Slarti was riding back to Tindrem from a beer delivery and fishing trip in Meduli. When he checked the market boards, it seems some new competitors had sprung up in the beer business in Tindrem. He recognized one of the listed names. It was a one Redium that Slarti had met in Meduli as the chef was giving away free food and beer of his own. In thanks, Slarti pulled out his guitar and played songs as the chef continued gifting his trade to the travelers of Meduli. The two exchanged recipes and Slarti shared his knowledge of brewing.
Good! I can barely keep up with the demand in the market and I enjoy a good hearted beer brewing competition! You're on Redium!
The other name Slarti did not recognize nor remember for some reason after he left the market boards. Perhaps he might run into this new mystery brewer when he arrived at Tindrem. Slarti took his normal back routes to avoid the bandits and robbers that liked to prey on the roads between Tindrem and Meduli. As he came out the last wooded area before the hill to the Brewery, he caught sight of a few horses. His sight is not the greatest and he could not make out whether it was a simple tamer looking to bring horses back to Tindrem or something more sinister. He quickly turned west and snapped the reigns to send his desert horse, Mustard, quickly galloping in the direction of the forest opposite of Slarti's current location. Slarti's formidable razortusk, Pipsqueak, followed shortly behind.
Slarti sped into the woods and the quickly turned Mustard around so he could scan to see if he was being followed. He saw no more hint of horses or riders as slowly trotted up the edge of the forest. He stopped and waited for a minute to allow whoever it was pass as they seemed to be going north. He could just go after they left.
Well.... I do need to stop by and take care of the upkeep on the Brewery, make sure the chests are still full for thirsty and hungry travelers.
Slarti headed out of the forest and towards the hill of the Brewery, confident that whoever it was had moved on.... but as he neared the hill, atop were perched two horses with riders. They saw him immediately and began riding down the hill at full speed.
Slarti spun Mustard around before he could even finish cussing and sped off back to the wooded areas. He turned to look behind him. His heart began to race even faster as he turned back and saw that these two horsemen had every intention of following him and doing who knows what. In and out of trees Mustard darted as Slarti tried to contain his panic.
Don't panic! You've been practicing your mounted magery for the last month and Pipsqueak is with you. Mustard is one of your strongest steeds. You can do this!
The funny thing about Pipsqueak is that she wasn't actually a pipsqueak. She had grown to nearly the size of a horse and was not to be trifled with as she could also keep up with almost any horse, thrashing at them and their rider. Slarti always felt that razorbacks were undervalued. Perhaps this would be his and Pipsqueak's chance to prove it. Slarti pulled into a clearing and doubled back around to the edge of the wood in the opposite direction, hoping that his pursuers might pass him at full speed out of sight in the forest. As he came around the edge of the wood, one of the two riders appeared from out of the wood riding toward him at full speed.
Slarti gulped. As the rider approached with bow drawn, Slarti charged up a fulmination and tried to look menacing. As the rider circled him, he though he noticed the guild patch of Tarenhal (( sp? )), but he couldn't make out the face of the rider.
"I don't want to fight if you don't want to fight," said Slarti, still trying his best to look tough.
The second rider pulled out into the clearing, and Slarti immediately recognized him from a bounty poster. It was a scumbag known as Somah. As the memory of the poster flashed through Slarti's mind, the post adjacent to it also reappeared to him in his panicked visualization. Toca was surely the second bandit.
Suddenly and without any warning, Somah released his arrow into Mustard. The horse let out an ear piercing neigh as Slarti tried to regain control.
Sun damn it!
By the time Slarti had regained control of Mustard, the second rider had dismounted and was charging toward them. Slarti quickly released his fulmination on the mounted rider and then snapped the reigns to send Mustard into a full gallop, leaving the dismounted rider in the dust. His companion however immediately took up pursuit. Just before he was out of range, Slarti pointed at the dismounted rider and sent Pipsqueak to work. As he hopped back on his horse, she gave him a help up with a horn right in the butt cheek! Immediately after that, his fulmination went off causing his pursuer to scream in pain.
Holy shit! Did I do that?!
Slarti snapped the reigns again, keeping Mustard running as fast as possible as arrows whizzed past the two of them. Then Mustard neighed in pain as he was hit again. Slarti began healing Mustard furiously. He turned to find this gave the first pursuer time to catch up and the second was nearly upon him as well, though with a now VERY angry razorback continuing to thrash at him and his horse.
Suddenly, Slarti felt as if the intense speed of the situation slowed down before him as he remembered his mounted magery training.
Corrupt! Corrupt! I've got to stop them from shooting at me.
He quickly charged up a corrupt and blasted Somah. The spell connected. A perfect shot! The rider was unable to attack momentarily. Then Toca charged in with bow drawn, Slarti again felt a moment of panic and had Mustard take a very hard turn in the opposite direction, momentarily charging his aggressor while charging a thunderlash. Then he turned just before it finished charging and the spell fizzled, Toca still before him.
Shit! No... no... I can do this!
Slarti charged up another fulmination as he peeled away toward the Brewery hill now where he might find refuge from these rapscallions. He let himself grin as his confidence returned when Somah crossed him parallel, allowing Slarti to drop the fulmination on his horse.
Take that you shitter!
Slarti again snapped the reigns and Mustard sped away. Slarti began to worry that Mustard would run out of stamina soon, leaving him a sitting duck for his aggressors, but he could see the Brewery hill just ahead of him. He turned to see only Somah still following him but his horse also was low on stamina, even lower than Mustard. Slarti quickly charged another corrupt and connected with Somah, preventing any more arrow fire.
As Slarti rode away, he looked back to see Somah looking at him with a befuddled and angry expression. Then Slarti saw Toca about 15 meters behind Somah. He had dismounted and was slashing wildly at Pipsqueak. The beast was enraged and even near death fought with every bit she had, but in the end she fell to his unworthy hand.
Slarti suddenly felt very somber in his moment of victory. Though Pipsqueak had fulfilled the purpose for which she was bred, a swine shield against bandits Slarti may come across, he was sad to see her pass. It never felt good when one of his tames was slaughtered by the enemy, but she was surely special. Never before had Slarti successfully escaped two attackers, and much of that he owed to the now deceased razorback.
I will always remember you, my little piggie. You were the toughest razorback I ever had.
Though his attackers ceased to chase further, Slarti wasn't taking any chances. He sped up the hill to the Brewery and slammed and locked the door behind him. He opened it very briefly to put a "Closed for Now" sign outside before shutting and rebolting the door. He would chronicle his story and stay the night, giving plenty of time for the bandits Somah and Toca to move on. In the morning he would head to Tindrem to check on the market as originally planned before all the kerfuffle.