Fetch's tavern was filling up in spite of her. People streamed through the door, stared at her with dismay, then reluctantly ordered. They wouldn't stay long. Alora dipped her bread in the stew. She watched the crowd as she idlely wondered how many times her bread had hit the floor before being served. She thought of another blinding piece of logic.
These people would buy slaves from Behrin and be thrilled he had brought business to their town. He would become more powerful and slaves more popular until one day he showed up at their door and rounded them up to be sold like cattle themselves. She took another sip of her ale.
She didn't have a lot of tolerance for Behrin. There was something in him tough to buck, like a man whose framework was stone with a patching of skin. What left a bitter taste in her mouth was his tendency to view other people as something to be bought or sold at a profit.
And maybe he'd convinced himself that the coin was just too good to pass by but she believed that in the deep recesses of the stone he called a heart he really believed that those around him were...less. Beasts that walked and talked with nothing more than dumb intelligence.
She viewed him as the type of person who went through life with the attitude that everything he saw was there for his own personal benefit. And,somewhere along the line, he'd decided she would benefit him very well. She hadn't been able to figure out why.
Alora took another sip of her ale and listened to the boisterous crowd behind her.
For awhile he'd followed her around like a stray she'd mistakenly fed but she hadn't seen him in quite a while. He'd probably gotten too busy once he'd decided he was a god and everyone else was a commodity.
She finished her stew and thought about asking for another ale when she heard Behrin's voice behind her. It was as if her thoughts had given form to that particular monkey on her back. She slid off her stool,tankard in hand. Without looking around, she propped herself against one of the pillars by the wall. She was grateful for the shadows.
Behrin glanced around the crowded tavern and allowed himself a smile. There was nothing quite like the sight and sound of prospective buyers. Before the night was over these rubes would buy him and his men all the food and ale they wanted. They would give him the fucking moon in a handwoven basket if he so desired. Nothing was too much. Sometimes he would lay awake at night and see these faces, an endless parade of adoration, gazing up at him.
It hadn't always been that way. Growing up, his mother and father had been afflicted with a bad case of the have-nots and he'd been as welcome as a plague of locusts. From the time he could walk he had toddled after his father's long, determined strides. Through the strange nuances of a child, he knew this...god...was responsible for everything around him.
But that had changed as Behrin grew older. The man he'd worshipped when he was younger never called him by his name. It was always "that spook-eyed, lily white peckerwood". That had burned in him late at night and kept him awake into the wee morning hours.
His mother had been nothing but a shack shored up by his father's anger and one night Behrin had heard his father bellow, "That boy ain't mine! Not that spook-eyed shit! He looks like the underbelly of a worm!" That was when he had begun to hate his father.
Surprisingly, hate had made everything easier. Behrin saw his father for what he was. A broken down stranger. Tapped out and made as mean as rat shit by what he could never have. His mother had been a non-entity. She'd brought him food and cleaned his clothes. She would occasionally touch his hair, like a beggar snatching bread, before scurrying away. Behrin didn't mind. She served her purpose. She was as diligent as Prissy, his father's work mule.