The story is about a young girl, of mixed decent, Elf and Druid, who is setting out on a search for her father, whom she does not know. I’m open for suggestions of a title.
The pub was dimly lit by candles, and the warm glow from the hearth fire. People were gathered at tables around the fire trying to gain a little warmth. It was a bitterly cold night, the winds howling out of the northern mountains. The pub keeper, Faroje, knew just about everything that went on in the small village, manipulating it to his advantage at every opportunity. Faroje was a heavyset man, greasy black hair matted across the top of his head. Dressed in an unkempt dirty set of clothes, complete with stained smock and pantaloons. He had one eye covered with a patch, and was missing most of his teeth, giving him a ghoulish look. He was known for being hard of hearing, just as he intended to be. Often acting as if he hadn’t heard a customers order, causing them to repeat their request just a little louder. Because of it, many a patron had spoken more loudly than they should have about their current endeavors, believing Faroje couldn’t hear them.
Tirashar, had stepped into the pub, and directly to the side of the doorway. Trying to stay in the shadows, she wanted to get a view of those present, and a feel for the activity of this gathering place. She watched closely as men milled around the fire, so inviting the flames were. She held herself still, striving for immobility. She had found many a time that just by being still, many people would never noticed her presence. She was cold and desperately wanted to close the distance to the fire simply for the warmth it promised. Fighting back the temptation, she pulled her cloak closer, and continued her visual reconnaissance of the pub. Past times had proven to her the value of being aware of everything and everyone in any particular place.
Her cloak, she often thought of it as her thieves cloak, casting shadows over her smooth yet angular facial features. The errant strands of fine coral hair that frequently cascaded down around her face added to the shadows. The intelligent, penetrating eyes, blue green with a hint of grey that added a silvery sparkle, intently scanned the room. Tirashar was a slender, well shaped young lady of Elfin Nordic decent, sharing characteristics of each. The facial features and slightly pale, almost grayish shin tone were distinctly Elfin. While many of her body features, taller and more robust than any Elf, were discernibly of the Nordic traits. The long nearly floor length cloak hid all shape or form from its viewers, making it difficult to even determine what gender stood before them, just as Tirashar liked it.
Faroje had a steel trap of a mind, with a nearly perfect memory for faces and names. When he saw the person standing just inside the door to his pub, he was immediately curious as to the identity of this new arrival. He had never seen this one around before, and he/she was acting suspicious, as if trying to hide something. Patience my friend, he thought to himself, they all come to get some grog or ale eventually, you’ll have your chance to “interrogate”. Faroje had a method of questioning people, so subtle they seldom knew he was doing it. Information was his true bread and butter, although none of his patrons would ever know it.
Tirashar took mental note of each person she saw, evaluating what she thought their capability and profession. There was an older man with a woman at a table not far from the fire, eating; obviously a village resident. A lone man, tall and muscular, with wavy black hair, and a chain mail coat nearest the bar, most likely a soldier or mercenary. Two more men, obviously herders, sitting beside the fire, enjoying a mug of ale each. A lone Dwarf, loud and obnoxious telling stories of the mines. A woman who looked absolutely bored to death, listening to the Dwarf. Tirashar’s eyes settled on the filthy slob behind the bar, gauging him to be a slimy scoundrel, out for anything to line his pockets with gold.
Tirashar moved to the far end of the bar, where she had a good view of the door and the fire. Faroje stepped over, leaning across the bar. “Whatcha want ta drink?”
“I’ll take an amber ale if you have any. Do you serve food in this establishment, or just spirits?”
“We have venison, mutton, or beef, along with some potatoes and wild onions. Perhaps you would like a stew, it’s been a simmering most the afternoon. Of course that is if you have means to pay for it.”
“I can pay don’t worry, I’ll have the venison.”
“Sorry, I couldn’t hear ya. Whatcha say?”
Tirashar grinned, under the hood of her cloak, old fool, “The venison.” Just a tad louder, but not so loud anyone could hear, other than Faroje.
“Tabitha you scrawny worthless wench get out here and busy about the cooking.” Faroje yelled in the direction of the back room. “You should be a-waitin on people to make their requests, instead of expecting me to do it”
A slight young girl, in a clean neat dress, scurried out of the back room, tripping on a patrons extended foot as she came. The patron exclaimed loudly and spat some indistinguishable profanity at her.
“Wench, watch where your walking, and keep those dammed clumsy feet away from my customers. What I keep your useless arse around for I’ll never know.” Faroje bellowed at her.
Tabitha was skinny, and walked with her shoulders hunched forward in a self protective nature. Dark thick hair tied up on the back of her head, a few stray strands escaping to dangle wildly around the sides of her somber face. Her pallid brown eyes guarding a story of abuse and suffering. “What would you like?” Tabitha said in a timid, soft, yet soulful voice. Looking at Tirashar, she thought she saw a glint of silver from her hidden eyes and just the slightest smile.
