In this scene, Wren is encountering a mainstay of her profession, a nasty customer.
|It is the closest to stew in the free images on Dreamstime.com.|
“Fifteen gold.” The steward spoke around a full mouth of stew without bothering to keep his lips closed.
My stomach turned. I really needed to get out of this line of work for a while. Characters like Steward Farley were far too common. Moreover, they always hung out in slums like this tavern. The common room was dim with smoke from a badly vented chimney. The rushes on the floor stunk of rotting food, sour ale, and things much worse.
“The bounty contract states twenty, steward.” I addressed the shining oil on his balding scalp. “I am willing to call any of these fine men as witnesses to it. Twenty gold flans for the return of your criminal.” I rested my hand on my first dagger, but he didn’t notice.
The steward cursed, spewing bits of half-eaten meat across the already filmy table. “If a woman caught him, he isn’t worth the bounty set. Now take the fifteen and be thankful I am paying you at all.”
“You will pay me twenty.” Planting the tip of my first throwing knife in the tabletop next to his left hand, I reached for my second. Before he could do more than jump slightly in his seat, the second warmed in my palm. “If you don’t, I shall take man with me.”
Again the man cursed as the pain behind my eyes grew. The stench was getting to my stomach. If I didn’t resolve this soon, I would heave in the man’s lap. I didn’t really feel up to this argument, but I wanted the money. Argue I must.
“Are you threatening me, wench?” he asked, rising half out of his chair. The mild sound of conversation around us died abruptly and the tension rose.
“No.” Calmly flicking my second knife under his nose, I met his gaze evenly. “I only want what is rightfully mine. My twenty gold flans, if you please, or I shall speak to the enforcer.”
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