“Well, now… what have we here?”
Baronal stood up with easy confidence. As he stepped out into the open space of the junction the other Curzian men rose one by one from their benches to fall in behind him, leaving their drinks and laughter on the tavern’s terrace behind them. Tessa, as the young thief, backed slowly away as the sleek lieutenant approached.
The half-orc Maagar stamped forward, spitting out his words like caustic gravel. “That case it’s mine – stole it this little poustis did!”
As Nik rushed to interpose with the furious Chessentan, Prasek, the little pawnbroker puffed up and turned red. His voice quivered with indignation as he stepped forward from the other side of the intersection: “No sir, don’t listen – it’s my case! I paid good money for it – and then he stole it!” He threw out his hand to point at Tessa as though sighting down the shaft of an arrow.
Baronal made a chopping motion to quiet the two angry rivals.
“Now, Boy,” he addressed Tessa sternly, “Perhaps you could tell us which of these men is telling me the truth?” All eyes turned to the young Thief, who stood poised for flight in the middle of the three groups.
Tessa flicked a glance over her shoulders, and looked back to the dark-eyed lieutenant. “No…” she ventured, “No, it’s your case.” She gingerly placed the box at his feet. As she stepped away, she underlined her offering: “Sir.”