by Stephanie Valis
Episode 01 (cont.): It wasn't me, I swear!
“Forget to wash after your bath?” Xavros’ voice was even rougher in the mornings as he stalked down the stairs and over to their table.
“Something to that effect.” Cal smiled benevolently at Deiter and rose. “I will return shortly, I have need of a greater towel than this. Barkeep!”
Deiter and Xavros watched as Cal disappeared into the back. As soon as he was out of sight Xavros leaned far enough over to snag what was left of Cal’s meal. He made one more glance toward the place where Cal left and then began picking through Cal’s plate for the best pieces of what was left.
“That’s not yours.” Deiter grabbed the tray and slid it back to Cal’s spot. “Sam may be kind of a jerk but when we head off we’re doing it to benefit the town. He’ll make sure you’ve got your own meal.”
“I don’t trust tavern meals.” Xavros growled and made a grab for Cal’s meal again.
“Then why would you steal Cal’s meal? It was made in a tavern after all.” Deiter slid it further out of Xavros’ reach. The… whatever he was, was tall, but he wasn’t as tall as Deiter which he used to his advantage.
“Yeah but it was made for an elf. That means it was made right.” Xavros rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair. He folded his arms across his chest and eyed Deiter with a frown. “Not that you’d ever know the difference I’d wager.”
“Food is food. It gets better when the right people cook it but it’s still food.” Deiter shrugged. “And you shouldn’t be stealing other people’s food.”
“Whatever.” Xavros stood and walked into the kitchens behind the bar.
Deiter had just decided it was better not to follow Xavros when he heard a terrified scream from the kitchen.
Like a shot Deiter was up and out of his chair and barreling toward the sound of distress, his bow drawn and an arrow nocked. A pan flew out of the kitchen and made him duck in surprise. Before he could fully recover from his shock at the pan, Xavros flew out of the kitchen. Before Xavros could run into the point of his arrow Deiter threw his arms apart, one hand holding the bow and the other the arrow. Fortunately Xavros wasn’t impaled.
Unfortunately Xavros did crash straight into Deiter’s chest. Deiter wasn’t a particularly weak man. Even if his Ugha hadn’t been an Orc his Papa was a very strong fighter. But when someone comes barrelling into you at such a high speed and your first worry isn’t avoiding them, but making sure they don’t get impaled on your arrow, you don’t always brace yourself properly to absorb an impact. Deiter was one of those people in this case. Deiter had time to consider all this as he and Xavros collided and slammed to the ground.
Pewter mugs, plates, and even a knife flew out of the kitchen right behind Xavros. The woman was still screaming as they hit the floor. The breath whooshed out of Deiter’s lungs as he landed hard with Xavros on top of him. Before he could get his breath back Xavros’ elbow slammed into his diaphragm. Deiter let out a strangled squeak as Xavros scrambled off and over him. The final insult was Xavros’ dirty foot to Deiter’s face.
No, actually, the final insult was the rain of pewter objects that continued flying out of the kitchen to bounce off of him as he rolled onto his side and coughed to get his breath back. He took a few seconds just to give thanks to whatever was watching over him that he could breathe again.
“Deiter!” The cook, Ralph, appeared at the door. The screaming cut off abruptly. “What the in the seven hells are you doing down there! Did you see the demon?!?”
Deiter looked at Ralph. He looked past Ralph, listening for the screaming. He looked back at Ralph, a slow smile spreading across his face.
“Was… was that you screaming Ralph?”