Lizardman Story (WIP)

May 18th, 2022 (edited)
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  1. Preface: The following is a brief outline of a story I partially wrote over two years ago, followed by a compilation of the story snippets I wrote back then, along with some of my notes for incomplete passages. I probably will never finish this. No, there isn't any porn.
  3. Summary:
  4. >Lizardman loses to an Order captain (he cheated but a win is a win)
  5. >She's honor bound to be his wife
  6. >Turns out he's an asshole ugly bastard that hates MGs, and keeps blowing her off
  7. >Also, corrupt and just an all around awful person oppressing the nearby village
  8. >She forces herself to ignore it because muh honor
  9. >Because her parents met under similar circumstances (but her dad was not an asshole)
  10. Are you still with me?
  11. >Anon is an drifter that arrives in town to overthrow the wicked captain
  12. >Captain tells Lizard to kill/get rid of Anon
  13. >Dramatic fight scene with Anon telling her love is more important than honor
  14. >Her parents didn't get together because of some dumb tradition, but because they really did love each other
  15. >Evil captain tries to kill them both
  16. >The two team up and defeat him
  17. >Lizard says she has chosen for herself: Anon shall be her husband
  18. >Happy End
  20. /----Fragments of Full Version----/
  22. "Company! Halt!"
  24. With a firm tug of his reigns, the blue-clad soldier brought his steed to a stop. His comparatively drab cohorts followed him in succession as the order permeated through the ranks: three rows of horses two-wide, two supply wagons—a lone stagecoach between them, and two more rows of horses as a rear guard. It was hardly the largest procession the Order had fielded, even in this remote region, but the path was wide enough that no ordinary obstacle would prompt such an interruption.
  26. Needless to say, this was not an ordinary obstacle. The pointman focused his attention on the lone figure standing some several yards ahead, square in the middle of the mountainous path. A slender yet curvaceous shape, dressed head to toe in green, save for a few rather revealing omissions around the shoulders and thighs—she was undoubtedly a very beautiful woman. But anything beyond a cursory glance would make it obvious that she was not a human woman. The long, reptilian tail flowing behind her made it painfully obvious. This particular Lizardman, with her green scales and blue speckles, was familiar to the company. They had little doubt regarding her intentions.
  28. Blade planted in front of her, she looked down at her clawed toes before raising her head once more to address the soldiers.
  30. "Lieutenant!" she cried out to the pointman. "I wish to speak with your commander!"
  31. "The commander is rather tired after a long day of travel. You may convey your message to me, and I will give it to him upon our arrival at the fort."
  32. "As his devoted servant, I wish to personally offer my services to him, and relieve him of his weariness." She tightened her clawed grip on the blade before adding "As his future wife, I will not take no for an answer!"
  34. The lieutenant gave a quick snort at the word "wife," before offering his response. "As your future husband," he smirked, "the commander would rather you remain unharmed. But his orders are clear." With a move of his hands, he signaled the men behind him to pull out their rifles. "Move out of the way, or we shall move you ourselves."
  36. "I...I will..." The woman's voice faltered, unsure of what to do next.
  37. "Did you say something? Please speak up!"
  38. "I...w...will...n..."
  39. "A cold-blooded reptile like yourself may enjoy this weather, but the sun is quite sweltering to us humans. Either give us your response or...or..."
  41. The lieutenant's train of thought was derailed as he noticed a second figure wandering about. He seemed rather nonthreatening, in his plain clothes and shabby cloak. But on this isolated mountain road, beset by cliff walls on either side, where did this man come from without anyone else noticing?
  43. "Excuse me... young man...hey...HEY!"
  44. The stranger finally stood up and took notice of the mounted soldier trying to get his attention.
  45. " mean me?" He gave a blank expression while pointing at himself.
  46. "Yes, YOU! Who else would" The lieutenant trailed off, took a deep breath, exhaled, and continued much more calm than before. "Yes, stranger. We were just in the middle of something before you interrupted. Do you have any business with us?"
  47. "Not you particularly. I seem to be a bit lost. Thought I could ask for some directions. Do you know the way to...umm..." The stranger brought a hand to his chin in contemplation. The seconds dragged on before he finally spoke up again. "Halibut, I think?"
  49. The lizardman stared at the newcomer, dumbfounded, while the lieutenant grew increasingly frustrated.
  51. "Do you mean Halifax?"
  52. "Uh...yes! That's it! Do you know the way to Halifax?"
  53. "It's just back the way we came, about an hour by foot. This road runs right through town."
  54. A thought crossed the lieutenant's mind.
  55. "Tell me, stranger, could you not have asked the men at the fort?"
  56. "The fort?"
  57. "Yes, the fort. Just up ahead."
  58. The man turned around, looking up the road past the woman.
  59. "There's a fort over there?"
