“Pull up a chair, stranger, ‘n siddown fer a spell. Seems yer interested in hearin’ some o’ my ol’ tales, eh? Some folk who come ‘round here want to know ‘bout the wars ‘n such – who’s killin’ who and who’s dyin’ – but most jes’ wanna get as far away from the killin’ as they can. Smart of ‘em, seems like, but it don’t put no wet to my whistle. Tale tellin’s a dry and thirsty sort of work, ain’t it now?
“Wellll, ain’t that kind of ye? That do ease the throat now, don’t it? Mmm… not the finest brew I ever tasted, but it’s wet, and what more kin a man ask fer? Now what was yer interest, sonny? Somethin’ more than jes’ which way to run from th’ wars, if I don’t miss my guess.
“Sir Brendor? Wheeeew! The Sir Brendor? Knight ‘o the Last Stand? Demonslayer? Dragon-tamer? Of course, there ain’t no other, but what in tarnation possessed ye to ask an ol’ man like me ‘bout him? Ain’t ye heard of one o’ the greatest Knights ever to walk these lands? I called ye stranger, but ye must be from farther away than I ever hear of to not know all ye need to ‘bout that man.
“Why, there’s folks as say he’s taller’n an ogre, an’ wields a sword bigger’n two men put together. They say ‘e flies around in a big ol’ castle in th’ sky even t’ this day, rootin’ out evil, an’ has a horde o’ dragons fer pets. But, there’s folks as’ll tell you th’ sun rises in th’ west too, an’ sound mighty convincin’ while they’re at it.
“’Course, there’s more t’ every mug o’ beer than jes’ the foam, ‘n more to any man then jes’ the legend. Somethin’ tells me yer lookin’ for more than th’ suds, eh? What tells me, ye ask? Y’ didn’t jes’ walk into this tavern ‘n stroll over to this table by accident, did ye? They told ye about me, didn’t they? How I says I actually knew him? Fought by his side in the old wars? Wasn’t always a crippled ol’ man tellin’ tales in a village tavern?
“Ye don’ think I’m the type o’ feller that a big-time Knight would give th’ time o’ day to, do ye? I kin see th’ look in yer eyes. Mebbe some o’ th’ Knights o’ today act all high and mighty, but don’ make th’ mistake o’ thinkin’ that Sir Brendor e’er thought ‘imself t’ be better’n you or me. Th’ las’ place you’d see that man is sittin’ in a big ol’ throne, lordin’ it over th’ little folk. Nope, I ‘member th’ night I firs’ met him. We were way up north, makin’ camp o’er near th’ city what calls itself Heiron today, but back then ‘twas nobbut a hive o’ brigands an’ other less sav’ry folk.
“There we were, all frightened t’ death but tryin’ t’ pretend otherwise, ‘cuz we’d heard ‘bout what was out there waitin’ fer us, and not a man there but wanted to jes crawl on ‘ome an’ fergit ‘bout the whole adventure. I was somethin’ o’ a tale teller e’en then, an’ I start whippin’ up some yarn ‘bout I fergit what, an’ what happened but th’ Greatsword ‘imself come walkin’ by an’ stop t’ listen to th’ whole thing. I ‘bout choked, but ‘e said that I was a brave man fer tryin’ t’ raise th’ spirits o’ my fellers, an’ t’ keep it up, ‘cause we needed our spirits wi’ us fer th’ next day.
“Well, one battle led t’ another, an’ I get my leg all chopped up by some horror I don’ like t’ think about t’ this day, an’ Sir Brendor came on by th’ healers camp t’ use ‘is powers fer th’ benefit of those who served with ‘im, like a true and proper Knight. Anyway, ‘e recognized me somehow, an’ we set t’ talkin’, and ‘e found out ‘ow I liked t’ spin th’ yarns fer the folks at ‘ome, an’ o’er t’ course o’ th’ next few months, we got t’ be friends, an’ ‘e ended up tellin’ me all kinds o’ tales y’ don’t hear in th’ common gossip.
“What are ye asking now? If I got t’ be friends with ‘im, ‘ow come I ain’t still with ‘im instead o’ hangin’ about this ol’ tavern? Do I look like I’d be happy livin’ in fancy palaces, wearin’ fripperies an’ yammerin’ with brainless noblefolk all day long? Or sleepin’ in tents, trekkin’ miles an’ miles ‘cross deserts an’ mountains t’ hunt down some nasty critter? I told ‘im and told ‘im, if there’s one thing I want from my life, it’s to die in peace and quiet on the good earth where I belong. ‘E let me go with ‘is blessin’s, which’s what a good Knight does, now don’t ‘e? This’s been a safer land to live in these past decades thanks to him, an’ I figger I done my part to make it so. ‘Leastways, safer ‘til these past few months …