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Kingslayer: The Witcher Tales

Kingslayer Heading.png
by, Chris Karter
The content in this area will be updated frequently.
Setting:
The story takes place in The Witcher Universe, eight years after the events of BLOOD AND WINE. The story is meant to exist and be canon with both books and games, as much as possible.

Written so that it's canon to both books and games:
I view the events in the books and especially the games (as told by Dandelion), like all writing and historical documentation, subjective to a degree. View my story the same way. These is a tale told by a writer and it's your choice to decide what's fact and fiction.

How can you stay true to the books and the games?
By staying in between the lines. Did Regis come back from the dead or was that an element Dandelion added in his tale to add drama? That's for the reader to decide and for the most part you can trust that my story won't make these decisions a fact inside it's world. Character's opinions of events are vastly different matters. I think that's the best way to blend the books and games together, and remove anything that was a bit too, "boss fight" or "never ever land". o_O

Well that's not a very book-like format...
It's currently written in "Hollywood" screenplay format, albeit far too descriptive, too dialogue heavy, and format limitations, but I might try to implement some more traditional book elements later on. Started to center the dialogue, but in sentences longer than one line it looked like trash in my opinion.

An immersive witcher experience...
Don't underestimate how embedded the witcher universe is. If you truly are a witcher universe historian, I like to think you'll appreciate the accuracy and a lot of the references. Give it time to emerge. Only thing else I can really say is trust the process. The story evolves. Starts slow but there was a ton of thought put into the setting, timeline, story arc, etc.

When will it be finished?
Should be able to finish it this year barring internet issues. I expect there will be multiple chapters and series to the story before it's closed. Currently have to use a mobile hot-spot off the phone to get access to the internet. Impossible, for me personally, to do this from a phone.

WARNING:
There are writers out performing on the "death march" difficult level when it comes to writing quality, novel-like content, and being up to par with professional writing - I am not that writer - I'm on story mode. I like to think of it as movie mode. It paints a visual and accelerates you through the story like a movie, but doesn't dismiss the necessary details to tell a pretty cool tale in the process.

Any helpful hints, tips, and suggestions are appreciated.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EPILOGUE
CHAPTER 1: THE INDOLENT WITCHER
CHAPTER 2: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
CHAPTER 3: ART OF PERSISTENCE
CHAPTER 4: A WITCHER'S SQUIRE
CHAPTER 5:
CHAPTER 6:
CHAPTER 7:
CHAPTER 8:
CHAPTER 9:
CHAPTER 10:
CHAPTER 11:
CHAPTER 12:
CHAPTER 13:
 
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Beauclair Palace (721x300).png

EPILOGUE

EXT. BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - DAY

Spring, 1283 - It's been eight years since Toussaint's capital of Beauclair was attacked by an elder vampire Dettlaff van der Eretein and his vampiric horde. This event has been dubbed as "The Night of Long Fangs" by scholars and historians but the circumstances surrounding that evening have been heavily disputed. It's a virtual consensus that Dettlaff was "The Beast of Beauclair" responsible for the killing spree of knights in the weeks prior to the attack on the capital, but there's a hundred different tales as to what triggered it as time has only blurred the lines of fact and fiction to make the truth even more obscure.

The events following the attacks eventually lead to a regional cleansing of vampires. Initially there was political resistance from Toussaint's more notable houses and factions regarding the potential dangers of promoting a vampiric genocide, most were genuinely concerned about provoking future attacks, but the slightest resistance was bound to lead to accusations that the court of Beauclair and the upper echelons of society were infiltrated by vampires. This was only partially true, in reality the actual influence vampires had on Toussaint politics was minimal - likely by choice, considering human politics trivial - but that didn't stop conspiracy theories from circulating.

Shortly after the Witches Trials ended in 1276, a prominent count was ousted in Beauclair as a Bruxa and executed by a witcher. This incident lead to a series of tense but mostly non-hostile protest until The Lady Duchess passed a bill called "Avec Leur Tête" (translation: 'off with their head') to finance a bounty program through the Ducal Camerlengo that offers a reward for every vampire head brought to it's office.

The results were promising and the capital felt a sense of retribution. On more than one occasion entire enclaves of their species were uprooted and wiped out. But like with all witch hunts and genocidal agendas, there were innocents and bystanders caught in the occasional crossfire, especially in the earlier years, but the madness dwindled. For a time hunting a vampire became a regular rite of passage for the Knights-Errant of Toussaint, but in recent years the pursuit of their kind has faded drastically. Nowadays vampire sightings are rare and reported attacks have become an anomaly. The Ducal Camerlengo's bounty program is still active and has attracted several witchers to the Duchy over the years, with one such witcher still residing there to this day.

This is the story of that witcher...
 