  60. "Yes"
  61. His eye twitched for a moment.
  62. "You can see it just around the bend."
  63. "Oh...I had no idea."
  65. The lieutenant's mounting frustration was only held off by a certain oddity in what this man was saying. He looked at the rock walls to his left and right.
  67. "Sturges? Sturges!?"
  68. Someone else was approaching now. The lizardman perked up while the lieutenant could only grimace at the familiar, raspy voice. Out from between the rows of horses came a stern-faced, bald-headed man in imposing blue armor.
  70. "Sturges, we've been stopped here for who knows how long, in the heat of the day. I demand to know what is the meaning"
  71. The lizardman smiled and waved before blowing a quick kiss.
  72. "...and...who...?"
  73. The stranger gave another blank stare at the import-looking guy that hald walked out of the coach.
  74. "Sturges...what is going on?"
  75. "Commander, the woman is..."
  76. "Self-explanatory. What of this...oaf, I'd say?"
  77. "Some dim-witted vagabond, from the looks of it. Couldn't even find his way to Halifax without help."
  78. "Reeeeally..." He stressed the vowel a tad longer than seemed necessary. "This should only take but a moment."
  80. The commander walked ahead of his men in the direction of the unwanted parties, armor noisily clanging with each step. He turned first to the woman, holding out his right hand and raising a single digit. Then, he turned to the stranger.
  81. "Tell me..." He gave the man a quick survey, taking note of what he could be wearing beneath that cheap cloak. "...sir, what business do you have in Halifax?"
  82. "Not..." The stranger paused unexpectedly. "... much. Just sightseeing."
  83. "I see, I see." He shut his eyes and forced a smile. "Well just head along this road and you'll get there in no time."
  84. "Well, thank you Mr..."
  85. "Captain Corbin of the Order of the Omnipotent. Commander of the special detachment to the—"
  86. "Carp-man, got it." The stranger smiled and walked-off while the commander continued forcing his smile beneath bloodshot eyes.
  88. "And thank you as well, Sturgeon, was it?"
  89. The lieutenant's eye began to twitch again as the insufferable man passed by.
  91. Once he disappeared into the distance, the commander then turned to the woman, getting an eyeful of her delicious curves and using that to relieve the strained expression on his face.
  92. "My dear Delilah."
  93. "Diana." She pulled her blade out of the ground and returned it to its sheath before taking a knee.
  94. "My dear Diana, as much as I'd love to enjoy your company for the night, I'm afraid I can't rest peacefully knowing that suspicious fellow is on the lose in my territory—the territory entrusted to me by the Order. I'm sure you noticed it as well, my dearest dear Diana."
  95. "Yes, my love." She blushed a bit at his remarks.
  96. "That man was hiding a weapon under that cloak."
  97. "Indeed. And then there's the chainmail under his tunic."
  98. "Yyyyyyes... exactly. That's why I need you to keep an eye on him."
  99. "Of course, my dear Corby. Your wish is my command.
  100. "Good, good. And remember, no stepping foot in town without a disguise. Can't risk causing an uproar. Now run along."
  101. At this Diana stood up and looked at the commander expectantly.
  102. ""
  103. He brought a gauntlet to his mouth and made an over-exaggerated kissing nose, then held out his hand for the woman, who shook it without hesitation. After this brief ritual, she turned tail and ran off after the unusual man.
  105. "Disgusting scaly palms," the commander mumbled. "Can't imagine what that would feel like on bare skin." He looked up and took in an eyeful of her backside. "Well, I guess it's not all bad."
  107. /------***------/
  109. The town of Halifax had a reputation for being unimportant. Thirty miles from the closest rail-line, and fourty miles from the closest navigable waterway, it was never a prime locale for commerce. Nor would very many sightseers favor it over any of the similar sleepy towns, especially when there were all manner of ancient ruins, exciting cities, or luxurious resorts to visit instead. Even the Order, usually more than happy to dispatch an entire army to some far corner of the globe—if only to prove it could—saw little reason to station more than a few scores of men at the nearby fort. It was just enough to maintain the rule of law, and earn the favor of a regional government eager to let someone else foot the bill. Ask any traveller, so-called adventurer or otherwise, and not one of them would list Halifax as a must-see place to visit. In fact, only a handful would even admit to having ever been there, and most of those few where probably born there in the first place.
  111. For this reason, when the time comes every few seasons, when a stranger rolls into town and puts up some coin to rent out a room at the Halifax Inn, people tend to notice. More of a pub than an inn, the shabby building got a lot of business from townsfolk weary after a hard day's work, even if the two upstairs bedrooms where never both occupied at the same time. It was on a midsummer afternoon, just as the place was beginning to fill up, when an unfamiliar face walked right on inside, past the bar, past the empty tables, right over to the counter at the back, and rang the bell labeled "service. With so much as a "ding," all eyes were now fixed on the newcomer. One of the waitresses quickly set down a platter of beef and veggies before rushing over to take up her spot behind the counter.
