Fetch studied Behrin speculatively. He was someone who knew faces and the one before him spoke of a man who was hanging on to the tail of something he thought would keep him sane and it had turned around and bit him in the ass instead. Seems like Behrin had been stunned but Fetch somehow had the feeling it was an even trade. Six for one and half a dozen for the other.
Fetch had hoped he could talk Behrin into a private pre-sale before the priests caught wind of his religious faux-pas but now he was hesitant.
"Something ridin' him with one mean-ass pair of spurs." He thought as he took in the strange slight out of focus white eyes and the determined set of the other man's jaw.
"Nope. Nothing special. Not at all." Behrin murmured. One dirty fingernail picked at a splinter of wood on the rough bar planking. Fetch found a rag and began randomly wiping off bottles. It was a nervous gesture designed to make him look busy.
Behrin was a good patron. He was always free with his coins and tipped the wenches well but when you got right down to it, that ivory skin just about turned Fetch's stomach. And if that wasn't bad enough, there was that white blond hair that twined down on to his shoulders like a nest of worms and those strange pink-white eyes.
Fetch had seen horses like that. They were born the color of a baby's ass and most people knocked 'em in the head when they were born because they were too crazy to ride. Worse than an equistag. Maybe their brains were all white and smooth like a baby's ass too and that was why they didn't have enough sense to carry a saddle.
Fetch glanced up from his polishing to see if anyone needed refills and scowled. Jacky Kath had slid down a few stools until he was seated by Behrin. Fetch could tell by his half-closed eyes, that he was about to launch into dialogue. Shit. He'd forgotten all about tossing that old bottlenose out.
"Jacky...'bout time to call it a night don't you think?" Fetch asked. Sometimes this worked. Jacky gave him a wide, shit-eating grin. Fetch resisted the urge to lean across the bar and pop him one.
"Well now, I hope you ain't gonna be holdin' your breath waiting on ol' Fetch tomorrow to come round and look at your sluts." Jacky slurred. He sat on his stool like a man who knew he could be bucked off at any moment. His eyes fastened on Behrin's rum.
Behrin turned and studied Jacky Kath's scruffy exterior as if he'd just seen a large and particularly loathesome bug scribble across the bar.
"And if it were to matter...who are you? He asked, his voice cold. He knew damned well who it was,the resident boozer. There was always one in every bar.
"Jacky Kath. Pleased to meetcha." Jacky proffered one, liver-spotted hand. Behrin drained the rest of his tankard. He realized he was well on his way to becoming as drunk as a lord. He signaled for a refill and included one for Jacky, much to Fetch's disgust.
"He really don't need any more to drink." Fetch mumbled. He filled two tankards anyway.
Behrin shrugged. Either the stewbum would keel over, mercifully quiet, or he'd go around and tell everyone what a swell guy Behrin was and that he had the best slaves he'd ever seen even though he'd never clapped eyes on them. It didn't matter that Jacky's brain was so riddled with alcohol it resembled a large chunk of swiss cheese. Or that he couldn't tell the difference between a prime slave and a pimple on his ass. Free promotion was free promotion.
Jacky gulped down the rum and gave Fetch a disdainful glare.
"As I was sayin...don't expect ol' Fetch tomorrow." A large burp exploded out of Jacky's mouth. Behrin caught a whiff of ale, rum, and eggs. His stomach gave an uneasy kick.
"He'll be down at the Church with his bald head all polished handin out posies to the priests. Never should have let that demon slut in here. I told him that. He's been warned, ya know. Did your ma bathe you in buttermilk? I heard that'll cause skin to turn like that. Parents think it'll soften the skin but, before they know it, they got a little wormbaby that they can't stand to look at on their hands and..."
"Where is she?" Behrin's voice was strangely gentle as he interrupted Jacky's prattle. He scanned the room, his eyes eager. When had he last seen her? (Not long ago. Only forever) In his mind the sounds of the tavern faded. He was locked in his blackness and aware only of her. And the things he thought she knew.