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CHAPTER 1: THE INDOLENT WITCHER

EXT. BEAUCLAIR PORT, BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - MORNING

The Port District buzzes with activity as the wheels of Toussaint's economy turn with max efficiency. Stevedores race to load and unload cargo. The aroma in the air of Beauclair's wine blended with the scent of the Sansretour river was diluted by the stench of poverty and sweat of the Capital's populace.

Even in a crowd as diverse and densely populated as the one at Beauclair Port, where eccentric socialites in their flamboyant garb walk among the downtrodden and homeless, where knights in ornamental suits of armor display it ostentatiously amid drunkards and scoundrels alike, the lone witcher known simply as Avonis of Kovir still managed to stand out in the herd.


Avonis concept (820x1122).png

"It's Avonis of Kovir and Poviss." - Jeronimo Gilligan Babineaux III
The muscle-toned witcher walks through the crowd wearing a dark tattered cloak. He stands over six feet tall and visually appears to be in his late thirties. Under the hood this witcher conceals short unkempt hair, sun-kissed brown with hints of blonde, and a striking visage that maintains it's crude rough-around-the-edges quality thanks to a scruffy facial beard and an array of several scars. Even with a cloak on his shoulders the sleeveless shirt he wears shows off an impressive physique, the muscle definition in his arms deterring attention away from the various scars on pale skin. What makes Avonis stand out from your typical ruffian isn't the rare silver sword sheathed on the back of his exceptionally athletic and well-fed frame, it was his radiant amber eyes that could pierce through the night that truly separated him from the masses.

He strolls the docks waterside frequently looking out to the Sansretour River. His steps take him to the end of a small dock, he stands at the edge looking out at the river with his back to the city, perhaps admiring how the sun still beams through the clouds of Mount Gorgon and reflects off the water. From the crowd behind him a person emerges and begins to approach. This particular person was a very young man no older than twenty, blonde wavy hair, wearing an elegant golden yellow tunic, his attire was topped off with a matching cavalier hat adorned with an annoyingly large crimson feather. In comparison to Avonis he was very small in stature and his hygiene was pristine. The young man lifts his hand to speak but inches forth with reservation. Before the lad can muster the courage to strike up a conversation, the witcher cuts to the chase.

AVONIS
Who are you and what do you want?

Avonis kneels down looking over the edge of the dock and into the water. He tucks a medallion inside his shirt and stares at his own reflection. The young man apologizes, approaches, and attempts to introduce himself with the proper formality of a true Toussaintois.

JERONIMO
I am Jeronimo Gilligan Babineaux the Third - poet, minstrel, and troubadour at your service.

Avonis doesn't react until Jeronimo's head appears in the reflection in the water. The bard was peering over his shoulder, ever so curious to what the witcher was staring at. Avonis grumbles and stands up. Jeronimo looks confused when the witcher walks away. He doesn't hesitate to follow him and call for his attention.

JERONIMO
Excuse me! Witcher! Witcher! Do you have a moment? Witcher!

Jeronimo finally catches up to him, after weaving in and out of traffic, and starts to follow his direct path, step for step. Citizens were much more inclined to move out of the witcher's way, a courtesy he was not afforded.

AVONIS
Why are you still following me little man?

JERONIMO
Ah, yes! If you would give me just a moment, I will kindly explain myself good sir. Just a moment if you will.

Avonis suddenly come to a stop and Jeronimo walks into him by mistake. Jeronimo briefly looks embarrassed and apologizes.

JERONIMO
Sorry witcher, now as I were... I am Jeronimo Gilligan Babineaux the Third --

AVONIS
On with it already.

Jeronimo coughs.

JERONIMO
Of course. You see witcher, every troubadour has a calling, and when the stars align as if Lebioda is dangling his tender loins of destiny in front of your face himself...

Jeronimo holds his palm out in front of his face and tickles the air before closing his fist and jerking it away as if snatching something away, but his theatrics further annoy the impatient witcher.

JERONIMO
One would be a fool to not reach out and grab them by the --

AVONIS
I said on with it! Speak to me in common tongue, not riddles and poems.

JERONIMO
Very well. I intend to study the seven liberal arts at Oxenfurt University. You see, I plan on following in the footsteps of Julian Pankratz - excuse me - you may know him as, Dandelion.

Jeronimo says “Dandelion” in a way that makes it obvious he expects a reaction. He awaits for a response but the witcher glares at him with contempt. Jeronimo isn't sure if the witcher knows who he is talking about so he continues to elaborate until Avonis cuts him off.

JERONIMO
Dandelion. You know, Julian Alfred Pankratz? Viscount de Lettenhove. Master of the Seven Liberal Arts --

AVONIS
(frustrated)
Yes I may have heard the name. What does this have to do with me?

JERONIMO
Well, I have noticed you haven't been very active as of late just strolling around the docks aimlessly...

Avonis raises an eyebrow and questions him sternly.

AVONIS
You've been watching me, have you?

Jeronimo puckers up responding with arrogance.

JERONIMO
I've done my reconnaissance.

AVONIS
Are you a Nilfgaardian spy?

