Flakk opened a thick wooden door. No squeaky hinges announced her presence and with her shadowy clothes to help, the mercenary slid through the side entrance to the pubs main area. Her stool was empty and by the time she had glanced around, a mug of ale was sitting in front of her. As the delicious brew soaked her wind parched throat, a name caught her attention. It was hers. Eyes glittered from beneath the hood. She loved eavesdropping when people talked about her. It must be a bit of good fortune then, she had gotten bored waiting. Stormy must be brewing something delightfully challenging in order to get his ridiculous pants back.
It was mostly the same crew, at a central table, talking about her. She recognized most of the faces.
Unlike most of her ilk, Flakk did hold to a certain honour code. That included the pub owners insisted neutrality between all folk in his place. If they were here talking, it was a brewing on her horizon. What? A jangle of coin and she slid from the stool, mug of ale still in her hand. That wasn't important. It was time to move anyway. The point had been like a home for the last few years, but if that egg sucker was enlisting "their" help, she would need any advantage she could get to drag the game out a bit. It would be a busy few weeks then. It was hard to find a place with the right natural guardians. She would miss Paul and his family of marmots.
Flakk drained the flagon, and left it sitting in the kitchen as she stealthed down the alley. Not aware of the beady raven eyes watching her.
Dally and Timur exited the pub into the bright sun. Voron swooped down out of nowhere and perched on Dally’s shoulder. As she reached up to gently rub the feathers on the back of his neck, the raven seemed to lean down and whisper in her ear. Her hazel eyes widened.
“She was here. She just left out the back door!”
Timur swore loudly. “We’d better get a move on then. She’s probably taken off by now!”
Dally flattened her hand at Voron’s feet, and as he moved from her shoulder she extended her arm. “Follow!” she commanded. They ran to where Renard was sunning himself, and as he lifted his head Dally said to him, “Renard, find Voron!” The dragon gave an excited yip and bobbed his head impatiently he waited to fly.
Timur climbed onto Renard’s back and helped Dally up behind him. As she settled in, Dally murmured a cloaking spell and gave the command for Renard to take off. Once they were in the air she leaned forward and asked, “What exactly are crimson battle pants?”
Timur smiled. “They are made from a very strong, lightweight thread that is very hard to cut, rip or stab through. Then they are cast with a spell that protects the owner of that particular pair of pants. For example, mine have been made to keep me warm while flying and alert in battle.”
“So they’re valuable?”
“Yes, but usually only to the owner. I have heard of them being ransomed, but Flakk is not the type to do something like that. She doesn’t like dealing with people unless it is absolutely necessary.”
“Then why do you think she would take them?”
“Well I’ve been thinking about that,” Timur replied slowly. “The only thing I can figure is that Stormy must have done something either to Flakk or to one of the few humans she’d consider calling a friend. And it must not have been too grievous if all she did was scare him and steal his pants.”
“Or someone hired her to take them?”
Timur thought about that idea for a moment. “Could be. But she most likely would have delivered them by now.”
Voron suddenly appeared in front of Renard, then circled the dragon’s head a few times, cawing loudly. The raven then took off full speed. Renard let out a roar and went full speed after the bird. Timur threw a questioning look over his shoulder at Dally.
“She’s landed,” Dally replied.
Timur nodded as Renard started his decent. The huge dragon landed in a clearing with almost cat like softness, cancelling the cloak spell when his feet touched the ground. The duo dismounted, and Voron circled silently in front of them. Dally nodded at the bird, and he flew silently from tree to tree, leading them to the point. Flakk was busily packing her belongings onto the back of her dragon as they entered the clearing.
“Flakk!” Timur called, entering the clearing with his hands raised. “We just want to talk!”
Flakk glared at them, then took a few steps toward them, one hand on the knife on her belt. “Well Timur, long time no see. Working for scumbags these days, I see.”
Timur shrugged. “We’ve both worked for our share. The job for Stormy is more of a favor to another friend.”
Flakk laughed. “True mercs have no friends. But then you always appreciated being ordered around more than the rest of us.”
Timur shrugged again. “I am not here to fight with you, Flakk. I’m here to ask for the pants. It’s up to you whether you give them to us or not.”
Flakk stared at him for a moment. “And what happens if I don’t?”
Timur put his hands down at his sides. “He doesn’t know you were in the bar. We wait a few days, tell him we couldn’t find you and that he’s on his own in finding them.”
“We said we would try to get the stupid pants back,” Dally said slowly. “We promised nothing.”
Flakk sighed loudly. She turned and rummaged in one of the large satchels hanging from the side of her dragon, pulled out the pants, and tossed them over to Timur.
“Now go. Forget you saw me. Tell no one or I will make you wish you hadn’t.”
Timur nodded. “You have my word. We found your place empty and only the pants inside. No sign of you or your dragon.”
Dally looked the mercenary in the eyes and nodded. “Thank you, Flakk,” she said.
Flakk watched them head out of the clearing. She watched the blue dragon take off, the raven circling and riding the beasts tail winds. Once they were no longer visible, she reached into the pocket of the small satchel hidden under the larger one and pulled out a golden envelope. She took out the letter and read it again, and smiled.
“This just got very interesting,” she laughed.