Dwarfs, thought Otto, are bloody tough.
He had been thinking this for perhaps the better proportion of the day, ever since he had hauled his crew into the relative safety of the Stinking Vixen tavern. With grim attention to detail, he and his men had then proceeded to get drunk. The barman was happy to help, although he had begun to suspect that the man had begun topping up their beer with water just to keep up with the demand.
The leader of The Rowdy Dogs spat onto the rushes that covered the floor. Around him, his warband sulked into their steins. They’d all seen young Joesph getting slapped around like a Sigmarite on Ulrics Day by a creature damn near half his height. The tattooed maniac had then used his body as a spring board to leap onto and clobber Kurt.
The stunty little buggers had been after the treasure trove of booze in the Merry Maiden, the pilfering swine! It was especially vexing as Otto had spent almost a month tracking down the famous tavern and its liquor vault.
Now, the valuable wines and rare ales would be filling the bellies of the stunties, or else pissed out against a wall when the buggers wore off their hangover.
Otto and his men would have sampled it sure, maybe even had a little victory celebration, or two, but at least they wouldn’t have guzzled the lot!
Lars put a big hand on his captain’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry, boss. We’ll get them next time, ja.”
Both Joseph and Kurt nodded sullenly from across the table. Otto noticed that the axe scar Kurt had earned from his entanglement with the Troll Slayer was red and swollen, the stitching sloppy and crude.
“You alright lad?”
Kurt nodded, although the youngster was probably lying so as not to lose face.
“Good. You three,” Otto poked a thick finger at Kurt, Joseph and the skinny bowman, Rufus, “You three have a reckoning with them stunties. You owe them a world of hurt. Our rep,” he spread his arms indicating the whole crew, “is damaged cos of you three. I busted my ‘ump shoving those Witch Hunters out of our territory and you boys may have undone all that good work. Now there’ll be others wanting a crack at us an’ thinking they can win.”
The two young bloods nodded mutely, but Otto heard Rufus muttering into his drink.
“Something to say, bowman?”
The lean archer ducked his head and said nothing.
“Come on,” Otto rose from his seat, towering over Rufus. “You have something you want to add?”
Rufus eventually met his captain’s glare.
“You ran just like the rest of us.”
The crew, almost imperturbably, leaned away from Rufus. They were quiet. The whole tavern was quiet.
Otto placed his hands on the table, leaning across the wood to look the archer squarely in the face.
“You get that one, archer, but that’s all. One more world out of your mouth I don’t like and you’re head will end up as my new shit pot. Understand me?”
“Now,” said Otto, sitting back down, “lets work out exactly what we’re going to do to those buggers next time we see ’em!”