The accusation confuses Jeronimo and catches him off guard.

JERONIMO
No...

AVONIS
Redanian?

JERONIMO
Gods no! Although, I am flattered that you think I'm a spy at all. I always suspected I had it, but you really never know until you know, and your speculation is just a confirmation of the reassurance I already had in my raw and untapped abilities...

Jeronimo speaks so sure of himself before Avonis snaps at him.

AVONIS
Listen little man, I don't know what you want.

JERONIMO
Well if you just listen witcher --

AVONIS
My name is not witcher, little man.

JERONIMO
My name is not little man, witcher.

AVONIS
I will throttle you to death little man.

JERONIMO
It's your fault you never introduced yourself. Quite rude, but I'm not judging, not really.

Avonis takes a deep breath before responding.

AVONIS
I am Avonis, Avonis of Kovir.

The witcher holds out his hand.

JERONIMO
Well met Avonis of Kovir and Poviss, ow...

Avonis squeezes the bard's hand in a way to inflict him pain, but for only a split second before releasing it, because causing him even the briefest amount of pain gave the witcher satisfaction. When Avonis lets go of his hand, Jeronimo shakes it off.

JERONIMO
Brute-ish... As you should already know, I am Jeronimo Gilligan Babineaux the Third. I would like to formally request the official title of your le gérant, your unofficial le confessuer.

Before Avonis could scold him for introducing himself for a third time, the bard throws a curveball at him that he didn't quite understand.

AVONIS
The official unofficial title of my what now?

JERONIMO
Your delegate, your manager if you will. It'll be my responsibility to find you work, contracts, and be somebody you can confide in and trust, all in exchange for an equitable percentage, of course.

AVONIS
Did you just say, an "equitable percentage"?

JERONIMO
Yes, my tuition at Oxenfurt isn't going to pay for itself - I could be your liaison to high society. Up until this most recent tiff by my dastardly uncle Javier, the House of Babineaux was practically royalty in Toussaint. Even in it's current standing I think the name alone justifies ten percent, but in the near future it'd be appropriate to discuss a raise.

AVONIS
(scoffs)
naughty word off.

Avonis marches towards San Sebastian and disappears into the crowd. Jeronimo is left standing there alone feeling dejected. Although the witcher wouldn't listen to Jeronimo's plea, it was true, even at his young age Jeronimo was somewhat of a luminary among the socialites of the gentry in Beauclair. He was a fairly talented musician as well, but what does an indolent witcher really need an audacious "poet, minstrel, and troubadour" for anyway?
 
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CHAPTER 2: FOOD FOR THOUGHT

EXT. BEAUCLAIR PORT, BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - MORNING

With the sun in the air Avonis sits at the end of the same dock as the morning before, dangling his feet over the edge. His stomach grumbles from hunger as he gazes into the Sansretour river watching boats sail by. He was enjoying the spring breeze, transfixed to the point that the distractions and noise of the port were mute, until a familiar voice broke his concentration.

JERONIMO
Avonis! Avonis! Avonis of Kovir and Poviss!

Avonis doesn't look thrilled to hear his name heedlessly called out. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before turning around to face the jovial young man that was beginning to grow on his nerves, and his wardrobe didn't help matters. Jeronimo, once again dressed in a stylish tunic, greets the witcher, but this time with a freshly baked muffin that he offers to Avonis with a good morning and a smile. Avonis hesitates but grabs the pastry. He examines it thoroughly and then smells it. He initially appears skeptic as he glances at Jeronimo, who is posing with a smile on his face.

JERONIMO
Blueberry lemon.

Avonis stalls but eventually takes a bite out of the muffin. As he begins chewing, it's clear he enjoys it quite much.

AVONIS
Mm, still warm... This is good... This is really good.

Jeronimo is smiling ear-to-ear with delight. Avonis looks at him surprised

AVONIS
Who baked this? You did?

JERONIMO
Indeed, but it is my mummy's recipe. I did add a dash of cinnamon, notre petit secret!

Jeronimo's giddiness gives the witcher the sudden urge to crush his spirit and create as much distance between the two of them as humanly possible.

AVONIS
The answer is still no.

Avonis takes another bite out of the muffin and marches past him, but this doesn't appear to discourage Jeronimo today. He stands there with a smile on his face watching the witcher walk away with muffin in hand. In Jeronimo's mind, the witcher eating the muffin was a clear victory and progress in the right direction, and if his calculations were correct, it would be only a matter of time before they were best friends and adventuring the continent together. Jeronimo sits down on the dock and sets up shop; he's pulls out a journal, pen, and ink, and begins to jot down his thoughts.

Jeronimo writes; "The key to a lonely heart is food" and follows it with an over-emphasized "How is that for FOOD for THOUGHT?"

And that my friends is when we exit Jeronimo's brain; a wonderful world where philosophy and poetry intertwine with a child’s optimism.

