Kelvin glanced back as he crossed the bridge, hoping he wasn’t noticed under his heavy cloak and hood. He had loitered around the south gate for several minutes until a group of youths traveling from the island to the southern shore approached and crossed the bridge. Kelvin melted in with the group and hustled pasted them once they were over the guarded bridge.
He moved away from the group and into the aptly named Southtown, and into one of the two gathering holes south of the island, the Dragon Inn. As he entered the well-lit tavern he shrunk back from the light but quickly became accustomed to it.
Up at the bar Kelvin noticed a blindingly friendly head and he made his way toward it.
“What happened to your face?!” Brick exclaimed as Kelvin aproached. He tried to smile but it hurt too much so he contiuned to sulk.
Brick nudged the crowd to his left over and made a spot for Kelvin to sit down next to him. Brick was slightly taller than Kelvin and slightly older than Kelvin but there is where the slight similarities ended. Brick was completely bald except for his eyebrows and a tuft of hair under his lower lip and he weighed twice as much as Kelvin and the weight was all muscle mass.
“When did you get back in town?” Kelvin asked him as he sat down.
“About two hours ago, ” Brick responded. “So what happened to your head?”
Brick stood up and pulled Kelvin’s hood down for a closer look and chuckled at the damage.
“You’ve got a dent in your skull!” Brick asked.
“Will you sit down?” Kelvin asked, pulling up his hood and hoping no one got a good look at him.
Brick finally sat back down. Kelvin glanced around his hood and didn’t notice anyone looking in their direction.
“Seth,” was all he said.
“You got brain damage, what are you doing down here?” Brick asked, he knew all about the history of the brothers and Southtown was nowhere Kelvin should be even in the best of health.
“I had to get away,” Kelvin responded.
Brick took a deep drink and looked over the bar, not making eye contact with Kelvin. The crowd in the common room was getting louder and louder but Kelvin focused on his drink.
“Word is the army is pulling out,” Brick said.
Kelvin nodded, “Yeah, supposed to leave tonight but something delayed them until the morning.”
“Where they headin?”
“Overrun Northwatch completely I’m told,” Kelvin said taking a drink.
“November and they are running up to Northwatch. . .” Brick pondered. “If it is overun then they’re already dinner, why is the army going up there?”
Kelvin turned and scowled at him.
“Oh,” Brick said. “Who is up there?”
“I think Nelson is,” Kelvin said.
“Sorry Kelly, I hope he is okay, but those sick bastards, you know how they get. . .”
“Hungry,” Kelvin said.
Both men took deep drinks as the crowd noise behind them rose to a peak and quieted and then rose again. Kelvin glanced back but didn’t notice anyone untoward.
“You should probably get out of here,” Brick said.
Kelvin knew Brick for many years, he was a few years older than Kelvin and had been one of his personal black guards for over two years until he decided to go into business for himself trading goods between the island and the southern cities. Lately he had spent most of his time to the south where he told Kelvin trading was lucrative.
“I’ll be okay, I just needed to slip out of here before. . .” Kelvin never finished his sentence.
Brick was looking at him eye to eye but then in a blink he had turned, kicked his bar stool out from underneath him and thrust Kelvin back into the crowd behind him, his face a blank mask.
He pushed Kelvin just enough to miss the killer with the knife that would have impaled Kelvin through the back. The knife thunked into to bar between Kelvin and Brick.
Kelvin reached around to his back in case he had to bring his gun into play but Brick was a man of lethal training and he had already reacted. As expressionless as he was when he knocked Kelvin away from his death he grabbed the attacker’s hand with his own right hand. In quick movements he snapped the attackers elbow up with his right knee, the noise was as sickening to Kelvin as the awkward angle his arm briefly occupied. But even before the man could scream Brick snapped a blow to his face with his left forearm that crunched even louder than the blow to his arm.
The attacker crumpled to the ground at the bar.
“I think I broke his face,” Brick said almost apologetically.
“Do you know who he is?’ Kelvin asked quickly, releasing the grip on his gun.
“No clue, but he didn’t like you,” Brick replied turning toward the group that the attacker had come from with his dull blank expression. A group of them ran out the door.
“You should go. . .”
“I should probably go,” they both said together.
Kelvin grabbed his drink and gulped it down and turned back quickly to Brick who was already seated back at the bar, one leg of his bar stool on the unbroken hand of the figure crumbled underneath him.
“Thanks,’ Kelvin said.