“Heya, darlin’. What’s a pretty little thing like you doin’ all alone in a place like this, dressed like that no less? Ain’t you cold, girl? I can warm you up if you like.”

Once Oro might have glanced up at a comment like that, if only to spear the speaker with her best “fuck off and die” glare. Nowadays, though, no one said things like that to her. Guess a thrice broken nose and a face full of scars puts folks off a bit. Not that she minded being let alone so she could drink her cheap beer in peace, of course. Small pleasures and all of that.

“Fuck off and die; I’m trying to eat here and your face is making me ill.”


Now Oro lifted her eyes with a groan, peering over the rim of her mug. So much for a night of peace. “You sure got a smart mouth, girl,” the man at the bar growled, one hand clenched around the hilt of a long knife. “I know somethin’ you can do with it, too.” The young woman he had a moment ago attempted to seduce with his winning manner and reeking breath stared up at him from her stool with a scowl Oro knew all too well. The lithe young warrior girls all wore that amused, confidant expression of mockery, just like they all dressed in chain mail underwear and not much else. Oro had worn her share of skimpy armor back in the day as well, though those days were long passed, and remembered enjoying just as much as this girl the trouble it caused among the more single-minded menfolk.

Menfolk who never learned. Oro sighed and pushed her chair back against the wall, beer raised safely out of harm’s way, and a second later the man crashed down on top of her table. He slid to the dirt floor with a groan and two of his companions jumped to his aid, blades drawn. The girl only flashed a feral grin and beckoned them on. Oro turned her attention from the ensuing brawl and stared into the fire as she nursed her watered down beer, ignoring the sounds of breaking furniture and clashing steel behind her. What a nuisance.

“Anyone else?” The warrior swung her sword around with a lazy smile, skin glistening with her own sweat and others’ blood. None of the remaining patrons seemed interested in the offer; those who had not run out or been run through cowered against the walls, muttering at the interruption. The tavern keeper himself was just creeping out from behind the bar to set right his fallen furniture. “That’s what I thought.” The girl wiped her sword on the first man’s coat and sauntered out of the tavern, chain mail jingling as her hips swayed back and forth.

Once the tavern door swung shut Oro rolled her eyes and rose on tired feet, stepping over broken chairs and dead bodies on her way toward the stairs and a bed at least somewhat more comfortable than sleeping on the cold ground another night. That girl would tire of the brawls and battles one day just like she had, once her knees cracked a little too much in the mornings and her wrists ached constantly from too many years spent swinging a sword and shooting a bow. Eventually she’d lose her hourglass figure as well and realize chainmail underwear is neither comfortable nor practical, and trade the cold links for soft breaches and a top that offered a little more… support.

A warrior either fell in battle or aged beyond the ability and desire to continue in that line of work. Sinking onto the lumpy pallet passing for a bed in her rented room, Oro thought for not the first time that retirement wasn’t so bad. Ballads about your grand adventures and bloody conquests didn’t do you much good when you were sleeping out in the rain – or under the earth.


3 thoughts on “#1167

  1. “A warrior either fell in battle or aged beyond the ability and desire to continue in that line of work.” That one’s going to be hovering over my shoulder for awhile. Thanks, I think ;)

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