Chapter 0:

The Bounty Hunters

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)


"Hurry up boy! Where's my drink at!" a man shouted, slamming his fist to the table.Bookmark here

"In a second!" a young boy, only a decade old, was seen running around the place with both hands carrying trays of wooden mugs and plates.Bookmark here

He could barely catch a break thanks to the adults around him, shouting and calling, as they demanded his attention to fill up their mugs with ale or to bring food to their table.Bookmark here

The BoarHog Tavern was lively that night just like any other night. The lone tavern smacked right in the middle of a forest had always been a lay-by for passing scums. Bandits, thugs, assassins, highwaymen, and all sorts of living filth would gather at this place to drink and gamble their worries away.Bookmark here

"Here's your drink sir," the boy spoke, putting three mugs of lukewarm ale on the table. The three huge men occupying said table stared at him meanly. Bookmark here

"About time," one of them said, seizing a mug as he chugged down its content violently.Bookmark here

"Now fetch us some food!" the other pushed the small boy, as he fell face first to the floor. The three of them laughed at the kid's misfortune and continued their loud conversation. Bookmark here

The boy slowly got back to his feet while cursing the three fellow under his breathe. He wiped his bleeding nose with his cloth all the while holding back tears. Bookmark here

"What are you doing slacking off!" a voice shouted, coming from a burly man standing behind the bar counter.Bookmark here

"Get out and clean that pathetic face of yours or you can forget your family's dinner tonight!"Bookmark here

The boy obeyed without much question, heading straight outside to wash his face at the Tavern's well.Bookmark here

As he pulled a bucket of water out of the well, a mysterious figure suddenly appeared amidst the forest shadows. The little boy did not react nor was he even surprised to see the figure standing in front of him.Bookmark here

"Hard day kid?" the figure asked, his heterochromia eyes stared sharply at the boy; left eye blue, right eye brown.Bookmark here

The boy nodded silently as a response for his previous question. Satisfied, the figure left the shadows of the woods and slowly approached the boy, as the bright moonlight unveiled the figure's identity for the whole world to see.Bookmark here

He was a fit-built man of six feet in height, noticeable muscularity though not as beefy as the bulky juggernauts inside the tavern. His duster was left unbuttoned revealing a light studded leather armour beneath it. Bookmark here

Rows of throwing knives and two peculiar looking pistols dangled on the man's belt, but his most recognizable feature was the cavalier hat he wore. Instead of a feather, a mummified raven was accessorized on it, lying on its stomach with its wings wide open on the hat's flat surface top.Bookmark here

"Whatever it is, you better be right about your boss kid, as well as everyone else in there-" The man took out and opened a scrolled paper, showing the boy a wanted poster of a criminal.Bookmark here

"-or else your night will get even harder."Bookmark here

"Don't worry," the boy assured, "I know him long enough. He's definitely the man you're looking for."Bookmark here

With that, the mysterious fellow disappeared into the wild tavern as the little boy watched.Bookmark here

"Well, well, well, if it isn't the infamous Jakob Fow-" Bookmark here

BANG!!!Bookmark here

The sound of gunshot silenced the otherwise loud tavern. Moments later, a huge commotion occur inside as everyone drew out their weapons and charged at the individual who fired the pistol. Bookmark here

The boy watched in awe at the silhouette of the fight from afar. One by one he saw shadows of big men fall from being stabbed and shot. They all tried ganging up on the mysterious fellow but he was too swift for them to land a hit. One fellow got thrown straight out of the window, another got kicked out through the door, and one was trying to escape from the place only to be dragged back in. Bookmark here

Minutes passed and the place became quiet. No more sounds of clashing blades nor screaming drunkards were heard. Bookmark here

"He must have killed them all," the boy thought to himself, and he was right. Bookmark here

The front door swung open, and the mysterious man showed up dragging a dead body in which the boy immediately recognized. It was his boss, the person he despised the most.Bookmark here

"Well kid, you're right about Mr Burton. He's definitely the guy I'm looking for," the stranger spoke, handing the boy a small sack off gold, "This should be enough to feed your family for a year."Bookmark here

The boy looked at the sack of gold happily.Bookmark here

"Thank you so much sir!" Bookmark here

"Nah, I should be thanking you instead," the man spoke, slowly disappearing into the woods, "and don't call me 'sir', those are for knights. My name is Jakob Fowlhunter."Bookmark here

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Hours passed and dawn finally arrived, cracking open the dark night sky with glimpses of first lights of the morning sun. The tranquility of the forest was disturbed by the sound of a moving wagon, speeding along the trail towards an unknown destination. Inside the wagon were several fresh corpses, a few days old at most, each packed neatly inside huge straw sacks. Bookmark here

