Llyr observed the other two closely. He made note of every twitch of an eyebrow, hint of a smile or frown, directions of glances. He listened for breaks in the voice or unusually timed breath. He noticed how Kasoria’s accent seemed to thicken and the odd smiles that kept showing… which in turn made Llyr want to smile but he kept away the inappropriate lilt of familiarity with the abrogant, for the moment. Perhaps the smiles were some sign of guilt that he’d yet to realize in the older man. He also noticed how Woe seemed to grow distant in contemplation of some unshared thought. Most of all, though, he analyzed the choice of words as they said them.
Woe claimed to not know Kasoria. So, it was mere coincidence? That these two particular men had been in the Smithy at the same time, with no one else but Bel around? Paranoia intertwined with insecurity for the young mage, and the Webspinner made that blatant when he identified them aloud for everyone to hear. The tall biqaj towered over the shorter humans. His halo brightened and masked his face in rippled light similar to a sunbeam glanced over the surface of a clear river. If it weren’t for his youth and Edasha-brewed charm, his theatrics might have skewed to intimidating at that moment. Llyr did not like the feeling of accuracy that Woe had displayed in his observation.
A burst of laughter distracted him, though. Llyr returned his attention specifically to Kasoria. His halo dimmed and he visibly relaxed his shoulders. Finally, the smile that’d hinted before… broke through.
"Me 'fraid a' bein' see wiv' youse? First fuckin' time someone's been worried about that..."
Llyr’s entire irritated and demanding attitude fell away as if The Raggedy Man had blown on a puff of dandelion seeds to scatter the wisps to the wind. The young mage held a hand over his mouth, in an attempt to hide the smile – still keenly aware that his teeth were crooked – and he muffled a quiet laugh.
It was amusing; but at the same time, why wouldn’t Kasoria be wary to be seen with someone with the mutations he had? A winged biqaj from a foreign southern land, with a halo above his head… every move he made in Etzos required force due to that he simply wasn’t an ordinary-looking human from the north. It was partly why he’d made sure to acquire mostly humans under his employ to conduct his business for him. No one, but certain clients had to know it was him running things. They could pretend it was some nice gentleman with round ears, pink blood, and simply a mundane business owner with no magic whatsoever. The less Llyr had to interact with clients, the better. Such reasons were why he sent Lochlann’s boys to do errands like meet with Belial the blacksmith.
Besides, there were also those people who seemed eager to murder him and anyone he interacted closely with. Clearly, neither Kasoria nor Woe were aware of that. Otherwise they would have taken his comment far more seriously and he didn’t think Kasoria was that good of an actor. It relaxed some of the paranoia, which was more healthy fear than undue anxiety, from Llyr’s perspective.
“Oh, you’re exactly the type of man I want to be seen with,” he casually remarked to Kas.
He looked between Kasoria’s forced polite smile and offer at what sounded like a truce – to Woe’s twitched almost-but-not-quite sneer.
“Fates, for not knowing each other, you’re both looking like the other slaughtered your grandmother,” he teased… somewhat. There was some truth to it, after all. He waved to the blacksmith, who’d scurried farther away from the counter to avoid whatever the fuck was going on between the three odd men. “Belial, I’ll send someone down tomorrow morning for the sword.”
“Right then, you two.” He clapped his hands once, then gestured toward the exit again. “We’ll go north. Like I said, there’s a place I know…”
During the walk through the Commercial Ring, Llyr talked some but not as much as might had been expected. He focused more on keeping an eye to make sure neither man slipped away. He, also, trailed off from a casual small-chat topic more than once to look at the buildings around them and the shadows in the alleys.
By the time they reached the northern gate, a woman dressed in leather armors with a single pauldron of iron rested on one shoulder, rushed up in a sprint and called, “H-hey! Wait! Wait, will ya?”
Black, cropped and curly hair, freckled bronze tan with dark skin, and large brown eyes, the lithe Scalvorian woman gasped to catch her breath.
“You l-left the- the Academy without telling anyone where you were go- going. Hoo!” The biqaj woman set her hands on her narrow hips and leaned back with a loud inhale of oxygen. “Y’know how much I just had to run around these damn circles to find ya? Leave a damn note next time!”
“Sorry.” Llyr gestured between her and the two other men. “This is Jacquelle d'Amboise. She’s my assistant.”
“Call me Jacq, for the love of all that is good in this world, please,” she said. Her dark eyes swept over Woe, then glimmered gold when she looked at Kasoria and his black-smoke cloak. “Damn, will ya look at that…”
“We’re headed to that place up north,” offered Llyr with a thin smile. “Perhaps you’d like to go and swap with Gerolf for the afternoon?”
“I ran all this way, found ya. I don’t care where ya going, Mister L, I can come along just as well as that damn lug.” She scuffed her heel against the cobblestones. By the look and behavior of her, she couldn't be much older than Llyr himself.
Llyr looked to the other two men and shrugged. “Looks like it’ll be four of us then.”
Through the gates they went, and hardly any time, they went into the northwest district to a place known as The Lonely Mark.
The Lonely Mark was a modest, isolated establishment that did well in the niche it provided: a tavern and brothel for soldiers only.
Llyr got them past a square-jawed guard at the door, not through showing papers or signs or through persuasion, but because the guard immediately recognized him. It was obvious he’d been there before…
...enough times that when he walked into the tavern’s foyer, a lass in maid’s garb ran up to greet him. “Mister L! You’re here early, and with other people?”
“Could we have a booth?” He asked.
The barmaid hurried to show them to a booth at the side. It wasn’t particularly busy, and the only patrons in the place were older veterans looking for some peace and quiet (with some loving on the side) in the afternoon, rather than brawling or the like during the nighttime. Some seemed fresh off the battlefield, with a shake to their hands and a twitch in their glances while they surveyed the newcomers. Others appeared more settled, enjoying their time - that at some point they didn’t think they’d get to have.
Llyr sat down in the booth, then gestured for Jacq to sit beside him. He motioned for Kasoria and Woe to share the opposite bench across the shared table. “What do you want? Go on, anything, either of you. They have a fair selection of drink and the like. I’ll pay.”