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How Not to Stay Out Of A Fight

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The time of night was perfect.  As it always was.  Working around Inns and taverns you noticed the timing of these things, in the way the lulls and upswings came and went.  Including the time of night when fights were likely to start up.  Men were in from their work, the days wear and tear still resting heavily on them as they came to drink it away.  As they started to loosen up their tongues began to loosen as well and the angry drunks and the frustrated men began looking one another over for a good fight.  Jatasha had her back to the wall as she watched the interactions, a mug in one hand and the other holding tightly to her skirts just above the knee. She was seated with a patron who came only occasionally and there was a reason for it.  He was a rough man, and the price for her affection had begun to grow each time he visited her.  That he was trying to press his advantage since she was in the back of the room was making her mind up for her, but she could wish he hadn't done this.  She hated loosing clients but she wasn't about to be black and blue for a week after for one either.  As she felt his hand trying to slide up her skirt once again, she pulled away from the wall, upending her drink over his head as she did so. 


Riant screamed, but was too surprised to grab for her.  She thought she'd be able to back away before the stuttering man recovered enough to grab at her, but as she stepped back from the table she came up against something hard.  Hands gripped her arms hard and she looked at one of Riant's sometime drinking companions.  "I don't think you'll be getting away just so quickly." The man said with a foul smile on his face.  "Who are you to turn anyone down little whore?"  She took a deep breath, remembering all too well when she had turned him down as well. 


Looking around the tables she didn't see anyone looking her way.  It was a seedy place at best and the people that frequented it weren't well known for looking out for the girls.  She knew even as she looked that it was hopeless.  In the end she found her back up against the wall.  The man pressed his body against hers, but she braced one leg against the wall and pushed, knocking them both onto the floor.



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As far as places to drink went, Fakhir could have probably picked a better place.  But there was a limited amount of choice about the Citadel.  Not so much that there was a shortage of places, but there was a limit when it came to places that a person would be welcome.  Each Banner had at least one place they called home, and the ones that didn't have a patron Banner or Battalion tended to be a mix, much like this one.  The ones that were a mix were fairly sordid to say the least, he hadn't even been around for a week and he'd noticed, but at least he wasn't likely to be bothered and the Red Arms didn't bother so closely with some of the rougher ones unless things got out of hand, which suited him just fine.


A disturbance.


A man and woman wrestling on the floor, not an unusual sight by any means, but there was a good reason for him to wander over there.  The man didn't seem to have any friends, and maybe his coin would come in handy, he wouldn't be in the tavern without a bit of coin after all.  Finishing his mug, Fakhir left it on the table as he got to his feet and meandered over to the pair as they struggled, feeling rather at ease with what was about to follow.


A single boot caught the man in his ribs, hard enough to lift him clear off the woman and to the side where the man rolled onto his back.  A second boot caught the man across his face as he attempted to rise and ensured that the only thing that rose after that was the man's chest as he was knocked unconscious.  Looking over to the woman, Fakhir recognised her easily enough, silly of her but that was the sort of work she had gotten herself into.  But she wasn't the only point of concern for him as he looked, others weren't quite so happy about what he had done.


But he ignored them as he bent down beside the man and, taking the man's own dagger, cut his purse strings free and lifted the purse up for others to see.  It weighed enough that he was pretty sure he'd still come out with a touch of profit, or at least a drink for himself as he asked loudly enough for those nearby to hear.


"Who wants a drink?"


That settled it.



Fakhir Aswasim


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Throwing them to the ground hasn't been part of her plan, but it worked out well enough as someone managed to get in the middle of it all and soon enough she had a hand up from the floor.  Looking up, she realized who it was and though she was little shaken at the incident she gave a small smile to Fakhir. 


He didn't say anything to her, but took the man's pouch and asked loudly if anyone wanted drinks.  She stayed by his side as he payed out some coin and she was safely seated with him.  She took a sip from her own glass and looked at him, taking a deep breath as she did so.  "Thank you."


