A Tale Begins

The tavern is smoky. Thick swirls of deep blue and violet float twistingly up from several braziers. Occasionally, one coalesces into the form of a leaping stag and then collapses back into restless shifting. The few bar patrons ignore the wondrous images in favor of staring deeply into mugs of mead, brows darkened by faraway thoughts.

Behind the counter, a disinterested orc mindlessly cleans the same mug he has been holding for the past half hour. Finally realizing the chipped ceramic in his hand is not getting any cleaner, the orc grunts and places the mug beneath the counter before shrugging his way to a wobbly stool.

Amidst the smoke and silence, two sharp eyes observe the ponderous path of the aging orc, studying. The eyes flicker around the room, taking note.

Younger orc, brown skin, not green, different family. Holding paper, slightly crumpled, only near edges, not a note, picture, eyes misty, family picture. Holding mug, probably ale, back to picture. Holding something else, small, dark, braided, could be hair, distinctive knot, definitely hair, from lover, probably dead, maybe just away. Takes a drink, forearm shows acid scarring, fought burster, wife did not survive, left home to find new start, has not let go.

The swift eyes get up and cross the room. “Try to live anew to honor your fallen wife. She would want you to be strong.” The orc peers up dazedly and tears begin to stream down bronze cheeks. A soft pat on the shoulder and the eyes slip out the door. Swiftly leaping stags shimmer and vanish back into ceaseless smoke.

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~ by Aliera on August 19, 2011.

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