Astelbania Chronicles: Dinner & Discussion...But First....

The dwarf stepped completely into the room to stop stock still staring at Bahl, freshly from his bath, and Falina, standing and holding her staff at the ready.

One bushy eyebrow arched as his eyes danced between the two. For Falina's part she was frozen in place not knowing what her next move should be. Bahl had said this was Axym, the same dwarf he had named as friend and sharer of the cabin they were now living in. But what she should do next elluded her at that moment.

Axym broke the moment with a low whistle. "Well, now," He said looking Falina  up and down. "She's not a halfling by any means but it looks as if I was right about one thing at least."

"Oh?" Bahl's leaned forward as if eager to hear what the dwarf had to say,"And, pray what would that be?"

Axym gave him a disgusted look. "Oh come now, ya pointy horned idiot, do I have ta spell it out for ya?"

"Yes, yes, I rather think  you do."

"Well, I"m glad you're finally going for women your own size, Lad, and it's not like you've never used this cabin for that but I've told ye before this is supposed to be a private cabin and a safe haven for  use on business only. Now, I can see the attraction of her, for a human that is...but really Bahl..."

"For someone who thinks he has things figured out  you are very wrong. She is my tranee. Nothing more."

Axym gave a sound somewhere between a snort and a laugh.

"Aye, ye've used that one before, have ye not?" Then  his eyes lit on the wine and they brightened. "Would there be any more spirits to be had, then?" He rubbed his hands and sat down at the table without another thought.

Bahl poured wine for the dwarf who sighed. "Something with a little more umph maybe?"

"If you want the ale you know where it is. You're hardly a guest here."

"Aye, but I've traveled far and you two look rested. Well, as rested as you can be seeing as how...you know..."

"No, I don't. I have told you that the woman is not here for that purpose and we have had a long day training. If you really want ale I'm sure you can find the reserves to get up and get it yourself."

"Bahl, me lad, do you really think this old dwarf a fool? Why else would ye be having a fair maid here but for that. Training indeed. The kind of training that gets a girl a job at a tavern maybe but not one that gets her much else."

"Firstly you are young for a dwarf. Secondly, you have no idea what you are talking about."

Falina had been standing there moving her head back and forth between the two males, recognition of what they must be talking about slowly dawning on her,  her face reddening by the moment.

By this time in the conversation, she was sputtering in indignation, her hands on the staff in a death grip.

Axym, for his part smiled up at her, tugging on his beard. "Maybe the young lady would na mind going and fetching me a pint then? She looks like an accomodating type."

Falina's jaw dropped.

"Accomodating?! Just what do you mean by that?" She demanded.

Axym looked startled. "Just that ye look like a lass who aims ta please others, is all."

"Really?" Her face was a thunderous cloud. Bahl sitting across from Axy picked up his cup and sipped at his wine, a twinkle in his eyes.

Axym looked perplexed that she should be taking what he was saying as an insult.

"Is there something that I'm missing here, Lass," He asked, scratching his chin through his beard.

"Oh, no, nothing at all," Falina's tone was caustic. "You step in here, make an inferance that I am here on a tryst with a demon." Bahl's eyebrow rose but he said nothing. "Go on to suggest that there is no way I can be in training under that same demon." Bahl's other eyebrow rose but, still he said nothing. "And then...and then..." Her voice sputtered, "You call me ACCOMODATING!"

Axym looked at her than at Bahl.

"Excitable, isn't she?"

"A trait I have noticed as well."

"So, you really didn't bring her here for..."

"I assure you that the young lady would not be up to the idea of anything dealing with that subject. At least not with me."

"Really? I've seldom known you to not be able to convince them otherwise. Spend much of your time convincing them, actually."

"Your point being?"

"Just observing, Laddy, just observing."

"Has anyone ever told you that there are times to observe in silence?"

"Aye, ye've told me that many a times before."

"It seems you heard but you were not listening."

Axym snorted. "There's times ta listen and times not to. The trick being knowing which is which."

"Evidently you are still trying to figure that out."

"Now Laddy..."

"Excuse me! Has it escaped both your notices that I am standing right here?!"

Both men looked up at her blankly as if she had no right to interrupt a conversation largely centered around herself.

After a few moments of staring at each other Axym shook his head.

"Ah, where are my manners," He smiled and held out his hand. "Tha name's Axym. Axym Gath'Thundrum at your service. And you would be...?"

Falina drew herself up to what she hoped was a reagal pose and looked down her nose at the dwarf as she  had seen those of nobility do. If she was going to carry this Gods Damned title, by the abyss, she was going to put it to good use now.

"Falina. Lady Falina."

Axym's eyebrows crawled toward his hairline and Bahl beside him groaned deeply.

After a moment, Axym turned to Bahl.

"Doing well for yourself now, aren't you, Lad?"

"I'm telling you...there is nothing..."

"Honestly! Both of you..."

The conversation stopped abruptly as there was the sound of sizzling and popping from the fire behind them. A stench of burned food arose around them.

All three pairs of eyes turned to the hearth where the rice and broth, which in the confussion Falina had forgotten to take from the fire, were boiling over and spilling into it.

Bahl cleared his throat and spoke first. "Well then, it would seem your portion of dinner is done."

The End

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