  113. "Welcome to the Halifax Inn!" She swayed back and forth excitedly. The prospective guest was rather handsome to say the least. Short brown hair, clean shaven, and well-built. As he opened up his cloak to retrieve a piece of paper, a familiar shape caught the waitress-receptionist's eye, making her even more excited. The man looked over the paper in his hands, and then began to speak.
  115. "I'm here to see salmon."
  116. Her expectations were dashed in an instant.
  117. "Salmon..?"
  118. The man held out the piece of paper so she could see it.
  119. "Salmon," he repeated.
  120. She snatched the paper out of his hands, turned it around and put her finger under the word in question.
  121. "Solomon."
  122. "Sure. I'm here to see Solomon."
  123. The receptionist gave a sigh, then loudly proclaimed "Yes sir, that should about cover it. Here's your room key."
  124. She gripped the man's palm, transferring the key marked "No. 1," before continuing—cheerful voice echoing through the room.
  125. "Breakfast starts at 6. You have a choice of bacon and eggs, or grits and pancakes. Enjoy your stay!"
  126. Then she whispered, "Your room. Thirty minutes."
  127. With that, she smiled and motioned the man upstairs. A few patrons watched the stranger ascending the rickety wooden steps, but soon lost interest after he disappeared into his room. "Probably some stiff," they thought. "Didn't even say hello."
  129. ---
  131. After locking the door behind him, the stranger set about looking over what would be his residence for at least this evening. It was simply furnished, just a bed and a desk. Surprisingly, the wall-lamp used light magic rather than the anticipated oil. Not to mention, the room was clean and well-maintained, despite his assumptions regarding how often it was actually used. All in all not a terrible state of affairs. He threw off his cloak and set his belongings down on the desk: deer-skin satchels and pouches, a half-empty flask, and his trusty shield and sword-plus-scabbard. You could hardly call yourself an adventurer without those, he reasoned.
  133. The adjoining bathroom had a simple sink and mirror, along with a shower and—what a blessed day—the fabled porcelain throne. He wasn't exactly sure how such a small town could manage its plumbing, but he wasn't willing to complain over what was likely the best accomodations he would get all month. Fingers-crossed, he turned the sink handle, smiling as the water began trickling. It was cold, and at a sub-par flow, but would suffice. The toiler he would leave alone till the need arose.
  135. Just as he finished washing his face for the anticipated rendezvous, he heard a rapping at the door. He quickly straightened his hair—that receptionist was a real cutie, so he wanted to look his best. A second set of knocks sounded.
  136. "Just a moment!"
  137. He quickly organized his belongings, then finally answered the door. It wasn't the receptionist. It was a completely average looking man. This wasn't going to work.
  139. ***
  141. The meeting was postponed to an hour later, in the staff quarters on the ground floor. The self-proclaimed adventurer was halfway through a meal of fresh-caught trout when Mr. Troupe, the man from before and the inn's owner, stepped in. The receptionist, currently on break from waitress duties, watched from the hall.
  143. "Is the meal to your liking...mister...?"
  144. "E."
  145. "Mister..."
  146. Troupe stopped dead in his tracks.
  147. "Do your really expect me to call you mister—"
  148. "Drop the mister and just call me E."
  149. "Do you like the fish...E?
  150. "Yeah...I can finally think straight," he replied between bites. "Been obsessed with fish all day seems like."
  151. He looked up from his plate at the woman standing in the doorway.
  152. "Did she cook this?"
  153. "Yes sir. Maddy here likes to try her hand at any special requests for guests staying upstairs."
  154. "So who's Solomon?"
  155. "There is no Solomon."
  156. "Then why am I here?"
  157. "Did you read the flyer?"
  158. "Yeah..."
  160. The unruly man pulled out the paper from before and read aloud.
  161. "Adventurers wanted to deal with bandit problem. Inquire at Halifax Inn. Ask for Solomon."
  162. He finished up and set the flyer down on the table.
  163. "Only there is no Solomon, and there are no bandits. Searched high and low through the territory. Just a fort full of soldiers and..."
  165. Maddy stepped inside, closing and looking the door behind her. Somehow the atmosphere became very tense.
  167. "Oh for God' mean you two want me to..."
  168. "Please understand. We are a small town. We don't have the manpower to defend ourselves. The Order coming here was a godsend until..."
  169. "That man, Corbin, is a brute."
  170. "He prefers his coffers full and his soldiers happy. Drugs, weapons, even slaves have passed through this town since he took over. No one speaks out against it because of the soldiers, and the soldiers are happy to help him, seeing as he lets them use Halifax as their personal playground."
