A Bite of Fiction

Old Habits Die Hard

The+rugged%2C+random+landscape+of+Zennex%2C+the+mysterious+yet+intriguing+land+full+of+wonders.+

The rugged, random landscape of Zenn’ex, the mysterious yet intriguing land full of wonders.

Join Jack for a “bite” of fiction…watch for future installments in the weeks to come. 

The sun was high in the sky, burning the grass and dirt with its rays, as a lone man approached the front doors to an Inn, The Rosewood Inn, mostly considered to be the best Tavern and Dinner in town.  Anyone who lived in town knew this man, Rowan.

The shadow falling from the figure of Rowan would tell anyone he was as big as an ox, with a chest as broad as a barn, and strong as steel.  Though the shadow lied.  Rowan isn’t quite the man he used to be. 

He used to be a feared mercenary, a pretty good one at that.  With the small group that followed him, there wasn’t a job he couldn’t do.  At least that’s how the stories go.  He didn’t think of himself as any better than the other mercs.  He thought worse.  Ever since he left the mercenaries, he had worked in the fields for random farmers, and spent his time in taverns or losing himself staring at the landscapes from high in the mountains near Rosewood.  

His feet dragged through the loose dirt on the ground, adding to the dirt matting his pant legs.  Fueling the dusty and grainy feeling that wrapped his skin.  His face, which wore a short stubble-like brown beard, had a noticeable jagged scar across his left cheek, reaching to his left brow.  This scar put a gap in the hair that grew along his jaw.  Dirt patched his beard and covered his skin, putting a darker tint to his already sun-tanned skin.  The top of his head had short hair, slicked back, with one or two sweat drenched strands stretching down his face.

A loose fitting stained white shirt covered his torso, with a tight brown cloth long sleeve shirt under that, to help block the sharp weeds and thorns of bushes he usually pulled from the dry fields.  Over his legs were a pair of work pants, with padded knee guards, and thick dirt stains.  Though not formal meeting attire, there wasn’t much need for any other type of clothing in Rosewood.  No point in wearing a suit and tie to a dust field.

After a few more moments, he reached the door to the tavern.  The old scratched door with a dirty brass knob.  His calloused hand gripped the bronze knob that was worn from the weather and constant use.  Twisting it, he pulled the door open making an uncomfortable creaking noise from the hinges.  The outside heat shifted to a slightly more tolerable temperature, while booze and sweat became a more noticeable odor.

The faces of the men inside were those of farmers and workers.  Aged, and Gloomy.  A  large number of the dotted population of men turned their heads to meet the gaze of Rowan as he entered, all of which gave a nod, while they shouted out a greeting in chorus.

“Shiner!”

Even the waiter, who leaned over the bar with a dirty cup and cleaning towel in hand.  Looked up to Rowan and gave a nod.  The waiter was a rather stocky man, with broad shoulders and a thick brown beard.  His head had no hair, rather a few tattoos.  His arms as big as logs, it almost looked unnatural for him to be cleaning a cup.

Rowan stopped in the doorway for a moment and shook his head in embarrassment.  That nickname was given to him a long time ago, when he was still a merc.  It was given because of how often he was hit in the face.  Almost every fight at least one swing, may it be aimed or a stray wild arc, would crack across his face.

He stepped inside, politely knocking the dirt off his boots onto the dust mat, before shutting the door behind him and continuing forward to the bar.  His right hand instinctively scratched his neck as he got closer to an open stool at the bar.  The waiter locked eyes with him for a moment before a grin grew on his face.  He slid the cup off the smooth wooden bar onto the under table that follows behind the bar as a countertop for the waiters, before slowly standing up straight, showing his taller figure.   After which he whipped the rag onto his left shoulder.

“Tell me, what brings the Shiner here today, an everlasting need for food?”  The man’s voice was deep, yet joyous.  When he spoke, it gave vision to the chipped teeth in his mouth, along with the single silver crowned left carnivore.  

Rowan rolled his head to the left side of his head, a courteous smile crept onto him. “I have come here to eat more times than you have to work.  Surely you know the answer by now?”   

To be Continued…