not_sinister: eli and nait forever (Default)
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What Tich'ki had been doing was trying to teach the two elves how to play cards. She had already, it turned out, won one night's free lodging for their horses from the stable-keep.

"Never even noticed the cards were marked, eh?" Lydia murmured wryly. "And don't give me that ‘innocent little me' look, either, my dear. I know you far too well! Let's get out of here before we wind up in prison."

If anything, the crowds seemed to have gotten worse as the day progressed. Kevin, one hand on his new sword, the other on his purse, struggled his way along, beginning to long for the nice, peaceful, open countryside.
All at once, a particularly rough body barreled into him.

"Hey!" the bardling yelled. "Why don't you watch where—"

A second man hurtled into him, nearly sending the bardling sprawling. For one horrifying moment he was sure he was going to go down, and be trampled by the heedless crowd, but then Naitachal's hand closed about his arm, pulling him back to his feet. The Dark Elf gestured the whole party into an alcove where they could be out of the stream of traffic.
"Are you all right?"

"Yes, I—" Kevin broke off abruptly. Something didn't feel quite right ... "Wait a minute." Oh no, oh no, this couldn't be! The bardling searched himself frantically, then cried in panic, "It's gone! The purse Count Volmar gave me is gone!"

"Oh hell," Lydia muttered. "I knew this was going to happen."

"That man—" Kevin gasped out, "the one who jostled me—he must have stolen my money! We have to—"

"Have to what? Do you see him anywhere?"

"No, but the guard—"

"Did you see his face? No? Can you tell them anything about what he looks like?"

"No ..."

Lydia let out her breath in a gusty sigh. "Give it up, boy. The money's gone."

"But ..." Kevin struggled to keep his voice from shaking from sheer panic.
All about him, the city continued its busy life, not caring whether he lived or died, and he had nothing left but the few small coins in his own purse. They weren't enough to let him survive, let alone bribe anyone. He'd failed the count. Worse, he'd failed Charina!
Hopelessly the bardling asked, "What are we going to do?"

"Well, we can't do anything without money, that's for sure," Lydia said brusquely.

"Then it's foolish to remain here." Eliathanis pulled his cloak about himself, adjusting his hood with fastidious care. "I said we should never have come to Westerin."

"But—"

"We've wasted enough time, I am going to do what I should have done from the start, and explore on my own."

"No!" Kevin cried. "You can't abandon—" But the White Elf had already vanished into the crowds. "the team," the bardling finished helplessly. "Naitachal! You can't leave, too!"

"No?" The Dark Elf's eyes glinted from beneath his hood, cool and unreadable as blue ice. "‘There is more to be learned here if I'm not burdened with ... anyone else."

"But—wait—'' Kevin whirled to Lydia. " I suppose you're going to go off on your own, too!"

"Hell, no. I don't abandon the helpless, remember?" All at once she grinned. "Hey, cheer up, kid. It's not so bad."

"Not so bad! We don't have any money!"

"I've been stuck penniless in cities before, some of them a lot nastier to strangers than this one, and I've always managed to land on my feet. Let me think a minute ... Ha, yes. Tich'ki, what do you think of this?"
She murmured in the fairy's ear—Tich'ki laughed and yanked a lock of the woman's hair—"Ah yes, of course!"

"All right, then. Come on, Kevin."

"Where are we going?"

She didn't answer. Kevin, struggling to keep up with the woman, who was knifing her way skillfully through the crowd, hardly noticed the buzz of fairy wings in his ear. But he did notice tough little fingers snatching the pouch holding his last few coins.

"Hey! Tich'ki, give that back!"

The fairy ignored him, dropping the pouch into Lydia's hands. Kevin hurried after her.
"Lydia! Come back here' Where are you going? What are you—Lydia!"
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