A day early! Even on top of the volunteering I’ve been doing at the library, and the meeting I had at the museum about doing some event coordination with them. Yay!
This week’s challenge from terribleminds was to pick five characters out of a list of fifty. Fifty. Fifty crazy, random characters. It was hard to pick my five, so I took the lead of my friend over at Contrast Solution and used a random number generator to give me a few different lists of numbers, then narrowed down from there. I think that the ones I came up with were fun to write!
My characters, randomly generated from a randomly generated list (how random!) are:
The aggravated thief needing a friend
The athletic, tired, arrogant bounty hunter with no hope
Mysterious, Heroic outlaw
The unpredictable hunter who is considered the worst in his/her profession
The domineering assassin looking for a challenge
And with those characters, this:
Forest Fiends (A working title, my apologies.)
Tippet cringed as he watched the rabbit bound past him into its warren. It was the second one to bolt past that afternoon, and he had yet to release the bowstring. He held his breath and watched for another chance. He waited for what seemed ages, then suddenly heard a crashing noise in the woods behind him. A raucous crowd, each carrying a few rabbits apiece on their belts, came to his side. The largest man patted him on the back in a rough manner, laughing.
“Tippet! Did you find yourself dinner? A man such as yourself could stand to eat a few extra helpings of Marla’s rabbit stew!”
Tippet frowned at the rabbits hanging from the belts of the men. He felt his chest heave with a forlorn sigh, shook his head, and finally remembered to relieve the tension on his bowstring.
“Didn’t catch a thing, men. Not for lack of trying. These rabbits are quite fast, and I guess my skill doesn’t match yours.”
The men laughed and carried on, drunkenly singing songs about “the hunter that couldn’t”. Tippet let the men leave, and then wandered back to gather his cloak from a nearby maple tree.
A moment after snatching his cloak from the branch, the ground disappeared from beneath his feet. After falling for what seemed ages, he hit solid ground. He regained his composure and sat up. His head peeked out of the hole, eyes at ground level. The trap, which he had not even noticed, had been dug out carefully. He scanned the tree line for his captor but saw nothing. He brushed himself off and stood up slowly, bemoaning the crackling in his bones.
“State your name!” Came a deep rumble from above him. Tippet threw himself back into the hole in the ground, startled. A man, dressed fully in black, leapt from a tree branch above. He landed in a crouch directly in front of Tippet, looking into his eyes with a self-righteous smirk.
“Tippet… Tippet Sandmore.” He told him.
“Tippet Sandmore.” The man repeated, his voice dripping with arrogance.
“At your service.” Tippet greeted. “And you are?”
The man pulled himself into a standing position, stretched his arms over his head and cracked his back and knuckles in one swift motion.
“Mangus Bladeborne, master bounty hunter. Whether you be wanted as a thief or for treason, whether you be dwarf or dragon, I’m here to ensure…”
An arrow whistled through the air and smacked into the bark of the tree behind Mangus. Tippet ducked into the hole he was still sitting in, tucking his head between his knees and covering it with his arms. Eventually, he braved a peek.
Mangus was by the tree, fingering the arrow that had just nearly taken his head.
“Where did that come from??” Tippet stammered. “Someone nearly killed you, and you’re just standing there like nothing happened. Who shot that arrow?”
Mangus tutted at Tippet, smiling. “Arrows are often hurled in my direction, it is all part of the job. I’m no more scared of an arrow than a simple beetle.”
“And what if that beetle has a stinger drenched in venom?” Another man stepped from behind a tree. “Release this villager, he was only out for a hunt. Doesn’t seem to have been too successful, but those baby rabbits are pretty quick little critters. No matter, I believe that you are looking for me?”
“Mylo Albright!” Both Tippet and Mangus exclaimed, staring at the outlaw’s easily recognized face.
Mangus pulled his sword around and pointed the hefty blade at Mylo. “A hefty ransom awaits your captor! ‘Tis my lucky day! Prepare yourself, for now we duel!”
Mylo shrugged and removed his sword from his scabbard. He readied himself, prepared to fight, when another arrow came from nowhere, catching his cloak and pinning it to a tree.
“Avast! Mangus, stand down. I have been on this bandit’s trail for three days. This is my fight.”
“Who are you?” Tippet asked, still hiding in his convenient hole.
