Oct 27, 2017
Merrik was a medium sized man with a broad, open face on the wrong side of handsome, nondescript until he took off his cap and Galen could see the wide ears set too high on the sides of his head. When the woman brought Galen's beer, Merrik reached out and tugged on her skirt. She twitched away; her practiced smile a bit, no, a lot forced.
"Bring me one of those, Miercie. And a bowl of stew." His voice was a mellow, friendly tenor, his smile wide and affable, and the pat he gave her bottom too congenial. She slapped it away and headed back toward the kitchen without answering. Merrik winked at Galen. "She likes me." He scooted his chair sideways and crossed a leg over his knee. "You haven't been in here before. My name's Merrik." He held out his hand, and Galen reached to clasp his forearm. Merrik smelled of not-too-clean stable.
Galen tilted his chair back on its hind legs to get away from the odor. "No, I haven't. Seems like a good place. Friendly."
"Yes, it is." And Merrik waved at a woman across the room. Her smile back looked more grimace than smile.
Merrik's way of blending in was to make himself so obnoxious no one even wanted to see him. It worked well and, Galen thought, made use of his natural talents. Galen didn't even want to see him, and that was why he’d come.
"I run the stables down the hill and two streets over. Be glad to stable your horse while you're here in the Prime. Good feed. Clean straw. Bring him in. We'll take good care of him. Better'n any others." His voice was too loud.
"I'll keep that in mind," Galen said and sipped at his beer, scooting his chair around the table away from the stable smell.
Miercie brought Merrik his beer. "The stable where he works shoveling shit is full of it. Just like him," she muttered to Galen.
He almost choked on his swallow. He finished his beer, handed her a few extra coins for putting up with the worm, and left….