Bite of Fiction 2: An Old Friend

Read the second installment in Jack Pharaoh’s Bite of Fiction.

Following+the+tales+of+Zennex%2C+through+the+dirty+floors+of+a+tavern%2C+into+the+beautiful+forests+that+blankets+the+landscape.

Following the tales of Zenn’ex, through the dirty floors of a tavern, into the beautiful forests that blankets the landscape.

…Rowan rolled his head to the left shoulder, a courteous smile crept onto his face.

“I have come here to eat more times than you have to work.  Surely you know the answer by now?”   

The waiter chuckled half-heartedly, leaning onto the bar again.  

“Alright, you always were a smart-alec.  What may I get for you?”

Rowan reached for the closest stool and settled into the seat, exhaling slowly as if straining a muscle.

“The usual will do.  Rabbit stew with some potatoes, a cup of water with it should do just fine.”  

A nod from the waiter followed as he turned and walked to the door behind the bar leading to the kitchen, snapping orders to the cooks inside.  Rowan’s smile faded as if a mask; thrown on at will.

As Rowan rested in his chair, the tavern started to come back to life.  Conversations sparked and the attention shifted from Rowan, who started to pick at the wood on the bar subconsciously.  His mind wandered as if he blanked out from reality.  Thoughts of the present invaded the open spaces in his mind.  Filling the overwhelming void in his brain.  Not that Rowan wasn’t smart, but his mentality was, “They don’t pay me to think.”  So he rarely shared opinions. 

Though one opinion crept into his head often, showing more often with every day.  “I used to be a fighter, do I really want to spend my days working in fields and going into the same old taverns every day?”  Even though the thought was common, it was usually crushed by what he figured to be common sense.  “Fighting gets you nothing but bruises and everlasting mistakes.”

In his moment of absent mind, he didn’t notice the appearance of another soul entering the tavern.  Nor did he hear the tavern’s people echoing a name in surprise.

“Nicolas?”

Rowan didn’t hear the gasps of the people in the tavern, or the lone footsteps getting closer to him, at least not at first.  It was only when the waiter he spoke to earlier came out of the door to the kitchen, a cup of water in hand that he noticed.  As the waiter came out, a sentence started to form on his lips but was put to a halt as he saw the man behind Rowan.

Rowan, still oblivious, noticed the waiter standing dumbfounded.  His thoughts were brushed away from his mind, now focused on the waiter.  His head tilted in slight confusion before he turned around and looked at the man standing behind him.

The confusion quickly shifted to aggravation.  This Nicolas was a tall man, standing about six feet tall, who looked rather husky through the clothes that he wore.  On his head was tied a brown bandana, covering his head like a hat.  A few locks of black hair reached out from under the bandana at the back of his head.  His face was dirty, covered in dust, and splotched with dirt.  A stubble beard stretched along his jaw; a scar marred his lip. His eyes were a deep green, with a notable scar above his right eyebrow.  He wore gray cotton shirt sleeves with a leather torso protection connected to them that looked like it had seen more than a few fights already.  His pants were a denim material with padded knee protection, stained from dirt and mud.

“What are you doing here?”  Rowan spat in anger and confusion. 

The man laughed, showing a small smile.

“Really Rowan?  That’s how you greet me?  I haven’t seen you in years!”  he said with a humble voice.

“It’s for good reason, Nick.”

Nicolas scratched the base of his neck nervously, “Good reason aye?”  A small pause followed. “I fought alongside you for years, and when we meet again, you tell me you abandoned us for good reason?  Abandoned me for good reason?”

Rowan balled his right hand into a fist.

“I would say not wanting to die for a bunch of you mercs is a good reason! Would you agree?” asked Rowan.  

Nicolas’s smile faded as he responded, “So many of them died for you.”

Rowan grimaced. 

After a few moments of still silence between the two, Rowan lifted his left hand and gestured toward the seat beside him.

Nicolas smiled in gratitude and sat down on the stool slowly, in a cautious manner.  He situated himself and kept scratching his neck as if he hid something. 

Or was fighting the urge to say something.

“I have done many favors for you Rowan, and so did the others.  Now I ask you a favor.” 

Rowan tilted his head, “What might this favor be?”

Nick closed his eyes for a moment, before nervously saying “Hiro has been captured by some monsters and I can’t get him back alone.”

To be Continued…