Sakeya slapped his sword against the pillar, almost curiously. His thoughts were on the voyage of his wife's vessel- The Dawnstag. With winds as vicious as they had been, it wouldn't surprise him if she docked in yet another port tonight.

How many husbands she truly had was not in his control.

But how he would finish the attack on Gibhelm- that was another matter. For too long, the sand-dancing traders of Gibhelm's inner desert- it lay on a neighboring continent, nearly encapsulated by mountain ranges- had been beyond his control… But not long.

It wasn't that he sought control as a need, on an emotional basis; he was merely interested in expanding the happiness and contentedness that was found under his management to other, struggling lands.

Bells chimed from far behind him, to the southwest. 'The five-oclock-furlough', his father had called it. It was meant to signal the collapse of the day's work, or- for the innkeepers- time to get up. That last was a rumor of sort spread by the people, for his father was, at best, a drunkard. It was a miracle Sakeya had uptaken the throne at all after his father's untimely demise- then again, perhaps it wasn't so untimely, at all. It didn't bother him much, though; he had hardly known the man.

Blade danced, point-on-point, with the corners of each of the jutting square cobblestones, slabs that constituted the walkway from the greenhouse to the observatory. The smith who forged and set the blade would be cringing, but Sakeya cared not. It started as just a habit, or game, derived from boredom. And through the years he had refined it to an offhand act that fascinated those around him. It still surprised him to this day how something was always around that he could tap with his blade; with the tip, he tarried with corners and points of protruding objects, and inbetween or sometimes on its own, he would slap the side of his blade alongside smooth surfaces that struck his fancy.

He supposed it would come in handy in the event of actual swordplay. How, exactly, he had yet to figure out. But the day would come when it would save his neck- he just had to move past the times this foolish habit of his got him into trouble.

It was evening, and although the evening were shorter this time of year- it was mid-late summer, in Angorn, after all- it was getting darker quicker than usual. He shuddered as the wind blasted harder at the mere thought.

Rounding the corner into the observatory's circular clearing, he dropped a kneed instinctively, blade already halfway into a downward slash. The moment was cold, he thought, as the ebony arrow was cleaved in twine and scattered poetically abreast his now-still blade.

Emerald eyes set forward, and blonde mane swaying to a stop, he assumed the Barber stance. It was awkward-looking, but provided cover for the face and snout- good for poking one's head out of the shadows.

Paw pressed firmly against pommel, he scanned the area ahead.

It was too dark, and he was too late to detect his assailant's retraction. But he had the advantage of knowing the area well, for he had come here almost every day for nearly eight years, ever since he was almost a cub.

The only presence in the clearing was that of his father's statue- a figure-esque marble pose of his grizzly form thrusting a spear. Although he hadn't partaken in any real battles, his father was well-known for his fury; that, at least, was depicted quite accurately, in the wide and full eyes of the figure that stared accusingly at some point past the spear.

A tankard hung precariously from the end of that spear. It was most likely one of the guards' ideas of a joke.

Almost relaxed, he leaned away to the left, merely shrugging as his assailant's long, sinewy, green leg caught the hem of his robe, twirling it from his body by sheer momentum, in a fierce, kicking jumble.

His blade swirled immediately, following the attacker's movement and seemingly grasping for a taste of flesh as it probed onward.

Recognizing the assassin as a pugilist- one of the dreaded Gruesome Grasshoppers of the near-east- he barely had time to deflect another impossibly-long-legged kick to the throat that would have ended him.

Blade was cast wantonly aside as paw met green-hoofed-horrow. If a 'Hopper' was commissioned, this must've been a serious contract, he realized, wincing as he tore into his opponent's husky flesh with a clenched paw. But as soon as he acknowledged his own success, he released, for grabbing one leg would surely mean certain death from the other.

And sure enough, with a flicker he barely had time to perceive, the Hopper kicked- his other leg now shredded from below the knee- catching Sakeya firmly in the breast.

Fortunately, it was a glancing blow, but nonetheless, next thing he knew, his back was aching from being slammed against the base of his father's statue, having flown more than ten feet by sheer force of the deadly strike. In his mind, he silently thanked his father for his family's barrel-chested constitution.

But, surely, his opponent-

Thoughts of the battle being over were cut short- in almost slow-motion, the Hopper flew from nearly a dozen feet away, turning in mid-leap to extend the deadly green leg that remained; the green leg that would surely end his life.

Watching, nearly paralyzed, at his imminent death, Sakeya surrendered all hope… when suddenly, from above, the grimy tankard fell from its previously-precarious perch, intersecting the Hopper's extended leg with a deafening, sickly- yet oddly satisfying- crunch.

With an eerie, cold croak, followed by the clanking of the tankard, the Hopper collapsed, emerald, gooey blood gushing from what little remained of his twitching, still-kicking legs.

He sat there, staring in nonchalance for a few minutes. It was all so quick, so- and yet, he lived!

…Which was more than he could say for the Hopper, whom had stopped moving moments before.

Stretching, he coolly and regally gathered his robe, dusting it off while muttering under his breath, and proceeded to pick up the tankard, and his sabre. The rest of the mess, he decided, could wait until the morning guard arrived. He would definitely have to see to having a night guard stationed, as well.

What a night it has been… he thought boorishly, yawning and stretching before beginning his descent to the palace for supper.

After feasting and imbibing copious quantities of blueberry juice- his favorite- he was closing his chamber doors when he heard movement from the corner of his room.

"Oh, honestly-! Another one of you?" He scowled as sabre struck outward, this time in Stalk-Stance.

And there she was.

It was always the eyes that he got caught up on. He could explore the rest of her for days, as well, but… he was always lost when those beautiful lashes beat down over brown bear-muzzled gaze.

"My lady, I-"

"Shhh…" she began, moving forward slowly, sensually, "Why don't you put that sword away, and- ooh!"

With a poke, a tap, and another tap from his sabre, what few garments she possessed collapsed scandalously on the chamber floor.

And with a quick slap on her smooth, curved side, she giggled, and he roared.

…And what a night it will be…