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INT. THE BUTCHER'S MARKET, BEAUCLAIR - MORNING

The next day Avonis walks through the doors of the Butcher's market in the Port District. The Butcher, a big burly bald man wearing a leather apron, was in the middle of beheading a chicken for a couple of customers. The sound of the cleaver hits the table and Avonis watches as the Butcher discards the head of the livestock. An assortment of meats were cleaned and on display. The smell of animal carcasses and fresh blood was pungent and overwhelming for the witcher in the enclosed building. The couple in front of him haven't stopped whispering to each other since he walked in. After they received their food they walked out the building cautiously watching him. Avonis isn't phased by their chatter and steps up to the butcher.

BUTCHER
What do you want?

AVONIS
Chicken leg.

BUTCHER
Nine florens.

AVONIS
Nine florens? What happened to six?

BUTCHER
Inflation. Chicken leg, nine florens.

The Butcher points to the sign behind him with the list of items and prices on the market. Avonis can see that the price of a chicken leg is indeed nine florens today.

AVONIS
Let's play you for it.

BUTCHER
Blah! You're not pulling another fast one on me witcher. Eleven florens!

Avonis shakes his head disappointed with his proposal being rejected. The Butcher retrieves the chicken leg as Avonis reaches for his coin pouch, it felt light, he pours it onto the counter. As the butcher starts to count the florens out, Avonis snatches the chicken leg and starts chomping into it. When the butcher finishes counting he swipes the coins into a bag.

BUTCHER
You're a floren short.

AVONIS
Are you sure you don't want to play for it? What about for that piece of bread right there?

Avonis reaches to point at a piece of bread and the butcher responds by threatening him with his cleaver.

BUTCHER
Do you want to lose a finger witcher?

Avonis grins and points to his protruding belly.

AVONIS
I don't think you're quick enough. You look like you've gained a little weight, around the, well, every where.

BUTCHER
Piss off. I hope you choke on a bone.

AVONIS
Always a pleasure, Butch.

Avonis walks out the store. The Butcher spits on the ground as the door closes.

EXT. BEAUCLAIR PORT, BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - MORNING

Avonis walks out of the butcher's meat market wielding a half-eaten chicken leg and he sees Jeronimo, of all the people in Toussaint, walking in his direction. Jeronimo's face lights up with joy, but Avonis doesn't share the same sentiment and when he sees the bard he looks around for an escape. As Jeronimo closes the distance the witcher gets desperate and throws the half-eaten chicken leg at him, much to Jeronimo’s surprise, and walks with haste in the other direction. That doesn't deter Jeronimo as he predictably chases after him, trotting past the two beggars now scuffling for what was left of the free meal that just landed on the ground. Jeronimo calls out for the witcher repeatedly. His calls almost turn into song.

JERONIMO
Avonis! Avonis of Kovir and Poviss! Avonis! It all makes sense if you just hear me out! Avonis of Kovir and Poviss!

AVONIS
Stop calling my name! I don't need the services of a bard.

JERONIMO
Do you need a friend?

AVONIS
Absolutely not.

Avonis stops in his tracks and Jeronimo can't stop in time before he runs into him. He was making a habit of that and Avonis is visibly annoyed. Jeronimo appears more concerned with the wrinkles in tunic as brushes it off while the witcher glares down at him with those amber orbs. Avonis snaps at him with a question that he didn't expect an immediate answer to.

AVONIS
What is wrong with you?

JERONIMO
I'm an only child and my uncle squandered the family fortune away on booze and whores.

AVONIS
(chuckles)
Now your uncle sounds like my kind of friend.

JERONIMO
He was the chamberlain to the Lord High Treasurer, but he now lives in the dungeons of the Ducal Palace for embezzlement - correction - the official charge, "Misappropriation of Duchy Funds", and he will most likely face the axe if he lives to see his trial. Her excellency is not happy with him, she does not like to be embarrassed, and unfortunately she was forced to seize our family's assets. My father was a knight-errant but he died when I was very young, and mummy, my lovely mother, we recently buried her in Orlémurs Cemetery. The poor woman, ugh, she is undoubtedly rolling in her grave right now.

AVONIS
Was she ill?

Jeronimo uses his hand to replicate a person jumping off somewhere high and hitting the ground. He finishes it off with the sound effect one makes when they hit the ground.

JERONIMO
Plop.

AVONIS
If she was anything like you, maybe somebody pushed her.

JERONIMO
No, she left a letter...

Jeronimo's voice trails with his demeanor.

AVONIS
You have my condolences.

Jeronimo shrugs it off and returns to his chipper self.

JERONIMO
Oh thank you but I've had my time for mourning, now it's quite liberating actually. I have nothing holding me back, I am a free man with the wind behind me and the stars in my future. I can finally fulfill my dream of attending Oxenfurt Academy. Once I graduate I'll travel the continent and catalog my adventures just like Master Julian. I will compose world renown ballads of my escapades and sing them in the Royal Court of Vizima!

