Here is my second writing assignment! The theme was “First Day.” This character is from an old D&D campaign, but I like her so I’ll keep reusing her! Ten points if you spot my very obvious Tamora Pierce reference (although, I guess Marion, by virtue of being a red-haired lady knight, is sort of an homage all of her own. . .) Enjoy :)
“Damn him and his toasted arse! If it’s not the slags, it’s the swill!”
Gilder hurled his cap to the ground and did a war dance on top of it, cursing gloriously. The nervous page shifted on his feet while the short man finished his tirade. The boy had had the unfortunate duty of reporting to Gilder that one of his jousters was passed out at The Mutton Chop, and the keeper wouldn’t let him leave until his debt was paid. While he wasn’t unused to delivering bad news, sometimes the receiver got a little carried away. Gilder, who ran the jousting in town, was mostly the good sort, but any man could get mean when someone messed with his coin and the page preferred to leave without a black eye.
“How much does that red-faced bilge drinker owe?!”
“Not sure, Mister Gil,” said the boy. “But prolly lots, seeing how the keeper’s got him locked in the back.”
“More than his bout in bets, then. Curse his soaked hide! You get out of here now, I’ve got some thinking to do.”
After the grateful boy left, Gil turned to his three other partners in the tiltyard — the armorer, the weapon master, and the head of the stables. They stared back at him in tired resignation. Sir Duncan was a disgraced knight, but he had been a damn decent jouster once. Or at least he won more than he lost, which was all that was needed of him. These last few months had been particularly irregular, though. It used to be that paying your tilters was enough to keep them on time and sober enough to ride. Not with Duncan.
“That bastard’s cost us three bouts this week already, Gil,” said the head of the stables.
“Yeah, when’re we going to cut him loose?”
“When you figure out a way to end the wars and keep the young men around, then we’ll talk about cutting tilters,” sneered Gil, unfairly. He knew the armorer was right.
“I can do it.”
Gil turned around. A female wearing breeches and a smock stood in the opening of the tent. She was tall for a girl and dirty, like she didn’t sleep inside. Her red hair was completely untethered. She looked him straight in the eye.
“‘Ere, what’s this!” Cried the weapon master.
“Yeah, throw the baggage out,” said the armorer. “We got a problem to figger out!”
“I know you,” said Gil, engaging her against his better judgment. He motioned for the others to be quiet and they obeyed. Although they each helmed a vitally important part of the operation, there was no doubt that Gil was the head of the snake. “You’re the one the men have been complaining about, the girl hanging around the yard trying to have a go with the lances. Don’t you have a husband or something?”
“Duncan’s always half-drunk for these bouts,” she said, unphased. “Everyone knows it! He’s the laughing stock of this yard.”
“You think I don’t know that?”
“I can ride ten times as good as him. And I can win.”
Gil sighed. He blamed those modern scribes, always writing those damn romances about swordmaidens. Now every slip of a girl fancied herself the next Lioness Rampant.