Leera slowly lifted her wooden mug for another drink. The mouth of the mug sat perched on her lips as she studied to room over the rim. Her pale eyes cut through the smoky haze that permeated the atmosphere. Slowly absorbing every detail about the tavern’s raucous patrons she swallowed a quick gulp and returned the mug to its resting place on the rough wooden table. She was content in her dark little corner, the sconce behind her head long burnt out that evening. Most passing patrons didn’t even notice she was there until they caught the sparkle of her eyes, like two jade stones gleaming slightly in the dark, reflecting the tavern’s temper. They shone with a dangerous light that would set any man back a pace or two.

She grimaced over the swill she had just swallowed. She was used to better, but ale was ale and she was not drinking it for the taste. Lifting the mug once more she let her gaze again drift over the crowd. Two men had begun shouting at one another near the bar. Both were tall, one stocky like a tree trunk, the other resembled a whip. The reason for the shouting was unknown to her but she had heard mention of a wagon and some horses. She sensed that things would soon turn ugly. She smiled wickedly. That sort of thing did not bother her; she almost enjoyed the foolishness of it. She began mulling over some magiks that she might apply to turn the situation to her advantage but she had taken too long. Treetrunk had shoved the Whip onto his rump who sat there seemingly dazed. She smiled again as she noticed the Whip using his hunched position to conceal a dagger in his hand. He lunged up at Treetrunk and sliced his arm. With the appearance of the dagger the rest of the patrons moved in, restraining both men and hustled them to the door.

Before the heavy door could swing shut she noticed another man glide through the door. His long face set in a grimace, no doubt for the two ruffians who had just been tossed passed him. His dark grey cloak settled around him as the closing door cut off the breeze from outside. He casually surveyed the room and began moving his way through the crowd towards the bar. Leera watched him as he carefully picked his way, not disturbing a single one of his fellow patrons. Briefly he glanced in her direction and their eyes locked. His eyes swirled different colors, from blue to gray to green. So swiftly she must have imagined it. She looked away and then quickly glanced back again to see him still watching her as he made his way to the bartender. She took another gulp over her swill and pretended to look elsewhere as she studied his gold worked leather boots. Nothing fancy, really only just a hint. She guessed that most people would not even notice. She set down her mug and returned her gaze to the table in front of her, looking at the scraped and gouged surface of the table.

A polite cough brought her attention back towards the room. The grey man was standing before her, silver goblet in hand, filled to the brim with a dark red wine.

“May I join you?” the man asked.

Leera nodded her assent. A small frown settled on her face as the man set his goblet down and seated himself. He would be a pretty one to have she thought as she began to focus her mind on controlling him. He wore a self-contented smile as she began to weave her spell on him to make her mind like his so she could keep him at her beck and call.

“I have been looking for you,” he said softly.

She almost laughed out loud at the fool’s pretentiousness. He must fancy her in his bed. Although, the same thought had occurred to her when she first saw him.

“That will not work on me Leera,” he almost whispered.

The whisper was a shout in her ears. His eyes flashed again.

“How do you know my name?” She asked sternly.

The working of the spell was ruined. She would have to start again later. But what she was more concerned with was how this man knew her name. She had not told anyone in this land that name. A dozen possibilities swirled in her mind each dismissed almost immediately as crazed and highly improbable. She prided herself in her cold calculating ways.

“Lets not worry about that here. We should go somewhere a bit more quiet and talk”, he suggested.

Leera frowned at him for a moment then nodded. For some reason she knew that he would not hurt her. He stood up and wove his way again through the crowd with Leera following closely behind. The grey man opened the door and stepped into the darkness. Leera looked back at her little corner of the tavern and noticed the sconce above it had mysteriously been lit. She shook her head in disbelief and stepped out into the night.

Next: Late Night Escape

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