Avonis snaps at him, cutting him off from his rant.

AVONIS
Did I ask for you to tell me your life story Jeronimo? Did I ask about your dreams and aspirations? Because I have dreams and aspirations too, I long for peace and quiet.

JERONIMO
Well, sir, you did ask what was wrong with me, and I am trying to get to that point if you'll quit interrupting me.

Avonis points at Jeronimo.

AVONIS
Forget I asked. I mean it. Forget I asked.

He sees an incoming crew of dockhands moving in their direction carrying long pieces of lumber. This was his opportunity for a getaway. He times it right and jumps out in front of them to create a brief enough blockade to separate himself from Jeronimo and disappear into the crowd. Jeronimo shrugs his shoulders, he would come back again tomorrow, and he starts to skip his way out of Beauclair Port and towards Harbor Gate seemingly without a care in the world.
 

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CHAPTER 3: ART OF PERSISTENCE

EXT. BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - A WEEK LATER

For the next week the cycle continued. Every morning Jeronimo ventures from uptown Hauteville to the Beauclair Port to wait for the witcher and greet him with an assortment of homemade pastries. Little to the witcher's knowledge Jeronimo was conducting a social experiment to see what foods he liked, or didn't like, and by doing so he discovered the witcher socialized with him most when he brought muffins - specifically ones made with blueberries - but the answer was always the same no matter what. Jeronimo once tried to serenade the witcher but quickly realized it was a disastrous idea after the witcher pushed him off the dock and into the water. Another thing Jeronimo noted was that he never saw the witcher's medallion, and he only had one sword, and asking questions about either would lead to the end of the conversation.

EXT. BEAUCLAIR PORT, BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - MORNING

When Avonis gets to the docks he's not surprised to see Jeronimo waiting there for him holding a decorative plate full of muffins. Avonis had grown accustomed to the bard's presence, and if feeling anything else other than annoyed, Avonis was impressed with his persistence, and his cooking.

JERONIMO
Good morning Avonis of Kovir, and Poviss.

He just couldn't resist. It's too early for Avonis to care.

AVONIS
Good morning Jeronimo.

JERONIMO
Today I baked one of your favorites, blueberry lemon, and decided to splice up a new concoction of blueberry, chocolate chip, and pineapple.

Avonis chuckles. He grabs one off the plate and proceeds to eat it as he strolls with Jeronimo through the port district.

AVONIS
Jeronimo, your persistence is admirable...

Jeronimo is quick to thank him but he's quicker to add.

AVONIS
If not downright pathetic.

Jeronimo continues his attempt to reason with him as he balances the tray of muffins rather impressively. The eyes of many random ruffians, towns folk, and beggars alike gawk at the tray as the walk by. This doesn't go unnoticed to Avonis who struts around with his chest out, deliberately eating his muffins with a bit of entitlement.

JERONIMO
If you truly want to get rid of me, the way I see it is you have three options...

Avonis stops and faces Jeronimo.

AVONIS
Amuse me.

Jeronimo starts counting on the fingers of his free hand as he explains the witcher's choices from his perspective.

JERONIMO
One, you can vanish from Beauclair in the middle of the night unbeknownst to my knowledge --

AVONIS
Easily done.

JERONIMO
Two, you can murder me in cold blood --

AVONIS
Again, easily done. You don't know how to accept no for an answer, it's a bit creepy.

Jeronimo holds up his third finger in front of the witcher’s face.

JERONIMO
Or three, you can help a young man with a good heart get into the Academy of Oxenfurt and chase his dreams.

Avonis grabs another muffin from the plate, he's holding one in each hand.

AVONIS
Hey Jeronimo. Do you know the muffin man? Look, I'm double fisting muffins.

Jeronimo isn't amused.

JERONIMO
Avonis this is serious! Will you help me get into Oxenfurt or not? I must know!

AVONIS
(scoffs)
Oxenfurt is overrated. The University of Lan Exeter surpassed it many years ago.

JERONIMO
Academics are irrelevant Avonis! Can't you see? I want to trace the steps of Dandelion and Geralt! I want to travel in the annals of legends!

An uncomfortable grimace sweeps over the witcher's features when Jeronimo says where he wants to travel.

AVONIS
I don't think they'd appreciate that Jeronimo... well, Geralt might.

Jeronimo continues to pour his heart out, his passion evident in the tone of his voice, but it doesn't seem to move the witcher a bit.

JERONIMO
I want to speak to and learn from the same professors that encountered them. I want to hear their tales and their stories, every little intricate detail, the things that aren't in the ballads or the books. You have no idea how I long for such dialogue - to meet such people!

AVONIS
I long for the tinder touch of a beautiful Toussaintois woman for only a single copper. Can we meet her first?

JERONIMO
Strumpets are fish in a sea! I have big dreams! I want to mount a Queen! Or her daughters, and write poems about it! Is that too much to ask?