  171. "We've been working at growing this town for years, if only to get a bit more business for the inn."
  172. "But now half the town works to the bone just to supply the cheap booze."
  173. "Please."
  174. "Please, good sir, I beg of you, save our town."
  176. E looked up at the two, having finished his meal entirely. He leaned back in his chair, trying not to make eye contact.
  177. "This isn't easy for me to say. Your lucky even a single adventurer would turn up in a place like this, and for such a vague request. But dislodging the Order isn't the same as bandit hunting.
  178. "Please sir. We only ask that—"
  179. "Let me finish. Killing the captain won't solve things here. Maybe the smuggling will stop, maybe not. But if you knock out one of their own, the Order will be all over this town like white on rice."
  180. The couple's faces turned increasingly solemn as E continued.
  181. "You won't be able to so much as breath without the Pope's blessing. And odds are I'll need to hightail it outta here before I even sneak a peek at whatever reward you've scrummed up. Now with that said."
  182. E took out a single good coin and slapped it down on the table.
  183. "This should cover the room and dinner. I'll have an answer ready by morning."
  185. ---
  187. Later that night, Madeline—Maddy for short—was doing her best to unwind after the events of the evening. After holding out for a hero for so very long, one finally arrives best he's a dud. At worst, he's completely in the right, and there really is no hope. She did her best to push away such thoughts, stepping into the bathtub of the employee's washroom and giving the pipes a few taps. A peculiar sigil lit up on the pipe surface, and she quickly turned on the faucet, allowing a steady stream of warm water to flow in. She leaned back as the tub began to fill, letting her blonde locks down to reveal a pair of short black horns. She waited, giving her breasts a little squeeze—just enough to make her shudder—then shut off the faucet when she felt the tub was a full as she desired. She rubbed her breasts a bit more, then grabbed a sponge and started properly washing the modest B-cups. She followed with her arms and legs, then sat down to soak for a bit, enjoying the warmth of the bathwater. She stood up again, and was about ready to let out her wings for a good scrubbing when she sensed unwanted eyes upon her. Then came a familiar voice.
  189. "I see. So it's like that."
  191. She yelped. It was the man from before, that E. She sprang from the tub, snatched a towel, and tried her best to cover up—bust, horns, and all.
  193. "I...I can explain," she stammered. "This is just a costume. Happy Halloween?"
  194. "What happened to your back?"
  195. "My..."
  196. She gave a look of mournful recognition.
  197. "Monsters don't bruise easily, so...sorry, I was looking for a towel and I got lost."
  198. The man turned to leave before Maddy called out to him.
  199. "The soldiers. Sometimes, when they visit, they like"
  200. She was on the verge of tears.
  201. "I couldn't let it heal or they'd get suspicious."
  202. "Which soldiers?"
  203. "Not sure. There were a few different ones each time. Sturges—the prideful one—would always be laughing. When I'm alone...I can almost hear it."
  204. "Monsters are strong. Why didn't you fight back."
  205. "It's like you said. If something happened in this town, then the Order..."
  206. "Does Troupe know? Are you two—"
  207. "I couldn't. I could never. Every day, the townsfolk stop by to see me for just a glimpse of happiness. If him and I...if we stole that all for ourselves in these times..."
  208. "So how have you—"
  209. "I make due with what I can." She forced herself to stop sobbing, hints of anger showing in that last retort. E only returned a vacant gaze.
  210. "Sorry...I didn't mean to...we succubi have ways to..."
  212. The room went silent for some time, before the man finally spoke up.
  213. "Troupe said you like trying your hand at special requests for guests."
  214. "Umm...well"
  215. He flashed a devilish grin. Maddy didn't like where this was going.
  216. "Tomorrow morning. Bacon, eggs, grits, and pancakes. All four. And don't make me wait."
  218. ---
  220. Breakfast was served on-time to E's exact specifications. Three pancakes, two eggs, a bowl of grits, and a generous helping of bacon. The fresh-squeezed juice was a bonus. Truly, this was the best breakfast he would get all month. Maddy could only smile as he scarfed it all down. The other patrons couldn't stop watching as the stranger made quick work of the extravagant—and forbidden—meal.
  222. "Hey sweet cheeks, what gives? Bacon and eggs or pancakes and grits, right?"
  223. "How come this guy gets both? I want that!"
  224. "Give me sumathat juice too, doll! Mix it with the booze, yeah?"
  226. The catcalling came from a table in the back corner of the pub. It would seem a pair of soldiers couldn't stand anyone getting more service and more attention than themselves.
  228. "Hurry up sweetheart, or you'll pay come sundown."
  229. "Hehe, oh yeah, you'll pay!"
  230. "Chop chop!"
  231. "Yeah! Chop—ACK!"
