Silverbolt tried to enter a tournament for nobles only.
|Barbuckle, Whistling Lark Cafe
Constance and Silverbolt spent the better part of breakfast working things out between them.
"I am sorry for being so weird about everything. Ms. Reynard told me you were going to be a Superhero, which explained nothing. I should have read those silly books." Constance said.
Silverbolt took a sip of the coffee and watched the tendrils of steam rise from the cup, like some earthbound spirit. "It's not all your fault. I tend to dive headlong into danger myself. I scared myself a couple of times. By the way, what is Ms. Reynard's plan for Rathmore?"
"She wants to modernize the world as we know it. She comes from a backwoods town like this one. Her parents died of sickness waiting for a physician, the local healer had died a week earlier."
"Why didn't the world progress?"
Constance sighed, "You slept through that lesson too? Obediah Feri."
Silverbolt gathered from her tone, Obediah screwed up, bad. "I am not familiar with the name."
"Obediah was a brilliant Alchemist and Tinker. He was going to change the world with his inventions and brilliance." Constance said.
"Let me guess something dumb happened?" Silverbolt asked.
"Yes, the witch stone happened. It was an object of great power. Obediah used it to make the first magical reactor. He had a slew of inventions based on the power of the stone."
"Things went awry?"
"The witch stone was a prison for an evil being. It powered his inventions, but it came at a terrible price."
"It mutated people, some became twisted versions of folk tales, we called the physically changed Ferries, in honor of Obediah. Some were gifted with magical abilities, known as inherents." Constance said.
"How many people were changed by the stone?" Silberbolt asked.
"I couldn't tell you it was before my time. People said it was the gods telling us to leave well enough alone. Inherents still live among us. The Ferries vanished shortly after, and advanced natural philosophy was banned. Rumor has it the stone resides in a heavily warded room under the temple."
"Interesting. What is our next stop?"
"We need to establish your reputation in a big way. We should ask around and see what's happening in the area. Lots of dueling tournaments go on during this time of year."
After asking the locals, they learned the town of Vexdale would be holding a nobles only tournament. Silverbolt looked over at Constance, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Are you crazy? You are not a Noble. You are barely civilized." Constance said, looking at Silverbolt like he was from the second moon.
"Is it possible?"
"You would have to become a champion for a member of the gentry...Oh no, you have an idea, don't you."
"Hear me out," Silverbolt said
Constance shook her head as he outlined his idea, "Your plan is stupid."
"It will be fun though."
They reached the outskirts of Vexdale in record time. Constance glared at Silverbolt. "For the record, this plan is stupid. How do you see this working out?"
"How long before the signup booth closes? I owe you a favor for this," Silverbolt said.
"Anything I want?" Constance asked.
"Within reason, of course."
"Shall we get on with it then?"
Silverbolt had remembered the old MP3 player and Bluetooth speaker he carried everywhere with him. They were integral parts of the plan. He pressed the power on both devices. "Bluetooth connected."
Constance studied the devices, "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes." he looked through the albums. He chose "Across the Nation" by Union Underground. He strode into town, in a hail of confidence and heavy metal music. Constance walked a little farther behind and looked embarrassed by her companion's actions.
As he walked by shops, people heard the music and poked their heads out of their doors, curious about the new noise. People began to follow him. When he reached the center of town, he released the meteor hammer, taking an opportunity to show off. The crowd was eating out of the palm of his hand.
He raised his hands to silence the agitated crowd, "My name is Silverbolt, and I seek to enter the tournament."
The crowd murmured amongst each other, Constance looked like she was ready to crawl under a rock and vanish.
A young woman in an elegant gown with matching chapeau and parasol stepped forward. "Good sir, are you of the noble birth? I thought I invited everyone."
Silverbolt stared her down, as the crowd parted, bowing to her as she passed. "I am not a noble. I want my chance to fight in this tournament."
The young woman laughed, "The men in this tournament are not clod hoppers. They are seasoned veterans. I hardly think someone untitled could challenge them."
"Care to place a bet on that?" Silverbolt taunted.
"I would never place a bet with someone who didn't know my name." She held out her hand, "You may meet me properly."
Constance rushed to his side, "Are you crazy, that is Lady Clara. Her champion has won the last two tournaments."
Her comment fell on deaf ears as Silverbolt made his way over to the young woman. He gently took her hand and pressed his mask against her hand, "Pleased to meet you, Lady Clara."
