It was time to leave. The horses were ready, all ten of them, with 6 month’s worth of food and water for Aran and the horses saddled on their backs. Oliver was taking no chances. Aran bowed to Master Hik, his long-time teacher, and rode off into the wide open plains. Ironic, he thought. He was born in the open plains, but returning to the plains offered no sense of security at all.
“There is a toll to be paid for riding in the plains. Money or your life. You choose.” The bandit leader snared. Apparently, the demon attacks have forced some people to turn to a life of crime to sustain themselves. Aran looked at the bandit straight in the eyes. He was dressed in a brown, unassuming cloak, similar to those worn by pilgrims.
Taking a chance, he replied, “Does it look like I have any money?”
“Given that you have 10 horses, with what looks like 5 to 6 month’s worth of food and water, I gather you are from Asgard. No Asgardian will be without cash. Hell, I will be happy even if all I get is that sword on your waist. Now, GIVE IT!!” the bandit yelled.
Darn. This bandit leader was no dimwit. Aran quickly analyzed the situation. Three bandits, all lightly armed with swords, no armor or chainmail. From the way they wielded their sword, it was plain to see that they were mere villagers turned bandits. Their horses were old and weak, unlike the battle horse he was on. In essence, they were easy pickings.
Aran went for it. He unsheathed his sword and immediately swiped at the bandit leader. The leader yelled in surprise as he fell off his horse, but was otherwise unharmed. The two lackeys snapped their reins and their horse burst into life. Aran defeated them easily, outmaneuvering them with his superior warhorse and cutting them down with ease. The bandit leader attempted to scramble upon one of Aran’s horse to escape. However, it was having none of that. With a swift kick of his hooves, the leader was left sprawling on the ground.
“This will teach you better than to rob an Asgardian.” Aran declared, snapping his reins as he continued his journey to Desert Ronima.