Thread: Obake Blade
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:46 PM   #11
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When he had finished packing away the spilled contents of his bag, Kyo tightened the closure -- making doubly sure that its buckles were secure -- and then stuffed it beneath the table once more. He was careful to keep the straps tucked under the table and against his leg, hoping to avoid any further incidents. Once he was certain that the bag was safe, he sat up and set his book down on the table again. Though he flipped it open to the page he’d left off at, his eyes did not turn to it immediately; instead he paused to give the inn another quick survey. The woman had indeed retreated to another table, and with her back to him, her hair stuck out as a shock of red amongst the black and brown and green of travelers’ tunics and cloaks. And there his eyes lingered. That encounter had been a strange one. Usually women who went through the trouble of being that forward did not give up so easily...

He was distracted by the sharp scrape of wood on wood, drawing his eyes to its source in a stool at the bar. A moment later, the stool moved again to clatter into the base of the bar under the unsteady weight of a tall, thin man with blonde hair. A glance at his face showed that the collision had not been the accident of a clumsy hand, but the result of a drunken stumble. Drunk before high noon? Kyo frowned in distaste, and found himself hoping that this one, too, was not joining the caravan. Irithoi had made it very clear that the swords he hired to watch the caravan were hired to watch the whole caravan, the fast and the slow. Frankly, Kyo wasn’t interested in making sure a drunk could stumble along fast enough to keep up.

The drunkard managed to maneuver himself unsteadily into a seat to speak with the barkeep, and the swordsman’s eyes wandered off again. They fell on faces, on hands, on tables and chairs before coming to rest on Isran, who was speaking in fast words with another trader, apparently debating the proper portion of the trader’s goods to be given in payment for safe travel. In the midst of the conversation the front door opened, drawing Kyo’s attention to the brown-haired woman who stepped through. Her dress was travel worn and her hair was tied back in a functional braid down her back, leading him to guess she was a traveler. A trader, no doubt. She certainly didn't look to be a hired sword; though she walked with bluster and with confidence as she approached the bar, neither seemed to fit her. He watched as she spoke with the barkeep -- who sent a dark look in his direction over something that was said -- and then sat down for what would no doubt be a failed attempt at conversation once the ‘keep moved away. That was when he lost interest and looked away, finally turning his attention to the book open before him. But he only flipped a page when an exclamation drew his interest.

“Lookit that horse!

The call came from a man sitting near the window, and though it was directed to the other man at the table, it was loud enough to cut through the other discussions and pique the swordsman’s inquisition. He followed the man’s eyes out the window and to the horse in question. Only a sliver of the animal was visible to him from his current position, but the sliver was enough to tell that the black beast outside was no pack mule. Its neck alone was evidence of that, thick and strong with a warhorse’s sinew. A hand cloaked in brown flashed into view to pet the horse’s neck, and when it withdrew, Kyo turned his eyes to the front door. Sure enough, it opened a moment later to admit a man who was clearly worthy of the animal beyond the glass. Unlike the girl, this brown-cloaked figure owned the warrior’s stature with which he walked, and Kyo sat back in his chair as he watched him cross the room to the bar, lifting his cup of water to his lips. It wasn’t just any man who could afford to ride a warhorse, of course. If he was traveling alone, Kyo would bet that he wasn’t a nobleman’s son, which meant he would have to have been successful enough to afford the horse on his own. And yet, despite the way the man moved...he seemed a bit too small and slight to be a notorious fighter...

But then the man sat down at the bar, took off his gloves, pulled back his hood...and released a cascading ponytail of bright blonde hair. Kyo caught a glimpse of the face and there was nothing masculine about that profile. He coughed into his cup in surprise, sitting up abruptly.

A woman?

Well, that would certainly explain the slenderness problem. He took another drink of water, scolding himself for allowing such a hasty conclusion. His eyes passed quickly over the brown-haired woman and the drunk, both seated near the new arrival. Conclusions, he amended. Being too certain of one’s own rightness was a dangerous pitfall. He was better than that.

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