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The Black Lion

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"Well Cecil, looks like the girl has something to say."

Big Boss Barro was the filthy, disgusting, vile owner of the equally filthy, disgusting, vile, inn known as the Black Rose.

He was also Cecil's boss. Cecil

Cecil worked as the bouncer/bodyguard for the Black Rose/ Barro. He didn't take the job for the gold, but to stay hidden and to keep his skills sharp. Although, it was hard to keep your skills sharp when your only opposition was a darkened moron or a group of guys who though they were something enough to boss others around.

Tara the barmaid, a brash girl around his age with brown hair and eyes, was staring up at the ceiling, arms crossed.

Cecil cleared his throat.

Tara sighed in irritation.

"Thanks for helping me today."

"No problem." Cecil said, "Anytime some jerk puts his hands on you, I'll be there to get him off."

Tara smiled.


The smile vanished.

"If you're the one who goes picking fights, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to help." Cecil said quietly.

Tara's jaw dropped.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?!"

Cecil shrugged.

"Just that there may be a few times where you start the fight, and I may not be able to help you, so...then again, I like you, so I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you, like the last girl."

"Last girl?" Tara asked, wheeling on Barro. "What happened to the last girl?"

Barro's face turned beet red.


"She mouthed off the wrong guy, and then got raped in room 4." Cecil said, "And this greaseball got paid off to let it slide. Suffice to say, she didn't like that much, so she committed suicide."

"That's horrible!" Tara exclaimed.

"Cecil!" Barro shouted.

Cecil just rolled his eyes. For a Favored Soul of Lathander, he had to admit that he was a rather cold and gloomy young man to be around. Then again, he was a Favored Soul, not a priest. Leave the preaching to the clerics.

"What? I can't give her a fair warning?"

Before they could continue, the door to the inn opened. Without looking, Barro said, "We're closed now, sorry. Now then, Cecil, when you want to give a warning you don't have to...didn't you hear me? We're clo...oh dear."

Cecil turned.

Three men armed with crossbows were making their way across.

"We're just here for the gold. And the girl, if you can spare her." one of them said quietly, a slow smile forming on his face.

"Barro," Cecil said quietly, "take Tara and go upstairs."

"Try not to make a mess." Barro said, pulling the waitress along.

"No promises." Cecil said, standing up.

The three men laughed as Cecil folded his arms.

"Look at this guy...thinks he somethin."

Cecil was usually the least intimidating person to fight. His skin was a brown color, and his hair was an even lighter shade of yellow. He was lean, but not too muscular, and his outfit was…laughable. Most couldn’t tell if what he wore was a shredded robe with a shirt and trousers underneath, or shirt and trousers with half a skirt and a robed sleeve on the left arm. The only things that seemed to perturb anyone were his eyes, which were golden and glowed faintly. However, that was due to his association with the Morninglord. He was no Aasimar.

The description of his “armor” was closest on the latter, but none of them ever realized that his clothing was enchanted enough to withstand a blast from a powerful Fireball spell, let alone a steel blade.

The three fired their crossbows at the same time. There was a flash of darksteel, and all three bolts went skittering to the floor.

Cecil twirled his sword once and began to walk forward.

The men looked at each other, confused. They reloaded their crossbows, and Cecil drew another sword.

They fired again, and Cecil blocked the bolts.

Then he sheathed his swords, and in an almost casual movement, drew one of the men's own kukris and slashed him three times with it, sending blood squirting across the floors and wall.

As the man fell, Cecil grabbed his crossbow arm and fired, blasting the second man away and pinning him to the wall.

Cecil dropped the dead man and turned to the final one, drawing both swords again.

The man began to back away in fear, reloading his bow with shaky fingers.

He fired, and Cecil lifted a sword and blocked.

The man fired again, but Cecil blocked it again.

Then the man backed against the wall, and that’s when Cecil plunged both blades through his chest and into the wall.

Then he ripped them out in separate directions, turning his body to two and ending the failure of a robbery that the men tried.

"Well that was pitiful." Cecil muttered, sheathing his swords and walking away.

Barro came downstairs, axe in hand.

“Cecil, are you…my GODS what have you done?”

Cecil walked past him and said, “I struck back. Don’t worry, there’s not too much gore to clean up.”

Barro just stood gaping at three corpses: one sliced in three different places, one pinned limply to a wall by a bolt, and another slashed in half on the ground near the other wall.

“I…I…TARA! Clean up this filth!”

Tara rolled her eyes and shoved Cecil hard.

“Thanks a lot.” Tara muttered, going back downstairs.

“You’re welcome.” Cecil called over his shoulder.

Yes, this was the glorious life of Cecil Cloud, ex-Favored Nine member and Favored Soul of Lathander.

He also happened to be the real reason for Gabriel’s disappearance, and he didn’t believe for a second that he was dead.

The Black Lion © XIII

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