AVONIS
You wanna mount a Queen, huh?

JERONIMO
By Lebioda, yes!

Avonis leans in, stone cold expression.

AVONIS
Do you want me to hold her mouth shut so she doesn't scream and call the guards?

JERONIMO
Gods no! If she's screaming it's from sensational pleasure, not pain... Okay, maybe a little bit of pain, but mostly sensational pleasure!

Jeronimo now holding the plate with two hands, starts hip thrusting the air from one side to the other, incredibly managing to balance the last remaining muffins on it's platform. Avonis immediately looks away. A beggar squatting in the background watches with his eyes and mouth as wide open as humanly possible, an expression impossible to comprehend or imitate. He isn't the only bystander that reacts oddly to the bard's moves.

JERONIMO
Avonis it is all in the hips!

A townswoman gasp as she walks by with her child, covering her eyes and ushering her youngling away from the hip swaying fool. Avonis side steps away from Jeronimo and speaks to another spectator, a ragged old man, who looks as flabbergasted as anybody by the young man's behavior. Avonis shrugs his shoulder.

AVONIS
I don't know him.

The ragged old man starts to walk away before stopping to look back to see Jeronimo's dance evolving into something even more inappropriate. Jeronimo's antics start to draw more attention from onlookers.

AVONIS
Jeronimo stop that right now.

Jeronimo ignores him, eyes closed, continuing his motion.

JERONIMO
I'm trying to teach you something witcher. Pay attention.

A rowdy seaman lingering in the vicinity finally pulls out a pouch of coin. He tilts his back and speaks up. His accent indicating he may be from the South.

SEAMAN
How much?

Avonis chuckles as he steps between the thirsty seaman and Jeronimo, and points him in the other direction.

SEAMAN
How 'bout ten copper for an hour.

AVONIS
I guarantee he’d be offended if he heard you say that.

SEAMAN
An expensive prostitute is he?

AVONIS
Wee bit of a misunderstanding. You should go to Belles of Beauclair.

SEAMAN
Dem boys got meat on their bones, I wanna break that twig in half.

The seaman licks his chops and points to the dancing bard before drifting off. Avonis walks away from the encounter and marches back to Jeronimo who is singing his heart out. Avonis snatches him by the collar but quickly releases it when he sees a Ducal guard walking in their direction. Jeronimo brushes his shoulder off where he was grabbed. The guard eyes them both as he walks by but the witcher maintains his smile until he's out of sight. Avonis turns back to Jeronimo with a sternness in his voice that causes him to fumble the tray and watch the last of the muffins fall on the ground and roll through the street.

AVONIS
What the hell is wrong with you?

JERONIMO
What did I do? You did it!

AVONIS
Are you a prostitute?

JERONIMO
How dare you!

AVONIS
Then what the hell were you thinking dancing around like that?

JERONIMO
I baked you muffins!

Jeronimo points to the muffins that are now being picked up by down trodden beggars who scurry off quickly with the pastries in hand.

AVONIS
That's not an excuse to gyrate in the street.

Avonis turns to leave and Jeronimo spontaneously grabs him by the arm prompting the witcher to turn around aggressively. Poor little Jeronimo cowers and blurts out the following in response.

JERONIMO
It'll take me four years to graduate!

Jeronimo's covering his face and closing his eyes. He's wincing but when he doesn't get assaulted he continues to speak but doesn't yet come out of his shell.

JERONIMO
When I get into Oxenfurt, four years I'll be gone.

Avonis chuckles at Jeronimo cowering. He's also elated to know how to finally get rid of the young man without making him disappear the old fashioned way. He thinks about it.

AVONIS
How much does your tuition at Oxenfurt cost?

Jeronimo has hope in his eyes but his expression looks concerned, replying with hesitation.

JERONIMO
A few thousand crowns...

AVONIS
A few thousand crowns!

That is exactly the kind of reaction Jeronimo was expecting from the witcher.

JERONIMO
You can't put a price on education?

AVONIS
naughty word off. I can buy another house. You better start gyrating again, I'll flag down that sailor.

JERONIMO
Four entire years! Gone, Avonis, gone! You'll never see me again, if you don't want to, and not to mention if we have three thousand crowns for my tuition that should leave you with twenty-seven thousand. That sounds nice right?

AVONIS
It sounds bloody hell impossible!

Avonis outburst doesn't phase Jeronimo as he replies pompously.

JERONIMO
Not with my connections.

AVONIS
Who are you? Genuinely. I would like to know.

JERONIMO
I am Jeronimo Gilligan Babineaux the Third, and I will be the world's greatest balladeer --

Avonis burst into laughter and Jeronimo stops speaking.

AVONIS
We would have to slay two or three hundred beast for that kind of coin.

JERONIMO
I suggest we get started then, I just so happen to have a lead on --

The witcher holds his arms out and looks up at the sky, shouting.

