Henry found he had so many questions that he didn’t know where to start. He discarded a few that might cause Seymour to think he was stupid, and eventually he settled on beginning with the one that was troubling him most.
“Seymour? About Aita—what is he?”
The Aechyed frowned. “I don’t know, exactly. He’s one of the Ancients, certainly. Probably fae.” He downed the rest of his beverage without pausing for breath and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. “He co-owns Olde Moribinu—always has, always will. This place has been here for as long as there has been a city on this old rock, and so have Aita and Elnias.” He paused. “You’ve heard about Elnias, right?”
That name, which had sounded vaguely familiar, suddenly registered in Henry’s mind. “You mean the demon?”
“Yes and no,” Seymour answered. “There are only four true demons, and none of them are named Elnias. That popular misconception emerged from a bad translation of an ancient religious text. The Old Magramish word for demon, deominu, is only one letter different from deosinu, the word for fallen god. But yes, we refer to the same being.”
“So…this place is owned by a god?”
Seymour smiled. “Not necessarily. No mortal knows what he actually is, and Elnias certainly isn’t telling anyone. When it comes to classifying the Ancients, one can do no better than speculate.”
Henry folded his arms and leaned back in his wooden chair. “You said you know him? How?”
“Met him last time I came to Waelyngar. I’ve run across him a few times since, mainly in Brysail.”
“Where exactly?” inquired a voice nearby. “In your bed?”
Aita had appeared alongside them, his thick, muscular arms crossed across his chest and a hint of a smile playing upon his mouth.
Unperturbed, Seymour mirrored his position and facial expression. “I’m not a common street-whore, Aita.”
The ram-horned man laughed. “I know, I know. He does fancy you though, you know.”
Seymour nodded. “I’d guessed. You aren’t jealous, are you?”
“No. Well,” Aita amended, “a bit. I think I know what he sees in you, though.”
“Is that so?” Seymour said with a grin, smoothing his hair back and lounging with his elbow on the table. “Aw, you’re making me blush.”
“Just doing my job,” Aita said with a shrug. “I’ll go let Elnias know you’re here.” He started to walk away, then paused. “Pleasure to meet you, by the way, your lordship,” he added, mussing Henry’s hair.
Seymour laughed at Henry’s stunned expression for a good minute and a half.
“Are you alright?” he asked when he had at last recovered his composure. “You look like you’ve swallowed your tongue.”