  233. The soldiers a knife whizzed right by them.
  235. "Oops. Finger slipped."
  236. E locked eyes with the soldiers from across the room. Some patrons headed for the exits, while others watched with morbid curiosity. Naturally, the soldiers wouldn't take this sitting down. They made a big show of strutting all the way across the pub, cracking their knuckles and making sure everyone got an eye-full of the rifles slung around their backs.
  238. "Did you drop this by any chance, pretty boy?"
  239. They flashed the kitchen knife right in E's face.
  240. "Oh yeah. Thanks. I get distracted real easy by annoying people."
  241. He reached out for the knife, only for the soldier to yank it away at the last second, instead clonking him in the jaw with his other hand.
  242. "Say you're sorry, pretty boy."
  243. After a moment of waiting, the soldier slugged him in the chest.
  244. "C'mon, asshole!"
  245. "S'rry."
  246. There was a beat and the soldiers started laughing.
  247. "Hehehe, wise guy, huh? How about you show us how sorry?"
  248. "How about you make it up to us?"
  249. "Sure thing, then."
  251. E stood up and closed the distance with the soldier holding the knife.
  253. "I seem to recall you wanting some more food."
  254. E sneaked an arm up behind the soldiers back.
  255. "Well dig in."
  256. In an instant, E slammed the soldier's face against the table.
  257. "Clumsy me. I completely missed the plate."
  258. He then approached the other soldier.
  259. "You wanted juice, right?"
  260. E picked up his glass, got in close, and had scarcely said "drink up," before splashing it right in his eyes.
  261. "Whoops. Today is just not my day it seems."
  263. "It stings!"
  264. "Why you little..."
  266. "Can you three take this outside?" Maddy chimed in, a bit concerned where this was going. Troupe was in the back growing increasingly nervous.
  268. E smiled, picking up the soldier holding his forehead, and gave a quick "ladies first," before sending him careening through the glass window.
  270. "Uh-oh. Thought that was a door."
  272. He picked up the other soldier, still wiping his eyes, and flung him out as well.
  274. "Put it on his tab."
  276. A few bystanders started to cheer at the antics of this bizarre man. The soldiers had had enough. Picking themselves up off the dirt, they went right for their rifles. Ready, aim—click.
  278. "Sorry, they work better with these." E grinned as he showed off the magazines—one from each gun plus the two he swiped off the soldier's belts. Defeated for now, the duo bolted up the road towards the fort.
  280. A silence fell over the gathered crowd. E waited patiently for some form of applause. He got a couple coughs, along with someone muttering "he's dead" over and over again.
  282. "Ah well," E sighed.
  283. "You're paying for that window," Maddy said while sweeping up the shattered glass.
  284. "Aw shucks."
  285. E began gathering his things, strapping the sword to his belt and the shield to his back.
  286. "Leaving so soon?"
  287. "Heading to the fort."
  288. "You mean!?"
  289. "Gotta clear some things up. Maybe lodge a complaint against those two. Also..."
  290. He held up the magazines before stashing them away in his satchel.
  291. "They'll probably want these back."
  293. Maddy gave Troupe an excited glance, as E wrapped himself in his cloak and headed out the door. He made his way through the gathered crowd and started on his hike to the fort at a leisurely pace.
  295. /------***------/
  297. In time, the dauntless adventurer, traveling under the intial "E," had nearly reached the same place along the mountain trail where he encountered the Order company the day before. His goal was clear. He would walk right up to the fort, confront the villainous Captain Corbin and the equally villainous Lieutenant Sturges, and then...defeat them, somehow.
  299. "So good so far. At least I'm not doing this on an empty stomach. Though it might be cooler if I scaled the rockwalls again and dropped in from above. But that kinda ruins the premise of filing a complaint."
  301. "Do you always talk to yourself, you vile cur?"
  303. He knew this voice. It was the lizardman from the day before, in arguably the same place as the day before, only now she held her sword at the ready.
  305. "First, I wasn't talking to myself. I was thinking out loud. And second, who are you calling—"
  306. "Hold thine tongue and steel thine nerves, villain!"
  308. Pushing off with her clawed toes, she entered into a full sprint. Closing the distance between them at an alarming rate, she prepared a strike that would have surely taken the man's head—had he not fallen to the ground at the last second. She stood there, confused, as the man crabwalked around her, picked himself up, and started jogging down the road without a word.
  310. "Hey! Get back here!" she called out, starting to chase after him. "This is a duel!"
  312. "Could have fooled me. Hardly a duel if only one of us has a weapon drawn."
  313. "Then hurry up and draw thy blade!"
  314. "What for?"
  315. She pictured his face at making such a sly remark, and doubled her pace out of rage, now running just beside him.
  316. "I demand satisfaction, Mr. E.!"
