“Shhh, be quiet, I am sure they can hear us.” A small boy hissed at his companion lying flat on the ground trying to hear what was going on through the crack between the floor and the bottom of the solid oaken doorway.
“I am not even breathing loudly.” His companion whispered back.
Voices drifted to their eager ears from the room beyond.
“…and you are sure the source of this information is reliable?” a deep growling voice was saying in a low undertone.
“Of course!” a higher, more out- of-sorts voice said indignantly.
“Is that Roland, the innkeeper?” the boy further from the door asked his friend softly. His friend turned his head and put his finger to his lips, and nodded.
They both continued to listen intently.
“You are prepared to pay the agreed amount? I am sure my associate made the costs clear to you.” The deep voice was saying.
“We are prepared to pay whatever it costs to get rid of this thing. Your…err…talents came highly recommended.” Roland responded shakily.
There was the sound of a chair being scooted across the floor.
“There are no refunds.” The deep voice said in a rather final way.
Both boys looked at each other in alarm. The one lying on the floor leapt to his feet and started off after his friend who was already moving down the hallway. He made it three steps before the door opened and Roland came out followed by a very tall man dressed in weather-worn traveling clothes.
“What are you doing up at this hour, Chuil?” Roland barked, trying to sound in charge. It was a feeble attempt. “Off to bed, both of you. Yes I am sure your little accomplice is around here somewhere.”
Chuil took one last look at the stranger Roland had been speaking to and with a loud “grrumph” turned and followed Aiden down the hallway toward the stairs that led to their room in the attic of the Iron Swallow.
“Just some waifs I provide a home for.” Roland said in answer to the stranger’s upraised eyebrow. Roland led the way through the establishment to the front door. At the threshold he pulled out a large sack of coins, and handed it to the stranger.
“Here you go.” Roland said. He paused before handing the sack over. “I don’t believe you gave a name.”
“It is best that you do not know my name.” The stranger said as he took the sack of coins. He headed off down the street. Without looking over his shoulder he said. “If you want to call me something, call me Lightbender. For only my deeds will be remembered.
To Be Continued...