“Are we the first back you think?” Freyja asked of her cloaked companion. Her feral bright eyes scanned the fast drinking crowd as the sun cast the last of it’s light through the murky windows.
“I will get us repast if you find a table.” Wynter pushed her way to the bar and beckoned the innkeeper for assistance.
Freyja shoved her way to an empty table and smiled brightly at the man who tried to claim it first. He ran. She sat with her back to the wall and propped her booted feet on the sticky wood of the bench alongside.
Jarod open the door, his arm in a sling as he approached the bar to order the first drink he had had in three weeks. He could almost taste the bitter brew floating across his taste buds and salivated at the thought.
“Good evening,” Wynter greeted the newcomer to their group with her quiet formality.
“Hey!” Jarod grinned widely, “Ye are back. How went it all?”
“We shall apprise you all of the situation when everyone gets here. Brynhilde should be arriving any moment, and Elijah not far behind.”
The door crashed open with an echoing bang and a tall, curvy woman with red hair tied up in a heavy coil strutted within.
“Speaking of…” Jarod gestured with his tankard of ale.
“Come on, let us go find Freyja. Here…take these…” Wynter handed him two tankards brimming with frothing ale.
“Yep,” Jarod slapped his now full gut, the remnants of his meal scattered before him. “Didn’t take much to convince those assholes to head back to work.”
“Well done,” Freyja nodded in approval, taking a deep draught of her tankard.
Elijah scowled, and tapped a finger in angry staccato against the side of his tankard, sending the untouched contents into ripples.
Bryn smiled smugly. “Never had so much fun on mine. Beginning…to end.”
Wynter peered thoughtfully at their silent companion.
“What about you, Eli?”
He was silent for a moment, before looking up, the barely healed bruises and new scars evidence of his ordeal.
“It didn’t go so well.”
Silence met the statement as the cheer from the table dulled.
“I took Nualia to be..rehabilitated. She tried to seduce me and I said no.”
“She beat the hell out of me…and carved a bloody great chunk of flesh. The tattoo…” He showed the bandaged wound.
“Damn…” Freyja shook her head sympathetically.
“You let a woman beat you?” Bryn smirked as she leaned back in her chair.
Wynter cast her a dark look, before shifting in her chair. “Where is she? Nualia?”
“I don’t know.” Eli’s hand whiteknuckled on his tankard.
“Who is Nualia?” Jarod asked, bewildered.
“Complicated.” Freyja shrugged.
“Really complicated. I vouched for Nualia with the General.” Eli took his first deep draught of ale.
“Shit.” Wynter slumped back in her chair.
“Yeah,” Eli agreed.
“The General is gonna be pissed.” Bryn wrinkled her nose.
“Yeah.” He drained his tankard.