It seemed a small thing to say, but she knew where that particular incident had been headed.  She's been there before and wasn't looking for a repeat performance.  That she had thought Riant was gone had played a large part in her deciding to come to this place after a fair absence but she should have just written it off all together.  She could get more from the rougher types sometimes, but it wasn't always worth the gamble. 


"I do no be expecting to see a friendly face tonight and you did show up just when a friend be very handy indeed." She said with a small smile.



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Aware of the fact that Jatasha was staying close to him, Fakhir didn't pay it much mind until the drinks had been bought.  People who might have been unhappy with what had happened had new drinks in their hands to mollify them, and those that wouldn't have cared either way got a free drink out of it.  With that, things were settled as far as he was concerned so he was then free to take a seat at a table, one where Jatasha joined him and gave him her thanks.  He supposed there was little point in telling her the real reason why he'd gone over, though if he'd realised it was her he probably would have.  He might want her services later, and she'd be little good to him if she were all roughed up or worse.


Sipping his drink as she continued on, about how it was handy to find a friendly face in the place, he couldn't help but wonder what had possessed her to come.  Not if she were so concerned about a bruising or worse, it was the sort of place where you were likely to get one or worse.  But, that was the choice she made and she just happened to luck out this time, he certainly wasn't going to be making a habit of it if she were to continue making stupid choices like this place.


"I'm surprised you didn't bring a friend with you, its not like that was unexpected."  Taking another sip of his drink as he stretched his neck from side to side, he continued.  "You'd certainly be better off that way, or at least with a couple of the other women so they could go and get help or deflect the worst of it."


Looking over at the man who was still out cold on the floor, Fakhir turned back to her.  "Someone you know?"



Fakhir Aswasim


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Jatasha nodded even as she tried to keep from following his eyes to the men on the floor.  If he hadn't come ... well ... she'd been the one left unconscious on the floor before and it had only been when her father came to find out why she hadn't come home to check on him that she'd been saved from the men in the place.  Her father had beaten her when she got home for being so stupid but he was the same one that kept her from working in tandem as Fakhir suggested.


She pushed the thought away.  "I do be knowing him, though if I know he be here tonight I do no be coming.  I do no have too much trouble here before but he no be liking no and his friend no be liking the memory of it either."  Not surprising, the second man had been in there any number of times and had never given her any trouble, but as soon as someone was about to take advantage of her, he was willing to step up then.  Not brave enough on his own, but a willing accomplice with someone else to push the buttons.


"I do no think I be coming back this way.  I do be trusting when the bar keep say he do be keeping my back, but he do no and I be no trusting him again."  She took a drink from her cup to keep from seeing the look in his eyes.  She saw it often enough that she knew to look for it but she hated it.  People thought her stupid to trust as she did, but they didn't know her.  They didn't know how she had grown up, how the stories of her mother and her people had made her dream of something different or how her father had ended all of it for her.  The didn't understand that as long as that part of her stayed alive, some part of her mother did too and that was all she needed. 


"Do you be here often, or a first time for you?" She asked, trying to talk about him instead of herself.  "I take it you do be settled in OK now?  You did no get lost off my directions did you?"



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All stupidity, at least as far as Fakhir was concerned.  Then again, whores weren't known for being particularly smart or clever, that was part of why they were whores to begin with, because they weren't able to do any better for themselves, or too lazy to do otherwise.  But, once again, little point in voicing his thoughts, it probably wouldn't be conducive to a possible happy ending to the night if he decided to spend the coin.  Still, he had the mug in his hand to decide whether or not it was going to be happy ending or just a few more mugs and sleep.  Whatever appealed by the time he was done with his mug he guessed.


But, she was still talking, about their first encounter.  "Directions were fine, though I got moved again when I was given another place.  Part of the Black Banner now, pay is lousy but I'm not doing much real fighting I guess beyond training, so its not that bad.  The Sergeant's a fat retard though, and apparently you get in trouble when you pound them into the ground, but whats done is done I guess."  He hadn't been particularly impressed with him at all, but the Captain had turned out to be a touch more inspiring, she at least had been able to back her words up.