  318. At this, the man snickered, slowing to a halt. The lizardman stopped some distance ahead, turning immediately to face him.
  320. "What's so funny, Mr...? Oh you..."
  321. "You know... you're awfully cute when you're mad."
  322. She started approaching him with nigh-visible bloodlust.
  323. "And if you want satisfaction you only need to ask."
  325. At that, the man put his hands on his hips and gave a bit of a thrust.
  327. "D-d-don'" The woman's face went beet red. She gripped her sword ever tighter as she tried to regain her focus.
  329. "I am Diana of the Speckle-Scale Clan, proud descendant of the dragons! You have—"
  330. "Pretty name."
  331. "Y-y-you have brought dishonor upon my husband-to-be by way of his subordinates, and now you scheme to threaten his very life."
  332. "That's more a matter of perspective."
  333. "You assaulted two soldiers!"
  334. "They were disturbing the peace."
  335. "You threw them through a window!"
  336. "In self-defense."
  337. "You stole from them!"
  338. "Borrowed and I'm now returning it."
  340. He patted the satchel at his waist before continuing.
  342. "Look, Di, I don't get your hold up with that Corbin guy. He didn't strike me as the loving type."
  344. "He will love me in time, when he understands the depth of my love for him."
  345. "Again, not seeing what you see in him."
  346. "Seamus Corbin is a strong and noble warrior. Having bested me on the field of battle, I have pledged my body and sword in service to him, as is the way of my kin."
  347. "Field did that bald jerk beat you? You know guns are cheating, right? Or did he blind you with light reflected off his dome?"
  349. "How dare you! He has more strength than you can imagine, and such a caring and gentle spirit."
  350. "Tell that to the townsfolk..."
  351. "The people of Halifax are nothing but greatful. Why else would they all shower him with gifts every time he visits?"
  352. "Sounds more like tribute. Do you know what 'racketeering' means?"
  353. "And he's such a kind and loving man that he provides women and children free and safe passage through this territory. I hear he won't even take 'no' for an answer."
  354. "Yeah, that... isn't a good thing."
  355. "And crime has all but vanished. Even the smugglers won't make a move against his wishes."
  356. "Are you even listening to yourself?"
  357. "Corby is the strongest, bravest, and kindest man I have ever met, and that's why I love him."
  358. "We'll I'm glad I could clear that up before we arrived."
  359. "Arrived whe—"
  361. The woman suddenly became aware she had been walking with this man for some time, and they had now arrived at the gates of the Order fort. It was hardly the most formidable fortifications, little more than a number of large tents surrounded on three sides by cliffs, with the last side closed off by a wall of brick and mortar. The sole entrance—other than from above the cliffs, or course—was through a large wooden gate in the aforementioned wall, watched at all hours by no less than two guardsmen. At this particular moment, each had a rifle trained on the unwelcome visitors in their midst.
  363. "Halt! State your business!"
  365. Diana smiled and opened her mouth.
  367. "I—,"
  368. "Begone, she-devil!"
  370. /------***------/
  372. "Commander! Commander!"
  374. The bald, stout man in the ill-fitting nightgown rolled his eyes, looking up from his half-finished plate of beef, biscuits, and gravy. His nose twitched ever so slightly as he looked over the offensively fresh-faced soldier that had so rudely burst into his tent and interrupted his brunch.
  376. "Well boy? Out with out," he grumbled.
  378. The young soldier shot to attention and began speaking.
  380. "Sir, Commander Corbin Sir, I bring news that the man responsible for this mornings attack in Halifax has been apprehended. Sir, he is at the front gate now, sir. How should we proceed, Sir?"
  382. The commander turned to his lieutenant, fully dressed and at the ready.
  384. "Did you get any of that? Can't understand a word when they talk like that."
  385. "It sounds like they caught the guy that made our patrolmen look like fools this morning."
  386. "Oh, right. Those two."
  388. The commander wiped a bit of gravy and crumbs off his cheek, the turned back to the soldier.
  390. "Boy, give me a hand with my armor. Sturges, you take over for now. I'll join you in a bit."
  392. Without missing a beat, the lieutenant stood up and made for the exit. Passing by the rookie, he placed a hand on his shoulder, whispering "grin and bear it," and then went outside through the tent flap.
  394. The fort wasn't terribly large, with just a few tents acting as barracks, one large tent for the mess hall, and the rest taken up by supply tents, stables, and training grounds. Even so, Sturges couldn't clearly see the front gate from the command tent, meaning no one up front would notice if he took the long way. He needed some time to get the image of the commander without any clothes on out of his head. He still couldn't believe this was the same Seamus Corbin who served in the Eastern Conflict all those years ago. And he still couldn't believe this was the same Seamus Corbin that somehow beat a Lizardman a few months back. She didn't look that bad for a hellspawn, Order be damned, and if Corby wasn't going to tap that, maybe he would do so in his place. All things considered, working for the fat bastard wasn't the worst thing in the world. Climate aside, this post was pretty cushy, between the general lack of danger, the lucrative side-ventures, and the... entertainment venues.
