Newcomers: Part 1 of 2

Hi all!

It’s going to have to be a two- (or perhaps three?) parter, I’m afraid (EDIT 19/02/18 – it’s a two parter!!), if I’m to get it in before tomorrow! Here is last Wednesday’s belated post (a short piece from my fantasy universe

) – and the second half of this story will come next Wednesday 🙂

It’s a bit rough (like a lot of my pieces seem to be these days…) but hope you glean some enjoyment from it.

.

Tia paused, a tankard in each hand, wearily eyeing the newcomers. Her dark hair stuck to the back of her neck in the heat, and she was sweating more than she should be.

She was not unused to strangers, drunks, or wayward hands and could handle them all. It was the lot of a bar maid, and the lot was heavier owing to the position of her parents’ inn being on one of the most travelled routes in and out of the kingdom.

But the two men sat at the round table in the centre of the room made her deeply uneasy, and a fear she seldom felt sent a chill sweeping down her spine. Conversations had quietened as soon as they had swaggered in, not even bothering to conceal the expensive, curved blades at their waists as true guards (the only ones who ought to be carrying such weaponry) would. In any case, they did not wear the uniforms of guards.

Tia wondered again if the weapons were stolen, and if they had overpowered guards to steal them, just how dangerous the men might be.

“Tia, come on now,” her father leant over the bar and whispered gently in her ear. “Just carry on, business as usual. Let’s hope they’re gone soon.”

Tia nodded, and tore her gaze away – they had been too preoccupied in their own conversation to notice that she had been staring – and went to serve a couple of men in one of the corners of the room. She recognised one of them, a brown-haired freckled young man who passed through the inn frequently, transporting both goods and people.

“Evening, Theo,” she smiled, placing both tankards down. “Evening, sir,” she added, nodding politely at the well turned out, older gentleman next to him. Theo was only a few years older than herself but had already made a name for himself as a safe and reliable driver, and was often accompanied by reasonably wealthy clients.

The older man, whose style of tunic, small turban, brown skin, shoulder length grey hair and short beard marked him as from the local area, was looking through narrowed eyes at the two newcomers when she addressed him. He gave a start and smiled at her. “Evening. Thank you.” His accent was refined. He took a sip of beer and resumed his distasteful glare.

“Theo, do you know them?”

Tia lingered, avoiding heading to that central table to take an order, to hear Theo’s response.

“No, sir,” Theo said. “But I think I know of them. There’s been rumours…”

.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Tomorrow will be a diary excerpt as per usual.

Ro x

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