Meg’s head snapped up as the tavern door swung open. Hoods. Yellow. Three. This must be them. Her breath stuttered in her throat. Finally
. The thought of Llian, alone, in trouble, for all of this time… it didn’t bare thinking about.
Within seconds though, she was across the tavern floor, heart racing as she sized them up. Two women and a man. Whilst the man was scowling, the two women looked significantly less grumpy, although none of them seemed too pleased, something which probably had more to do with the weather than anything else. Not that Meg cared. Didn’t matter how cheery they were, so long as they could help her make sure Llian was safe.
Going off appearances though, that was starting to seem less likely by the second. One of the women, the one who’d walked in first, was absolutely tiny - to the point that Meg was reasonably sure she’d have very little trouble crushing her fragile wrists between just her thumb and forefinger. The other seemed a little sturdier at least, but Meg withheld judgement on whether she looked more confident or cocky. The first was useful. The latter could get them all killed.
The man looked jumpy - no other word for it. His eyes had flicked to her the second she’d moved toward them, and Meg hadn’t missed the way his fingers had tensed. Now though, he took in the rest of the room, and Meg followed his gaze as it flicked over the rickety tables, the bartender, Kate, and-
“Bloody hell…” Meg turned at Kate’s voice. She was standing, frozen, pale, lips moving wordlessly as she stared at the group. No, not the group. The man. Did she know him?
“Kate?” Meg asked nervously, “Everything all right?”
Kate just continued to stare, and Meg felt something crawl across her skin. Who was he? Was he dangerous? Meg wanted to run, could feel the urge itching in her legs, her feet, everywhere. No one had made a move. Didn’t mean they wouldn’t though. Meg had never seen Kate look so… startled before. If they were dangerous they would have to be extremely so.
The man stared back, “K...Kate? You’re
Kate?” he croaked, backed towards the door. Not dangerous then. At least, not physically.
Behind Meg, Kate bristled. And then, without warning, charged towards them.
The man all but yelped, before making a break for the door they’d just entered through, accidentally brushing past the woman who came in last on the way, a gesture that, moments later, was repeated by Kate as she pelted after him into the pouring rain.
Meg stood there for a moment, dumbfounded. Eventually, she addressed the two women, “Sh...should we go after them?”
A cackle, loud, that seemed to echo, both inside Sadon and Vitius’s heads and throughout the forest at the same time.
The floor shook. Animals squealed, shuffled, rustled in the undergrowth. Then -
Trees reared. Swayed. A conniffer whipped back with a snarl, slammed into the dirt in front of Vitius with a thump. Ripped upright, sharp green points skimming towards the pale flesh of his face. Sharp enough and fast enough to tear if they made contact.
Next to him, thick, chunky roots heaved themselves from the ground, swept. Wide, arching towards Sadon’s shins, swift and heavy in the darkness.