He would've said more if it weren't for the three men that decided to park themselves at the table they were at.  It wouldn't have been an issue except for the fact that the three were looking at the pair of them, and didn't seem particularly happy with them.  One was short and fat, much like his sergeant, instant dislike.  Another was a little taller and wiry, still instant dislike.  The last was just a touch shorter than him and looked like he could actually handle himself, still instant dislike, especially when he started speaking.


"You're the one that rolled my friend Shibe and took his money, yes?" 


Looking over to where the man was, another helping him wake up and get to his feet, Fakhir looked to the three and shrugged at them.  "He was roughing up the whore, she's no good to anyone if she's bruised and battered.  How's she meant to put a smile on anyone's face if she can't move too good?  So yeah, I knocked him down and he bought everyone a drink with his coin as a way of apology, whats the problem?"


"There is no problem, as long as you give us your money and the woman so she can apologise to Shibe and Riant over there."


Fakhir barked a laugh, it was an ugly sound.  "Not happening.  Your friend needed to pull his head in, he didn't and he got what he deserved, I am not handing over any coin because of him.  You have got to be joking, bloody five finger special is what that is and it ain't happening."


"Maybe you didn't understand me, there are three of us and one of you, four when Riant comes over."


"Oh, I understand that.  Course, I also understand that the Red Arms just came in."


That made them look, and it wasn't even a ploy.  Half a dozen Red Arms had come in and were armed with cudgels, they weren't going to brook any nonsense, not when it came out of their pay.  But there was a problem, they would follow it up later if it wasn't dealt with now, they might anyway but he needed the chance to finish it.  That and it'd be a good chance to have a fight and maybe more if they were interested.


"Tell you what, I'm feeling sporting.  How much money you got?"




"Match up.  There were one and a half silver marks in that guy's purse thereabouts.  I'll bet it on taking your two friends with no weapons, give you a chance to win it back.  If I win, you can give me that amount in turn."




"Right here, may as well give the others a chance to bet, and I don't think the Red Arms will have a problem that way, sound fair?"


The man quickly looked to his two companions who gave him the nod.


"Well, go and announce it to everyone then while we three get ready."


As the man stood on his chair and addressed the tavern, Fakhir began to shrug off his things, he only needed his pants and his boots, anything else could be grabbed or get in the way.  Turning to Jatasha as he did so, he kept his words simple.  "Mind my things for me will you?"



Fakhir Aswasim


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Jatasha watched as Fakhir started putting his things on the table.  She felt partially responsible, but only partially.  After all, the men might have left him alone if he had only left the coin.  Still this didn't look like it was likely to end up good. 


He asked her to mind his things, but she grabbed his hand as he dropped something new into the pile.  "Do you be mad?" she asked.  He was giong to get himself hurt and she'd follow if she wasn't careful.


"Mad?"  Fakhir snorted as he began to loosen his shirt, it all made perfectly good sense to him.  "A bet settles it, and if I'd asked to simply take on one he would've said no.  If I offer to take on two, the odds are in his favour and he feels its a sure thing so he's more inclined to accept the bet.  The bet is done infront of everyone, it publically settles the matter once and for all, and if I win I get another silver mark and a half.  If not, I get a beating and lose the silver mark and a half, as opposed to losing the lot if they got me outside.  Not my fault his friend was a fool, not going to have my coin to make up for it either."

She shook her head.  He was mad, but in the sort of way that makes a man able to live in that sort of environment his whole life. She almost asked what would happen to her if he got himself beaten but she didn't want to know his answer.  In some men, it would make them more cautious.  In others, she would just learn learn how little they thought of her.  She didn't know which Fakhir was yet and she didn't want to. 


"Be careful." She finally managed to say. "I do no want to be ending this evening without you a part of it." She added with a small smile.

