Zach Bunyan sat down and drank his large root beer flask. Beside his trusted friend and companion Blue the ox. She was called blue as she was a rare breed called blueberry oxen. Some say only four-hundred roam the land of Root Beer. The giant hummed as he enjoyed his meal, a tuna sandwich in the Birch Beer Forest. The forest was relatively peaceful after the countess of Birch Beer Zenantha and her troops routed a spider force. As such farmers, woodsmen, and travlers passed by Bunyan. He waved hello and with that the people continued along the road.
Indeed the giant had decided to visit Birch Beer and enlist briefly as a mercenary. As even though the spiders had been vanquished other threats still roamed the area. Bunyan remembered it like yesterday.
*Inside the Bread Loaf Bunkhouse*
The bunkhouse was like any other bunkhouse in the land. Save for their many well renowned loaves of bread. Such as the Dragon's Loaf which used the infamous Kaxumeg (Kax-u-meg) pepper which was grown in the hot sauce realm. From the town of Kaxumeg's Breath and was tended by the sacred hot sauce dryads. Normally such food was regulated and even protected by dryads. However since the owner of the bunkhouse was a retired dryad adventurer and for a time a soldier named Wallerana. The friery haired and short tempered dryads aloud her to have the pepper. From time to time they even gave it in a barrel which Wallerina would mix with root beer. A drink which she called the Kaxumeg Beer.
Only the bravest or those that hailed from hot sauce would dare request it. Bunyan laughed as he somewhat frequented the bunkhouse the first time he requested the drink. He almosted drained the well the bunkhouse keeper joked. Bunyan was not laughing and quenched more and more tankards of water. He even felt at the time this drink was actually a fire poison. Most in the place ignored the giant and did their own thing. Save for a shady or mysterious looking cloaked figure. Wallerana said that a hooded man was watching Bunyan. With the kaxumeg gone the giant nodded and paid the dryad keeper one kilocalorie. The hooded figure looked to be in his mid twenties or early thirties at most. He gestured for the giant to sit. His piercing blue eyes examining the giant.
Especially the large ax he had at the ready. Bunyan placed it carefully beside the table. "Can I help you friend of secrecy" Bunyan laughed jollfully. The man pulled down his grey scarf which covered his nose and mouth. He motioned a half-pint waitress who just recently joined the bunkhouse. The man ordered a birch beer and one Royalty Ginger Ale for Bunyan. Bunyan raised an eyebrow ginger ale was expensive, royalty was another thing entirely. The half pint whose name was Angelica wrote it down on her list and said since he was spending over ten kilocalories. A free loaf of bread was on the house. After about ten minutes just sitting in silence the violet hair short teenager had the birch beer, ginger ale, and bread loaf all one a brown clay ceramic plate. It was easy to tell which was which. As the tankard of ginger ale was a fine golden colored drink and the birch beer was a dark black. After Angelica gave them their drink she placed the bread in the middle. Bunyan gave the girl a single calorie, the secretive man also gave a single calorie. With the food and drink at the table the man introduced himself. After pulling down his hood Bunyan saw that he had green hair like the leaves in spring. "My name is Rinranar (Rin-ran-ar) ranger, runner, and courier". Now Bunyan understood why the man was so secretive. All rangers of root beer started as orphans who would be rescued and adopted by the Burglar Brother And Sisterhood.
Though many just called them the Burglars Group for short or just burglars. They would then learn how to move in the shadows. Go undercover, steal, and even if the needed arised assassinate their targets. However that was very rare as Assassin Guilds still existed in many parts. Bunyan could tell it was a dyed hair as it was an almost too perfectly green color. Rinranar laughed when he could tell the giant was examining him. "I'm a blonde but all rangers rescued by the burglars dye their hair". Bunyan laughed again and raised his tankard of ginger ale nearly gulping the drink in one sitting. "What is the problem or did you buy this giant a fine tankard of ginger ale out of kindness". The ranger smirked and told the situation.
He was an agent of the countess of Birch Beer. The land was known for as you can guess their vast supply and production of birch beer. Though the land was also known for highwaymen, thieves, cuthroats, and riff-raff. Rumors spoke of even darker things as reports and more rumors talked of the cult of Diet Root Beer. "Diet Root Beer" Bunyan said a little too loudly. The bunkhouse went eerily quiet, some blessed themselves or said a prayer to their gods. Angelica even dropped her tray which carried some type of regular drink. The wooden tankard pouring the charcoal colored drink on the wooden floor.
