She held him enthralled. She was quicker with a sword than anyone he'd ever known and she commanded fear and wore it as casually as a hand-me-down. And she knew(she knew!) what he'd long suspected about himself but had never acknowledged.
Her eyes made him think of thin ice. Black ice. Seemingly safe to walk upon until you fell through into unforeseen blackness. What waited in that darkness was the secret that he thought that he, and he alone, kept close to his heart.
Down in that blackness waited a little boy, white as a ghost and scared to death to play grown-up games. Down there, there weren't any warlords. Or slave owners. Just a little boy that wanted to grab all the toys for himself.
(Yes,he wanted to burn her for the demon she was and he wanted to fuck the woman she pretended to be. He screamed and ran when she walked his dreams but oh god, he'd follow her anywhere)
She was a paradox his mind couldn't grasp and it made him aware of the little boy inside him more than ever. What truly frightened him though...what lay closest to his bones and wrapped his heart tight...was that if by some off chance he wasn't that little boy...she had the power to make him into one.
His eyes scanned the tavern until he saw her propped in the corner by the back wall, near one of the pillars. He couldn't see her face. It was hidden in shadows. He saw only her legs, one foot on the floor and the other against the wall, her knee cocked.
He smiled as he watched the leg slowly straighten and the balance shift from the wall to the floor. It was like watching a fox scent a well-hidden snare. She knew he was there. She just hadn't decided what to do about it.
Alora figured it was time to head over to the Livery and check on Loki. Most definitely an inspired idea. Behrin's glassy eyes had found her ( just as she knew they would). With a heavy sigh she started for the doors. She knew she wouldn't be able to walk by him without being stopped by some witty repartee.
He'd dogged her trail last winter until she thought she'd go mad. He'd stayed just out of reach, always across the grasslands or on a ridge. And he'd watched her. She had the ability to read minds and emotions but it wasn't something she liked to do. She regarded it more as a party trick than anything. She liked to be able to pull out words that shocked or amazed but with Behrin she'd made a serious effort when she couldn't give him the slip.
She'd come away from the experience more confused than ever and, from that point on,she'd watched him closely. She was never quite sure if he wanted to give her a warmer blanket when she bedded down at night or kill her while she slept. He'd abruptly disappeared one day and she'd promptly forgotten about him.
She walked over and set her tankard down on the bar by the untouched coins. She felt the way Fetch had looked earlier upon her arrival in the tavern and she now regretted her earlier urge to laugh at his discomfiture.
"Way trots back to way, for soul." She suddenly thought,the words giving her a nasty jolt. She'd forgotten her language but bits and pieces of it occasionally floated to the surface. It gave her the eerie impression of the dead speaking inside her mind.
It was an expression that meant things always came full circle and while that was certainly true she'd never understood why it had to happen all at once on really shitty days.
Behrin watched her approach. An odd expression flitted across his bland face. He realized that she planned on slipping by without sparing him a glance. He looked to his left and saw one of his men seated at the bar. He reached over, grabbed the man's tunic, and thrust him into Alora's path like so much deadwood.
She stopped and stared at this obstacle who looked back at her wide-eyed and stunned at no longer finding himself seated at the bar.
"Well now,that just makes two of us." She thought,exasperated.
(Yeah,sometimes way trots back to way like a stupid dog will chase its tail until it falls down dizzy and why the fuck couldn't he leave her alone?)
She took a quick step back and reached over her shoulder and grasped the hilt of her sword. The blade cleared the scabbard with an eager hiss. She leveled the tip against the man's chest. A quick burst of admiration skipped over her as he stood his ground.
"Have him move or I'll kill him."
She glared at Behrin as he lounged back against the bar. This was nothing but bare-boned meanness. An exhibition of what the biggest bully could make everyone do and she realized that she'd been sucked in by her own too-quick anger.
The tavern fell silent. She could clearly hear the noise on the outside street. She waited.
"You're goin' straight to hell." Jacky Kath informed Fetch in a queer, little voice before promptly throwing up across the bar. Fetch lay his head down on his arms on a clean spot of planking. He was convinced he was already there.