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The barmaid wasn't unattractive for a woman who'd likely not had an easy life - well-proportioned face, breasts of indeterminable but probably not disappointing size under her clothes, a voice that didn't grate - and she hadn't done or said anything overtly offensive to Kadha since their arrival, but Kadha felt her distaste for the woman creep in soon after they entered the tavern.
Kadha didn't figure it out until she returned to the bar for another round and the barmaid asked, tone different than it had been when they first arrived, almost flirtatious: "The big guy yer with - he your man?"
She didn't need to follow the other woman's gaze to know it was lingering on Wolfgang again. Kadha raised an eyebrow, a mix of curiosity and disdain, but offered no verbal reply.
The barmaid seemed a bit put off, but kept on. "Well if he i'nt your man," she continued, the barmaid leaning into the bar now to read her elbows on the countertop, "I'd like 'im to be mine, at least for a bit."
Eyes narrowed, she mimicked the stance and leaned forward, her tone low. "Touch him," she answered slowly and evenly, "and lose a hand."
If she had been unfazed before, the barmaid was visibly taken aback by this, and all but recoiled from her guest, muttering under her breath as she prepared their drinks and shoved them over. "That'll be the last round for ya," she announced, leaving Kadha with the idea that she had just barely remembered to bite an insult off the end of the sentence.
Kadha didn't argue - it was closer enough to time to retire to the room, and she'd planned to smoke her pipe later anyway - and exchanged coin for cup, stalking back across the room to where her traveling companion sat alone on a bench. The tavern wasn't incredibly busy, but the customers there were giving him a wide berth, as usually happened to them both; the mountain and the witch made quite the pair.
She took her place on the bench and slammed the cups on the table between them. "Barmaid cut us off after this," she informed him, shrugging noncommittally. "Something about my attitude."
Kadharrin was having some sort of discussion with the barmaid and Wolfgang left her to it, leaning back against the wall behind him and scanning the bar with hooded eyes. Three drunkards who would likely pass out within the hour, a woman who scolded her scarecrow of a man between every gulp of rum, and a group of hoodlum young men were the patrons making the most noise. If he was a betting man, Wolfgang would put money on one young hoodlum starting a fight with one of the grizzled drunkards before the night was over. As amusing as watching that would be, he would rather it happened after they went upstairs.
Wolfgang watched her return and accepted his cup with a nod, lifting his chin curiously at her words. He flicked his gaze behind her to the woman in question, who was leaning on the counter and glaring in their direction. She couldn't possibly pose a threat, but when their eyes met, he narrowed his at her. She flushed, flinched, and looked away. Wolfgang returned his gaze to Kadharrin. "Looks like I was well-behaved for no reason," he rumbled, expression barely betraying his amusement.
It amused him, a scenario where he was perceived as the better-natured individual in a room. He savored the irony of that amusement, downing half his ale in one draft. "Perhaps I will ask," he said idly, knee crooked beneath the heavy table and bumping absent-minded against its wine-dark leg. He could care less about getting more drink, having more or less had his fill. But Kadharrin should have what she wanted, ornery bar wench or not. And Wolfgang was not often denied.
"Hardly seems worth it," she said, glancing with no small amount of displeasure around the room and drinking from her mug. "I have no plans to linger down here longer than necessary. Not when we've got a room waiting."
To eavesdroppers, those words likely brought to mind visions of a very different night than the one Kadha and Wolfgang would retire to. Kadha would undoubtedly shed the unnecessary clothing she wore, and they might share the bed, if it was large enough to sleep comfortably, but they would not spend the evening rolling around the sheets to find pleasure.
Yet Kadha wanted Wolfgang to herself all the same. It was a feeling that bubbled up from her gut, one she didn't understand, hadn't spent time trying to understand, had only recently acknowledged. Naturally, she decided to continue ignoring it.
"It's best to have a clear head when we arrive in Ravensreach tomorrow," she added, a new rationale occurring to her as little more than an afterthought. "My shop may be little more than scraps when we get there."
Kadharrin's musing on her shop pulled his thoughts into the future. He hadn't thought much about what would happen once they reached their destination. It hadn't occurred to him to do anything other than accompany her to what remained of her life in Ravensreach. He had liked things as they were during the war, with her next to him. His concern had been avoiding losing that new source of contentedness. It was rare that Wolfgang felt content with anything or anyone. He knew himself well enough to know he had to hold onto this. But now that their travels were nearly completed, he supposed he should give some thought to what happened next.
