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Baelin really needs to learn to mix up his walk home

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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The Cost of Routine

Postby Baelin Holt on November 7th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Image
33, Fall 519 AV

It didn't take long for Baelin to recognize the trap he was walking into. He could see the two scrawny street rats closing in behind him, the third helping to funnel him towards a corner behind a building, and a fourth waiting in said corner.

He was about to be robbed.

He didn't have a petching clue how to stop it.

The weight of his stone hammer was reassuring at his hip, but it wasn't like he really knew how to use it as a weapon. Sure, it was a good chunk of steel, and he had used it once with success to split a skull... but still. It was a tool, not a weapon. With a relatively sharp, angled chisel on one end and a flat, smooth face on the other, it was a heavy hammer designed for strong blows to split and trim stone. But it was still just a hammer designed to split stone. At no point was it intended to effectively fight people.

Well, it'd be getting a crash course in combat today, because Baelin sure as shyke wasn't just going to stand around while they robbed him. Baelin pulled the hammer from his waistband and stopped walking. Turning so that he had the three herders on his right and the one waiting in the trap to his left, Baelin braced himself.

The two street rats behind him stopped. One―tall yet lanky, with arms like sticks―halted and then backpedaled an extra step, caution evident in the way he moved. Stickman, Baelin decided to call him. The second tail he had wasn't so cautious and kept coming towards him. She walked with her arms slightly spread, head held tall, and a look of pure murder on her face. Trying to intimidate him into backing up, Baelin hedged. She reminded him of a seagull, puffing itself up and charging at someone much bigger than them. She'd be Gull, then.

When Baelin made no move to back up, Gull finally stopped. And then the third moved in. He was bigger than the rest. Of a height with Baelin―with the broad-chested strength to back it up―he looked to be their muscle. Brawn came out from behind the two original herders and pressed in towards Baelin. Unlike Gull, Brawn wasn't just the threat of violence, he was the promise of it.

Baelin was going to go in hard on the bet that Brawn was as cautious as Stickman. Taking a page from Gull's book, Baelin drew himself to his full height, raised his hammer up, and grinned. Look crazy, he told himself, They might back down if they think you’re crazy.

There was only a slight stutter-step from Brawn before he recovered and continued forward. Baelin had to decide: face the giant before him, or back up to the last of the crew waiting in the trap.

A smarter man might have been able to come up with a plan. Maybe could have figured out a way to twist the trap around to benefit him. But Baelin was not that kind of man. So when Brawn kept coming towards him, Baelin clacked his teeth together, rose his hammer up higher in preparation of a downswing, and charged.

Brawn must have been expecting him to back up, since he was caught mid-step between moving forward and bracing in position. But Gull was prepared. She lunged forward and dashed under Baelin, ducking around him and slicing a line of fire in his side. Baelin snarled and swung after her, hammer twisting in a motion that no blacksmith would need to use. She dodged it, dancing away from the chunk of steel's range, her knife held tight. Its edge was wet, and Baelin was sure that if he looked down, he'd see his side blooming with the same dark red.

Baelin was so focused on the girl and her knife that he didn't notice that Stickman had circled around him. It took him no more than a tick to realize his mistake, but that had been enough. There was a tug at his hip. Baelin swung back, his arc wide in the hope of catching something. A sharp yelp and a jarring shock that went straight to Baelin's wrist told him that he hadn't completely failed. But by the time he was able to finally twist around, it was to see Stickman already several paces away with Baelin's coin pouch clasped tightly in his grip. Even if Baelin had managed to land a blow, it hadn't been enough to stop the theft.

Stickman backpedaled, and the fourth finally left the corner that the group had been trying to herd Baelin towards. The fourth was of average build, average height, and such a forgettable face that it was almost unnerving in how utterly unremarkable he looked. Plain Joe jogged over to Stickman and held out his hand for the coin pouch. Stickman relinquished it without fuss, and then went to rub the fleshy part of his side. With a wince, Stickman put a few more paces between himself and the range of Baelin's swing. Baelin viciously hoped Stickman would be feel that bruise for days.

Plain Joe opened the pouch and leafed through the mizas. "One...five..." Plain Joe squinted and frowned, rolling the bag over to see into its recesses. After a moment, he looked back up to Baelin with an eyebrow raised in unimpressed derision. "Only two gold mizas and some silvers? C'mon, blacksmith, you make more than that in a day." Plain Joe rolled the bag in his hand, as if to accentuate his point with its light clinking. "Where's the rest of it?"

Dice Roll :
I’ve never really rolled before, so if I’m doing this wrong, let me know. But I rolled for NPC difficulty (!roll 4d100)
Plain Joe: Leadership 94, Master
Gull: Weapon (Knife) 33, Competent
Stickman: Larceny 33, Competent
Brawn: Unarmed Combat 60, Expert

And a roll between Baelin and Gull:
!roll 1d100+33: Gull rolled an 89
!roll 1d100+2: Baelin rolled a 26
Gull stabs and Baelin misses
Roll for wound severity:
!roll 1d100: 7, minor wound. A flesh wound that will heal on its own with cleaning and light bandaging.

WC: 941
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Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
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Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
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The Cost of Routine

Postby Baelin Holt on December 1st, 2019, 4:41 am

This wasn't random, Baelin realized, a cold shock running down his spine. This was premeditated. These four had marked him, planned their trap, and then waited for him to fall into it.

Ever since the last time a pickpocket had snatched his coin pouch, Baelin had taken to keeping most of what he carried in a leather sleeve wrapped around his waist. He'd bought a leatherworking kit and everything, struggled through making it, and now used it daily. He still wore his copper and silver mizas in the pouch, for convenience. But the gold he carried around in the event he'd need it was wrapped close to his body.