The driver of the wagon was none other than Jakob Fowlhunter, Europia's (self-proclaimed) finest bounty hunter. Many criminals, big or small, man or monster, had fallen into his hand. Bookmark here

For some, he is no better than your average scum. His job was nothing more but a pitiful excuse to commit murder without being punished for it. For others, he brings justice when law itself had failed. Hunting down those that even the royal guards had failed or had no rights to capture.Bookmark here

As a bounty hunter, Jakob remains mostly neutral from any form of affiliations. Even so, one must be careful to not be in bad terms with the hunter, for no amount of status, nobility, power and even royal relations could ever save them from his hunt should things ever get personal. Bookmark here

For the right price, the mightiest knight will be fall. For the right price, the stealthiest spies will be found. For the right price, the most influential of lords will found themselves dethroned by a single bullet. For the right price, everything is possible for Jakob Fowlhunter.Bookmark here

But enough with backstories, for the infamous bounty hunter is currently having quite the economical crisis. One downside of his job is that your income solely depends on people screwing up with the law and unfortunately, not all folks are bad. Bookmark here

Hence, he is always on the road, visiting towns and villages, searching for new heads to hunt. And when he did found one, it would take some time to track and obtain his victim in the first place. Bookmark here

Because of that, he needed a partner to help share the burden of the hunt. Luckily for him, he already had one.Bookmark here

*BUMP*Bookmark here

Jakob put down his map rafter he felt the sudden bump that hit his wagon. He looked at his left where a hooded maiden greeted his sight.Bookmark here

"Good morning Jakob!" the maiden greeted cheerfully at him with her broad (and lacking a tooth near the middle) grin. Bookmark here

She settled herself comfortably beside Jakob and pulled down her hood revealing her wavy snow-white hair.Bookmark here

"Wow, this is the first time you're early eh Marie?" Bookmark here

"Pffft, since when have I not been on time," Marie answered proudly as Jakob subconsciously recalled all 101 moments of her not being on time, some even almost costed their lives.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, he was glad to see his partner being punctual once in a while.Bookmark here

"So, got any useful information to tell me."Bookmark here

"Nope, everyone's behaving well lately," she answered with slight disappointment in her voice, "and I couldn't find any lead to Robert De Philip as well."Bookmark here

"Although, I did saw a fierce battle between a bear and some wolves. It was epic I tell you!" Marie continued, sidetracking from the original discussion. Bookmark here

Jakob was mildly disappointed by the report and had no interest about the battle between the bear and the wolves. However, because there was nothing else to do, he decided to listen to his friend's story about the clash between the beasts. Bookmark here

"How about you though? Did anything interesting occur to you for the past few days?"Bookmark here

Jakob thought about it for awhile before answering her question with a simple 'no'. Thus, they continued their journey past the forest trails, heading to a nearby capital where they could cash in their work.Bookmark here

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That night Jakob and Marie had earned themselves a fortune of 300 gold. Normally, the average bounty for a criminal's head usually range around 30 to 50 depending on their crime. If they're lucky however, there will always be a cult leader or a murderous sorcerer whose deed was so notorious till their head would fetch extravagant prices up to a thousand and more.Bookmark here

Speaking of luck, the two would soon find themselves in a rather complicated situation amidst redeeming their hard earned gold. While waiting for the officials to confirm the identities of the bodies, Jakob found himself looking around the bulletin board trying to find more wanted criminals to hunt. He spotted a wanted poster containing a drawn portrait of two familiar individuals.Bookmark here

WANTED: 
Dead or AliveBookmark here

Name: ??? ( yet to be identified )
Bookmark here

Crime: Assassination of lords, destruction of properties
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Reward: 1000 gold each
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Apparently, the poster shows the portrait of them both.Bookmark here

"Heheh, those drawings look like our faces," Marie giggled as she pointed out the similarities.Bookmark here

Not long after, one of the officials approached them both with a sack of gold in his hands.Bookmark here

"We have confirmed the identity of the corpses you two sent us. As promised by the king's name, we would like to reward you two the gold prize for sending-"Bookmark here

"Yeah yeah, thanks for the money." Jakob interrupted as he snatched the sack of gold from the official's hand.Bookmark here

"Now if you'll excuse us, we have more business to attend to." He immediately grabbed and dragged Marie from her feet and made their way to the exit.Bookmark here

"Wait a minute! Aren't those two the same people as shown on that poster?" someone pointed out right before the two reached the main door.Bookmark here