Wolfgang looked at his companion and tilted his head. He liked her use of 'we'. It settled something in him. "We can rebuild scraps," he said, eyes skipping over her frame to the group of young men, who were getting rowdier. If he were a lesser man, he might've smiled at how they pushed each other and puffed out their thin chests. As he was, his simple glance bestowed more than enough attention on them. He looked back at Kadharrin, deeming to ignore their increasing noise for the time being. "I'm told I make a good workhorse," Wolfgang rumbled, with what might've been a chuckle... if a grunt counted as such. One could only wonder what happened to whomever had had the courage to say such a thing to him. Wolfgang was happy to leave that mystery for contemplating.
He drank again and this time took his hand away from his tankard. If no refills were forthcoming, he was done with it now. The barmaid was still sneaking glances at them and the scold's voice was rising. The atmosphere of the room was oddly charged, and it wasn't even Wolfgang's fault. He kept his unblinking gaze on Kadharrin, but also left one hand below the table, near to his dagger. One could never be too careful.
To have Wolfgang agree to help her rebuild - without needing to ask - put her mind at ease. It was almost enough to make her smile.
Almost. Instead, she pushed her cup, still considerably filled with drink, across the table to him and rested her elbows in the space it vacated. "So long as you don't get bored splitting wood and mounting shelves," she responded, her tone teasing and light as she leisurely brought a fist up to support her chin, her gaze on her companion's face. "Gods willing, there won't be anyone to fight. Or kill." She paused, and then added, "And you should know it probably won't pay very well - unless you find riches in the pleasure of my company."
The war had not made her a particularly wealthy witch, which mattered little in the grand scheme of things. She had little need for material possessions or creature comforts, being so accustomed to life in the wilds and on the road. She would not starve, and she had curried royal favor; that was enough.
Yet she did not think Wolfgang, pragmatic and austere as he was, worked to amass wealth, but to keep himself busy. If so, perhaps she could keep him busy for a while longer. To Ravensreach, to rebuilding, and then... a world of possibilities, it seemed, stretched before her - before them, if their paths continued to merge.
But for now, they were two mysterious travelers in a tavern. Two mysterious travelers who, she couldn't help but notice, were ill-suited to the changing atmosphere in the room. They did a poor job of blending in, and, as the patrons grew drunker, the room grew rowdier, and it seemed only a matter of time before someone, no doubt foolhardy with something to prove, sought Wolfgang's attention. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on if he took the bait) for them, she had little time for the curiosities of drunken men.
"Join me upstairs when you've finished?" Kadha inquired, indicating the cup she'd slid to him as she stood, stretching out the kinks that had worked their way into her muscles from a long day of travel.
Wolfgang did not mind cutting wood and carving furniture. Mercenaries tended to have skill sets in curious areas, and Wolfgang was no exception. He had learned some carpentry in the making of another home. That house was long reduced to rubble. If he visited it now, he imagined wildflowers and long grass would be growing out of its ruins. That house's ruins represented, he thought, everything about his old life: buried as ash in the ground. Still, what he knew of making of shelves for preserved jams and jars of herbs for his wife could be recalled for this purpose.
"I do not require compensation," he said. He had been paid handsomely enough for his work for the Eldurian King in the latest war. In general, Wolfgang rarely found himself in need of coin. Improvising in the face of shortage had been another skill he'd picked up upon arriving in Eldur. And finding small outside jobs would hardly prove a challenge. His skills were always needed. When she passed her cup to him, he drank from it too, grunting his thanks.
Kadharrin rose to take her leave and he gave one nod in answer to her question. He watched her go. Perhaps he was not subtle. The mercenary feared subtlety was long behind him now. But none of the tavern's unruly guests bothered her as she headed for the stairs. Wolfgang took a healthy swallow of her drink.
Their waitress appeared as though summoned from the shadows, perching a hip against the table's edge, but Wolfgang stood. She startled back. He downed the last dregs of his own cup and pushed it across the table to her, stepping over the bench with a long leg to follow Kadharrin's progress. The tavern had rather lost its allure.