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20140108

Barbarian

As the innkeeper finished his tale an eerie silence fell upon the ramshackle inn. The lone stranger at the corner table smiled beneath the shadow of his hooded cloak and took a long pull from his tankard of ale. 

The tale was good, though well embellished. The battle of that evening so long ago had not been so heroic or romantic as the innkeeper's telling made it out to be, but such was always the case with battle tales told by those who had played no role in the fray. He couldn't blame the man for taking liberties with the facts; the old fellow had an inn to run after all, and a good tale was good for business. 

The serving girl came his way but the stranger waved her off; he'd had his fill of ale and of his own past for one night. 

Rising, he collected his sword from where it leaned against the wall next to the table. Its unnaturally perfect metal disguised with dirty leather strips and a worn scabbard so as not to attract unwanted attention. He was here to remember his past, not to relive it. 

As the barbarian reached the door he turned back for a last look on the place where his adventures had begun. What a foolish boy he had been to think that life was so simple. Back then he would have been satisfied to make a place such as this his home, but no longer. Not after all he had seen. His home was among the stars, and to the stars he must go. He felt them calling him. 

The door swung shut and the lone figure was gone, swallowed whole by the darkness of the night outside. 

In the blackness far above a single star streaked across the sky.