“We were about to tell stories!” Harrynn said, almost bouncing out of her seat. Her excitement was contagious, not the least because she’d just said the word, ‘stories’. If anything could lure me out of Daerec’s Tower and into a tavern, it was a story.
“What kind of stories? I asked, unable to resist asking. Actually, the company around the table weren’t bad storytellers, although I often doubted if what anyone said was true.
“Why, stories about Padraig, of course!” Thom said, with a significant wag of his head. It was a tipsy wag, I noted. “Savior of our fair green land, whom everyone celebrates this day!”
Of course. Padraig’s Day. This was why everyone was in a good mood, inclined to drink. Although not everyone hailed Padraig as a savior. I knew of a least one person, who’d like to do unmentionable things to certain parts of his body. Painfully unmentionable things.
More than one person, judging from the expression on Rhydicka’s face. “Despoiler of our fair green land, you mean,” she said, inching away from Thom, as if he’d suddenly become repellant. “As well as spiritual rapist, whom would deny others a choice in what sort of faith to follow.”
“You may celebrate Padraig, Thom,” Varwyth said. His voice was melodic, pleasant, but there was a wicked gleam of amusement in his eye. “Dick is here to celebrate his death.”
“Don’t call me ‘Dick’,” Rhydicka growled, giving Varwyth a baleful eye. “A more unsuitable name for a woman I’ve never heard.”
“Ah, but most men are dicks by nature,” Thom said, saluting Rhydicka with her glass. “You, on the other hand, have proven yourself truly worthy of the name.”
“Aye, I did,” Rhydicka said, giving Thom a very meaningful look. Too meaningful. If they were allowed, they might air some very private grievances I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear.
“As for nicknames, you’re more than welcome to call me Harry,” Harrynn said, grinning, ignoring the tension between Thom and Dick. All right, now I was thinking of Rhydicka as Dick. I’d have to be careful about that.
“You said you were sharing tales about Padraig, but tales are all you’ve got,” I said, changing the subject back to the subject. “There’s very little proof about Padraig’s actual life. Not to mention, his stories contradict each other.” Deliberately, I might have added, but I didn’t want to say too much.
“Exactly!” Harry said, grinning at everyone around the table. Her enthusiasm knocked down the angry tension, as if it was a weak, wee thing. Perhaps it was. “We’re here to share stories of Padraig, whether or not they’re true.”