So, to all of you who read my first story on this site, thank you. I got some good reviews, a couple of subscriptions. Feeding the author is always good. Thanks again, and here's another!

Sorcerer's Night Out

It's a dark and stormy night somewhere, I suppose. Here, the night is clear, the booze is cheap, and the wenches are all top-shelf. Life is good.

Granted, I'm a sorcerer. Once you get past the whole bit about summoning demons and enslaving them for power, little things like ethics and morals are all but laughable. So, with a curse here and a hex there, it's kind of hard to find anything in life that isn't at least somewhat enjoyable.

"Oi! You!"

Or not.

I manage to convince my eyes that the threatening tone of the voice behind me is more important than accorded a certain serving girl. It's a near thing, mind you.

And definitely for the best. The man currently scowling at me from across the room is six and a half if he's an inch and looks like he could rip me in half with one hand. He's also wearing just enough plate armor to make him nigh invulnerable.

Worst bit is, the bastard has a paladin's scepter in his hand. Bloody fucking hell. Just what I need, a giant armored holy crusader that can invoke his god's wrath with a wave of his hand.

"Are you speaking to me, Sir Knight?" I ask, attempting to look harmless. Considering that I barely top five feet, and would have trouble arm wrestling a sufficiently motivated squirrel, it's not hard.

With a small smile that goes nowhere near his eyes, he says, "Well, that would depend on whether or not you're the sorceror Jarik."

"I am. If we're going to do the whole smiting-battle-death-and-mayhem thing, might I suggest we step outside? No need to blast these people into oblivion until we've at least had a bit of a chat."

He blinks. Most who practice my art would be pissing themselves at this point, and hiding wildly behind any human shield in the vicinity. But frankly, after facing down the lords of Hel, a knight with a blessed rod (though to hear the wenches talk, you'd think they all had blessed rods) isn't doing much for me.

After a moment, his eyes narrow. "Very well. But be warned, sorceror. If you so much as think a curse I'll-"

I can't help but roll my eyes. "Death, in fashion most horrible and unspeakable. Sorcerors will be frightening their apprentices to sleep with the tale for generations to come. You paladins really need some new material."

He looks a bit deflated, and a touch peeved. "Well, I mean, it's scared the piss out of every other darkling I've fought. Can't you even make an effort? I'm over here threatening you with serious bodily harm."

I shrug. "I could, but my heart wouldn't be in it. Lords of Hel, you know. Bit bigger and scarier than you."

He sighs, and steps wordlessly out the door. I wait a moment, just to see if the witty banter has actually gotten rid of him, but he just stands there staring at me from just outside.

I take a moment to knock back my drink, eyeing him the whole time. It's not bad for cheap ale and it seems a shame to waste it if I'm about to be introduced to the business end of something sharp.

Procrastinating complete, I join him outside. We walk away from the tavern in silence, maintaining a respectable distance. After about twenty feet, I stop. He takes another couple of steps, then sighs and turns around.

"What, we can't even have an ominous walk? Seriously, this is the part where you go for a cheap shot, and I slap you down! It's the best bloody part!"

"Hasn't it ever occured to you that I might actually want to talk this out? You know, avoid the mass destruction and go back to my beer and wenching?"

He growls. I thinks it's to cover the chuckles that almost escaped, but I can't be sure.

"Well, if you insist on taking all the fun out of it, I suppose we should get on with it then."

He draws his sword and takes a vaguely threatening stance. For some, this would indicate that the fight has begun. For paladins, it means they're warming up. They have to declaim first.

Paladins do so dearly love a good declamation.

"I, Sir Mykal, Keeper of Holy Light of Asturiel, do hereby charge you, Jarik of Bethesbar, with the gross and most awful crime of summoning demons from the Pit for the purpose of-"

In one smooth motion, I sidestep, raise my hand and murmur a Name so awful it hurts my ears. As he raises his scepter to smite me, a bolt of purple fire belches from the ground and eats him. Snap, gulp, done.

Bloody idiots, and their declamations.

With a sigh, I step forward, and scuff the ashes into the dirt. I hate to get a good pair of boots all marked up like this, but it's that or leave a neat little pile of paladin laying here for people to find. Give the locals the wrong idea, you know.

A deep breath fills my lungs with the clear night air.

Now, then. Wenches and cheap ale.

I tell you, it may be dark and stormy somewhere, but it's not so bad over here in my little corner of the world.