"Really?"  Fakhir unclipped his swordbelt and left it atop of his other things.  All he wore now was his breeches, a simple leather belt and his boots whose toes were capped.  A few were stupid enough to laugh at the caps until they found that stamping on his toes did little good, or had their shins kicked in with them.  With short curls of hair on his chest broken up by some nasty scars, and more scars to be found on his back from blade and lash alike, he wondered if it might prove a bit intimidating to the pair he was to take on.  Probably not. "How do you plan on getting by them?"


Jastasha smiled at him for a moment.  "They do no have my back to the wall now." She said.  "Besides, I do be kicking them when they're down if it look like they do be wanting to get up and join the fight."

Fakhir snorted as he stretched himself a little, there wasn't a rush after all with people making and taking bets.  Even the Red Arms were in on the action, not that there was anything wrong with that.  Hopefully they bet on him, if he won he'd be their new best friend.  If they bet on the pair and they lost, they weren't going to be nearly so happy.  "I have two to take.  The talker, Riant and Shibe though, three of them against you isn't what I'd call pretty odds.  And if you think you'll be able to sneak off during the fight, I can guarantee you now that at least one of them will have their eye on you, you might want to come up with a better plan."


A plan?  Well, she had a number of things come to mind, but that didn't mean there was actually a plan.  Kick 'em while they were down seemed the best idea really but that only worked if they stayed down and she doubted they would.  Of course, she now had worse odds.  Before it was one against two.  Now she was one against three while the actual fighter was one against two.  Figures. 


She smiled at him anyway though, just because it seemed the thing to do.  Reassuring him?  No.  Reassuring herself. "I do be in a fight before this believe it or no." She said.  Still, the only shot she really had was her normal style of fighting.  Wait until they weren't looking at you.


"Yes, and no doubt you're a fearsome fighter, capable of taking on multiple assailants at once." The sarcasm was evident in Fakhir's tone, and it was well deserved.  Jatasha was deluding herself if she thought she was going to be able to take them on herself, he was going to have some difficulty with two and he knew what he was doing, her against three was laughable and was only going to end one way, and not good for her.  Not unless she came up with a better idea anyway, which was going to be interesting to see if running and fighting were both out, and they were.


"Well I do no be turning down any help you be wishing to offer." She was trying not to bite at him but the words came out a little sharper than she would have wanted them.  If she had planned on saying them in the first place, but he would either forgive her for getting him into all this or he would blame her for it and no words now were going to change that.


"I do be more used to hitting them over the head when they be no looking and running out the door than the type to brawl in honest fashion."


"That only works when there is one of them."  Getting to his feet, he worked out the kinks in his back and neck as best he could as he spoke.  "As for helping you, already did once and you decided to hang about where they could find you.  As pleasant as you are, I've met you twice and I barely know you, I'm not about to get my head smashed into the floor for a stranger out of some notion of chivalry.  I'm a sellsword, you're a whore, not exactly the stuff of a gleeman's tale.  So, unless you have a reason for me to stick my neck out anymore than I already am, I'd like to hear it."


Bargaining, now there was something she could deal with.  Something she knew she could work out. It was better than thinking about the fight. "I be reason enough." She said, thinking what she was willing to offer.  A handful of freebies didn't seem out of line if he managed to keep her from ending on the floor again.  At least then she'd be giving the freebies instead of having them taken.  It was a small difference, but one that mattered, even to a girl like her.  "I do be giving you my services with no charge when next you want them." She said, thinking he might not want them tonight if he got too beat up in all of this.  When he looked at her she smiled.  "And maybe a discount when you come other times ... with massages if you be liking those too."

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Well, those were things of value, it certainly had Fakhir's attention.  Not so much the free time as the discount, the discount was more useful in the long run and she did know what she was doing.  Not that there weren't others to be had, but one in her condition was worth keeping in mind.  And he had told himself that he might make her a regular port of call as such, once he was settled in and he was settling in easily enough.  But it would all depend on the outcome of the match ahead and how he was feeling after it was done.  One thing at a time, there was no changing the bet now that it was made.


