(( Apologies for the lacklustre title. I hope the rest of the post is better ))
Bran awoke from what he could only assume was a concussion-induced sleep; the last thing he remembered was tripping over a fallen branch as he fled into the woods from the bandits who had attacked his mentor's cart.
He sat up amongst the leaves and brushed an insect from his arm and some dirt that had stuck to the side of his face when he landed. The worst of his injuries seemed to be a minor cut above his left cheek. Apart from that he was just bruised and sore.
He stood and checked he hadn't lost anything, then rather ineffectually tidied his hair with his hands before heading back towards the road. The bandits who attacked where most likely long gone, so he continued on foot to his original destination: The nearby town Ramston; hoping he wasn't going to be alone when he arrived.
It was an overcast day; the wind was cool and gentle and everything was somewhat grey and bleak as the sun was now heading towards the western horizon. The road wound over a grassy hill between clusters of stone. In between hills was a herd of some sort of cattle grazing the grass there. They seemed content, as the road was empty.
It wasn't empty a moment later. As the new figure entered the scene, the cattle did not seem disturbed. A man was walking briskly along the road, dressed in a long decorative robe. He held his head high and had strength in his stride. Ramston was just over the next couple of hills; he could see it and a great forest looming up behind it. It was only another few minutes of walking at his pace.
For a moment he turned his head and looked in the direction of Bran emerging from some trees, but he didn't look directly at him. He quickly turned his attention back to the road and kept walking.
As Bran reached the road he stopped to get his bearings, and figured he was quite a distance down the road from where he had entered the woods, with Ramston thankfully only minutes away.
The only figure in sight, apart from the cattle, was a powerful-looking man wearing robes that made him look almost regal. Bran hoped he didn't think he was following him because he was already exhausted and didn't fancy another fight today if the stranger took issue with him.
Though he seemed to be concentrating on his striding, he only got a few more steps before he stopped. He stared ahead and then turned around to look at Bran. He gave the young man an inquisitive glance, as if silently asking why he was first down near the trees and now up behind him. Any normal person would be cautious of being robbed; the light was dimming and coolness was fast approaching. It was the perfect weather to act innocent and take somebody by surprise. But the man seemed indifferent as he took fearless steps towards Bran.
"Walk with me to the town," he said, lifting his head back very slightly. "Two people are more intimidating than one." He said no more and left his meaning somewhat vague. Then he began to walk again, expecting Bran to join him.
It could easily be assumed that Ignatius ignored Bran, as he made no response, but it was also possible that he simply didn't hear him. Everything was growing dark quickly, but the torches around the town's small gate shed some light as the pair approached. Two armed guards approached them.
"We're required to question all travelers entering the town after dark," said one, nodding to greet them. "What's your business in Ra--"
Ignatius held up his hand. "Collapse."
It was like lightning struck, only there was no sound and no flash of light. The man was on the ground as though an invisible boulder fell on him. He was on his side, doubled over, twitching in pain but seemingly unable to open his mouth. Ignatius was staring down at him. The other guard was in complete shock, struggling to comprehend what had just happened.
Ignatius turned to Bran. "Well? I'll do it myself then." A small dagger appeared in his hand and it found its way into the chest of the second guard. "Move the bodies off the road."
Nobody else seemed to notice what had happened. There were no other guards in sight and the wall was tall enough not to be able to peer over.
[[That's what happens when you don't specify what sort of adventure you want ]]
"Nothing." Ignatius stood for several moments, eyes shut and barely breathing, as though trying to transform into a statue. "Guards do irk me so."
He pressed on and knocked on a panel by the gate. Eyes peered out from within the dark, "Yes?"
"Your sentries have wandered off. Replace them and let us in."
"Oh, I see, yes, right."
The panel slammed shut and the gate slid open. Inside, the houses were unusually tall and packed closely together, as though afraid of taking up too much ground space. He began to walk with Bran down the road and proceeded to explain that he was not there to raid the town; he merely did not like being questioned or interrogated. After this he stopped in front of a tavern, possibly by chance, and posed a question for Bran.
"And what is your business in this small annoying town? Do you have a place to go? Somebody to see? Something to pillage?"
Although Bran was a still baffled and little afraid, the explanation went some way to satisfying his curiosity, plus he was two tired to argue anyway; his body still aching from the attack.
"Well, sir, me and the boss were on our way into town, trying to sell this and that, when these bandits came at us from the woods," he paused to give him a moment to recall the events more clearly. "We got separated... I don't think he made it. Silly sod, I told him we needed to hire a guard."
Bran glanced over at the tavern and looked through the window to see if his boss was inside, then shook his head. "Unless he turns up I don't know what I'm doing. Guess I'll have to find a job."
"A lost soul." Ignatius muttered. He smiled. "Precious. I am assuming you have little fighting experience, and I do find this disappointing." He paused and looked to his left. "Though I could find something for you to do in the morning, after you've rested. Think about it while we get you a room."
He turned on the spot, his robes swirling around him, and he powered into the tavern and went straight through the bar. On his way, he bumped shoulders with a large man who vocally threatened Ignatius.
"No, I didn't. Go drink your life away," Ignatius said.
The man stared into space for a moment, unblinking, thinking, , his curled fists relaxing, and then he walked away. Ignatius told the person at the desk to give him a key to a room. The keeper did so. Thinking Bran was right behind him the entire time, he turned to hand him the key to room C.
Bran spent a moment looking round the tavern, but didn't see anyone he recognised. When he turned back Ignatius was at the desk, so Bran headed back over to him. He turned around with the key to a room just as Bran got to him.
"Sorry I was just checking... wait, you just got me a room? I am in your debt... thank you," Bran said, taking the key. "You mentioned you might have a job for me in the morning; where will I find you?"
"You will not need to," Ignatius said. "But I will ask you to locate and enter the Reunnotes Stables upon the sun rising. They are towards the east end of town. Since it is apparently futile to give directions to one who is unfamiliar with the region, you can rely on any..." He looked Bran up and down. "Any skills you have... in there. If you find yourself unable to locate them, note that the name of the stables is written on stone tablets, mounted on a board resting over the entry gate."
He walked around so that Bran was between him and the keeper. "And with that, I do hope that you sleep soundly after today's affairs. Do not feel uneasy about the blood shed; sometimes it is simply unavoidable."
[[Describe as much of your stay during the night as you want. You can invent NPCs you encounter and ask for directions, but I will RP in behalf of them ]]
"Reunnotes Stables," Bran repeated. "I'll be there."
After Ignatius had bade farewell for the night, Bran headed straight to his room upstairs in the inn. It was a basic room but more comfortable than a lot of nights he'd spent over the past couple of years.
He kicked off his boots, shrugged his dusty jacket onto the floor, and carefully placed his weapons beside his bed before getting into it.
Although he felt wary of Ignatius, he was grateful for his intervention in what could easily have ended up with Bran being little more than a street kid. For now, however, he was glad for the opportunity to rest and soon fell into a deep sleep.
* * *
He was stirred from his slumber by the sound of an early morning ale delivery. The sun hadn't properly risen yet but Bran felt refreshed and it was as good a time as any to get ready to head out of town to where he expected Ignatius to meet him.
[ will continue this later... I'm supposed to be working... ]