Ch. 132. You Can’t Go Home Again

3rd of 4…

The Feast of the Triumvirate touched even such modest corners as the Sword and Club.  The tavern room that received Ionas Farseer was garlanded with the charms and flowers of the festival.  A brass ship’s bell over the bar was rung for every transaction completed that day that a patron might wish to celebrate.  The peace in which Ionas enjoyed the strong mead was punctuated by fishmongers’ cheers for profitable sales, the laughter of friends, and jigs sawed out by a fiddler.

But Ionas was not the only quiet figure among the working revelers.  Two or three exhausted celebrants in fancy dress who had staggered over one or another bridge to find a respite, sighed over their tankards, too tired to do much else.

And in a back corner, a cloaked figure, face hidden behind a red, beaked half-mask, had been nursing an amber ale for a good while now.  The pewter tankard rested on that day’s newspapers, but the cloaked personage was no longer reading them.  His masked, hooded head rested heavily on one hand, and his mouth was set in a grim line.  Whatever kept him drinking in the Sword and Club, it wasn’t a transaction he wanted to celebrate.

Yes, there were a few people in the Sword and Club that day who properly belonged somewhere else, whether it was another land altogether, the luxuriant palaces of a prominent family, an air ship floating over the oceans, or another part of the city they’d fled to avoid the pressure of the guardians.

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