Malkyn took refuge behind the stables, it was one the few place in the town center that remained fairly dark in the evening, the Soldal had installed lantern post that burned all night every where a few years prior, she often missed the darkness of her childhood, the hours spent outside playing hide and seek with Alaric, Rowan and her sisters.
Angrily she threw knives at the target on the wall, her accuracy worse than ever, she couldn't help but remember all those hours spent with Alaric practicing with the short bow a ranger had left at the inn. They had always suspected Terryn knew who had it, but let them have it.
As she tossed the last of the blade she had, a hand met her shoulder.
"Leave me alone, Ric." She grumbled, breaking off the contact.
"You have the wrong person, Malky." She recognize the boy's voice. She turned around and hugged Rowan, the other child she had grown up with. He hugged her tightly until she calmed down. "Why don't you tell me what's wrong?" He said, placing a hand on her back and pushing her toward a bench.
"Alaric again." She grumbled.
"What about him?"
"He... He's just being a jerk again." He gave her a look, the kind that made you feel guilty about everything that priests seemed to master. "He just doesn't to get why I worry about him so much."
"Now, now, we've always known Alaric was a little thick, rarely paying attention to the world around him."
She laughed at that comment, making Rowan smile, happy to have relieved her of a bit of her emotional burden. "Ever since he joined the rangers, he doesn't have time for me anymore."
"We're adults now, Malky, Alaric is a ranger, I'm studying to join the clergy while you have the inn you'll soon inherit. We all have things on our mind, things we wish we could devote more time to, but there are only so many hours in a day. Have you ever told him how you feel?"
"No..." She admitted. "I just thought he'd figure out how I felt..."
"Have you ever thought about the fact that Alaric sees your affection as being a display of sisterly love? You have been living together since you were four years old, you've always been as thick as thieves. You should talk to him."
"You're right." She said."Thank you, Rowan. You've always been a great friend." She got up and gathered her knives, placing them back in the sheaths hidden under her skirt. Although it wasn't the most lady-like thing, it had often helped her in a pinch and her skills with them had allowed her to win quite a lot of money against the inebriated guardsmen.
Rowan came with her inside the inn, taking one of the empty seat at the counter. He gave her a nod for encouragement as she moved forward.
Alaric was speaking with her father Brom, while Ric was nowhere close to small, he still looked tiny compared to the mountain that was the innkeeper. Malkyn only caught the later half of their conversation.
"You don't have to worry about anything, Ric, you're family here." Brom said his voice strong but warm.
"It's just I feel bad for not pulling my own weight around, you've been too kind to me since I lost my parents, Brom, I don't want to abuse your hospitality."
"Then why don't you help with cleaning once we close?" He conceded.
"That's fine by me, Sir."
The innkeeper put a massive hand on the wheat colored head of his adoptive son, ruffling his hear like he had done so often when the ranger still a child. He went back to his taps and the boy saw Malkyn.
"Malky!" He said. "I was wondering where you had gone."
"I needed to cool down." She said with less confidence than she had intened.
"Oh that's... Good?"
"Alaric I think we need to talk..."
"What is it?"
"We've known each other for a long time and it's just that I kind of thing that we maybe should eh wow." She began speaking, the words flowing out of her mouth with very little cohesion. "Now I'm just want to say that--"
Malkyn never managed to finish her sentence when someone stumbled through the door, panting and exhausted. "The lumber camp is under attack."