"Betcha he's got it shoved up his own ass," Gull sneered. Plain Joe ignored her and took a careful step closer to Baelin. The scrutiny with which he scanned Baelin was not unlike how a blacksmith might inspect a finished product for any defects. Studious. Attentive. Thorough. Baelin hissed, low and quiet.

Was he really trapped here? They were off the main part of the Commons, sure, but this was still a decently traversed path. Already a few Sunberthians had managed to slip by, doing their damned best to avoid meeting the eye of either Baelin or his robbers. No one would help him―he understood that just fine―but was there really no escape?

Plain Joe, Brawn, and Gull all slowly started to tighten the circle around him, drawing closer and closer with every step. Baelin snarled and swung his hammer in a large circle. They stopped, a few paces out of its reach, and then Gull ducked behind him.

Baelin twisted quick―only to see Gull still standing out of range. She winked at him, and he had just long enough to realize that he'd been baited before burly arms came up around Baelin's sides and wrapped around his arms. Baelin threw his elbow back, but it only earned him a grunt from Brawn.

Brawn tightened his hold, and Baelin felt him start to shift. Baelin could only think that Brawn was trying to position himself for a better hold, and so Baelin did his best to move in the opposite direction.

Aaand he largely failed. Despite his squirming, Brawn was able to shift his hold. Baelin quickly realized he couldn't move his right arm―his hammer trapped down by his side―and he snarled in frustration. He threw his head back, hoping to catch Brawn, but the group's muscle tucked his head in by Baelin's shoulder and held fast.

He still had his legs, dammit. Baelin stomped down, digging the heel of his boot into Brawn's feet as hard as he could. A sharp inhale told him he at least did some damage, but not enough to loosen Brawn's grip. With the little bit of mobility Baelin had in his left arm, Baelin tried to reach behind his back and claw at Brawn. Between his foot stomps and scrabbling hand, Baelin was pretty sure he was giving Brawn at least some trouble.

But not nearly enough. Stickman came back into range, quick and agile as he ducked in close to Baelin. Baelin kicked out, but only managed a glancing blow to Stickman's shin as the thief lifted his shirt. Quick as a flash, Stickman's nimble hands made quick work of the tie-fastening Baelin used on the leather encircling his waist.

And just like that, twenty gold mizas were loosed and taken from him. All that effort into making the belt, gone. Days of wages, gone.

Baelin snarled and twisted in Brawn's grip with renewed vigor. Maybe if he could get his arm up and around... but no, Brawn saw the maneuver as Baelin started it and adjusted accordingly. Still stuck.

Stickman ducked back out of view. Baelin put all his strength into turning, and just manage to get Brawn to shift with him. One half-step to the left was all he needed to see Plain Joe rifling through the leather sleeve. The petcher's smarmy smirk had to be one of the most infuriating things Baelin has ever had the displeasure of seeing.

WC: 679
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Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
Words: 360322
Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Mixed blood
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The Cost of Routine

Postby Baelin Holt on December 1st, 2019, 4:42 am

Plain Joe finished his inspection and looked up with a grin. "There," he purred, "That's better isn't it. Pleasure doing business with you, blacksmith."

Brawn's tight grip on Baelin instantly released, and before Baelin could so much as take a swing, Brawn was already several paces away. The group all started to walk away―Gull throwing a cocky wink over her shoulder―and Baelin was left staring after them.

Had that really just happened? One moment he’s walking home, and the next four asshats are walking away with every miza he’d been holding. Baelin snarled and mimed strangling the air. Petch, he wanted to hurt something. He wasn’t stupid enough to chase after the four and demand back his mizas―he was outnumbered and obviously out of his depth with them, and wasn’t particularly inclined to die today, but still… Petch!

He stood there for a good chunk of a chime―so infuriated that all he wanted to do was chase them and kill them, but rooted to the spot by the good sense not to. It wasn’t until he’d start to come down from the rush of action that he realized his side throbbed.

Baelin glanced down, and only just then remembered that Gull had sliced him with her knife. And with that recollection, his side suddenly lit up with a sharp, fiery agony. As if his body had forgotten to feel pain, and then with the reminder, it made up for its lapse with double-time pain signaling.

He pulled up the hem of his shirt, damp with blood, and stared at the cut. And for a moment, it was truly frightening. Baelin had gone most of his life without being deliberately cut by someone, but now that he was here in Sunberth? He pulled in a deep breath and reached down to gently touch the edge of the cut. He may not be an expert with these things, but he hoped he could at least gauge if it was just a flesh wound versus something deeper and more threatening.

Gingerly, Baelin pulled on the cut’s edge. He feared the worst, bracing himself to see exposed fat or muscle or whatever else it is that doctors see.

But all he saw was the other side of the cut pull up as well. It didn’t separate at all. Baelin sagged in relief and stared at the shallow cut in disbelief. It’s insane that he’d been that lucky. As if Ovek himself had decided that this would just be a flesh wound. Baelin pulled in a few more shaky breaths, then dropped the hem of his shirt. He’d clean and cover it when he got home, but for now, it should hopefully be fine.

That’d been way too close. Baelin couldn’t afford to be in this kind of situation again. Nevermind his mizas, he could have died here. If Gull had been just a little bit more vicious, she could have easily sliced more into him. And then he wouldn’t be standing here fuming about being robbed. He’d be bleeding out and furious that this was how he died.

Baelin shook himself. He couldn’t dwell on this. He had to keep moving. Figure out how to be better at living in Sunberth. Whether that was being a better fighter, or changing up something he was doing that made him too nice a target, or…or…he didn’t know what. But he had to do better. This couldn’t happen again. Pulling in another deep breath, Baelin started back on his walk home.

WC: 584
User avatar
Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
Words: 360322
Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Mixed blood
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Mizahar Grader (1)


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