Tavern Gossip

Cara Newsman

UP: Great Lakes

    News from the darker side today. I was taking a break at a local tavern when I overheard an intense conversation from the table behind me. I leaned closer to the partition, mug of ale in hand, and listened quietly after flicking a curl of paint off my shoulder.

“This was a few nights ago mind you. Never seen her look that way before. Was like she’d gone and used all her power in one big burst, like she’d being doing that Sanctum spell again. Pale she was too, almost as pale as her hair. She seemed pleased though, like she’d finally made some breakthrough. Went in to her room right away and talked with HIM. Was no way I was going to stick around if she was going to be talking to HIM. Aaron stayed last time and no one’s seen him since. Just best to leave when she feels the need to talk to HIM.”

An errant breeze caused the candle at my table to sputter for a few moments while the man, whose name was Diggory, took another swig of his ale before continuing his tale. He made a rather disgusting slurping noise as he drank.

“She came in just last night looking all shook up too. Violent temper flaring up. Was really odd too, she’d stop and look in the mirror every now and then and touch her lips with her fingertips, a bewildered look on her face. Then she goes all mad again and starts throwing things across the room. I think her losing the stone to that Charon woman really got to her. Then having it smashed! Well, we all know that when HE gave it to her HE bound her to it in some sort of way to keep her honest. With it gone, she’s nowhere near as strong, least not till she recovers. But she’s got that fella around now who seems to just fill her up or something. Down right freaky if you ask me. If I were him, I’d be running for the hills. Ain’t one man still around, sane and whole what she took a liking to.”

The tavern went quiet for a moment as a woman entered. She was of an average height, tanned skinned with long white hair. Her eyes seem to take in the entire room all at once. Many folk tried to become one with the furniture or the walls. Her gaze fell upon Diggory. The young man flinched as the woman crooked her finger at him, then turned and left. I noted that her leathers were black tonight although I’d seen her in red ones as well.

“Coming Mistress Iryn.”

Diggory finished his ale, wiped the foam from his lip and hurried from the tavern. The light in the tavern seemed to return to normal. Conversations began again. I thought myself quite fortunate as I finished my own drink and slipped into the night, cloaked pulled close against the night chill. Or maybe it was an inner chill from the woman. In either case, I was glad to be back on the streets where it suddenly seemed much safer.