"You forgot to bow," Clara said in a critical tone.
"I don't bow to anyone." The crowd gasped at Silverbolts brazen answer.
Clara snapped her fingers, and a pair of guards stood next to him, "I said, you forgot to bow."
Constance was turning white. She went to speak several times but was struck dumb by circumstance. Silverbolt chuckled, "Two against one?"
"I cannot allow you to get away with such an insult. People might stop respecting me. Speaking of which, I believe you were about to show me some respect by bowing."
The crowd was silent, watching the drama unfolding before them. Not a single person could bring themselves to look away, except for Constance, who was hiding behind a bush.
"We both know I am not going to do it," Silverbolt said. He tensed his muscles, preparing to make a move. He grinned as Lady Clara's face fell.
"Guards, teach the knave some manners," Clara said imperiously.
Constance peeked her head above the bush just in time to see the pair of large men lay hands on Silverbolt. "Give them hell Silverbolt. Bite the big dog on the butt for everyone here." She shouted. "Who speaks like that?"
The crowd hesitantly joined at first before chanting in unison, as Silverbolt remained on his feet. Lady Clara's face fell as the assembly of people grew louder.
Silverbolt smiled from behind the mask. "Tell me you have someone better," He taunted, "I can do this all day." The guards were grunting in frustration. Thick veins on their foreheads threatened to rupture.
He placed one hand on each guard and sighed, "Time for bed." He shocked both the burly men down. They thumped to the ground. "I think I broke your tin soldiers."
A smile creased Constance's lips. "Lady Clara, are your men so easily beaten? Are they the seasoned veterans you spoke of?" she said. She resumed, hiding behind the bush.
"We want Silverbolt. We want Silverbolt," the crowd chanted. Lady Clara, who was on the verge of panic. Her eyes darted back and forth, looking for any who still supported her. She was ready to crack, Silverbolt could tell. She took on a pained expression, "Remain here. I must confer with my associates. I shall return shortly with a definitive answer."
Rathmore, Temple of Danu, Secret Antechamber
Sabastion Barghest stared at the gloomy cold stone of his prison. Four walls, very little light, and shrouded figures talking about his potential. Sabastion figured this wasn't a prison, but rather a place to hold him until his captors figured out what they were doing.
The stay had been nerve-wracking. Every night tortured screams rang through the halls like a vengeful spirit. Even though his predicament was grim, he decided to accept his fate with as much grace and dignity.
Something brushed against his legs, and two glowing blue eyes stared from the corner of the darkened cell.
"You are a naughty boy, Sabastion, and I love it."
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Let us drop the pretenses. You killed three families, torturing them, before taking everything of value. Your acts are so heinous Sam Steele has vowed to see you on the gallows. He is the best at what he does."
Sabastion began to sweat cold drops, as a malformed hand touched him from the shadows. "He doesn't have any proof. If you are going to kill me, hurry up and do it." He withdrew from the chilling touch.
The eyes laughed maliciously, "We are not going to kill you. We are going to plumb the depths of your potential. As a reward for surviving the ordeal, you get to serve me."
Another voice spoke through the bars, "The room is ready. How is our new friend doing?"
The blue eyes lit up with excitement, "I think he will resist at first, but once the change takes hold, he will understand and embrace it."
"Excellent. Come along, Mr. Barghest, a new life awaits you."
Barghest refused to scream, as they drug him from the cell and down the moldy stone hallway to his fate.
Vexdale Town Square.
Lady Clara returned with a scroll. She held her hands up for silence. "You have been busy haven't you, Silverbolt?"
Silverbolt threw his arms wide and shrugged, "I have the time and ability, why not help my fellow man? How did you know what I have been doing?"
"The winters are unforgiving here. The towns in the area have trained birds to deliver messages, in case help is needed. I must admit besting Thunderhorn is quite a feather in your cap. Several of the other champions were impressed. Many of them seem to think you would make an excellent addition to the tournament."
"I am touched. Get to the point," Silverbolt said. He crossed his arms dramatically. The crowd was eating it up like a three-course meal.
She scowled, "It is the decision of the tournament committee, the man known as Silverbolt shall be allowed to participate."
The crowd cheered. Constance did not cheer. "You insulted Clara in front of the lower class. She is going to make you pay."
Silverbolt punched his open palm, "I say bring it on."