Summer: 17 years at the Monastery.
The strong light of a summer’s mid-day sun greeted Sunar as he stepped from the pub. He closed his eyes and turned his face to it for a moment as he walked, reveling in the warmth against his scales. Everything felt right with the world. The townsfolk here know us, know me, and love us as we do them, Sierra is about to formally join the Silk Roses, the other three Titans are all progressing as well as I am, and I get to see the new roses Meesha has been cultivating tonight.
He let his mind and his feet wander, and found himself picturing a life in the temple with Meesha, a handful of children at their feet. The throught brought a smile to his face. People are so convinced I am going to leave the Temple, but why would I want to? What could be out there that I can’t find…”
A female voice cut through his reverie, NO! SUNAR lookout! He recognized the voice, one of the townspeople, and he responded to it without hesitation. He leapt up, wings beating furiously at the warm air. The snap of a crossbow sounded at the moment he leaped, and a moment later a crossbow bolt passed through the space he’d just vacated. The sound led back to a man leaning out from between two buildings a few dozen meters away.
The man shouted, “Mi’Lord Vargar Ratharin sends his regards!” and pulled a blaster. Sunar began to dodge to the side when a stone came from the direction of the shout. It went wide, but still made the shooter duck rather than aim.
Sunar pulled in a great breath, and let forth with his weaponized roar. The assassin stood far enough away that it did no real damage, but did stagger the man back a few feet. Sunar hovered about five meters off the ground at this point, and so he began a sprint-dive at his attacker.
Another rock came from another direction, and hit the man in the shoulder, followed by a shout of, “Leave our Sunar alone!”
Another rock came in, and another shout, “Not in our town!”
He aborted his dive and let himself down to the ground as several other townsfolk seemed to appear from thin air, all holding rocks, sticks, knives, and a few firearms. The would-be assassin had recovered at this point, and made threatening motions with his blaster. Big Bill, the bouncer for several bars in town who currently wielded a pipe that most men would have trouble lifting, spoke with a guttural snarl in his voice, “There are an awful lot more of us than of you, buddy. As things stand, you didn’t actually hurt anyone here, so we would rather see the back of you than have to fight.
“You pull the trigger on that pig burner of yours, though… how many of us do you think you can stop before we get to you? What do you think the rest of us will do to you if you’ve shot some of our friends? You can’t be an incredibly bright guy, not and be someone willing to attack our boy here, but I’m thinkin’ you can understand overwhelming odds.
“So, what’s it going to be, you going to run out of here, or let us give you what you deserve for taking a pot-shot at Sunar here?”
Fear began to replace bravado in the man’s eyes as Bill talked and he’d started to back up into the alley. He gathered himself after a moment, however, took a look around, made a rude gesture at Sunar, smirked at the crowd, turned, and took off at a run with a speed that put the lie to his bravado.
A few people made to go after him, but Bill stopped them all with a gesture, “We let him go if he doesn’t try to shoot anyone else, that was the deal.
“Sunar, you ok? Did anything hit you?”
Sunar shook his head and walked over to Bill to shake his hand as everyone gravitated in the same direction, “I’m fine, but I’m not sure I would be without Illara’s warning.” He turned to her, “I owe you one, Illara, thank you.”
She smirked at him and wiggled her eyebrows, then leaned in to give him a kiss on the cheek, “Couldn’t let anything happen to a boy as pretty as you, now could I sugar?”
Sunar felt his cheeks grow hot, and heard a soft laugh ripple through the crowd, He slapped his thigh to acknowledge the ‘hit’, then realized that these folks probably wouldn’t understand the motion. So he laughed with them, and winked at her, “Well, of course not! If something happened to me you’d be the prettiest person in these parts, and then they might come after you instead of me!”
Her smile broadened at the jibe, and her eyes shone with mischief. She ran a finger along his jaw, “Oh, if I wasn’t twice your age and very wary of that Meesha girl…”
His cheeks grew hotter, and he decided to quit before he dug himself deeper. He grabbed her hand and kissed it with all the flair he could manage, while those gathered laughed and clapped each other on the back. He stood, nodded to her, and put on his best get-out-of-trouble grin. She returned the smile, winked, nodded, and stepped back.
Sunar addressed the crowd, and felt tears come up in his eyes as he looked out at these people who had faced down a gunman for his sake, “Thank you, thank you all. I wish I could find the words…”
Bill clapped him on the shoulder, then spoke, “No words needed, Sunar. You and yours may live up there, but you are still ours, and we take care of our own here. Now come on, I think Sunar here owes all of you a drink!”
Another cheer went up as Sunar nodded with a smile, and the small crowd moved as one back to the pub he’d just vacated.