In brief, it’s a pulp-esque Sci Fi anime (originally, light novel) series about a pair of female mercenaries who tend to solve their problems with a not-insubstantial amount of collateral damage. Not unlike Lina Inverse from Slayers.
The inspiration for today doesn’t really go beyond ‘pair of female mercenaries’, but it does owe something to Dirty Pair.
Reminder: the latest chapter of The Valley of Appraisal went live earlier today:
Depending on who you ask, the Hammered Nail either one of the most famous or infamous public houses in the Dock District of Porthaven.
Despite its battered exterior and grimy interior, the Nail does not attract an entirely dishonest clientele. A fair few of its patrons are, honest well-meaning sailors and longshoreman or aspiring adventurers looking to make connections with other adventurers.
However, it is a well-known fact in Porthaven that the Nail attracts the rough, disreputable, downright criminal element of Porthaven’s society in the way a bucket of fish heads dumped overboard attracts sharks.
Which, in turn, means that these criminals attract the sort of people who make it their purpose in life to bring those criminals to justice.
The two cloaked figures step into the Nail and survey their surroundings.
“Which one of you is Axe the Blade?” the cloaked figure on the left asks.
“Who wants to know?” a large, grizzled man asks from behind a bushy, grey-streaked beard.
The two cloaked figures exchange a glance from beneath their hoods.
“That’s him,” the one on the left asks.
“That’s him,” the one on the right agrees.
“How could you possibly know that?” the large man asks.
“Because if you weren’t, you would have just said something like I’m not Axe the Blade, not Who wants to know?,” the cloaked figure on the left notes.
“Alright, fine,” the large man says, pushing away from his table and rising to his feet. “You’ve found me. I’m Axe the Blade. Now, the question is, who are you two idiots?”
The two hooded figures exchange a nod before turning back to their target and throwing off their cloaks, revealing themselves to be a pair of female warriors.
“From the distant lands of Yamatai, I have come to pursue evil wherever it may be found,” the woman on the left declares. “It is I, the Mistress of the Way of the Sword — Akari!”
“And me, hailing from the shores of Pelayo,” the woman on the right boasts, “the Lady of Explosion Magic, ready to rain down ruin on wrongdoers — Alma!”
“And we,” they declare as one, “are here to bring you in.”
Akari draws her sword and Alma’s hands begin to shine and shimmer with magical currents.
Seeing this, Axe the Blade reaches for his own sword. “I ain’t afraid of two little girls,” he says.
Alma scoffs. “You should be. Bad guys who aren’t tended to get, well, exploded.”
“So we’ll give you a chance to surrender,” Akari tells him. “There’s no reason this needs to get ugly.”
Sitting at the bar watching this unfold, Kat Darkstone heaves a heavy sigh.
“Not again,” she mutters.
Just once, she’d like to be able to finish a meal in peace — without threat of becoming collateral damage in a brawl. Or a sword fight. Or a wizards’ duel. Or a certain maniac little pirate’s latest adventure. In hindsight, though she’s probably picked the wrong favourite pub for that to be attainable.
Honestly, I’m kinda surprised with how few tavern brawls I’ve actually written up to now. That’s, like, Fantasy writing 101.
Incidentally, the first ever roll I made in my first ever Dungeons & Dragons game was a critical hit to bust a bottle over a bad guy’s head.
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