Trouble comes in through the front door

 

The door flew open with a loud bang, and a snowy fog rolled into the tavern that carried with it the shrouded form of a figure in black. His cape whipped about in an unfelt wind, revealing a sword harnessed at his hip.

"A mug o' your worst, Keep," he growled.

As he sat down the door slammed shut, and silence fell once more upon the establishment. Worried glances and whispers flew back and forth among the assembled patrons, unsure of the ominous arrival. Even the buxom barmaid who brought the frothing mug of ale to him lingered a few moments to stare before scurrying back to her business.

"I feel I am not welcome here," the man announced after a healthy helping of the unhealthy substance. Mumbles greeted his observation, the general agreement of the regulars. "But that's often the case with men such as me, Men of the Hand."

With a deft movement he flicked his cape from his shoulder, revealing a silver insignia plastered against his breast. Gasps accompanied the revelation, and at least one woman fainted. Errol Dreef's nervous finger tapping increased to a frantic pace.

The man laughed, his gaze falling on the halfling, and then said, "I mean no trouble for you."

"But trouble is all the Hand brings," a soft voice cooed from one shadowy corner of the room.

The End

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