"Uh, thank-you," Avangeline said with a returning smile as Alys joined the other mercenaries. Right, so everyone had survived! Well, why wouldn't they anyway? It was only orcs they were up against, not fire-breathing dragons. Hah! Imagine that, dragons in Hyrus.
“So, what’s next?” Alys opened with. Avangeline took a moment to scan her up and down. It seemed she had faired a bit worse than Avangeline herself had. She wasn't sure to feel some kind of empathy or pity her. It didn't matter, at least she was alive in the end. That's all that really mattered right? Perhaps not to Avangeline, but she wasn't sure what Alys' self-morals were.
"Now we go into the city," Varian answered.
* * *
Dalenham was no mystery to Avangeline; she had spent a great deal of her life in this city. It was here where she first began to feel independent and free, no longer trapped in castle walls. She smiled as her memory began to point out buildings to her; the thieves guild where she had first started, the different houses of different clans which she had jumped back and forward from, trying to find her place, the alley in which she had spent her first night in, how much dirtier it seemed during the night, the inn which she had saved the life of the innkeeper from a drunken swordsman. This was her home away from home, though Falke seemed like a far off memory now.
Market Street, as she recalled as the group strode through it, was a place she had treasured most. The things that they had on sale, the people here who shared their stories, it was all different every week. Avangeline enjoyed the business of it all. Within the crowd, she felt like an average, everyday person.
"I will go on ahead and collect our pay," Varian broke Avangeline from her ponderings, holding up a cloth sack containing the head of the orc chieftain. It smelt positively disgusting.
"Right. We'll be up at the Broken Keg. I heard they serve a decent drink," Cass said. Varian gave a nod and with a wave, separated from the girls. As soon as he had gone, Cass turned to the others. "Well, if you guys want to get your share you better head to the Broken Keg with me. He'll meet us there."
Avangeline didn't argue. She hoped to eat something enormous and filling and the best place to do that was a pub. Of course, they didn't sell the greatest food but it was far better than berries and raw fish. She followed Cass, lifting her arms in the air to squeeze through marketers and customers. Several times, Avangeline had gotten glimpses of precious stones and jewellery which she would have loved to stop to look at but unfortunately, pay was better than window shopping. Though she tried to be polite, she eventually gave up and followed directly behind Cass, as people seemed to move at the sight of her.
The Broken Keg, in Avangeline's eyes, was a dump. Of course, it wasn't the worst tavern in Dalenham but for a pub near Market Street? The amount of business they would receive should be able to at least give them the profit to buy decent furniture. But, again, being Dalenham, the customers probably paid with sword rather than gold. And on closer look, the better tables were occupied by the richer customers. Makes sense; the more you please them, the more they give.
What humoured Avangeline the most was not the poor man becoming even poorer or the courtesan in the corner obviously flirting with the rich noble but the reaction to Cass' entry to the pub. Everyone stopped to look at the mercenary as if she was a ghost or something. Cass did not falter at the silence, instead striding in to find a table. Avangeline could see herself there were none that she could call tables (there was a man in the far corner eating on a barrel and crate) but that barely stopped Cass, successfully scaring the living daylights out of some men. Avangeline laughed from behind; it would have been far more funny if she had broken a chair leg or something.
"Hey girls! Seems I found an open table. Come join me."
Avangeline gracefully stepped over a fallen chair, picked it up and joined Cass, placing her hands on the table. The cut was clean, the one on the table. With a little more applied pressure, the table would have been split in half. Avangeline was pulled from thoughts when a waitress scurried over to take their order.
"W-what can I…I get for you?"
"Got any Golden Brew?" Cass took the first order.
"I'll take that. Preferably from Rowanion if you can manage it. Get these two whatever they want."
"I'd like... hmm, grilled sliced potatoes and skins and a little mead, pleases and thank-yous," Avangeline smiled at the waitress.