September – 1026 YD
A constellation of bows were released, hissing with propulsion, crossing one another to land on the target board with a riff of pummelling thuds.
__‘Ha!’ Toran clenched his fist in victory; his arrow protruded from the target’s centre, its navy fletching clear from their hundred-foot distance.
Kesia and Mellena grinned. Their arrows, brown and red, adjoined his by a few inches. Oran’s bow was somewhere in the middle bands. He nudged Mellena, impressment apparent in his raised brows.
__Bryan, the new apprentice carpenter, and Lasair were as happy as the others—their bows had actually struck the target.
__‘Not bad!’ Kesia clapped Toran on the shoulder.
__‘Looks like the drinks are on Bryan and Lasee-eer…’ Mellena sang.
__‘I am not of age!’ Bryan squeaked.
__‘Off home then, my friend.’ Oran ordered, good-naturedly. ‘See you next time. Alright, sis, how is your coin situation?’
__Lasair groaned. ‘I hate playing with you.’
__They made their way back to the village with their quivers and arches, waving off a dejected Bryan as the older five made for the inn.
__‘Oi! Weapons by the door!’ The innkeep barked.
__They complied. Kesia placed her bracers on the shelf; Toran noticed the workmanship. Unlike the others’ several layers of wool, her arm guards were leather, engraved with chains of Alias. ‘Nice,’ he commented. ‘I bet they set you back a bit.’
__Kesia reddened. ‘I like what I like.’
__‘The second round is on Kesia!’ Toran announced, taking one of the bracers to inspect the work. The others turned to look, and seeing it, shook their heads.
__Lasair went to the bar to collect the drinks while the others took up a table by the window.
__Once settled, Oran put an arm over Mellena. She shrugged slightly; he removed it.
__Drinks came and all relaxed into their seats. As the conversation escalated, a figure heading hastily downhill caught their collective eye. Tàvae appeared, scowling, heading directly for Kesia’s house. She was muttering to herself.
__‘Hold on,’ Toran rose with the intent of pursuing. At the door, he added: ‘No one touch my drink.’
Toran called to Tàvae, jogging to catch her up.
__She turned with fury that abated instantly on recognition. ‘Toran! I thought you were my tyrant of a husband.’
__Toran looked to see if those nearby, who had stopped to look, could hear.
__The villagers in their proximity continued their business after a cold stare from Tàvae. ‘I thought he was away?’
__‘He is. He just came by shortly.’
__‘Oh.’ Confused, he offered feebly: ‘Drink?’
__‘No. Maybe. Sure.’
__He started toward the inn; she took his arm firmly. ‘My place.’
‘I found him in here, sifting through my desk. He was seeking something in particular—’ she reached under the desk and drew out an ancient volume from a concealed shelf behind its apron — ‘This. It does not belong to me and I should not possess it; its keepers want it back.’ She extended an arm and cleared the books and papers of her desk onto the floor, placing her glass and the text on the newly cleared surface. ‘Will you help me transcribe it tonight? I swore it was stored safely elsewhere; I must return it by morning.’
__‘Of course,’ he submitted, collecting a chair from across the room. ‘You are right-handed; I favour my left. We can each take a side.’
__Tàvae ruffled his hair, surging with affection. ‘That’s my lad.’
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