Fayth Will Set You Free

"'cause y'know... The only GOOD deviruchi is a DEAD deviruchi!"

The old man... well... old by Rune-Midgard's standards at least... guffawed with laughter at the punchline of his tepid joke. He slammed the amber liquid that was temporarily housed in the mug before him down his gullet, then wiped his mouth. He wanted to THINK he was seeing double, or perhaps even quadruple, but unfortunately the magics of alcohol would not be doing their multiplication trick on his perceptions tonight, and the bar actually WAS this crowded.

He leaned back in his chair, almost tipping the tray of a passing waitress when he stretched. Chovyn Ral was not normally this boistrous, but even the most stoic of the spartans needed to let loose from time to time. Luckily for the bar wenches, he was content with just being noisy and filled with nostalgic bravado. Unluckily for the bar wenches, his seemed to be a singular mindset, as the brief squeak which emanated from the poor newly molested waitress behind him attested to.

This night, however, was one of those nights. He had just returned from Juno on another one of his long sebbaticals filled with meditation, exploring unity with the flora, and generally beating the hell out of the fauna. He had managed to run into one of his old friends from the Culling War, and it made him think once again of those times. And thinking of those times made him want to drink. Heavily.

"But anyway..." He said as he placed the mug back on the table. This seemed like a good moment to observe the lip of the mug, using it as a focus for his next thought. "...there we were. The Monks of the Third Fayth had pulled back temporarily while they restored their spell energy, and we were left to hold the line. The Orcs were pretty battered, but you know them. Those bastards would probably even fight AFTER they died." He retrained his gaze on the young lad who wore the crest of a newly initiated Swordsman seated across the table.

"We finished them off pretty handily, mopping up the last Lord of their regiment just as the Third Fayth returned to give us a respite. There was an exchange of pleasantries as the guard changed." Chovyn's previous demeanor disappeared quite suddenly. Almost akin to the moment that a cloudy day decides that it's had enough with being cloudy, and now it's the perfect time to rain. "I felt something slightly wrong... Like the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end." He gestured to the aformentioned nape for added emphasis. " 'Vicar...', I said to my commander, 'Do you feel it?'. Vicar Paz, my commander, nodded slowly, and gave the signal to one of the scouts to cast a Ruwach."

Chovyn closed his eyes, briefly re-submerging himself into the moment. He shuddered visibly, and fought for his next breath. "All around us... They'd been hidden... Tens, perhaps hundreds of the worst nasties the the Orcish hordes had to offer. They gave us just enough time to realise the trap that we had walked into before they attacked." He violently struck his mug against the table, his precious beverage spilling over the lip somewhat. The swordsman jumped a little in surprise, not expecting that sort of outburst just then.

"The elder leaned in toward the younger, and growled his next words. "If anyone... ANYONE... tries to tell you that 'Oh, they're simply stupid beasts! They've no real intelligence!'... You can tell them just how far to shove a Wormtail up their own."

If it was possible for someone to visibly age, Chovyn Ral did it just then. His face just seemed to lose a little bit of life as he recounted the event. "They attacked. Wave after wave. Everything from Kobolds to Doppelgangers. We tried to keep up with our healing, with our fighting skills, but we were no match. Left and right of me, blokes from the Third and my fellows from the Ancient City fell dead or were turned undead." He raised the mug to his lips, hoping the liquid inside could give him some synthetic courage for the retelling of this dark part of his history.

"One of the Orcs... Had to be the most rancid of the bunch... took a swing at me. I managed to evade him pretty well. Dodged his attack right into the arc of another Orc's axe. My leg taken from beneath me, I crumpled to the ground. Two of my compatriots, thrown aside by the advancing line, collided above me and fell atop my frame."

Chovyn paused, uttered a small prayer, then thought that an added offering might behoove the moment as well and raised his mug. "Here's to you, brothers... Ya saved my life, you poor bastards." He sighed heavily, lowering the mug again. "I tried to get up... I wanted to continue fighting. I had just as much right to die there as any of the other Monks! In the end, though, the blood loss was too much. I woke up being healed by one of the Priests."

He took another draught from his drink, and peered down the length of the mug at his audience of one. "You ever had a limb regrown by a heal spell?" The Swordsman shook his head. "Good." He gulped once more, then placed the vessel back on the table. "Pray to God you never do."

He stood from his seat and stretched. "Well, lad... I've bent your ear enough tonight. I've more work to do, detailing to the fauna of the land my views on the Book of Lacerations." A 5 zeny piece appeared in his hand, and was tossed underhand to the bartender. "Thanks once again, sir..."

"...for another wonderful mug of Apple Juice."