in the long quiver on my back and the hefty axe looped through my belt I weaved through the crowd pulling a large burlap sack over shoulder. The bottom of the sack was stained a dark brown as the blood had dried over the week’s journey back, and begun to smell fiercely. The crowd gave plenty of room to move.
At the south end of the market is McGorin’s Taxidermist. Not only does he stuff trophy busts, but Daren McGorin also acted as a front-man for most of the bounties in Edton. The sign hangs from the second story window, a large wooden circle adorned in animal horns of all sorts and emblazoned with an arrow crossed over an axe. I like Daren, he’s good people.
I push the door open and walk into the storefront of Mc’Gorin’s, large trophy busts hang from the walls all around the room, a chandelier of antlers adorned with candles lights the room. It looks more like a hunting lodge than a store. Daren is sitting behind the counter eating a sandwich. “Well if it isn’t little Sammy. What’s in the bag?”
I heft the sack on to the counter, giving a few feet between it and his sandwich, and reach in, “Bugbear chieftain, and a few extra for the promised bonus.”
“Well if that doesn’t make my day I don’t know what will!” Daren reached under his counter to pull up some coins. I’d bet my pay that he keeps a powerful crossbow right next to the purse.
The door burst open, and standing in it is the biggest women I’ve ever seen. Behind her is a blonde-haired man in a dress with a bird on his shoulder, she however is wearing a solid steel breastplate and has a massive axe in a thick leather sheath on her back. In her hand is the biggest severed head I’ve ever seen, and I doubt the two are not related.
Her voice is thick through the tusks jutting up from her lower jaw, “Good news Micky! Larry and I got that Ogre you put up the price on. Here ya go!” She tosses the head through the air and it lands with a wet thump on the counter. I wince, it landed on Daren’s sandwich.
“That- that was a good sandwich. The mutton was lean, the tomatoes were perky.” Daren seems to deflate as he looks at the ruined sandwich.
“Oh whatever, take it out of my pay. Hey who’re you?” The half-orc looked me up and down, “Nice bow, can you use it?”
My eyes narrow at the thought of questioning of my skill. I reach into my sack and pull the chieftain’s head out, his right eye missing from where my arrow pierced it, “He thinks I shoot just fine.”
The woman laughs and offers me a hand, “Challa Axeborne. We could use an archer, you should join up. Larry here is a wizard.” She wiggles her fingers like casting a spell at me as she says wizard.
I shake her hand, “Sam Fletcher. Why would I run with you? I make plenty on my own.”
“Oh come on! We work together and we can handle the bigger targets. Bigger targets means better pay days, oh and glory! We can become known as heroes instead of just hunters. Who doesn’t want to be a hero?”
She talks a big game, but her passion is almost infectious. Almost.
I pick up my payment from Daren, “Sorry about your sandwich Daren. I’ll be back tomorrow for another job. Nice to meet you Challa, but I work alone.” I stepped around her and back out the door.
With a few gold in my pocket I head back into the market and for the Cracked Flagon tavern.