  396. As the front gate finally came into view, Sturges forced out his less-than-professional thoughts and affected his trademark serious countenance. Whoever this man was, the soldiers seemed to be keeping their distance. He stood in the middle of a semi-circle of the Order's finest—ten in total, including the two guardsmen. Sturges made a note to reprimand them for abandoning their post, regardless of the circumstances.
  398. Anyway, the man stood with his back to the gate and hands out in the open to show he meant no harm—even though from here anyone could see the sword at his side. Then, Sturges got a good look at the man's face, and his eye started to twitch.
  400. "Well hey there, Lieutenant Sturgeon!"
  401. "You..."
  403. Sturges gave a quick nod to one of the more-burly soldiers, who then took a step in the direction of the annoying man.
  405. "Hey, easy there big guy." He took a step backwards. "I think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding."
  406. "Misunderstanding? But the incident report was quite clear. Disturbing the peace, assaulting Order personnel, theft of Order property. You're in a lot of trouble, Mr..." he scoffed, "E?"
  408. "I...uh... actually I came here to make a formal complaint."
  409. "Complaint?"
  410. "Yeah, it seems some of your men have been acting in ways the Order may find...uh...less than acceptable?"
  411. "How so?"
  412. "Well this morning, I was just minding my own business at an inn when two of your soldiers started causing a ruckus."
  413. "A ruckus?"
  414. "Yeah, a ruckus."
  415. "Can you describe the ruckus?"
  417. "You know...loud noises...rude remarks." E made a show of waving his arms about as he told his story. "I asked them, politely, if they could stop, but they just started laughing."
  418. "And that's when you attacked them?"
  419. " that's what I'm talking about. They started laughing, and then took off, leaving behind some...uh...I don't know...those things that go in guns to make them shoot?"
  420. "Magazines—Mr. E.—magazines that were reported stolen."
  421. "Well clearly they lied in the report. They just forgot the magazines and made up something about them being stolen. Just like how they said I attacked them."
  422. "And why would they do that?"
  424. E shrugged. "Maybe to get back at me for trying to stop their ruckus? Awfully petty, I'd say."
  426. Sturges looked around, wondering what was taking the commander so long.
  428. "Well, E., I'll taken your version of events into account and, hopefully, we can resolve this matter without incident."
  429. "Oh thank you, Mr. Lieutenant Sturges Sir!"
  430. "Provided of course you can return the... misplaced...Order property."
  432. "Ah, right here!"
  434. E reached for his satchel, only to freeze up when he noticed several soldiers still had their rifles at the ready.
  436. "Could you maybe...not...point those at me?"
  437. "Open the bag, first."
  439. E did as he was told, then preemptively undid the strap around his chest.
  441. "Now set it on the ground. Carefully. Good. Now kick it."
  442. "Kick it?"
  443. "Is there a problem? Anything else inside?"
  444. ""
  446. A bead of sweat ran right by E's eye as he kicked the satchel along the ground having it stop right at the lieutenant's feet.
  448. "Watch him closely," he said to his subordinates as he kneeled down. "Don't hesitate," he added.
  450. He reached into the bag and started removing it's contents, piece by piece. One, two, three, four standard issue magazines. All present an accounted for. But, there was something else there. Some of the soldiers glanced nervously at the lieutenant as he pulled out a small, unmarked, bundle of cloth bound with a length of twine.
  452. "What is this?"
  453. E tried to hid his grin.
  454. "I said, what is this?"
  455. "Take a look."
  457. Sturges grabbed a knife from inside his coat, sliced open the twine and unfolded the cloth, revealing a white, powdery substance.
  459. Sturges grit his teeth.
  460. "If this is what I think it is, you're in a lot of trouble, E."
  461. "Huh? Really? It fell off one of your wagons. Like I said. Lost property."
  463. A chill swept through the air. Some of the soldiers lowered there weapons, while others stayed motionless, pretending not to hear—E felt some instinct to note whom did which, then discreetly took a step towards one of the riflemen.
  465. Sturges' breathing grew unsteady. He could feel the sweat building in his palms, and struggled to keep his grip on the knife.
  467. "Wh–what are you implying?"
  468. "Huh? I'm just telling you where I got that. Fell off one your wagons the other day. What is that powder? Should I know?"
  469. E took another step as the soldiers looked back at their superior.
  471. Sturges' eye began to twitch again."
  472. "It's... it's..."
  474. "Flour. Ordinary flour."