“I’ll take the venison Tabtiha, take your time, I’m in no hurry to get back out into the cold.”
Tabitha shoved a large upside down metal pot, hung by chain from a swiveling stanchion, over the fire. Letting it stay there for a while, she busied herself with tenderizing the venison. Placing the venison on a large round block of wood, fairly abused from long use, and pounding it with a needled mallet. She then threw it in a pan of seasonings, mashing and turning it with her hands. After a few moments, she pulled the upside down pot from over the fire, and threw the slab of venison on its slight, convex surface. There was an immediate sizzle, and wisps of steam rose from the meat. The vicinity near the pot filled with a fragrant aroma, pleasing to the nose, and tempting to the palate. Tabitha let it sizzle for a few moments, searing the one side, then flipped it, and let the other side get its fair share of the sizzling.
“Leave it bleeding just a little Tabitha, it surely smells good.” Tirashar said with a gentle tone.
Tabitha spooned a generous helping of potatoes and onions from a pot near the fire onto a plate, and turned around to the grilling pot, and forked the venison steak onto the plate. Sliding the plate in front of Tirashar, Tabitha stepped back to watch as the first bite was sliced of and tested for taste. Tirashar nodded her head appreciatively, and reached inside the pouch on her belt. Withdrawing a small gem stone, she handed it to Tabitha, “The finest venison I’ve had in a long time”. Tabitha’s face glowed with appreciation of the compliment as she reached out for the gem.
Faroje, moving with surprising speed for his girth, came from around the bar, grabbing Tabitha’s wrist. He squeezed with excruciating pressure as he forced her to release the small gem into his hand. Shock, pain, and fear wrote its detestable story across Tabithas face, bringing tears to her eyes “Wench, any baubles you receive while here, belong to me, don’t ever forget it.”
Tirashar moved with lightning speed, astonishing all the patrons. In the blink of an eye she was behind Faroje, grasping his head and pulling it around to the side by his chin while holding it against her shoulders. The hood of her cloak falling back exposing her coral hair and fine intense features. A vicious glint of blue reflected from her narrowed glaring eyes. The firelight glinted off her razor sharp dagger, long thin and serpentine in shape, that had seeded to appear from nowhere, and run up along the back of his neck to the side where the head joined the neck. “Release her you old fool, before I drive this blade through the base of your fat filthy head and scramble your worthless, greedy brains.”
The mercenary stood, and moved toward Tirashar menacingly. “You’d be wise to release him woman. There is no way out of here that you don’t have to get past me.”
“There may not be, but you could have trouble dealing with her while pulling an arrow from the back of your own neck.” A stern melodic voice said from the doorway.
Turing, the mercenary saw a slender Elf, with blond, nearly white hair, and deep blue intimidating eyes. Bow drawn, arrow knocked and obviously ready to let fly. The mercenary sat back down, keeping an eye on the newcomer. Tirashar wondered where he had come from, but was thankful for the stranger’s presence.
Faroje released Tabitha’s wrist with a grumbled curse. “You’ll regret this woman, I’ll make you pay for the dishonor you have given me. Just you wait, and see. I’ll kill you one way or another, I swear it will be slow and painful, the most painful you could imagine.”
Tirashar maintained her hold on Faroje, applying the slightest pressure from the tip of her dagger, causing a trickle of blood to run down the back of Faroje’s neck. “Tabitha, you had better get your things together, you won’t be safe here any longer, not that you ever were I assume. I’ll take you with me, you can be my cook.”
A light came back to Tabitha’s eye’s as she spat in Faroje’s face, and turned to get her things from the back room. There wasn’t much, not even a cloak for warmth, nor any shoes. She didn’t care though, she was going to be free of this man finally, and she would gladly face the cold of the night. This was the chance she had been dreaming of. Tabitha strode out of the back with a purposeful proud posture, no longer the subdued subject of misery. “I’m ready.”
Tirashar manipulated Faroje around the room toward the door, keeping a safe distance from the mercenary, and watching all the other patrons. The Dwarf had an intelligent inquisitive, almost amused look on his face. He kept his seat, but watched with rapt attention and amusement as events unfolded. Somehow Tirashar knew he was amused at Faroje’s discomfort, not her actions. As she got close to the door, the Elf stood to the side for her, and she backed out slightly. Striking Faroje fiercely with the hilt of her dagger, knocking him unconscious, she turned to run for her horse. Surprised, she found her bay mare beside the door with a large white stallion.
The Elf released his arrow, striking the mercenaries leather cuff of the chain mail, effectively pinning him to the table. Turning he joined Tirashar, “We’d better get out of here, they’ll be after us quick enough”. They both mounted their horses, and Tirashar pulled Tabitha up behind her. As they raced from the village, Tirashar wondered who this Elf was, he wasn’t from her tribe.
**To Be Continued - Part 2 Darfrain's Confrontation**
Friday Fantasy - Tirashar's Story by Eric K. Schweer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at smalltownmountainboy.blogspot.com.
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