Every story starts somewhere. This one starts with a would be thief, some drunks in a tavern, a mysterious but kind stranger, and stroke of good luck. One must never take for granted a stroke of good luck.
The surrounding air was thick with smoke, whiskey, and drunken rumbles. As I listened to the men and few lone women who crowded in the tavern, I plotted. It was an overly crowded Tuesday night with rain drizzling outside. Seeing as there was nowhere to loiter and cause mischief anywhere else in the village, people were flocking here or the other local tavern. This was prime pick though. Why? Because people of a certain status convened here for a drink. Or poor women were selling their bodies to the rich bastards in hopes of feeding hungry mouths at home. I was neither rich enough to belong here nor desperate enough to let these men touch me. No, I was there on a different type of mission. It wasn’t half as honorable as those women.
Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t have two coins to rub together either. I was as poor as they came. I’d long run out of hope that my father would give a shit enough to actually try and provide for his family, and with mother dead, that left me to figure it out. My sister was too soft and needy to be counted on. She wasn’t strong enough to figure out what to do.
Thankfully, my sister was to be married soon. She would be fed and clothed properly then, and she’d be out of the line of my father’s constant rage. Sadly, her marriage was to one of the rich bastards that often purchased poor women for the night. I could only hope that little habit of his would stop when he wed Zuri. But Ezra was a piece of work. He’d probably impregnate her several times, and then leave her to tend a house full of children while he bought his night of entertainment. It was a shame. She was worth more than that even though we weren’t close.
I scanned my eyes around the tavern, waiting to make my move. The bar was growing darker as bodies cramped the space. I’d be right glad to get out of here. The less people that noticed me the better. I’d had to do this a few times too many lately. Eventually, they’d catch on.
As I waited, I was listening to conversations swirling in the cramped space. Each little snippet was overwhelming me more than the last. The voices slurred from the overindulgence of alcohol. They all competed for the loudest spot in the crowd. It was mer-tales in here tonight. Everyone had spotted the largest.
“Fae are gambling more and collecting life debts for unpaid money.” Doubtful. They’d kill us before they enslaved the meager little humans.
“Bastard on the edge of town is gonna be next, or so I hear.” This was probably true. My father was trash.
“Pilta isn’t as safe as it used to be… soon we won’t be allowed to live. We are on borrowed time.”I honestly wasn’t sure about this, but it gnawed at my gut. I didn’t know what I’d do if war was waged.
“At least we can’t go to Lavenia with all their fucking mutts and sluts. I’d rather die here than live with them.” Aww… the fear in that voice. I was fearful as well, but I heard that fae fed on fear. I wouldn’t ever show it.
I worked to reign in my focus. I needed to put a plan into action. I couldn’t stand to stay in this filthy company much longer. My eyes lingered on the liquor I wanted. Before I could decide my next move, a huge man slid in beside me. His scent was like honey and whiskey, but it burned into my senses like fire. I knew him all too well.
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