I would have shut up, but he gave me the “If you do that one more time I’m gonna murder you” look and I adore dodging homicide. I flashed him a smile over my shoulder, just to let him know we were on the same page.
Then, I faced forward and jabbed my finger into the man’s chest again. “My cousin could hand you your ass. Sir.” Even with just one finger on him, I could tell he was solid under his jacket, twice as wide as I was, and more muscle than loose bulk. He looked down, as all the audacity was my hand’s, and it confused him.
Behind me, Tevan made a sound like a bear being robbed, and I knew he was dropping his head into his hand as he leaned against the bar.
“Look,” the big man said, voice rough, but too low for the challenge I had just delivered. It was fun watching him confine himself. He gestured to my wrist and the fish stamped into the leather there. “I don’t know what island you came from, but–”
“Ederring,” I said helpfully.
(Part I of this piece was posted yesterday and can be read here. Please enjoy Part II:)
Terius waited a moment before he put the spoon down. Leaning back, he watched Zain pick up his next bite. Zain watched him too, holding a guilty, cheerful smile. Terius took a drink and glanced around the room.
Brance and his men had moved away from the door, winding their way to the bar. The other customers seemed unaware of them, handing out the kind of passing greeting that happy people could accidentally deliver to a wall support if it got in their way. A few of them were surprised into a laugh at Brance’s responses, and he watched the taproom like he’d just discovered a new game court to roll dice in. Terius shifted his mug in his hands. It wasn’t a look he liked.
Over the crowd, Terius caught Jaera looking at the back of Brance’s dark head curiously. She turned toward Terius after too long, tilted her head in a silent question.
“How long has it been since we had a good bar fight?” Zain asked.
Terius put his mug down on the table immediately to give Zain his attention. Zain’s brother, Lainan, flicked a glance over his shoulder at him, then decided to ignore Zain and turned back to the rest of the room. The taproom was comfortably crowded, with small knots of people gathered around almost every table, and the owner doing easy business from the corner. The servers hadn’t rested on their heels since Terius and his men came in an hour ago. Jaera and Galen were seated across the room, along with half of Galen’s watch squad. They were almost done with their dinner plates, even though they’d been laughing and joking and gambling their way through. One of the men on the end was ordering up the first round of real drinks, and the rest of the men around the room were rounding the same idea. The room’s regular buzz of conversation continued, as if Zain had not just suggested a wild interruption to the room’s amiable evening hours.