Walker I


All eyes moved to him and conversation fell to a quiet whisper as Walker entered the tavern. He marched through the room, daring everyone to meet his gaze, on his way to the end of the bar and the woman sitting there. The man sitting next to her got up as Walker approached and he sat down on the now vacant bar stool.

Her eyes never moved, focusing on some unknown point behind the bar. Walker intertwined  his impossibly long fingers together on top of the oak bar, resting his gloved hands there.

“Longclaw,” she said.

“One minute, Maroon,” Walker said quietly. “Or things will end badly for you and for him.”

With a sideways look the woman stood and hurried up the stairs at the back of the room. Several other people took the opportunity to stand and leave the tavern. A pale, club footed man approached Walker from the other side of the bar and looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

Walked shook his head curtly as another girl sat down next to him at the bar. She reached over and touched the back of his left bicep.

“Not now, Leece,” Walker said. The girl frowned and removed her hand but remained sitting at the bar next to Walker.

“Longclaw,” Maroon said from the top of the stairs.

Walker stood and started toward the steps. He was probably the only one in the room that noticed a tiny figure slink through the doorway into the tavern. Calmly he climbed the stairs and followed Maroon down the hallway.

She stopped next to the last door in the hallway, it was open and Walker did not hesitate to enter the room. It had in the past been a boarding room but had been converted into an office of sorts. A large desk set in the center of the room, behind it was a pale, fat man, sweat was dripping off his bald scalp. On either side of the desk stood two large individuals, armed and armored to the teeth.

Maroon followed Walker into the room and closed the door behind them. Walker stepped toward the desk.

“They didn’t know,” the fat man said quickly.

“Who didn’t know?” Walker asked, taking another step slowly toward the desk as the guards loosened their blades from their scabbards. Walked paid them no heed, his attention focused on the man sitting behind the desk.

“The ones that grabbed her,” the man said.

Walker took one more step toward the desk and the guards both pulled their short swords. He stared at the man behind the desk and then slowly turned to regard each of the guards coldly.

“They didn’t know her, Longclaw. They didn’t know who. . .” the man pleaded again.

“Where is she, Bibo?” Walked asked quickly and quietly, returning his focus to the man behind the desk.

“Arkanus,” he replied quietly, his skin turning even more white. Walker closed the final distance and now stood right up against the end of the desk. He looked at Bibo whose hands were now visibly shaking.

“When?” Walker asked.

“Dawn,” Bibo croaked. “Yesterday.”

Walker turned immediately and started toward the door. As he approached Maroon he grabbed her around the throat and slammed the back of her head into a glass mirror on the wall shattering it. His fingers wrapped entirely around her thin neck, touching the base of her skull under her long blond hair.

“If you two move I will murder everyone in this room in the next thirty seconds,” Walker said when he heard the guards stir behind him, his focus never wavering on Maroon.

“Stop!” Bibo croaked as he rose from his seat.

Walker brought his face closer to Maroon’s. The back of her head was bleeding badly through her long hair. She was gasping for breath, but she let her arms lay limp at her sides as her wide eyes tried to comprehend the figure holding her.

“I know you know her, Maroon. I know you know what she means to me,” Walker said, squeezing his hand around her neck harder.

“You will answer for this,” He hissed in her ear. She gasped and fell to the floor as he released her.

“You will all answer for this,” Walker said turning to look at Bibo one more time.

He then quickly opened the door and walked from the room and down the stairs.

“Nina,” Walker said as he re-entered the tavern room. All conversation stopped again. The tiny girl snapped out of her chair near the door.

“Get Grendel and Demon. Now.” Walker told her and she was out the door almost before he had finished talking.

“Aldo,” he said turning to the bar. “Whatever road fair you can stir up in the next few seconds I will pay you kindly for.” Walker laid a gold coin on the bar and the bartender hobbled over, taking the coin and then moved as quickly as he could back into the kitchen.

“What is it?” Leece asked, she was still seated at the bar.

“They grabbed Jane,” Walker said hoarsely, surprised at the emotion in his voice as he said it.

“They are taking her to Arkanus,” he said thickly.

“Oh, no. Janie? Why would they. . .” Leece began as Aldo returned from the kitchen with several small sacks.

“Wine, water,” he said handing over the first two skins. “Jerky, cheese, bread, apples, some other things Molly threw in.”

Walker took them all and slung everything over his shoulder. He nodded in thanks as he heard horses coming to a loud stop outside the front of the tavern.

“Get her back, Longclaw,” Leece said.

Walker turned, unable to speak, and left the building.

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