Chapter 19

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"How do you mean?" asked Mharkhel.

"They were black. And… I dunno. Soulless. The guy kinda gave you the creeps just lookin' at him," Dhirnhon explained.

Mharkhel and Setryv exchanged a knowing glance. Mharkhel was just about to say something when a deafening cheer erupted in the bar. Someone had managed to pull down a barmaid's bodice. Two burly men immediately appeared from nowhere to help "escort" the miscreant out of the bar.

Before the howling could die down, a barmaid brought a round of drinks and Setryv needed all of his self control to stop from grabbing her. The merchant eyed Setryv and said, "You have good taste. I have had her before and may do so again tonight."

Dhirnhon scowled. "I don't know what you see in her. Now the Princes' lady, Fhyndhella. She's a beaut." He took a drink, spilling more on himself than he got down his throat.

"Both you and the Prince are crazy," one of the dock workers said. "If I were the Prince, I'd take Dhonlaa over her in a second. That's a lady with class."

The other laborer shook his head. "All of you can't be blind, can you? Princess Ellycyn is easily the most beautiful lady in the land." The dock worker unfortunately did not notice Mharkhel's dangerous look and continued on. "I would give anything to—"

Mharkhel got up quickly and reached for the man, almost overturning the table in the process. Setryv lunged at Mharkhel, knocking him down. The disturbance, on the heels of the episode with the barmaid, combined with the heat of the day and the liquor of the night to ignite a full blown melee.

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