Rinranar said that his friend was just joking and even offered to buy all fifty-seven people in all a regular tankard as it was called on the house. "Make it a root beer tankard" shouted an aged and grey-bearded dwarf loudly. "So be it" grinned the ranger as he handed the waitress a sack full of kilocalories she examined the silver coins which had been minted with the image of the countesses father Count Raldom. When Bunyan saw the coin and the count he raised a glass to the former count. As it was not a secret he died fighting a large force of cultists. In fact it was so large with hundreds and some even say thousands on each side. That the cult had lost all of its members in all of Birch Beer. It was a costly fight militia, adventurers, soldiers, and even the count laid slain. While the new countess was a fairly good and just leader so far. She was only an average commander being only fourteen years old. As she was the last remaining member of the house of birch beer. She listened to her knights and military advisors giving speeches. Then chasing fleeing forces with her knights and bodyguards. Still she was a decent speaker and gave the militias enough courage to fight on. Rinranar also raised a toast to her and said the giant would have to enlist as a mercenary. Bunyan shook the rangers hand and laughed again at the tactics of the ranger.
He had been infact pressed ganged as he took what many would call a noble's tankard. He looked down and saw the silver coin at the bottom of his drink. Being a warrior at heart the giant did not mind and said he would make his way toward Birch Beer town which was near the castle. Called Birch Castle. "See you around giant and where do you hail from" the ranger asked curiously or so Bunyan could tell by his tone. "Root Beer Float" said Bunyan smiling. Root Beer Float was a walled city built around the snow peaked mountain of Float Mountain. It was a bitterly cold place and snowed year round. The people and giants made a drink called a Root Beer Float which was a simple root beer. Which would be poured in the tankard. Then a special snow which was called Vanilla snow was plopped right into the tankard. Course it wasn't actually snow but folk now from Float mountain just called it that. Bunyan watched Rinranar nod then head out the bunkhouse doors.
He listened and watched as the bunkhouse visitors and regulars did their own activities. Some carried their supplies and luggage up to the second floor where the rooms and boarding was. Others danced with each other or on tables. Briefly before the nymph told them to get down from the table. Some tested their strength with a game of arm wrestling. Bunyan headed out towards the stables where Blue was staying. The ostler said the oxen was well behaved and even the horses and one cockatrice looked and played curiously with the oxen. A cockatrice was named after the fable beast of time since forgotten. It looked like a cream color hen just giant sized with a grey serpent-like tail. It was not poisonous like the creature it was named after and could not paralyze a foe as well. It did however have a beak that could slice through fairly tough armor and talons in battle. Would be equipped with the green metal known as Burdiorn. This common but deadly metal when forged by smiths. Could slice an enemy be or human, beast, or wild animal in two of half. Burdiorn could also be forged into armor. While fairly expensive burdiorn armor and shield were some of the best armor in Root Beer.
The rider of the cockatrice a half-elf woman with silver hair. Complimented Blue saying "Beautiful oxen giant". Bunyan said thanks and the burdiorn-mailed woman rode off along the road. It was getting late along the Long Road and many began to step out of the bunkhouse. Where they presumably would return home to the village of Wheat Village or travel on inside and through the Birch Forest. While many feared the night and the forest itself at night. Blue and Zach Bunyan just followed the road and headed towards the forest.
*End of Flashback*
After nearly a day and a half along the road which was now more uneven. Bunyanm and his loyal oxen almosted reached the edge of the forest where the grand castle and town would greet them. Even in the morning hours the Birch trees blocked the sun giving this place a gloomy dim lit forest. As the spiders of root beer and even all animals of this mythical place are intelligent. Some even having the knowledge to speak spiders head and legs had been nailed on some trees or wooden stakes as a warning. It even gave the giant the shivers. When asking some of the traders they said that was the countesses idea. It seemed to work as spider ambushes or reprisals had been non-existant. Still soldiers and militia's from time to time could be seen patrolling the forest. The militiamen armed with whatever they could afford. Which seemed always to be an axe or spear with a wooden shield.
Though the more veteran or wealthy had leather armor and short swords. They would march towards Fort Trapper which was more of a small walled fur trade post. Than a fort or guardhouse. The furs ranged from skittish yet abundant game known as Feringo (fer-ing-go). Whose meat made good venison, antlers made good combs and horn for musicians, and fur was warm and for the winter time. Along with the second abundant animal the Goopossum (Goo-p-oss-um) which when facing a potential threat. The large pink nosed and scaily tailed rodent would play dead haning from the birch trees. Though when it noticed the presence of hunters that were not animals it hid in the holed lairs they dug high atop the tree. Goopossums seemed to understand animal hunters could be fooled. Those walked on two legs not so much. Another edge they had was they were nocturnal and the human hunter from Birch Beer lacked sharp eyes or most at least. Other game also called this forest home not in the numbers of two said game however.
Finally Bunyan reached the clearing of the forest. He shielded his eyes as they adjusted to the warm sun's glow. Birch castle stood proudly inside the town; it flags high and blowing slightly with the breeze. The large stone wall and gate with burdiorn portcullis looming over the traders, adventures, and traverlers entering inside the town. "Here's to the mercenary life Blue" the oxen mooed with delight and excitement.
Well Here's The New Story I Hope You Enjoy It. Would You Have Taken The Rangers Ginger Ale?