The winds bluster in as the door opens, admitting a tall man wrapped in a light wool cloak. Eliul Blackswood lowers the hood of his cloak, and in the brightly lit tavern the scars on his face glisten and shimmer with an oily glow. With naery a nod to any of the patrons within does he walk to a nearby table, pushing himself onto a bench with a relaxed sigh.

A slender girl is seated at a table by the window, her green eyes gazing dreamily out into the street. The table before her is piled high with toothsome goodies, elk and pie and venison in particular.

Eliul Blackswood flags down a slender serving girl, smiling broadly as she takes his order. He watches her leave toward the kitchen, though the expression on his face is that of amusement more than it is lechery. As his gaze traces the path of the serving maid, his eyes fall upon the girl across the room. As the sun pools on her dining table, so too does it make her hair look the color of golden fire. He has to abruptly pull his gaze away for fear of staring- if anything, it can be said that Eliul is polite, especially to women. He reaches behind his back and pulls the long, brown cord of his braided hair over his shoulder and begins slowly removing the strips of leather that bind it.

Bathed in the golden light of the afternoon that pours in through the window, Lillymere leans back. Her cloak slides off her shoulder with her movement, and she shrugs, letting it fall agains the back of her chair, revealing her fragile, white-clad frame. She looks up for a moment, across the room, her lashes drawing away to reveal her green eyes as she glances at the man as he arranges his hair.

With the final strip removed, Eliul shakes his long, chestnut hair for a moment to allow it to settle over his shoulders. He smiles once more and shares a moment of conversation with the serving girl who returns with a large tankard of Solas' famous brown ale and a plate of roasted elk. The left side of his face is visible now as he speaks to the maid, and the light in the room makes the huge scars thereupon look more pronounced. The maid saunters away once more, and Eliul steals another look toward the girl across the tavern, but he diverts his gaze to his table when their eyes meet for the first time.

Lillymere 's gaze rests on his face for a moment, and then catching herself, she flushes bright red and looks away, letting a few golden curls fall in front of her smooth, unmarred, ivory-complexioned face like a gilded, wavy veil. She picks up her fork, and cuts off a slice of elk.

Eliul Blackswood takes a long, slow draught of ale and sets the large tankard down with a pleased sigh. He chuckles softly to himself and wipes the foam from his mouth with the back of his shirtsleeve. He looks clean and groomed, yet his clothes speak volumes of his wealth, or lack thereof; while of fine, sturdy make, each garment looks old, discolored, and worn thin. He watches the girl's delicate movements for a moment, and then sets to eating his own plate of elk.

Lillymere takes a small bite of elk, a nibble, really. Her full sleeves wave gently with the slow motion of her slender arm, her delicate wrist taut as she holds the fork. She sets it beside her plate, gazing up at the cieling. There is a purple flash as the light hits the amethyst on her finger, casting little purple glints over the white lace of her gloves. She smiles a little at some unspoken thought, the barest hint of a smile that tugs at the corner of her pink lips.

There is a little hint of motion as something small moves along the side of her table. Something small, and dark, and wriggly, and... there is a high-pitched shriek as Lillymere's green eyes widen, and she shoves back her chair in a flurry of billowing garments in her haste to get away from the table, a petrified look plastered across her alabaster face as she stares, terrified, at something small at the edge of the table.

Eliul stands in a flash, shoving the large bench behind him with a *crash* as he does so. His wide eyes follow the scream to the girl's table, and he wastes not a moment in moving quickly and determinedly across the room to her. "What do be the problem?!" he asks in his deep, gravelly voice. He closes in on the table, his eyes following the outsctreched hand of the girl to the edge of the table where a small beetle wiggles along in its slow, comical movements. He laughs, another deep and throaty affair, and smiles warmly. "There, there," he says, "I'll get 'em out of here, I will."

He cups the insect in his large, callused hands and slowly walks him to a nearby window. With a small heave he tosses the winged beetle to the winds, and its small, black wings catch the air with a soft buzz.

He turns his attention once more to the girl, now able to make eye contact for the first time. "There. I do nae think he'll be bothering your meal nae more." He offers another warm smile that makes the scars on his face pucker slightly.

Lillymere shrieks as the beetle spreads its wings, looking wide-eyed and fearfully as it moves, and she says, in a breathy lisp of a voice, barely above a whisper, "Ith a terribly fearsome creature, isn't it?" She looks up at the man and quickly looks back out at the window, as though at any moment the beetle might return with dangerous intentions in mind.

Eliul laughs softly, his eyes alight with amusement. "Oh, nae, I do nae think so. It do be harmless, I think, even though it do have those large claws on its head, aye." His eyes catch the girl's fine dress, seemingly for the first time, and as he studies her face his features show signs of recollection. He makes a small, courteous bow to her, keeping his dark-brown eyes on hers as he does so. He rises and asks, "Have I seen you at the School, my lady? Or do I be mistaken?"

Lillymere tilts her head to the side, her curls tumbling down over her shoulder, as she says, "The school? The crafting thcool? Oh..." she waves her little hand in the air nonchalanty, letting it flutter about as she replies, "Oh, probobly... I often go to vithit Ore- I mean, His Grace."

Eliul nods slowly, patiently. "Aye, I thought so. His Grace has been most gracious to me, he has." He smiles again, adding "I own the carpentry shop down on Mikin Road. I heard His Grace will be overseeing that area, so I come to visit and pay my respects, I did. Then, he told me of some... thing... that do need to be taken care of there, aye." His smile broadens now. "So now I do stay in one of the guest rooms, I do. Very nice, those, and comfortable."

Lillymere reaches up to wind a curl around her finger, pulling out the coil until it is taught, and letting go, so that it bounces into place beside her rosy cheek, and she asks, "Oh, what needed to get done?"

Eliul shrugs. "I do nae know. Something about a... what is it, a reaper? ..Rav..." He toils over the thought for a moment, biting his lower lip as he does so. A spark alights his face with recollection and he snaps his broad fingers. "Ravager! Aye, that do be it. There do be a ravager there that do need to be dealt with."

Lillymere 's lashes flutter, dusting against her cheek, as she asks timidly, "... the one... the one... the flying one?" she asks in a small, quiet voice, barely audible, and continues, "The one at Lighth Reach? Has it... been killed?"

Eliul shrugs again and offers another smile, albeit smaller than the previous few. "I do nae know if has been killed..." His mouth twists in thought once more as he bites his lower lip. "Though, I'm sure the Duke will let me know when it has. I would like to get back to the shop an' finish setting it up, aye... Even if it *is* less comfortable than the room at the School."

Lillymere nods slowly and says, "Yeth... well... hmm. I... hope you have the best of luck with your new shop... I..." she pauses for a moment and says, "Thank you for your athistance... I had better be getting back to the school myself." she dips her curly head to him and says, "Good afternoon..."

Eliul offers another bow, this time deeper and more akward, his long limbs flailing slightly with the odd flourishes he offers. "My lady," he says, still arched in a deep bow, "it has been my pleasure, aye." He stands to find her already on the way out of the tavern, her long skirts billowing behind her in her quick movements. He watches her with the same amused, openly jovial look he gave the maid moments earlier, and smiles softly to himself when the large biinwood door clicks behind her.

He sits down once again at his table to find his food cold and his ale warm. He sets to his meal despite the unwelcome change in temperature, and he eats with a distant, thoughtful gaze etched onto his face. Perhaps today was indeed a good day to come to the tavern, he thinks, and takes another long, luxurious draught of his ale.

Return to Season 3 (2005)

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