“Tuck Lin, here to dispatch this criminal.” He nodded toward Tippet, then turned back to Mangus.
“We meet again.” Mangus eyed the assassin. “I’d shake your hand, but I’m a bit busy.” He smiled and winked at Tuck, then lunged for Mylo.
With a quick motion, Mylo swung his sword backward and cut his cloak from where the arrow held it. With another swift movement, his sword was again pointed at Mangus.
“I don’t believe the odds are in my favor.” Mylo joked. Mangus flashed his perfectly straight, gleaming teeth and held his sword ready for a duel. Tuck dropped his bow in favor of a razor sharp blade and prepared to join the attack.
A woosh sound cut through the air, followed by a resonating tink! Mangus and Mylo looked toward Tuck, taking in his weapon, now on the ground behind him. All three men turned in unison, surprise on their faces. They stared at Tippet’s still vibrating bowstring framing his deliberate face peeking out of the hole.
“Lucky shot?” Tuck questioned.
Tippet shook his head and shrugged. “Just because I’m a lousy huntsman, it doesn’t mean I’m a lousy marksman.”
At that moment, Mylo took advantage of the distraction and lunged for Mangus, twisting his sword hand in an attempt to get him to drop the weapon. They wrestled to the ground with manly grunts and groans, putting on as much of a show for each other as they were for the spectators.
Tuck snatched his steel from the ground and headed toward the melee, battle cry escaping his lips as he ran. He was a few paces from the fight when a lump of a man fell from the tree branch above him and pulled him to the ground.
Tippet yelped and shook his head, muttering. “What kind of forest is this? This is ridiculous.”
The man that took Tuck to the ground was working to keep him there, but Tuck was well trained and strong. He got himself up, but was tugged back to the ground in an instant. Though the newcomer was smaller than the assassin, he was doing well. After a brief moment of struggle, he tumbled off of Tuck and landed in a crouch. He stood up, flipping his cloak back where it belonged, and eyed the crowd. Tuck remained on the ground, hands and feet tied. When Tuck tried to get up, the unknown man used the heel of his foot to knock him unconscious.
“Hi.” He wiggled his fingers in some semblance of a wave. Tippet waved back enthusiastically.
“And you are?” Mangus grunted, still pinned underneath Mylo, one arm bent uncomfortably behind his head.
“Just somebody passing through.” The man told them. “You look like you’re on the losing end of this battle. Why don’t you just take your leave? I don’t think this is a fight you can win, what with this man sitting on you and me ready to run you through should you make the wrong move.”
The newcomer casually walked toward Mylo and Mangus, he gestured for Mylo to release him. Out of sheer amazement, he stood and backed away. Mangus uncurled himself from the knot he had ended up in and leapt to his feet. Mylo readied himself to fight again, if needed, but Mangus gathered his composure and began to walk away, muttering quietly.
“There’s some kind of madness that’s run rampant in these parts.” He shook his head and turned toward Tippet. “Good luck.” Mangus sprinted off, running into the trees and disappearing.
Tippet cocked his head and laughed nervously, not quite sure if he was being left with the good guys or the bad guys.
“Those were some fancy moves,” Mylo commended the man. “You’ll have to tell me where you learned that.”
Without response, he walked toward Tippet and shook a burlap pouch above his head. “Tuck’s moneypouch. Perhaps you could buy some rabbits for your stew and not give Marla the satisfaction.” He dropped the jingling pouch into the hole.
Tippet raised an eyebrow in question. “Thanks, but I don’t eat meat.”
The man looked at Mylo, a quizzical grin cracking his face. Mylo laughed back and shook his head at Tippet.
Mylo turned away from Tippet and addressed the stranger. “Strong, acrobatic, and a swift pickpocket. I could use someone like you. That is, unless you’re already member to another assembly.”
“I am alone,” the thief admitted with a lonely sigh. “My wife left me, my band of fellow thieves have betrayed me, and the forest is a lonely place at night. A traveling partner would be welcome.”
Mylo nodded and gathered up his effects and set out, the wayfarer eyed the woods and followed him. They disappeared into the trees, quietly getting their introductions out of the way.
Tippet smiled to himself, sitting back on his heels in his little hole. He surveyed the land around him, flinching as his eyes fell on the still unconscious body. He scrambled out of the pit, snatched his belongings from where they had landed, and set off for home before the man had a chance to wake.