Hello dear readers
Chapter 11 of Lead Heart is up, please enjoy!
Leliana grabbed Antros’ hand and let him haul her up.
“C’mon kid, let’s get this room picked up. If you thought the hooligans were tenacious, wait ’til you see aunty Em get fired up.”
They shared a laugh under a withering gaze and set to work putting things in order. Shattered wood to the fire pits, bodies tossed to the gutter, bandages for the cuts and scrapes, and boiled water for the bloodstains.
“I must say, I’m a little impressed. The only injuries in that entire raid were to you and the idiots with the window.” He looked thoughtful a moment, “The gutter trash too, I guess. They had it coming.”
Leliana smiled. “Thanks. Never doubted myself. There weren’t enough of ’em.”
“Seriously though. Where’d you train? I’d be interested to pay them a visit sometime. Or at least know if I need to worry about more of you.”
She looked away. “Er.” Then brightened, raising a finger “monks in the icy mountains. They raised me and sent me out to complete my training.”
“C’mon, that’s a good one. My mentor guided my training until the day I beat him, and he set me out on the world.” Leliana mimed a series of what she imagined to be exotic fighting stances.
“There are no monks in the icy mountains, I’ve been through there a hundred times.” He stopped scrubbing blood to wave questioningly.
“Well of course. Masters of stealth, we are. You’d probably never see them if you walked right through the village.” Leliana nodded.
They paused to provide some details to the police who’d made their way around. The officers promised Em to have the corpses picked up by dawn, but ler her know they likely didn’t have the manpower for a full investigation.
“Fine, gentlemen. Thank you for your time.” She slid one of the deadbolts home, then stopped and looked to the gaping window and sighed. “Thank you Antros. This place is as good as it’s going to get tonight, go on home and get some rest. And you,” she eyed Leliana. “You’re the only one who paid for a room and didn’t run into the night, so I suppose you can take your pick.”
Antros hopped out the broken window to the streets below, calling over his shoulder. “Meet me here tomorrow at noon then, I’ll give you an introduction to the cap at least. Remember, you’d be stuck with me and some dirty sailors in close quarters for weeks.”
Leliana turned to head upstairs, almost knocking over Em in the process. “Ah! Woops, sorry. I uh..”
“My thanks girl. Ye kept a lot o’ people safe tonight, whatever the reason. I reckon it’ll be some time before I see another full house, but least I can do is put you up for the night.” Em flipped a coin Leliana’s way and headed presumably to her own room. Leliana considered the coin for a moment. One she hadn’t seen before, a woman’s face made of gold set into a flat silver disk.
Too late. What even was this? Ah well, it was pretty cool at least. She dragged herself up the stairs, trudged through the first door she came to, and was asleep before she hit the pillow.
The next morning, Leliana groggily sipped a strong tea with milk and honey while Em busied herself readying the days’ meals. She burnt her tongue in surprise when the door slammed open behind her.
“Hello lovelies! I ‘eard this was a grand place for a bite and a fight. Tell me, am I right?” An unshaven monster of a man bounded through the doorway spouting some odd poetry, spinning on one heel at the end and stopping with a flourish.
“Pay no heed to the thespian dears, it only encourages him. Is your kitchen open yet mum? I’m starved like you wouldn’t believe.” A busy woman, curly black hair threatening to engulf her at any moment, hurried into the common room and plunked down at Em’s bar. The big guy moved behind her, but Leliana caught him stealing glances her way.
Aunt Em pulled the woman into a big hug, “Jovi, how wonderful to see you! Breakfast is just finished, let me take care of that one first.” She plopped a bowl of sweetened oats and milk heaped with fruit onto Leliana’s table, then retreated to the kitchen and did the same for the newcomer.
“Oh thank the almighty, you’re a dear Em. Can you get my friend one? A triple, he can eat all day.” Jovi and Em gossiped over the counter while the big guy practically inhaled more food than Leliana had ever seen someone eat at one sitting.
Her attention wandered, sipping at the tea and cereal in front of her. She made some tentative plans for the day. Definitely needed to swing back around to that candy shop, money was tight but priorities were priorities. Also-
A huge face slowly materialized over her shoulder.
She stared into his eyes. “….Hello.”
“What’s your name?” He jabbed her a couple times with a giant finger.
“Excuse me,” she chimed to the chatting women. “I think your thespian is touching me. Can you, uh, call him off?” She thought about just elbowing the wind out of him, but that felt a little like kicking a dog or something. She wasn’t a monster.
“Ah, sorry about that. He gets like this when he sees someone he likes. Gib, hands to ourselves please.” The tired woman turned back around without a second thought.
He raised his hands as high as they’d go and sat opposite her at the table. “I’m Gib, I’m a real big guy. My friend likes me to go places and carry big stuff. I’m real good at carrying big stuff. I could carry you too probably, you want me to try?”
He didn’t even pause for breath. What the.
“Hi Gib. I don’t like being carried, but I’ll bet you could.”
He sat up straighter, wiggling his hands at the tops of his arms.
“You bet I could! What’s your favorite color? What do you like to eat? Have you ever been to Melgrave? They have amazing chocolate!” A torrent of words washed over Leliana as she accidentally opened the floodgates. An amusing way to finish breakfast.
“Mmhmm. yeah. Oh. Okay. Yeah I like pink, but my favorite is-”
Leliana’s hand gripped a small arm as a squeal hit the air. She raised a small boy up by the arm, plucked her coin from his fingertips, and put him down. She stared through narrowed eyes as the flustered boy backed up a few paces, and bolted through the door.
“-and I threw him over the rail. HA! Hahaha!” Gib wrapped up a story, gesticulating wildly as the door slammed.
The big-haired lady took the seat next to Gib.
“Leliana, I presume?” She offered a hand while the big guy crossed his arms.