Rain hammered down from the heavens. Unbeknown to those gathered within the warm, welcoming tavern. The wet weather had townsfolk and visitors alike huddled together, enjoying the roaring hearth and frothy mugs of ale. Infamous Witch Hunter, Elijah Lynton pushed the door open and took the hat from his head and shook the raindrops from it before replacing it over his limp, dark hair. He glanced around the room’s merriment and headed over to the bar. Not a moment after the door had swung closed did it open again and in barged his travelling companion, the orc, Thrazo.
Elijah leant on the top of the bar, his nose wrinkling in disgust at its sticky feeling. He rubbed his fingers together with a sneer as the tender came over to take his order. “A tankard of ale and a bottle of red wine, good sir.”
“Right you are,” The proprietor nodded, taking a wooden tankard out from under the bar and filling it with the same frothy ale that the rest of the tavern was enjoying.
“Thanks, boss. Yer a good’un.” Thrazo stated, confidently picking up the tankard and draining its contents.
When the proprietor put down the bottle of wine he pointed to the empty tankard. “Another?” He asked.
Elijah nodded. “Please,” he stated remaining cordial. More often than not his business, in small towns such as this, went unsavoury and it was always best to be on the good side of the tavern owner.
“Hunters, are you?” The barman asked, his eyes clocking the crossbow on the orc’s back as he placed down another full tankard.
“Witch,” Elijah answered.
“You’ll find none of that ‘ere,” The Barman couldn’t state fast enough.
Elijah snorted towards him unconvinced, but replied; “We’re just passing through.” The relief in the tenders eyes showed. Although the Witch Hunter was well within his rights to investigate and pass judgement on even the smallest of misdemeanours, this wretched little town wouldn’t be the one to draw his gaze.
“I assume you’ll have a room for us?” The Witch Hunter asked although it was barely a question.
“Aye, I have rooms.” He answered. “I’ll get one ready for you.”
Drumming sounded from the corner of the tavern and Elijah looked over his shoulder, turning to face where the din was coming from. A frown formed on his thick brows. “As soon as possible, good Sir.”
“Right you are,” the man stated as he scurried off.
Thrazo plucked his ale from the bar top, his foot tapping in loose rhythm to the drumming, two young men had a pair of deep timpani drums each and had started beating on them. Their noise echoed around the small room, which offered poor acoustics for such large instruments. Elijah raised a hand to his temple, closing his eyes. It was going to be a long afternoon.
The rest of the room, however, seemed to take great enjoyment of the drumming, which twinned together into a marching beat; more suited to the field of battle than a small tavern in the middle of nowhere. When their first duet came to a close, applause rang out and none more enthusiastically than from his travelling companion. Elijah did his level best to ignore giving any praise to the bards.
When they started again, the marching rhythm was off and a much swifter beat took over. The drums sounded louder. One of the players gave a whoop in a dip in the symphony and as he did so a young woman dressed in layers of skirts of vibrant coral blue, stitched with patterns of garden roses. Her feet were bare other than adornments of handmade jewellery, which jingled as she moved. Around her waist was a black corset and over her curvaceous figure was a long-sleeved, flower-covered top. Her hair was thick, wavy and chestnut coloured, adorned with matching jewellery to her feet. Her wrists were covered with bangles which jangled.
Thrazo grinned as she started to dance around the room in perfect rhythm to the men’s drumming. Her feet stamped a beat as the harder notes were hit. Hips lifting and shimmying when a more staccato sounds came from the big timpani. As this song came to a close she took a small bow to the applause and cast her eyes around the room.
Elijah dipped his hat to cover his face as her gaze fell on him. He wanted no part of this provocative display. Her mind made up she approached and took his wrist, wordlessly trying to lead him to the dance floor. He remained an immovable object, pulling from her grasp. “That wouldn’t be appropriate,” He warned. His tone with her was sharp. He’d never be caught cavorting with a harlot across a tavern floor.
The same couldn’t be said for Thrazo, who, looking at the sour expression of rejection on the woman’s face stepped forwards to take his boss’ place. Putting his arm over her shoulder and guiding her away from the bar. He leaned closer to her and Elijah could overhear him saying that ‘She didn’t want to get on the wrong side of a zealous man of faith.’ And that ‘Orcs are more fun anyway.’
She flashed the Orc a hazardous grin and nodded to the two men on the stage. They kicked off another heavy beat of a tune on the drums and she started dancing once more. The heavy-set orc joined in rather gracefully alongside her carefree dancing.
The Witch Hunter didn’t watch his companion any further, he was in the sort of company that he enjoyed and this situation wasn’t anything new. However, when the proprietor returned. Elijah picked up his bottle of wine and glass and told him. “You’d better make that two rooms,” the last thing he wanted was to be witness to the Orc carrying the woman over his shoulder into their bedroom for an evening of shared waton desires.