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A Humane End


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The tavern was busy that night, a steady din of conversation not quite drowning out the sound of the local bard's lute. The bar itself, a dark rich mahogany that was no doubt finished (Lore Note: Would there be sufficient technology for advanced wood finishings in the Crowfall universe?)  to perfection long ago, sat now under a mountain of cuts, and maybe a half dozen groups of people chatting, and drinking.

Down towards the end of the bar, a tall woman hid under a dark cloak, drinking what looked to be water out of a large stein. She glanced around subtly, suspiciously watching anyone who happened to brush by.

She was watching the door, it would seem. Brief blue flashes of her eyes would appear under the soft velvet hood draped over her face. It wasn't long before one of those blue flashes found itself watching a tall dark figure pushing his way into the bar.

He brushed against the top of the door-frame with his shoulders as he entered, hunched over to fit inside. He had to be ten feet tall (Lore Note: Correct me if I'm off) , and it was a wonder he made it inside at all. The conversation inside dried up almost entirely, as the entire bar stopped to glance at the horned juggernaut who had just strolled into the bar. The bard, to his credit, kept on playing, giving the scene an almost surreal quality.

"'Oh the maiden's tale" had been what he was playing, it's slow somber tune almost matching the steps of the beast as he strolled through the bar.

"Is sad indeed" he had muttered under his breath as he walked up to the bar. He had heard the song in every little tavern he'd passed that month, and he hated that he was starting to like it. Stealing a glance down the bar at the high elf drinking her icewater; he wondered to himself: He knew she'd seen him, it was impossible not to. But did she know he'd seen her?

"Give me some mead, I'll let you see" was the line the bard got to when the conversation started to slowly pick up again, after the Minotaur finished telling the barkeep that he didn't want to eat anyone, and that he just needed to fill his skin with mead. For his boar, he felt necessary to point out, as the reputation amongst the locals was that Minotaur rage was fueled by equal parts blood and ale.

"My father's away, he's fighting in war." sung the bard as the Minotaur dropped enough gold to near empty the keg onto the bar, giving a resigned look across it to the barkeep.

"I want no trouble" the Minotaur spoke in low, rumbling voice.

"If'yr daddy finds out, I'm good as dead" the bard sung, as the barkeep sighed, taking the skin from the towering creature. He'd never seen one of the devils in the flesh, but he'd heard all the stories. 'They eat the children' from every ditsy milkmaid in town, 'They come borne whole from hell itself' from broken soldiers returning from the borderlands. The truth of it as far as he knew, was that the local elves kept them as specialized shock troops. And as much as he distrusted the long-eared bastards, their alliance was the only thing standing between his countrymen and utter annihilation by the fae, or at least so they said.

"I hate this song" the barkeep thought to himself as he finishing filling the mead, taking the small pile of gold and dropping it into a sack on his belt. Handing the skin across the bar to the creature, he stood and watched as the beast lumbered back out of the bar - tossing a coin towards the bard as he went.

 "Her blade was cold" she heard as she rose silently, tailing him out of the bar, as the song took a turn in tone. She'd heard it before and she'd hated it nearly as much as the barkeep. It's story about a desperate urchin stealing from some horny rube, but finally ending up imprisoned for the crime felt like it was glorifying a horrible story, which only served to make her angry.


She tailed him until just past the end of town before he stopped his cart, giving his boar a pat before turning with a sigh. As he adjusted a colossal pair of steel knuckles,  she wondered to herself how long he'd known she was following him. Plan B it was, she thought as she strode out into the night air, pulling back her cloak with a smile.

"Hi!!" She said, waving at the beast. "I'm sorry if I startled you! I was just curious."

"Hmph." He returned, with a grunt, and a skeptical tilt of his head. He didn't move as she approached, holding her hands behind her back as she walked up to him, leaning to the side with an almost cartoonish smile and a pout.

"Oh don't be so serious, you big oaf. I'm not here to turn you in." She stopped a few feet short of normal talking distance, far enough back that she looked up at him with her eyes, not her head.

"Then what do you want?" He growled, his shoulders relaxing slightly, but his fists remaining closed across his chest.

"You, ya big dummy. I've never seen one of you before. I've never seen much outside this kingdom." She smiled, swaying back and forth a little.

The Minotaur raised one of his enormous eyebrows, giving the girl a disbelieving look. He knew the elves and humans had coexisted in this side of the world for centuries, and that only a few of the Elven conclaves kept Minotaurs, but with the war intensifying he knew Minotaurs were becoming more and more common.

"My father advises the humans, and our family has never.. I mean.." She paused, she'd known the only way a Minotaur would be walking free this far west would be if they'd escaped from the pen of the local conclave.

He relaxed a little more. She seemed innocent, but he knew never to trust an elf. Besides, she was probably half his height, and at this distance he could probably tear her in half before she could do much damage, even if she could reach a weapon.

"Well. Curiosity sated?" He shrugged, with another sigh. He still needed to find somewhere to make camp, and the moon was already waning in the sky.

She smiled, stepping forward slowly with an outstretched arm. He didn't move as she got close enough to touch him, her pale blue fingers tracing a line in his dark fur. "Wow.." she said quietly to herself, reaching another hand to feel his soft coat.

Stepping back she sighed happily, looking up at the towering beast. She beamed at him, and he couldn't help but smile back.

"I'm sorry, but I must be going now." he said to her, in a deep calm voice. Giving an almost innocent smile down at her, he scratched behind one of his horns and turned back to his cart.

He didn't even hear the blade, but he felt it. Cold against his neck, he barely had time to grunt before he felt his throat parted open. Coughing and sputtering, he swung out blindly with one arm, the other around his neck he fell to the ground.

She backed up a few steps, watching the creature die. As he flashed a final confused, hurt look towards her, she closed her eyes. As she sensed the life leaving his body, she left hers. Sliding out of her skin as easily as taking off a coat, she felt herself free again. She flapped her wings twice, savoring the momentary disconnect from the simple horrors of the material world before landing on the warm shoulder of the poor beast. She leaned down, and gave the creature a gentle peck on the cheek, equal parts apology and farewell.



Giving his boar another gentle pat, he rotated his enormous arm in it's shoulder. He'd need to get used to this feeling, it was a new one. He stole one last glance to make sure the girl's body wasn't visible in the cart, before turning and continuing his journey south.

Edited by Hi.



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