It had been two weeks since Vaun departed, and Forte was running short on funds. His ill-gotten earnings had dwindled to 196 silvers due to living expenses and some poor investments. Job openings for F-class adventurers were few and far in between. Today he would have to go to the job office again, and see if they had anything new to offer.
Forte ordered a steamed bun for breakfast, and headed to the placement office, where he met Vaun for the first time. He saw a few advertisements for jobs.
Cook needed. Experience with slog flank necessary. Open to class E or above. Must cook meals for a travelling party of 10 for 3 weeks.
Caravan escort required. Open to all classes. Job positions are trial by combat. Caravan is travelling to the city of Leivestrum.
Construction strongman required. Open to class C or above. Must be able to lift heavy stones for construction on the castle.
Forte laughed as he read the second posting. Ready to test his luck, he tore off a slip and headed to the address specified, located in a quiet part of Sawen. The clang of swords could be heard long before he reached the house where the trials by combat were being conducted. It was a small house with a medium sized garden in the back. Forte knocked on the door.
“Yes?” The doorman questioned from behind the locked door.
“I’m here for the caravan escort job.” Fort answered.
“Aye well… yer just a kid. A strong kid, ye, but just a kid. You think yer up to snuff?” The doorman replied.
“Of course I am.” Fort answered adamantly.
“Alright, suit yerself then.” The doorman said as he let Forte in.
A thick stench of beer and sweat hit Forte as he stepped inside. A tall, brawny fighter was competing with an equally brawny man of smaller stature. The shorter man landed a heavy blow with a wooden mace on the tall man’s side, folding him instantly.
“Ha! Is that the best you got here?” said the short, mustached fighter with a mace.
“That, my young friend, is Horace.” Said the doorman, smiling. “He’s beaten everyone here, and yer his next. Try! If you fight well, we might hire you.”
“Let’s have a tussle lad. Me mace versus that ‘un sword. Let’s see who’s stronger.” Horace declared.
“Of course we don’t allow real weapons here. Take this wooden sword, and fight to your heart’s content.” The doorman added.
Forte took a hefty wooden sword and stepped into the ring against Horace. Horace extended an ugly wide toothed grin and spat on the ground in excitement. Forte winced but kept his calm.
“Begin!” The doorman exclaimed.
Horace dashed forwards with the strength of a bull, and swung with his left hand. Forte parried, recoiling as the heavy wooden mace collided with his wooden blade. He was not familiar fighting with lefties.
“Ha!” Horace shouted as he swung consecutively at Forte’s body. Forte parried each blow with difficulty, then lashed out with his left fist, connecting with Horace’s face. Horace backed off and charged again, this time clearly disoriented. Instead of parrying, Forte nimbly dodged the swing and elbowed Horace in the neck. Horace stood there gripping his neck in pain, as Forte did not waste a breath and pushed him to the ground. Forte smashed his fists and elbows against Horace’s face until his nose began bleeding and eyes swelled up.
“Stop. Stop. Alright, you had me. Enough, me lad.” Horace groaned in pain.
Forte stepped back, to see the doorman’s mouth wide open in shock.
“You are both hired.” He said firmly.
Forte smirked and exhaled, cracking his knuckles. He had been eating well and put on a good amount of muscle in the last few months, and it was paying off now.
The doorman was a tough looking gray haired man with a full beard. He motioned Forte and Horace to come with him upstairs. They walked up into a small tea room, and sat down.
“Hello, my new hires. My name is Eric. Let’s discuss the terms and pay of the job.” Eric said. “The trip to Leivestrum is five nights. We might encounter bandits or monsters, who knows. The cargo is a secret. It’s not much, but it doesn’t take much to interest bandits these days. Your pay is 40 silver per day. I will provide meals for you. Do you accept these terms?”
“Aye.” Horace said.
“I accept.” Forte repeated.
“Great. We leave at dawn.” Eric smiled.