A few weeks earlier, Leander had been in Hirkimir at the Thirsty Dog Pub when a stranger had staggered into the bar. Most of the patrons were regulars, and usually they were a jovial bunch, laughing and tossing back pint after pint. Tonight was much the same, yet a darkness clouded the room as this figure entered the tavern.
The flickering light cast by the robust fire roaring in the fireplace seemed to dim. The bartender cast his eyes downward in an attempt to not make eye contact with the individual and though the patrons all turned to see who had entered, quietly turned back to their drinks. The collective heartbeat seemed to slow as the figure lurched toward a dark table in the corner.
Hastily he whispered to the bartender that he would like his best ale. Nervously, the bartender pushed the mug toward him. The figure tossed a few coins on the bar and turned to head to his table. As he passed passed Leander, he paused for a moment and whispered an ominous word, “Graytorin,” and then continued on to his seat.
Leander’s brow crunched in confusion at the sound of the man’s voice. It was dark and haunting. He sat there and shook for a moment, unable to purge the word from his mind. Glancing over his shoulder, he realized that the figure was staring intently at him. He hurriedly grabbed his pouch and checked the knife on his belt. Whew, still there.
As he headed for the door, the man stood up and moved to follow him.