AVONIS
Why me? Is this suppose to be funny? Is it?

Jeronimo has concern in his voice.

JERONIMO
Are you talking to the gods Avonis?

Avonis chuckles and shakes his head. When he regains his composure he looks at Jeronimo, pats him on the shoulder, and walks off. Jeronimo accepts that was probably the witcher's way of saying good bye today, and much better than being pushed into the Sansretour in a brand new pair of Saint Matteo slippers.
 
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Harbor Gate (533x300).jpg

CHAPTER 4: A WITCHER'S SQUIRE

EXT. HARBOR GATE, BEAUCLAIR, TOUSSAINT - MORNING

Harbor Gate is located in the southeast of the city, closest to Beauclair port. When laying the stones of the defensive walls surrounding Hauteville, the inhabitants of Beauclair had no inkling how much their city would eventually grow. The mushroom-like expansion of San Sebastian and the Port District forced Beauclair's residents to knock through an additional passageway to facilitate the circulation of traffic between the capital's districts. Some even called for the walls to be torn down altogether - for what had they to fear, with their town protected by the bravest knights errant the world has ever seen?

Everyday Jeronimo visits Avonis, he passes underneath Harbor Gate as he walks from Hauteville to Beauclair Port. He usually strolls through the street humming or singing a tune, and today was no different, but what was different was that Avonis appeared to be waiting for him underneath Harbor Gate's overpass. This was a pleasant surprise to Jeronimo who greets the witcher with a friendly wave and greeting. Avonis cuts to the point.

AVONIS
Jeronimo I must ask you. How do foresee this arrangement of yours going?

JERONIMO
By what do you mean?

AVONIS
What are your expectations? Where do you see our adventures taking us? What beasts do you expect me to slay? Disputes you expect me to settle?

Jeronimo can’t contain his excitement.

JERONIMO
Whichever ones get in our way and pay the day! We’ll take contracts from here to Oxenfurt! We can hit the road tonight!

AVONIS
Absolutely not. Never happening.

JERONIMO
Why do you shatter my dreams? My things are packed already.

AVONIS
You wouldn't happen to know a sorceress that could teleport us there would you?

JERONIMO
Hmm, I can't say that I do.

AVONIS
Then it is impossible.

JERONIMO
It is not, people travel all the time.

AVONIS
For just you and I, it very much is. You're not taking into consideration any bandits or creatures we'd randomly encounter on the route. We'd be outnumbered, and you appear utterly incapable in combat, no offense Jeronimo, but you will most certainly be skinned, eaten, or maimed.

Jeronimo gasp, clearly taken offense to what he just heard.

AVONIS
At best you'd soil your trousers, flee off into the woods like a coward, and if you are ever so lucky you will die from starvation. But you will not be lucky, because you seem the type that will be sniveling like a little girl and smell like urine which will get you eaten by a wild creature, or creatures. And if that doesn't happen, you'll get picked up and sold off by Cidarian sex traffickers to be used like a sock on a sea ship, most likely to a Pirate Captain named Griff.

Jeronimo is clearly appalled by the witcher's comments.

JERONIMO
Are you done blustering? That was an incredibly patronizing and descriptive prediction. I am not defenseless, it's offensive that you think so.

AVONIS
You absolutely are. You are fragile.

Avonis nudges Jeronimo lightly and knocks him off balance. Jeronimo tries to return the favor and push Avonis. The witcher is as still as a wall. Jeronimo puffs and tries with all his might to shove him, but the witcher's feet don't budge an inch.

AVONIS
Are you done yet?

Jeronimo pulls away and begins stretching his limbs. He starts to boast as he stretches from one toe to the other.

JERONIMO
I've been told I'm quite flexible.

AVONIS
I don't know what to make of that, but please don't start dancing again unless you’re going to start reeling us in some coin.

JERONIMO
I am exceptionally limber, and a marvelous dancer. You’ve yet to see me two-step, and my bourrée is flawless.

AVONIS
And unequivocally callow. Shall we start you off at five or ten crowns?

JERONIMO
How dare you suddenly become articulated when insulting me. That's insulting in itself. It's a double insult!

AVONIS
Jeronimo you wouldn't last a day outside the city's walls.

JERONIMO
Pfft, please witcher, I can handle danger.

AVONIS
When we're on the road, for weeks at a time, where would you bathe?

JERONIMO
In the river of course.

AVONIS
Drowners will get ya. Where would you squat?

JERONIMO
In the forest like the Scoia'tael.

AVONIS
Wolves will get ya. You know what your problem is Jeronimo? You've read too many books, watched too much opera, it's fizzled your brain. I don't think you know what awaits you out there in the real world. Have you ever been outside the city's walls?

JERONIMO
Of course, I’ve been to several vineyards, but I feel like you're vastly underestimating my tenacity.

AVONIS
I assure you that tenacity is not one of your traits.

JERONIMO
It is so! You said it yourself!

