Chapter 19

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Ghudher ran a hand over his bald pate before picking up the coin. After a grimace, he went down the bar to pour the ale.

The other man turned to his friend and whispered harshly "Are you determined to get us thrown out of here?"

"Shut up and drink, Mharkhel." Then, under his breath, "If it were not for me, everyone in this bar would know us for knights." Ghudher returned with the ale and Setryv managed another smile and drank deeply. He issued a tremendous belch then turned to his partner. "If you would take your face out of your mug for a moment, maybe you could start gathering some information."

"And if you would keep your hands off the ladies the same would be true of you. Besides, you just told me to drink," Mharkhel replied weakly.

The knights were incognito, dressed in the crude garb of laborers. Their mission was to draw out the sentiment of the common people concerning the government in general but more specifically the Prince. Setryv was enjoying himself but Mharkhel was uncharacteristically drowning his sorrows in amber ale. Things had progressed from bad to worse between the Princess Ellycyn and himself. That and the self-inflicted burden of Valdhon's murder were taking a toll on the dark knight.

After a few more ales, they managed to secure a couple of seats at a table. They joined four others who were deeply engrossed in discussing politics. It was just what the knights hoped for.

"I don't care what you say. It was obvious. He had the old man set up. It was no secret he wanted him outta the way," a dock worker strongly declared, the smell of the river and ale emanating from him.

"What's that, friend?" Setryv asked innocently.

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