Of course, trouble brews and miscreants linger in obvious sight. Behind Tyna's back, her right-hand man is scheming with the traitor from Acceptance, Eldin.
~ * ~Eldin slowly sipped the flat ale in his mug. The Spotted Pig reeked of ale, dirty bodies, and rotting fish. The musty smell of repeated flooding underlined the other scents. The disrepair and filth offended him, but the small town didn’t offer better than this waterside shack. Tonight the tavern filled with the crews of numerous small riverboats. Their dinghies lined the dock surrounding the building. Inside, the crowd offered anonymity, but he kept his back to the wall anyway. Arm wrestlers with their attending audience produced a rough cacophony that drowned conversation.
He felt lonely, isolated by his surroundings. Traitor, a weak inner voice lashed, but he ignored his guilt. In quiet moments like this, his deeds nipped at his conscience. King Clement offers more than I could ever gain in Kaereya. My future lies in Pertelon now, and I’m trained for the service the king requires. He sighed. That service and the constant travel stretched his physical capabilities. His lethargy testified to his fatigue.
One of his contacts had made the offer and entered the bar accompanied by the guide from the caravan, pointing the man to Eldin’s table. The guide searched Eldin, his eyes filled with an unflattering appraisal. Eldin felt his cheek twitch at the implied insult. Many made the mistake of equating size with manliness. The guide swiped his mouth on his hairy forearm before he walked to the table.
Eldin inspected the sloppy man who pulled out the bench across the table from him. A thick arm rose to hail a maid for service. Busy with other patrons, the waitress didn’t notice the beckoning hand.
“You’re Jebe?” He gave an equally dismissive look, but the man missed the slight, his attention focused on gaining the maid’s notice. Jebe only nodded his head once. “Does anyone know you’re here?” Eldin smiled but didn’t bother introducing himself.
“No. The girl’s grieving. She entered her wagon before I left.” Jebe waved again.
~ * ~