Bounties of Dorn #4

As always, check out the link above for the rest of the story.

The following day Dorn squelched up to the guard post to check for new bounties.  Nothing.

“Hey, Greeves!  Ya guys hear o’ a new wan’dealer down in Hextown?” said Dorn.  A helmeted head with piecemeal locks of hair sticking out the sides popped through the propped door.

“Hear of it?  Bud took lightnin’ to the chainmail last night.  Orders from higher up are to keep an eye on it.  An eye on it!  Lucky if I don’t lose that eye to some bloody burglar now,” said Greeves.

“Wan’to let you know, I migh’ poke my nose in this ‘un,” said Dorn.  Greeves stepped out the rest of the way and considered the implications.

“If there isn’t a bounty on the perps, you’d be in trouble for apprehending them,” he warned, “But… with what happened to Bud, I can say some guards may overlook it if a few of the responsible criminals showed up at our door in bonds.”  Dorn grunted his appreciation for the hint and tapped the nose of a wanted poster.

“This ‘un today,” he said.

“Really?  That’s… different,” said Greeves.

“Need tha practice,” said Dorn.

*   *   *

 

A golden-haired maiden giggled on the arm of a noble’s son as he led her away from a well-to-do party in the Jeweled Quarter of the Great City.  He kept up a gallant and flattering stream of compliments, all the while sneaking glances around to be sure no one had followed them.  The Jeweled Quarter was low on shadowy alleyways, so the fledgling noble chose the garden of a manor belonging to people he knew were still at the party.

“Oh Fortescue, we should go back.  My parents will worry,” said the damsel.

“No, no, my dear, let us view the stars for a few more minutes.”  Fortescue, assured of privacy, began making advances on the maiden, starting small by caressing her hand and moving to press his lips to hers.

“Please, I want to go back,” she said after he fastened both arms around her waist.

“Just a few more minutes,” he mumbled.

“But…”

“Shhh,” said Fortescue.  He embraced her tightly, and undid the first knot holding her dress together.  Behind his back, the maiden smiled and her teeth gleamed a little too bright.

“Alright, alright, enough of this ‘fore I get sick,” said Dorn from within a nearby hedge.  Fortescue jumped back and the intrepid bounty hunter stumped out of the shadow.  Dorn pointed his crossbow at the girl and fired.  Thinking he’d be a champion, Fortescue flung himself in front of her and took a face load of net.

“Run Delia!” he shouted.  Delia didn’t run.  She and Dorn circled each other as foes, the aforementioned teeth growing longer and pointier as they went.

“Delia?”  Fortescue, more confident than cunning, stopped scrambling to free himself when it became clear she didn’t need saving.

“She’sa succubus, dimwit’,” said Dorn.  Hearing her true nature called out enraged the succubus, and she charged Dorn with claws and teeth open.  He grumbled about the wasted crossbow shot before pulling a small burlap pouch from his belt.  Dorn threw it in front of her and plugged his ears.  It landed with all the noise of a boulder hitting bottom after rolling down a mountain, shockwave included.  Delia screeched, pawing at her eardrums as if it could make the sound go away.  She dropped and was hastily immobilized by a special length of rope Dorn kept for when his crossbow failed.  It wrapped around her wrists and ankles by itself, stretching limbs out of reach of teeth.  Dorn collected his net, leaving a befuddled Fortescue where he lay.

“If ya can hear me, lad, women’re dangerous,” said Dorn, “S’why I don’t hunt’em.”  The succubus screamed and pleaded all the way to the guard post, where Greeves had to take special precautions that his men didn’t set her free.  Dorn took the hefty reward—Delia had already drained a few important chaps of their life’s spirit—and plotted his next move against the Green Gnomes.

~ by Rachel Francis on August 1, 2012.

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