AVONIS
I said persistent. There's a difference.

JERONIMO
It's essentially the same thing.

AVONIS
Your traits would read as is; eccentric, whimsical, lingerer, frail --

Jeronimo gets defensive and starts poking the witcher in the chest listing off traits of his own.

JERONIMO
Rude. Selfish. Cold-hearted. Lazy! Ape!

AVONIS
Over dramatic.

JERONIMO
Your assumptions are as blasphemous as your apparel, and you smell like a pigsty!

AVONIS
Jeronimo, I hate to break it to you, but your beloved Geralt couldn't keep you alive on a journey outside these walls if you fast traveled on the back of one of his witches magical brooms. You wouldn't last a week out there.

JERONIMO
Ugh. Witches don't have brooms Avonis, and you say books have fizzled my brain. Face it, you need me.

AVONIS
Do you want the honest to gods truth? Do you think you can handle it?

Jeronimo insist that he can with a confident nod of his head.

AVONIS
You're the type of person that witchers get paid to find after they venture too far away from the nest.

Jeronimo stands there, blinking, trying to process that remark. Avonis pokes Jeronimo once in the chest.

AVONIS
Little bird shouldn't leave the nest.

Jeronimo huffs and puffs and plants his foot down. He speaks up with bass in his voice increasingly emphasizing "little bird" with each sentence.

JERONIMO
Little bird doesn't have a nest! Little bird wants to spread his wings! Little bird wants to fly!

Avonis chuckles at Jeronimo's theatrics this time around. The witcher shakes his head as he stands there with his hands on his hips. Avonis thinks deeply for several long moments. He takes a deep breath and laughs at his decision.

AVONIS
I'm going to regret this. If we're going to do this Jeronimo, we need to establish some ground rules.

Jeronimo jumps up and flails his arm in the air - he'd call it throwing a fist - but it was definitely a flailing of the arm at best. Jeronimo can't contain the excitement in his voice but Avonis is quick to cut him off before he gets too carried away.

JERONIMO
Agreed, I think if we sit down and hash it out over tea we can find common ground --

AVONIS
Rule number one. No tunics. Ever.

JERONIMO
No tunics?

AVONIS
No tunics.

Jeronimo looks down at his attire with a bit of disappointment and shock on his face.

JERONIMO
Never ever?

AVONIS
Never ever. In fact, you should go change your outfit now.

JERONIMO
A bit drastic, isn't it?

AVONIS
No. I'm the witcher, I make the rules. That's rule number two, the witcher makes the rules.

JERONIMO
But this just isn't any tunic Avonis, this is a Tunic de Vinci.

AVONIS
I don’t care if it’s a golden tunic, I have some rules that I live by. Somewhere high on that list is never trust a man in a tunic.

Avonis holds his hand above his head measuring how high that rule is on his list. Jeronimo's in disbelief. He's looking around at the civilians walking around in tunics.

JERONIMO
Half the country's in a tunic!

AVONIS
My point precisely.

JERONIMO
Okay, well I have my own set of rules --

AVONIS
Rules number three. You don't get to make any rules, yet. You should be writing this down. There's a lot required from a witcher's squire if we're ever going to travel the road together in the distant or not-so-distant future.

Jeronimo complies with his request and pulls out journal and pen.

AVONIS
Rule number four. You must learn my favorite tunes and be able to perform them on command. When I'm about to go into battle, if there's a particular ballad that amps me up and gets the blood pumping, and I say "Jeronimo! Ballad of a Dead Soldier!", you play it, and you play it hard. Can you do that for me?

JERONIMO
Well that's certainly negotiable but I still think we should --

AVONIS
Food. Rule number five. You can't just stop baking us treats now that I've taken you in off the street.

JERONIMO
You haven't exactly taken me off the street, it may be a shanty fit for a serf but I have a roof over my head.

AVONIS
Are you going to keep interrupting me or will you let me go over the rules with you? I think it's important that you review what's required of my squire.

JERONIMO
Again, squire? I like to consider myself more of a, as I told you, as the Toussaintois would call it, le gérant, your confidant, your political surrogate, your emissary or your overseer, whatever you prefer.

AVONIS
I don't like it, any of it, especially the last one. Rule number six, I am the alpha, and you're just a witcher's squire until I decide otherwise. You must prove your worth.

Even though Jeronimo was irked by the underbelly of the witcher's tone with his ridiculous terms and rules, the opportunity to "prove his worth" to anybody really, was exciting, and he made sure to underline those words in his writing. Jeronimo was a naive sort, but he wasn't a complete imbecile. Avonis and Jeronimo follow the winding path up the hill towards the city as the witcher rambles, making most of it up as he goes. Jeronimo writes it all down in his journal nevertheless, and at this rate, he was going to have a few pages filled before it was over. He didn't mind however, he viewed it as practice for lectures at the Academy and future interviews of the legendary figures he was destined to encounter on his escapades.
 
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