As the sun sets into the horizon, the mountains cast a deep eerie shadow across the land. The reds and yellows of the sunset painted foreboding images into the overcast sky above the young knight's head. Patris, finding nowhere else to go, entered the small town of Braddenburgh in search of room and board. This would prove problematic, of course, because he had no currency to offer the innkeeper.
Perhaps the innkeeper would let me stay for free, Patris mused, I am, after all, a knight now. But Patris' high hopes faded as he entered the inn. The room was filled with coarse men, coarse laughter, and poor spirits. He drew the eye and attention of everyone in the room, but as he walked up to the bar, most everyone turned their eyes back to their drinks and cards.
"Good evening, Sir Knight." The innkeeper said cheerfully from behind the counter, "What do you be needin' this evenin'."
"I've a need for a meal, a drink, and a room, good Sir," Patris responded, "And unfortunately I've not the means to pay for any of them. I was wondering if you might find it within you to spare such things for a traveling knight."
"Ach, taken a vow of poverty, have we?" The innkeeper grinned.
"No, not so much. Just a string of bad luck."
"Ah, well, good luck with that, Sir Knight." The innkeeper turned back to his dish washing, "I've a need to make a living myself and I can't be handing things out to every passing traveler, you understand my position, don't you?"
"I do, good Sir, I do." Patris turned and looked around the room, his eye caught the face of a man in the back of the tavern. The man had just thoroughly beaten his opponent in a game of cards, and there was much grumbling, talk of cheating, and reaching for knives. But as soon as Patris turned to walk in that direction, the defeated card player and his friends got up to leave. Patris turns to the winner, who is readily stashing his gains, "Neighbor, I see you are quite a skilled gambler. Would you perhaps be willing to play me in a game?"
The man eyes Patris with a suspicious look, and sizes him up. "Surely, a noble born son such as yourself has no interest in common cards, Sir Knight." The last two words hinting with scorn.
"No, you are correct in that. I would instead challenge you to a game of chess."
"Chess? I've not had the opportunity to play chess in years." The man muses. "Very well, and what shall be the wager?"
"If you would put up enough money to cover a meal, a drink, and a room at this inn, then I will wager something of equal value."
The man eyes Patris suspiciously. "Which you obviously don't have... Very well, I seem to have become rather unpopular in this town." The man looks around the room, seeing angry men with empty purses. "I would ask that you guard me on the next leg of my journey."
"Done." Patris says in agreement.
"Done then," The man replies, as he turns to look towards the bar, "Innkeeper, your chessboard please." And the man turns back to Patris with a smile. "By the way, just so you know who you'll be in service too very soon, my name is Martin."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Martin." Patris says, "I greatly appreciate the entertainment, room, and meal you will be providing me with."
* * *
Later, each man had a different accord of how that game of chess turned out. To ask Patris, he won the game, but accompanied Martin on the next leg of his journey—just to be sure he was safe. To ask Martin, he won the game, but paid for Patris' room and food—since the young man was obviously down on his luck.
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