Thursday, June 18, 2015

And the River, It Goes On--Part 8

The music in the inn was loud, and raucous, something Gregory Tyne actually found comforting for once.  First, it distracted from the truly woeful drink he was sipping.  Secondly, it let him avoid thinking of the Scarlet Shrikes rather dire financial state.  At least for any significant length of time.

Mosca flashed Bald Ben Braddock a resentful look.  "You know, if you'd just taken that contract from that Alts noble.."

Gregory sighed.  Apparently, he was alone in that talent.

Ben sipped his ale, and then calmly set down the cup.  "It didn't feel right," he said.  "So I didn't take it."  He leaned forward, and looked Mosca in the eye.  "Do you feel I should resign as captain, Master of Horse?"

Mosca coughed and looked away.  "Of course not, of course not, I just wished..."  He shook his head.  "Ehh, forget it.  It's the bad liquor and loud music talking."

"Forgotten," said Ben.

Eirene chuckled.  "Didn't that whole thing just scream out 'Goblin King' to you?  You know--Asterot Maganza, the guy who you all don't like."

Ben nodded.  "A good reason it didn't feel right.  The last time we worked for the Ebony Throne, it did not go well."

"What?" said Gregory.  "The attempt to cheat us, or the fact we had to flee the Shadow Woods?"

"Both, really," noted Ben.  He shrugged.  "It was a bad era for the Shrikes."

"So... what will we do if nothing comes up?" asked Mosca.  "I doubt the city watch is going to let us stay here once the money runs out."  He looked away.  "And I don't want to eat my shoes.  Not again."

"Something will come up," said Ben.  "It always does."

"Yes, but what if it doesn't?" asked Mosca pointedly.

The door to the tavern slammed open.  A short figure clad in an elaborate black and red dress with a headress that looked like some tremendous worm ambled in.  "Bald Ben Braddock!" declared Morgaine Cthonique.  She looked at the other officers of the Scarlet Shrikes.  "And... the rest of you guys!  Great seeing you..."  She walked to their table and sat down.  "How're the drinks here?" she asked Gregory.

"Terrible," he answered.

Morgaine turned and flagged down a barmaid.  "Maiden, I ask--nay, I demand--a pot of your fine ale!"  The girl stared at the Dark Lord for a moment, then darted off.  Morgain turned to Bald Ben.  "So... you remember how I told you your band was on our short list if House Cthonique ever had to change long-standing custom and hire mercenaries?  Well, the time has come to us, and so I have come to you."

Ben stared at her for a moment.  "You want to hire us then?"

"Correct," answered Morgaine, as the barmaid arrived with her drink.

"May I ask for what?" continued the Shrikes' captain.

"You may, but I may not answer," said Morgaine.  She shrugged. "Not here.  Rest assured it will be dangerous, but lucrative."

Ben considered it.  "So--you want to hire us for a job, but you won't tell us what.  At least not here." 

Morgaine gave another nod as she raised her cup.  "Once again correct."

Ben smiled quielty. "I'll have to talk it over with the men--but for now I accept/" 

"No bad feeling about this?" muttered Mosca.

"Not really," said Ben.  "That's why I accepted."

Morgaine spat out her drink.  "This is terrible."

"I told you so," noted Gregory. 

"Yeah, but I thought you were just... being funny," said Morgaine grimly.

"I wasn't," answered Gregory with a yawn

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