“I know how to read the damned dice!” The dark haired man snapped as once again a pile of gold was raked away from him. “Barmaid, I need more to drink.”
A lovely middle aged woman approached, “Don’t ya think you’ve had enough, luv?”
He darted one of his large hands out and yanked a tankard out of the woman’s hand. “I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough, bitch!”
An old man reached down for the dice. Angrily the dark haired man grabbed the dice away, “I’m not finished old man! Double or nothing once again!”
Clavius froze as blood splattered across his body, his jaw dropped.
“Clavius, we’ve got him on the ropes, grab his left flank!” The Knight commanded as he dodged a razor sharp talon.
Emptiness was all that the squire felt, the adrenaline was gone; all that remained was a hole in the pit of his stomach. The world slowed down and everything felt like a dream, Clavius felt he was watching the scene from outside himself.
“Damn it Clavius! Hurry! We can’t hold him much longer!” The Knight pleaded.
At that moment one of the Wyrm’s taloned fingers pierced Anders. It sank through his chest like a hot knife through butter. The Dragon retracted his talon and you could see the forest through the hole in Anders chest as his body sank to the ground.
The table was silent as the dice fell to reveal seven once again, no one spoke, no one moved, all eyes were fixed upon the black haired man as he grabbed the dice angrily and shouted, “Again! Double or nothing!”
“C’mon you bitch!” The Knight yelled as the Great Red Wyrm brought its full focus down on the armored man. A dry burning smell filled the glade as a jet of searing flame erupted from the Dragon’s maw. The flames engulfed the Knight, hair burned, skin seared, flesh separated from bone, and when it was over all that remained was scorched, melted steel.
Clavius stood, his feet rooted to the ground as the Wyrm eyed him thoughtfully. It brought its head down slowly until their eyes met. The beasts deep ebony eyes penetrated into the Squire’s soul. For what seemed an eternity the Dragon stared at the man, digging into the depths of his soul, revealing every inadequacy, every flaw, every cowardly feeling, every failure, and baring it like a hot brand.
The dice fell once more, a six and a one. The dark haired man took another long drink, finishing his tankard. His jaw was set tight, his face red; his head swam in anger and alcohol. He reached up and ran a finger along a scar which ran down the left side of his face from cheek to jaw.
“Again!” The dark haired man spat.
Warm urine trickled down the Squire’s chain pants and dripped down to the ground. The Dragon sniffed for a moment and chuckled; it slowly brought its front claw forward and extended one of its razor talons. The point of the talon just pierced Clavius’s cheek; blood seeped slowly from the wound as the Wyrm sliced carefully down to the Squire’s jaw. The Beast slowly retracted itself from the cowardly Squire, turned its back on the carnage of the clearing and flew off into the blue morning sky.
“Clavius!” one of the gamblers barked. A burly man with broad shoulders and a protruding belly, he scowled at the dark haired man. “You can’t roll again, you’re out of money!”
“Damn you Hector! I’ll play on credit!” The dark haired man stood up, his seat tumbled behind him.
“You’ve got no more credit here. Take what little dignity you have left and call it a night.”
“Is that a challenge? I’ll fucking gut you!” Clavius reached to his belt for a dagger, but a night of drinking had taken its toll and his hand missed its mark. The moment of hesitation was all Hector needed, the burly man lunged at Clavius, wrapped his arms around the drunken gambler and drug him across the hard wooden floor of the tavern.
Hector opened the tavern door with one hand, and with the other spun Clavius out into the street. “You make me sick. Don’t come back here until you pay off your debts.”
“Go fuck yourself.” The dark haired man spat as he tumbled onto the cobblestone street. His head swam as the world spun too fast, for a moment he thought he’d be sick, but he managed to choke down a mouthful of vomit before weariness took him over the world turned dark.