"We'll see what happens."  Most bets were made by now, it was time to get started.  Squatting beside his things, he quickly got out a silver mark and then thought twice and took a second one.  Closing the pouch up and leaving her with his things, Fakhir made his way into the clearing in the middle of the tavern where tables and chairs had been pulled away, leaving a good fifteen feet of circumference in space.  The pair of men watching him, he didn't pay any attention to them as he spoke to the last of the trio that wasn't in the fight, calling across the crowd as he raised his two silver marks up.


"Howabout we make this interesting and just call it at two silver marks?  And you, yes the Red Arm there.  Whats your name?  Toram?  Toram, you'd be good enough to hold the bets for the pair of us?  Excellent, and you're fine with this?  Good, give him your silver marks then."


Handing Toram his own pair, Fakhir turned back to the pair that he was to confront.  The fat one had a bit of bulk, maybe try and use that to get him off balance while the other one took advantage.  Or maybe it'd be a feint, but regardless he was going to have to try and shut one of them down early so he could turn on the other.  At least it wasn't to the death, simple rules to be found here.  Someone was out when they were knocked unconscious or called for mercy, or if they couldn't call out they tapped the floor or opponent repeatedly.  Simple enough.


There was no one to call for it to begin, they simply lifted their arms and that was it as the spectators cheered, encouraging someone to strike the first blow.  The pair seperated, that was expected as they tried to move either side and leave him in the middle, least able to defend himself for to defend against one was to ignore the other.  He could have waited, but that would have been folly, so instead he launched himself at the nearest man, the fat one.


His first punch caught by the man's guard, the second wasn't nearly so lucky as the blow slipped by an arm and caught the man just above the eye, sending him reeling back into the crowd even as a fist smashed into the side of his head.  Reeling back himself, Fakhir caught the next punch with both hands, latching onto the arm and ignoring the next punch that broke his nose, he kicked the man's ankles out from under him.  Letting go as the man fell sideways to the ground, if the man had thought his ankle hurt, it was quickly forgotten as he put the steel tip of his toe into the man's sternum.


Winding the man even as the iron taste of Fakhir's own blood reached his tongue, a second kick caught the man just under his arm as he rolled over in pain, knocking him the other way.  It was then that an arm snaked around his throat while a fist connected with his kidneys.  The roar of pain cut off as the fat man attempted to strangle him, Fakhir fought through the pain of a second punch as he brought the heel of his boot down on the arch of the man's right foot.  He didn't know if he'd broken anything, but it was enough to loosen the hold on him, and enough of a chance for him to reach for the fingers of the hand that was on his shoulder and rip them back with a brutal savagery that must have come within an inch of breaking them.


Using the group to twist the man's arm about, a kick to the back of the man's knees put him down to pray, and Fakhir didn't hesitate to lay in with his boots.  The ribs, the thighs, anywhere that it would hurt.  To his credit, the man managed to hang on rather than give up, long enough for his companion to crash into Fakhir's back, sending all three of them to the ground.  Trying to get to his feet, someone was quick to leap onto his back, long enough for the other to latch onto an arm.


Blows that couldn't be blocked landing on his back as their combined weight held him down, he managed to snake an arm free and that was enough.  Using it to push against the one who had his other arm, the fat one, he freed that as well with the strength that adrenaline lends and using his arms to shield his face and ribs, lashed out with his boot and caught the big one across the jaw, knocking him over where he proceeded to lie there, out of the fight.


The smaller one managing to snake an arm under his while his back was turned and grabbing his good ear to keep his hold and try and pin him down, Fakhir rolled wiht the pressure rather than against, spinning them over so while his back was still to his assailant, he was now ontop of him.  Blows still coming frantically, he unleashed his own, using his free arm to drive an elbow into the man's stomach repeatedly.  He was bigger than the other one, and it was only a matter of time so long as he could hold on, and he had no intention of losing.