  476. It was the burly soldier from earlier, now at the lieutenants side with his arms crossed.
  478. E feigned confusion.
  480. "If it's flour...why....uhh...Does the Order have a problem with flour? No, that can't be right..."
  482. Sturges gave a nervous smile.
  483. "Ha...hahaha...I see! A little devil, you...hehehe...yes..."
  484. He kneeled down and dragged two fingers through the powder—letting it stick to the sweat-drenched digits.
  485. Yes, it had to be flour. The texture was all wrong. The bastard probably just nabbed a few handfuls in town.
  486. The lieutenant eyed his fingers, moving them closer to his lips. The rest of the soldiers were all watching him with baited breath—some even lowering their guns ever so slightly.
  488. E subtly grinned
  490. The other soldiers, so focused on their superior, found their bodies sluggish and their reactions dulled as the stranger suddenly made a break for one of the riflemen. Out of the ten regulars gathered at the gate, only seven had rifles. Four failed to react in time—including the poor soul targeted by E. Of the remaining three, one had their gun jam, and one shot right into the dirt—probably out of surprise. The remaining soldier fired wide of his target, with the bullet striking the gate behind him. By the time Sturges got back on his feet, the man was already holding his target at knife-point—having snatched a dagger from poor Mr. Davidson's belt.
  492. Sturges drew a revolver while the soldiers without firearms promptly unsheathed their blades. The two quickshots promptly chambered their next rounds, as the others leveled their sights on their imperiled comrade.
  494. E could still see the last soldier frantically working to fix the jam. He had to think of something quick. Pressing the dagger closer against his captive's neck, and started to speak as clearly as he could.
  496. "I am Special Inspector Kent Emmanual of the Order of the Omnipotent, Internal Affairs Division. You are herby under arrest on several charges including kidnapping, human and drug trafficking, and criminal conspiracy."
  497. "Enough jokes, E!"
  498. "We have multiple eye witness testimony confirming the involvement of Captain Seamus Corbin and Lieutenant Marshall Sturges. All other soldiers will be questioned and released after determining the amount of personal culpability."
  499. "This has gone on far enough!"
  500. "Lay down your weapons and surrender immediately. Your actions today will be taken into consideration in the coming investigation."
  501. "Oh please, like anyone would—"
  503. Just then, the soldier struggling to fix his weapon threw the rifle down in disgust.
  504. "Pick that up, damn fool!"
  505. Two other pulled their eyes away from their sights.
  506. "What are you—!? Why would a man of the Order come alone?"
  507. "If you do not surrender, and if any harm should come to me, a full company of soldiers will move to take the fort by sunset."
  508. "He's bluffing! He has no—"
  510. "I give up!" the captive Davidson cried out. "I can't take it anymore! Let me go! I'll talk!"
  511. "Quiet you fool!"
  512. Sturges' eye started twitching a gain.
  513. "All those people...," he sobbed, "...I have no right to be in the Order..."
  514. "I said, quiet!"
  515. "Easy, soldier," E reassured. "It'll be over soon. Your honesty will be rewarded."
  516. "Shoot them both!"
  518. One soldier took aim at Sturges, who quickly realigned his revolver in kind. A second soldier also took aim at the defector, while a third took aim at him.
  520. Sturges' twitch reached a fever pitch, and then his eye closed for a split-second.
  523. E and his captive hit the deck as several shots rang out.
  525. ***
  527. Diana rushed along the cliffs overlooking the fort, powerful legs propelling her through the air with each stride. She was right in the middle of her daily patrol of the alpine forest overlooking the pass, when she heard a series of loud cracks. Just two at first, but that quickly gave way to an intermittent cacaphony of what she readily identified as gunfire. That man...she never should have taken her eyes off him. Even though he was no match for her dear Corbin, it was irresponsible of her—no, it was entirely unbecoming of her as a wife to cause her husband unnecessary trouble. She was intent on making it up to him. She'd defeat that man herself—yes! Now was her chance to prove her worth to Corby! And then...her dedication would finally pay off!
  529. Diana doubled her pace out of excitement for what lay ahead. She rounded a small spring, bounded past the last few rows of trees, and approached the cliff edge overlooking the fort. Three years ago, she arrived at this same vantage point and first laid eyes on her beloved. Thoughts of that day flowed back to her.
  531. It was midsummer, on a particularly warm day by human standards. Of course, that made it nearly ideal weather for a Lizardman like herself.
  533. --------
  534. [Touches on her past and upbringing. How her parents met in the field of battle, and how her mother reformed her father (bandit?)]
  535. [Something about love and strength]
  536. [Subtle hints at how Diana believes she is bound by tradition to show Corbin her love, in the hopes he will change and reciprocate.]
  537. [Father was a heinous bandit, finally cornered by the Order but saved by her mother.]
  538. --------
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