posted by Jennifer
“So what’re you having?” Casidhe asked the younger men seated around the table. Geoffrey shrugged.
“Gheris doesn’t usually let me drink,” he explained.
“No hard liquor for you, then,” Casidhe told him, waggling his finger mock-severely. Ferron chuckled, leaning back and propping his boots on an empty seat.
“No liquor for any of us, I think, if we’re going to be marching in the morning. Besides, who knows where this innkeeper gets his rotgut. Turpentine and furniture polish, most likely.”
“Hey, now,” Alveyin protested. “If you plan to be drinking in my tavern, you’d best not be insulting my wares.”
“Your wares are a touch sensitive?” Ferron asked. He sat up a bit and made a half-bow in the direction of the kegs and bottles. “My apologies to you, Ser Furniture Polish.” Aidan winced as Alveyin growled under his breath, but the tavern-keeper simply swotted Ferron across the back of the head.
“That’s enough out of you. I knew it was a mistake letting you barbarian Dalish through the door.”
“Barbarian!” Ferron cried in feigned outrage. Alveyin snorted loudly.
“Aye, barbarian, if you don’t know enough to be grateful for high-quality furniture polish!”
Casidhe and Ferron burst out laughing, leaving Geoffrey and Aidan to exchange nervous glances. “Oh, relax, you two, we were only teasing,” Ferron said, patting Aidan on the shoulder and making the young nobleman jump.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met elves like you,” Geoffrey said as a stein was placed before him. He tasted the beer hesitantly and coughed at the fizz and the strong flavor. Bubbles instantly went up his nose and he found himself sneezing repeatedly into Casidhe’s hastily proffered handkerchief, nearly knocking the stein over until Ferron moved it toward the center of the table.
“You’re supposed to drink it,” Casidhe said helpfully, swallowing about a third of his own beer in a single gulp.
“I know!” Geoffrey spluttered. “It’s just—“cough, cough—“it caught me by surprise, that’s all.”
“Oi, innkeep, you served us the assassin beer by mistake!” Ferron announced, waving at Alveyin, who had retreated behind the bar.
“Keep talking, boyo, and I really will assassinate you,” Alveyin said without looking up from his cleaning.
Aidan blanched. “He’s still joking, right?”
Ferron shook his head. “Of course he’s joking. Don’t believe everything you hear. You’re awfully nervous.”
“Well, it’s like Geoffrey said, you’re kind of odd for elves,” Aidan explained. “Most of the elves I’ve met were servants, and they didn’t seem too happy about it.” Alveyin snorted loudly.
“Well, from what I’ve heard, Orlesian humans aren’t any too pleasant to their servants, so what do you expect?” Ferron said.
“That’s what I said! Some day they’re going to murder us all in our beds! Um, no offense.” Ferron just laughed.