The Golden Bat

Part 1 of 5

Once upon a frosty morning, our hero Argyle woke up to the realization that time is actually not indefinite. Suddenly having to contemplate his own mortality, he got out of bed shaking. Perhaps it was the cold that sneaked its way under the door at night. Ah yes…The covers he had left at the bottom of the door moved ever so slightly to let the cool night breeze invade his little hut. He washed his face and looked in the mirror thinking “Being young creates a comforting feeling that old age is never going to catch up. But it does sooner or later and I should stop fooling around already”. He got his coat and on his way out slammed the door hard enough that it wouldn’t get stuck, but enough so that the rats wouldn’t get in either. The local tavern was a decent walk away. ” The sky is grey as usual, but there’s nothing a good meal and a few ales can’t fix” mused Argyle.

You see our soon-to-be-misunderstood hero was not on the right path he would have wanted to be. He brawled, drank, danced, fucked, slept and repeated that every possible time he could. He lived a poor life and never thought too much of himself. The occasional light shone on him as if the Gods were trying to tell him something, but he was usually put down by his peers and his family. Tired of his old life, he decided to move away and start anew in the village of Pan-Therhas. It was far enough away to get a fresh new start. Unfortunately, life follows you wherever you go, so Argyle started getting back into old habits and ended up in a different place but with no one around him to help anymore. While his past life had a lot of disappointments, at least he had a few people to count on. It wasn’t all bad though. He became acquainted with the local barkeep at the tavern here. Luckily Argyle spoke two languages: the one from his homeland and the high tongue. The barkeep did speak the high tongue and quite good as well. Over the course of a year, the barkeep got nicknamed Wizard. There was no magic to speak of, but it sounded like the appropriate name to give one who can fix most everything, be very smart about it and speaks such a refined high tongue.

On this fateful day when chilly winds felt like the scratches of an angry cat, Argyle decided to spend some time with another patron of the tavern. He also spoke the high tongue and Argyle was able to enjoy a few ales with him. Mirketius was his name and he was a little bit of a rebel, although highborn. You could see it by the way he spoke and his uncalloused hands. This guy never had to do a day of hard manual labor in his life. Good for him. He got lucky.
– So what are you up to Mirketius? Getting a head start over me I see.
– Argyle! You look like two wolves fought each other and mated afterward! boomed Mirketius.
Judging by the two empty ales on the table it was clear that he was already in high spirits.
– Want to treat a good friend to ale and maybe some meat? asked Argyle jokingly.
– You’re a friend, the good part we’ll see about it. Might as well, said Mirketius. God knows you could use some food in your belly. Look at you. Those wolves seemed to not have finished mating.
Mirketius burst in laughter and then loudly asked the barkeep to serve Argyle some food and drinks.
The two started chatting about current events when all of a sudden the Wizard came to the table to tell them both that the owner of the tavern has decided to close it, but nobody knows about it yet. That the tavern is not doing well enough and it’s too much work for him.
– What will you do Wizard? asked Argyle.
– I don’t know yet. A job is hard to come by nowadays.
– It’s not that bad, joked Mirketius.
– What would daddy’s boy know about this? Look at that big gold purse. You couldn’t care less if anything happened to this village. Your lands will give you enough for two lives.
Silence came over the table. The Wizard left visibly frustrated.
– You shouldn’t be like that Mirketius. You know you have it good. No reason to make people feel bad about not having the same luxury as you.
– This is where you’re wrong. You all think this just landed in my pockets. Even if it did, my father worked for this. His whole damn life. What does the barkeep or you know about this? You just mind your own business and flap around like headless chickens. Why aren’t you doing something for the future?
– Like what?
– Maybe open a damn tavern so I can still get a drink in this sad little village.
– It’s not that sad when you have gold.
– That it isn’t.
With that, Mirketius threw 2 coins on the table and left drunkenly stumbling over a few chairs and smiling playfully to the other patrons. Nobody could take offense. He was always jolly and he paid for more than enough ale to various patrons when he felt like it. It seemed that even with Mirketius’ gold, the tavern was about to close. Argyle finished his food and ale and stepped behind the counter to talk to the Wizard.
– He has a point you know.
– What? That he’s a rich brat who can do anything? spat the Wizard.
– That as well I guess, joked Argyle. But I mean that we should open our own tavern if this one closes.
– Can you imagine how much it would cost us? I have nothing saved up. You know that. I need money to get by my friend. And where are you going to get the money from? The rats in your hut? Did you ask them for rent yet?
– Maybe Mirketius can lend us the money. He doesn’t care about one bag of gold or ten bags of gold. He could even just tell his father he lost it and he’d just get a slap on the wrist.
– I don’t dislike Mirketius…he’s just a bit over the top sometimes. But you know…maybe we could?
– Wizard. I think we’re gonna do a great job here. Look at this place. Even with you here it never could get out of this boring, broken down state that it’s in. We can do this, smiled Argyle.
– Maybe. Let’s talk to Mirketius again…that oaf may give us both jobs and also help himself in the process. In the end he just wants to have a tavern. Nothing more.
– Leave him to me. He knows me better and I think he trusts me enough to see this through.
– So what should we name the new tavern? said the Wizard cracking a hopeful smile.
– I’ve always liked bats. I don’t know why those critters attract me, but I always liked them.
– Hmmm…Well we both like gold and Mirketius has plenty of it…The Golden Bat?
– The Golden Bat! Sounds amazing!
Argyle said his goodbye and went off in search of Mirketius. Sooner rather than later he would have gold in his pockets and a new tavern to call his own.
Today’s been much better than expected. It’s not even that cloudy anymore“.

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