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Adramelech, the dark angel

Of all of the patrons in the Inn, only one caught the young girl's eye. She was wily as any other child, a slip of a girl just off of her mother's apron strings. She was dark haired and blue eyed, with the blood of the northern people within her. And just as they were, she was curious of anything new.

This man, surely, was new. His hood was low and hid his features, but he was most certainly a noble. No other person could carry themselves the way this man did without being royalty. What she had seen of his face when he paid his way was enough to cause her young heart to beat at twice it's rate. His features were rough but handsome, his jaw squared and set. His dark eyes most of all called to her: they were wise and brooding, full of experience and age.

So it was that she found herself inexplicably drawn to him, when none of the other children would approach him. He sat far from the fire, at a table in the corner. His manner was that of a man trying to avoid attracting attention, but calmly, as if he could handle anything anyone threw at him. His back was to her as she approached, and she knew that he was bent over his meal as was every other man in the tavern.

She approached with what she thought was the most silent of steps, but he spoke before she could touch his shoulder.

"I was wondering when you'd wander over to bother me." His voice was as soft as distant rumbling thunder, but it struck a note of fear within her. "Well, What do you want?" Still, he did not turn away from his meal. She saw his arm move, his strong hand grasp the clay mug of ale, and bring it up to his lips.

She stood silent, not knowing what to do or say. Life seemed to stop in a bubble of time, even though she was dimly aware that someone to her left stood out of their chair and moved near the fireplace. She heard the sounds of the common room as very distant echos.

"Are you going to say something, or stand there?"

She was suddenly aware of his eyes on her, burning intensity focused on her own. She felt as though he were boring into her, searching her soul for something even she was unsure of. And then his eyes had turned back to his food. The bubble was popped. Time continued as it had before. The man who had stood to stand at the fire returned to his chair with the grinding sound of wood on wood and a creak as his weight settled.

"I thought," she stopped, and took a breath. "You look like an adenturer.

I was hoping you had a story that you could tell me." It was as if speaking brought her the courage to move. She stepped forward and took the seat across the table from the man, and watched as he quietly finished the last few bites of stew.

<Read On....>