Ah taverns, the only places where you could gain just as much gossip as you could lose teeth.
"What can I do for you, sir?" the bartender inquired, eyeing me under a suspicious pair of brows. I got to used to it. It wasn't everyday a guy with a hood and grey fingers entered your building.
"Nothing thanks," I replied, knowing only too well the type of fools his products could turn men--and goblins--into. I passed him and found a secluded corner to melt into. Ignoring the familiar musty smell and pulling up a footstool, I proceeded to kick back to enjoy the show.
"...word has it that ol' Ukaor's at it again."
"Oh come off it, that was last year's talk."
"No, the princess has sent notices out an' everything! She's lookin' for someone who knows where he is."
His friend gave a good spit wad of a guffaw and slapped him hard on the back, "Well what she lacks in brains she makes up in looks I guess. She ain't gonna find anyone."
I smirked, begging to differ.
"Well it's worth a try, I'd say. Afterall, I've heard all kinds o' stories of him killin' off random people and taken others prisoner."
"For no reason?"
"Besides to show of his powers," he lowered his voice and leaned in closer, "I heard he even killed his own wife just because he was sick and tired of her."
I kicked the footstool aside as my father's side took over and rage began to flow freely. Maybe Ukaor had a few wrongs to his name, but the last I checked he didn't take innocent blood--especially of the ones he loved. And, contrary to the general belief, this misunderstood man was capable of loving.
I strode towards the two men and drew my twin long knives, pointing one at each of them, "I'd be careful what you say here; you never know who might be listening."
"You mean eavesdroppin'?" one of them responded pointedly.
"Does it make a difference?" I kicked the bench over, sending drinks rocketing, limbs flailing, and eyes staring, "You will take back what you said or forever hold your peace."
Their red faces nodded vigourously from underneath my blade points, but they seemed to be staring past me. Whirling around I saw a man, at least seven feet tall who's hair nearly brushed the roof, holding a large glass mug aimed at my head.
"I'll get you John, if its the last thing I do!" he drolled. I rolled my eyes at his drunkeness and, resentment still boiling, sent a knee into his round gut. He collapsed and, well, it was the last thing he did; for today at least.
The rest was history. Men shouted, fists swung, glass shattered, and wood broke; the weekly public symphony could be heard from down the street, I was sure. Dodging and ducking I slipped my way towards the door, my anger now turned at myself for getting so worked up over a couple of fools' hollow words.
I was almost there when a hand clutched the back of my cloak. The other grabbed my shoulder to spin me around and face the bartender.
Wham! I was sent sprawling out of the open door with a jaw that was sore for about a week. I got the hint, but it didn't matter; I wouldn't be returning anyways. I had heard what I needed and now I had a princess, or a childhood friend, to help.
I only hoped she didn't recognize me as such.