The cry of mercy, the release of his ear, the tapping on his back and the roar of the audience was what clued Fakhir into the fact that it was over.  Desisting from his elbows, he was a moment before rolling off the other man onto his hands and feet.  If it had they'd been allowed to do anything, it would have been over so much quicker.  He would have simply reached over and ripped the man's eyes out, but that wasn't the type of fight they fought.  That was why his back, his ribs, his head and more were throbbing all at once.  But, it was worth it, two silver marks was easily worth weeks of pay, at least on his pay.  Besides, the real pain wouldn't kick in until later, until after it was all said and done.


And was it?  Even as Fakhir collected his winnings, curses and cheers in the air as people exchanged coin, and settled bets and debts, there was the matter of the woman.  Even now, the man who'd made the bet looked sour and he was looking her way.  It'd be so easy to leave it be, it wasn't his fight and that wasn't some self denial, it genuinely wasn't his to deal with.  He'd done his bit, he had his money and they weren't going to come after him anytime soon, especially since they could take out their frustration on her.  Her choice to be what she was, and the target that she was and he definitely didn't feel like another fight.


At the same time, he knew full well that if he didn't do something, the moment the Red Arms were gone that something ugly was going to happen.  It was just the nature of things, but he wasn't going to have much use from her for awhile afterward by the time they were done with her, if at all if she decided to blame him.  Entirely possible, and while it wasn't a big problem, it was a problem because that was one less woman available.


And maybe there was some way to get more out of it.


Walking over to Jatasha and his things, he didn't pay any heed to the look on her face as he carefully squatted down next to his things and retrieved his purse.  Putting the four silver marks in it, he tied it up and paused before looking up at her.  He was sure he wasn't a pretty sight by now, blood was still running from his nose and had run down his lips, chin, neck, all the way down to his breeches.  Black, blue and purple bruises were beginning to mottle him, and he was fairly certain that there was more to it.  But he looked at her nevertheless before coming to a decision.


"You owe me."


Standing, Fakhir grunted as he turned about and held his purse up with one hand, pointing to the man that he'd first made the bet with who had wandered close.  If he was going to do it, he may as well make a show of it.  It'd help provoke if nothing else, and he'd provoked more than enough fights in the past to know that much.


"Hey you!  Dirk tickler!  Yes you!"


That got his attention, and that of others who were nearby, though it might have had more to do with the pouch in his hand.  "I figure that, because I don't like you and because I'm in such a magnanimous mood, we have a second bet.  You just lost your money and you want some time with the woman here, well maybe I do as well and I don't reckon you have as much money to buy her as I do.  But I'll make you a deal, match up like before, just you and me.  What money you have on you against what I have in here, and its definitely more than what you've got on you.  Whoever wins can have her, sound fair or you too much of a coward?  Huh?  Got the grapes or you got nothing to show?"


It was predictable where it would lead and the response that the challenge would get.  It had little to do with the insults and everything to do with the coin, it would be weeks worth of pay in one hit, and Fakhir knew that the condition he was in was a tempting one if the man had any reservations about his ability.  He'd already fought two men, simultaneously, he was easier pickings now.


"To the Pit of Doom with you bloody veil wearing bastard and burn you for a fool, if you want to be smashed into the floor then I won't deny you.  Hey Red Arm, here is my pouch, take it.  Go on, give him your money and we'll get started."


Barking an ugly laugh as he walked over to the Red Arm and handed over his money, a storm of betting proceeded to take the occupants of the tavern as the centre cleared again.  The other two idiots had since been cleared away, the smaller one hauling the bigger one off the side as he was being revived, though he didn't seem to know where he was or be able to do much beyond move his head and limbs erratically.  He'd be better once he actually came out of the daze, probably, but that wasn't a real concern of Fakhir's.