Immediately, an armoured guard stopped the duo from moving any further. They turned around to find another way out but only to be blocked by yet another armoured guard.Bookmark here

"Sorry to interrupt mister, but we might have to inspect you and your partner here for awhile," the guard told them as he whistled for more guards to come and inspect the duo.Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, Marie stomped the guard's foot with all her might, crushing his toes and putting a dent on his sabaton. Her sudden action caught everyone in surprise, and with without a second to waste, Jakob grabbed his partner by her hood as they both scrambled away as fast as they could.Bookmark here

"GET THEM!!" one of the guards shouted.Bookmark here

And so, a game of cat and mouse ensued at what otherwise should have been a peaceful night for everyone involved. Jakob and Marie ran through many tight alleyways, climbing shops and houses, and jumping from rooftops to rooftops in attempt to confuse the town guards who were on hot pursuit. Bookmark here

This was not the first time they were stuck in this kind of situation, and this sure as hell won't be their last. Bookmark here

News regarding their whereabouts spread like wildfire. The authorities were on high alert as all of the town gates were ordered to close.Bookmark here

"Great, now what?" Marie asked as they both hid inside a haystack inside a horse cart.Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, a young looking fellow appeared amidst the shadows walking quietly towards their place. Apparently, he was the owner of the horse cart and was unaware of the two's presence inside the haystack. He innocently rode the cart and was about to move when he received a sudden knock at the back of his head. Bookmark here

"You know, we could've just threatened him to get us out of here," Marie pointed out as they both exit from hiding.Bookmark here

"Believe me, this plan will work out better," Jakob replied.Bookmark here

Immediately, they both carried out their 'plan' of escape. They removed the fainted man from the cart and shoved in some suspicious looking barrels inside the haystack. Jakob threw a lit match into it while Marie proceeded to whisper something to the horse. Once done, the horse started to move towards the main gate pulling along its cart.Bookmark here

The guards who were stationed at the main gate were surprised to see a riderless horse approaching the place while pulling a cart of burning hay. The guards hurriedly stopped the horse while their leader ordered them to grab buckets of water to put out the flame. Quickly and efficiently, they freed the horse from the cart and removed the burning hay as well. Bookmark here

However, as they separate the content of the cart, they discovered that hay was not the only thing burning inside it. Hidden beneath the stack of hay were barrels of gunpowder, engulfed in bright orange flames.Bookmark here

*BOOOOOM*Bookmark here

The cart exploded into a million tiny pieces.Bookmark here

The explosion caused quite a scene with injured guards and panicked horses. Nearby townsfolk were caught off guard by the event causing quite a commotion. Because of that, the authorities had to shift their attention from catching the wanted duo to calming the crowd down.Bookmark here

"We have everything under control! Everybody clear this area right now!" the guard leader ordered as his fellow guards shooed everyone away. Bookmark here

As the commotion goes on, the wanted poster of Jakob and Marie slipped from one of the guards' hand. The paper flew past the crowd unnoticed until it finally landed in front of a cloaked man. His hand reached out to the paper revealing an iron gauntlet that of a knight. He smiled beneath his visor as he read their names and the price they had on their heads.Bookmark here

"Well, I guess I 'av a foun' a solution ter our problem," the man spoke to himself.Bookmark here

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The explosion managed to cause quite the commotion among the townsfolk and local guards alike. Such excitement had successfully distracted all of them from the two wanted hunters who had already left the town through a sewage system that led all the way outside. Alas, the duo managed to escape from being executed for who knows how many times they had been doing this.Bookmark here

By the time they got out, the sun had already started to rise from the darkness of the night.Bookmark here

"Soooooo.... where are we going next?" Marie asked, squeezing out dirty water from her drenched clothes.Bookmark here

Jakob pulled out a scroll he carried containing a list of their wanted targets and their possible locations. Half of the list had been crossed out and their next target was a former mercenary, Robert De Philip, who was last seen travelling north. He is wanted for betrayal of the last lord he worked with and had formed his own small army to protect him from his enemies.Bookmark here

With his army of thugs and bandits, he managed to run a syndicate of robbing goods from passing merchants across various roads. Despite the risks, his head was worth 500 gold making him a top priority of the duo's hunt. Bookmark here

"Looks like we have to find a place to stay," Jakob suggested as he closed the scroll.Bookmark here

With that, the two of them journeyed north and hopefully, they did not get involved in any trouble at whatever town or village they will stumble upon.Bookmark here

But before that, they better find a river or a bathhouse because dang do their body stink.Bookmark here

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