The masked barman, called Ashcat by the drinker waiting for his amber ale, watched the eorman play with his money. With a hidden smirk, he poured a tankard for the other customer and returned to Lafitte. He leaned his elbow on the bar, in mirror to Lafitte.
“Cards you say? Well, I don’t rightly recollect. Remind me, friend.” And he laid out his palm on the bar as if to see how many clinks of those gold coins it would take to jog loose his memory.
— — —
Peino Starhand at the fishgriller’s stand, relaxed back against the stone wall and crossed his leg over his knee. The movement brought his knee up against the bottom of the plank table, enough of a push to know it was loose, a long plank laid but not fastened over some old barrels.
In his head he was running down the details of the pair confronting him and Lotye, judging the push of the crowds, the angles required for various moves.
Thunder rolled low and loud over the alley.
“Easier without the mask?” he said. “My good sir, what’s life without challenge?”
That was when the rain came down — a darkening veil of water that sent the passers-by scurrying for awnings and overhangs like the one that sheltered Peino and Lotye.