No, he was more concerned about his new opponent who had nearly stripped down to his breeches and boots.  The other two had been soft as piss, but this one looked different, looked like he knew what he was doing, probably why the others had deferred to him.  Not that it changed Fakhir's mind about what had to be done, it just meant that it was going to take a bit more to do it.  It was going to be done, there was no way that Fakhir intended on losing all the money he'd managed to accrue, not a chance and bugger anyone and their Dark One's luck.


Watching as the man stepped into the circle, Fakhir clenched his fists and raised them before him with his left foot leading.  The other man taking a similar stance, there was silence as the pair circled.  Unlike the first fight, there was a lot more hinging on this one.  People were trying to win their money back, and there was more money involved as a whole.


It lasted until the man took a swing, fist smashing into Fakhir's guard for which he replied with his own knuckles.  Then the cheers and curses rang once more as the pair didn't bother with any fanciness, it was a bloody fight and thats all there was to it as the pair proceeded to pound each other.  Stomach, chest, face, all of these were smashed by their fists even as their knees and feet were put to work.  A knee to the stomach would find a response in an elbow to the face, occasionally a shove seperating the pair before they went back to work on each other with single minded brutality.


A swift upper cut catching his ribs badly, Fakhir almost sank to one knee but instead fell forward and wrapped his arms around his opponent's waist.  An elbow landing on his back, his arms slipped down to the back of the man's thighs as he drove forward, leaving him unable to step back and sending the pair to the ground.  Crawling up the man as the blows continued, Fakhir didn't bother with subtlety as he used his bigger size to help pin the man down as he warded off the blows with a free arm.  Long enough for him to straddle the smaller man so he had both hands to use.


The first blow ploughed right through the other man's pitiful attempt to raise his arms up.  The second smashed through the arms and caught the man's nose, breaking it much like his own was.  The third shimmied off to the side as the man's arms finally set themselves.  Laying into the man's arms instead, battering at them as best he could, he tried to wear the man down enough until he finally gave up.  But the man persisted, holding on as he fended off further blows and taking the punishment that Fakhir dished out.  If he hadn't been fighting the man, he might have admired the tenacity, but he was and he planned to finish the man.


But it wasn't to be just yet.


A sudden right hook knocking him off balance, Fakhir fell to the side even as the other man slithered away out from under him, rewarding him with a boot to the chest as he began to get up.  Back on the floorboards, he was still alert enough to get his legs up in time to catch the other on them who tried to jump on and shove with all of his might and propelling the man out of reach.  Something to buy him enough time to get to his feet and to get his fists up as the other man renewed his attack.


It was like the other man had his second wind.  Where he had been faltering, he was now strong and now Fakhir was beginning to flag and he knew it.  More blows were landing and he wasn't so quick to attack, trying to weather what came as best he could.  Backing away as each blow came, he worked around the circle as the other man followed, as if shaking off the effects of the blows Fakhir had landed on him with each step.


An uppercut clearing him from his feet, his vision blurred as the back of his head smacked the floorboards once more but he managed to hold it together.  Lashing out with his feet, his steel toe caught an ankle and he felt and heard as much as saw the man fall over, and jacknifed as he twisted and kicked with his other foot.  Hitting something, felt like a shoulder, the man went down even as Fakhir scrabbled back a couple of feet.  Getting to his feet as the other did, he knew what was going to happen next as the other man lowered his shoulder.


Holding out his arms as if to catch the other man's tackle, Fakhir dropped to his knees and held out an elbow infront of him, catching the other in the stomach as he almost went over the top.  His free hand already balled into a fist, it was now that he found his own second wind as he delivered a sickening uppercut into his opponent's crotch.


There was no stopping it, and it was what decided it.  Too hurt to shrug it off, the man could do nothing but hunch over before Fakhir reached behind the man's ankles and yanked back, pulling the man off his feet.  Working up him as he had once before, except the blows he'd received before were absent, this time he had the man's arms trapped beneath him as he proceeded to beat the man senseless.  It didn't take long, and by the time it was done, his supporters were already cheering themselves blindly while those who had bet against him were already yelling in disgust at their bad fortune.


