Dragon’s Hoard: The Bar Matron

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I never gave much thought to how old Olga lost her eye. She had a hand full of stories she would tell ranging from a bar fight to a bear fight. It would have been easy to cover it with a simple eye patch or even with her own hair. Instead, she had a round unpolished jade eye held in a golden socket by golden threads. Sometimes she called it her retirement fund even though the tavern was supposedly her retirement. If anyone got too rowdy she would stare them down, point to her jade eye and say, “I’ve got my eye on you,” and laugh big belly laughs that would calm the room down.

That night had been quiet. A small group of strangers with weapons had staked out a table in the middle of the room. Plenty of adventures pass through but they tend to be friendly or keep out of the way. These guys did neither. After they tried to harass Lisa, Olga took over serving them. They made a lot of people nervous and some left. Others stayed keeping a watch on the strangers.

I usually stayed until closing to help with the clean up so I was there when things turned ugly. One of the men made a grab for Lisa as she walked by. She stepped on his foot and got away but another grabbed her. He held a knife to her throat. Then Olga spoke.

“Let her go.” It was not a request or a plea; it was a command. A few of his friends chuckled and stood up.

“Or what?” the man holding Lisa demanded.

“Last chance.” She sounded almost sad or disappointed.

“Shut your mouth or I’ll cut your tongue out,” the man yelled or words to that effect.

Olga sighed, “I warned you.” Then her jade eye wobbled and began to spin. Green fire erupted on its surface spilling out along the edge of the golden lids, flowing back to a sharp point. Olga raised a dagger from under the bar in her hand, flipped it with a small toss, grabbed the blade, and flung it at the man. The dagger seemed to disappear from her hand and appear in the man’s shoulder. He let out a scream of pain and loosened his grip on Lisa.

Olga leapt onto the bar with a single jump, landing with a loud thump that got everyone’s attention. It should have been comical. The portly bar matron with grey hair in a bun standing on the bar with a dagger in each hand. Instead, it was terrifying. Who was this woman? I noticed she had shed her apron and was wearing a wide belt with numerous daggers attached to it. Had she put that on when the man grabbed Lisa or did she always wear it under her apron?

“I have not killed anyone in fourteen years. I would very much like to continue that streak so please leave now,” she said. Gone was the jolly woman I had known. Gone was the smile she always seemed to have for her patrons.

“Who the fuck are you, old hag?!” the man yelled clutching the dagger in his shoulder.

“Leave now before this gets any worse for you,” she said.

The man looked at his friends and yelled, “What are you waiting for? Kill her!” The others still sitting stood up and they all drew their weapons. Seven or ten men with swords and daggers, one with twin hatchets. They started to advance on the bar.

Olga waited for them to get closer and she jumped off the bar burying her daggers in the chests of two of them. She threw another dagger catching a man in the temple. The rest is a blur, tinged with green fire from her eye, as she ducked, rolled, and slid between the attacks of the remaining men. Rather quickly I noticed men begin to fall and not get up. Until only Olga remained standing with a hatchet in one hand a dagger in the other.

The last man standing, the man she had wounded to start all this, made a run for the door. Again her throw was so fast I could not see the hatchet fly through the air, I only saw it appear like magic in the back of the man’s head.

“Well shit,” she said looking around the room, “This is going to be hell to clean up.” The fire in her eye extinguished and the jade came to rest. She looked at me now, “You can not tell anyone about this. Do you understand?” I nodded vigorously. She smiled and chuckled, “Good, I’ll have my eye on you. Now help me clean this mess up.”

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Author’s note:  Dragon’s Hoard is the overarching name for this story series about older, retired, and/or disabled adventurers in a fantasy setting who are brought together for a special job. This is the first of a few character pieces before they are brought together for the main story.