What am I doing with my life? By D.I. Jolly (Part 1 of 3)
Justine was comfortable with her role as a woman of the night. She had always been able to spot the guys nice enough to be grateful, but still street smart enough to know they had to pay for it. That night as she walked into the Pumpkin Hut she knew her mark without a second glance. He sat quietly alone staring into his beer and failed to notice the woman who had taken up the seat next to his. For a few minutes, they sat in silence until her drink arrived and she turned.
“Haven’t seen you here before, are you new to our fair city?”
Her voice was smooth as silk and oozed seduction, but it went over his head.
“I’m new in every bar I drink in, we never stay anywhere long.”
“Oh? A traveller, that sounds interesting, you a salesman of some kind?”
His voice was flat, and he somehow managed to finish his beer in the same instances. At the mention, her smile grew and she put a gentle hand on his arms and moved in a little closer.
“Dragon hunter, that sounds dangerous… which we all know is just another word for sexy.”
He rolled his eyes.
“Do we? Is that what we know? Have you ever actually seen a dragon?”
“Well, no but…”
“I have, and let me tell you, there is nothing ‘sexy’ about it. They’re huge, practically immortal, they’re scales are the hardest thing known to man they’re smarter than we are, and, oh yeah, they’re fucking made of magic.”
He shrugged exasperated and ordered another beer.
“So… why do you hunt them, if you feel that way?”
His face slipped into tragedy for a moment.
“Family business. We’ve been hunting Dragons for over sixteen generations and I firmly believe the only thing scarier than a Dragon is my father should I tell him I’m not going to cast spells for him anymore.”
Justine’s eyes suddenly grew wide and she leaned close to whisper as if confessing something secret.
“You’re a mage?”
He rolled his eyes again and said plainly.
“I’m a warlock.”
Noticing the confused look on her face he shook his head slightly annoyed.
“Dark magic. I can channel the power of ancient demons. Super rare, mostly comes about through some mage family dabbling in things they shouldn’t be dabbling in. In my case The School of Magic in the Great Mountains believe it has something to do with just how much dragon blood my family has spilt over the years.”
“You went to The School of Magic?”
“I know right, I could be a teacher, wondering wise man or even advisor to the king. But no, I’ve got to be the good son who gets up before sunrise and goes out into the Gods forsaken badlands to hunt Dragons to make my family proud. I mean, what the fuck right?”
She stared at the man for a minute wondering if she hadn’t made a mistake trying to bed this particular stranger, but at the same time, her curiosity was peeked.
“If you went to The School of Magic, what’s your name?”
The man took a long drink, scratched the back of his head nervously and said slightly embarrassed.
“You were expecting something epic and magical, like someone the wise, or something the powerful? Everybody does.”
“Well it’s just that normally mages have names like that.”
“Warlock, and yeah, normally they have better jobs too. But you want to know the worst part?”
Jeff took another long sip, giving just enough pause to seem like he cared about her answer, but not enough time for her to actually say anything.
“Warlocks are incredibly powerful. The most powerful a human can be. You can’t learn the kind of power I have, you have to be born with it. Kings, Emperors have specifically asked for my council and offered me a place in their courts, but no… oh no… my place is with my family. And you know what the only thing more powerful than a warlock is?”
She thought the word but didn’t even try opening her mouth, knowing exactly where the conversation was going, and it wasn’t to the bedroom.
“Dragons, because they’re fucking made of magic.”
He finished his drink again and started looked around for the barman, while Justine looked to see if there was anyone else in the bar she might try work on.
“Well Jeff I really feel for you, but it’s getting late and I think I should be heading home.”
“Why? I’m here because there is a family of red dragons in the mountains over your town. We’re either going to kill them in the morning or anger them to the point where they destroy the whole town. I’m either about to become the richest man here or we’re all going to die. Gods, what kind of life is this!”
For a moment the cold of over realism touched her heart and she stared at him. Then her gaze shifted to an elderly woman making her way across the room towards them. Jeff turned to see what she was looking at and instantly yelled.
“Nobody touch her, everyone get back!”
The women leapt out of her robes and stuck Jeff hard knocking them both to the floor.
“What’s the matter deary, you used to cry when nobody died? You used to cry at night when nobody died, what happened?”
The creature’s voice was shrill and she sat on Jeff’s chest with her hands firmly around his neck. Her arms were too long and stick thin, and as she smiled you could see her razor-point teeth. Justine, having been working the bar scene for a number of years, knew the true value of breaking a chair over someone’s back, and knew that breaking it over someone’s face worked far better. As the seat of the barstool slammed into the creature’s nose it lost its grip on Jeff’s throat for just long enough for him to utter a single word. But that’s all he needed. For a moment his eyes burn crimson and the creature erupted in unholy screams as its head caved in, and it collapsed dead. With a bit of effort, he managed to push the creature off him and get back to his feet only to see Justine and everyone else in the bar staring at him in horror.
“Ghouls, they can uummm… they’re … drawn to the dark magic. S-sorry, I guess.”
Justine grabbed his arm in mild fright.
“You killed it with a single word.”
“And you’re scared of Dragons?”
Justine’s face turned ghostly pale.
“What am I still doing here? I need to get out of town!”
Jeff thought about trying to reassure her for a moment but before he could find words two large heavily armed and armoured men burst into the room yelling with all their might, causing Jeff to once again roll his eyes.
“It’s alright dad, its dead.”
The larger of the men punched the other in the arm.
“I told you we shouldn’t have left him alone, we almost lost our wizard, look at his neck.”
Justine who was still standing next to Jeff heard him mutter, ‘Warlock’ under his breath. before his father grabbed him by the arm and began pulled him away talking about how he should get some rest before the morning, and how they still had a lot of planning to do. By the time the sun came up the following day she was two towns away and both her and her horse were on the verge of collapse.