Slipping off the man so he was sitting down, it was a moment more before he got to his feet.  There were some bright lights in his vision that had no business being there, though he knew that they would pass.  It was only a few steps to the Red Arm, who thankfully restored his money to him along with that of the man he'd knocked down.  The weight of his own felt right, so he guessed the man hadn't lifted coins from the other one.  Either way, he was ahead, that was what mattered as far as things went.


The clap the man landed on his shoulder in congratulations could have been done without though.  A bit shakey on his feet, he managed to keep his balance as he simply turned about and wandered back to his things, without people getting in his way thankfully.  Stiffling a groan as he squatted by his things, he began to gather them up slowly, using his shirt to wrap it all together.  If he wore the shirt, he was going to get blood all over it, but if he'd been thinking straight he would have realised he had blood on his hands anyway.


Get his things and go, thats what he needed to do, before the ones he'd knocked down could be brought around.  The pair of idiots that were still up, Shibe and Riant, those were their names, would be too busy with their friends to bother him.  Best time to leave, before anything else could happen.



Fakhir Aswasim


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  • 2 weeks later...

To say that the evening had turned out anything less that ghastly was beyond her.  Not only had she not done anything worth paying for, now she was indebted to another and would have to discount her services or even give them for free for a time to repay him.  Light, she was never going to this place again.


The fight was everything she had feared, only somehow Fakhir had managed to win.  It wasn't pretty and neither was he by the end of it, but he was still moving and the other two weren't so that was what mattered.  She wasn't sure what he was thinking when he had looked at her and said "You owe me." 


And there was another fight.  Not that she was complaining because she wasn't sure these men would ever really leave off her again, no matter how quick she tried to walk away from the tavern.  If he managed to beat them senseless they might remember it if they saw her again and decide to cross the street quickly.  Of course with her luck they'd probably pull her across the street to a dark alley but that was a fight for another day.  Tonight, she was just trying to get out of this one with as little cost to herself as possible.  Not that she wanted Fakhir hurt either, but he was a soldier and she was a whore.  Soldiers didn't lose pay for their looks and she would.  She felt guilty for the thought, thought about her mother and the things she had taught her, but the world her mother had once known was a life as far from her as one could get.  She could name herself the Creator before she could call herself Tuath'an, no matter her heritage.


The fight ended rather viciously and even as the other men around them started yelling and toasting and cursing Fakhir for their luck in betting tonight, she waited for him as he crossed to her, not wanting to run to him and make him appear weak or unsteady.  As he stood up from getting his things, she moved closer, making certain her saw her before reaching an arm around his waist. 


"That do be a fight worth seeing." She said lightly, trying to avoid talking about anything else in front of so many people.  She wasn't sure what she'd say when she was alone with him, but first things first.  "I be knowing a place with better ale and a nice quiet corner or two."  Actually, it had a nice soft bed and plenty of water to wash away the blood and tend his wounds.  She thought she could get him back to her place pretty quick and if she was wrong, the Inn along the way was good enough to let her in so long as she paid well enough. 


He didn't fight her when she began walking with him and that worried her a bit.  He didn't seem like the type to let a woman take the lead like that, but she was hoping it was just his mind on the pain and not him being stone stupid after too many knocks on the head.  She'd known a man like that once.  Young man who had been knocked hard and stopped talking.  Just giggled all the time.  She'd smacked him twice for dipping into her top and giggling at her.  Then he'd given her coin and she'd stopped smacking him.  She's felt guilt for taking advantage and had followed him one night to return the coin until she'd reached his home.  A noble's son and stupid as mud.  fancy that.  She'd taken his giggles just fine after that.  And his money.


She managed to get Fakhir back to her place with little incident though and pulled a chair out for him to sit on.  "Let me get you cleaned up a bit." She said with a small smile.  "You get those clothes off and I be getting a little something for that lip of yours.  And everything else."



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