Introduction of Sul'hupkaar
|Word Count (1.088) |
Sul’hupkaar stepped from the Weary Dog Inn into the bright sunlight, his armored leather boots crunching on the dusty clay road. He raised a gloved hand and pulled the hood of his black cloak over his head to shield sensitive eyes from the glaring sun. The dark elf’s ebony lip curled in a disgusted sneer when he looked up the street at the Purple Boar Tavern. That fool had better be there and his information had better be good. Aside from the inn and tavern, there were very few other structures in this excuse for a town.
Clanging steel to his left drew his attention to the blacksmith. Sul’hupkaar’s cloak billowed out from the sudden lithe movement as he turned that way, revealing his black iron and leather cuirass underneath. The road was so dry that dust kicked up even under his light tread. Thickly muscled, Sul’hupkaar still walked with the grace and soft step of a predator stalking his prey.
His guildmaster sent him to find the Assassin Guild’s errant brother. Why the assassins’ couldn’t keep their own house was beyond him. The man he was after was dangerous, for a man. Taught and trained to fight like a dark elf, he had injured one of Sul’hupkaar’s brothers in the Necromancer’s Guild. Now this assassin sought to destroy their plan too.
The few men standing around the blacksmith’s forge were talking among themselves while the smith ground their knives and sickles for the days work ahead. Sul’hupkaar shoved one of them aside as he pushed through them to get to the smith.
The man he shoved turned on him instantly then paled when he looked at the glaring elf. The rebuke that was on his lips never made it out as he stared at the inky skin covering a strong angular chin and high cheeks bones under the cloak’s hood. A lock of the creature’s midnight hair curled down over his cheek, almost touching the corner of the snarl he stared back with. Yellow and orange fiery eyes dared a challenge.
The smith that looked up at him was a giant of a man, easily a head and a half taller than Sul’hupkaar. Corded muscle rolled through his forearms and arms and his wide back tensed as he ran the townsfolk’s weak steel blades across his grindstone. For all his size, the dark elf could feel his fear.
The man timidly placed the pocked knife he was working on down and retrieved Sul’hupkaar’s ebony bow, both ends of the frame wrapped with a pewter inlay of a twirling dragon. Sul’hupkaar pulled back on the bowstring while the smith bent to get the sword he had left to be sharpened. The new catgut would serve, at least until he got back to Notsob. The man wasn’t entirely incompetent as a weaponer.
He slung the bow over his shoulder and across his back before taking the shaking hilt of his offered sword. The black leather and iron wire wrapped hilt had a hard dragonbone pommel carved into a claw and a dragonbone guard of a skeletal dragon, wings spread. The dull black blade, folded and hammered a thousand times, glinted along the sharpened edges.
Sul’hupkaar’s gloved hand wrapped around the hilt as his eyes ran up and down the blade’s double edge. His nose rose slightly in anger when he spied two tiny nicks on one side. Pathetic. His eyes rose back up to look at the smith, now visibly trembling as he stared into the elf’s angry glowing eyes. To those looking on, it looked as if the dark elf towered over the massive hulk of a man.
He lowered the blade’s tip and dropped it into the empty scabbard at his waist. Humans. He knew the smith had been grinding away all night and yet he still couldn’t get the blade properly sharpened. He didn’t have time to …discuss… it properly, so he tossed him a copper for the passable job on restringing his bow and headed for the tavern, the silence he left behind was deafening.
Sul’hupkaar ignored the few staring townsfolk as he entered the Purple Boar, already annoyed at having been sent on this ridiculous errand, he was now in a foul mood. He made his way to the back of the small room, not seeing the man that was supposed to meet him. Taking his usual spot, back to a wall and facing the door, he put his booted heel on the empty chair across from him.
When he saw the cow eyed serving woman heading his way, he tossed a gold coin on the table and watched her spin around and head back for the counter. In the few days he was here, it hadn’t taken her long to figure it out. The gold coin shouted ale, food, and he wanted to be left alone.
He pulled the hood off his head and the thick midnight locks under it fell over his shoulders, the tiniest part of one of his elven ears poking through. Flawless taut skin, blacker than a night sky, flexed as he clinched his jaw in impatience. The fine, almost delicate, features of his face could almost be considered beautiful, if it wasn’t for the malicious orange and yellow glaring eyes.
Sul’hupkaar scanned the small tavern, inwardly laughing at how hard the few people in there were doing their best to not look at him. The only thing he was looking for now was finding out what this man had to give him and leave this rathole of a village.
A shadow detached from the far wall and approached him cautiously. Whoever it was tried to appear confident, but Sul’hupkaar picked up little tremors and hesitations that told him otherwise. The man moved to take the other seat when fiery eyes told him that was a dangerous idea. Now that he was closer, he stank of fear; more than he should. Sul’hupkaar began to wonder why.
The shaking man pulled a letter from the pouch on his waist and held it out. Without taking his eyes off him, Sul’hupkaar took the letter and read its contents. Fury slammed through him like a physical force when he saw the message inside.
The man standing there’s face went ashen when he saw Sul’hupkaar’s eyes turn a soulless black and sharp fangs grew as two teeth lengthened in the dark elf’s anger. He wanted to run, to flee, but his body refused to obey him. What was this creature sitting before him?