It'd been a long time since Riddien had watched an angry Kwinn storm from a room. The sensations it evoked were far from pleasant. Often enough, Riddien had wished Kwinn had stabbed him with the end of his famous sword rather than abscond with the stillness and silence of a parish monk. Whether he'd said something silly or stupid, Riddien wasn't sure. His companions, still seated at the thick table there at the pub, were quite certain.
"You're really not good at this speaking thing, are you?" Trill, his flat-featured face and watery eyes of his people was certainly cut out for making a guy feel stupid, even without the rhetorical questions.
Already, the back of Riddien's neck burned. He recognized the symbol, left over from his long, difficult relationship with Kwinn. There he was, trying to be the good guy, say the right thing, and it was always Kwinn who got a little too offended, always the one who wandered away and, somehow, worsened Riddien's feelings. As if he had feelings to spare.
"I was just trying to—" he started to say, interrupted by Trill's twin sister.
|Ages had passed since Riddien Slance was required to observe Kwinn, at the peak of anger, storm from a smoky pub. Sensations caused by Riddien's heated inspection of Kwinn's departure were far from unfamiliar. Dust, blown from the hurt, gave Riddien a clear view of feelings he'd repressed for three years. More than three bygone years, too, for his warmth toward Kwinn over the last two weeks was difficult to disregard entirely. Their complicated history, full of wonder and magic and mayhem, seemed compressed into the difficult fortnight just behind them, also full of wonder and magic and mayhem. |
Across the previous two weeks, moments drifted upon Riddien when he wished Kwinn would stab him with the end of his famous sword rather than flee with the stiffness and silence of a parochial mystic. Riddien had grown more used to one, rather still hoping for the other. If Kwinn had made the slightest motion of showing his anger toward Riddien Slance in the form of physical violence, Riddien would've preferred it. Such action would've provided Riddien with something of Kwinn to grip and squeeze. The Kwinn who ran off without a word, with just a slight curl in his lip and a faint gleam of revenge in his eyes, he was a Kwinn too squirmy and illusory to grip and squeeze.
Whether Riddien had dropped an unwanted phrase, or if he had delivered an unappealing joke, couldn't be immediately decided. Perhaps he'd been speaking a bit unrefined. Sometimes his voice tipped into cadences brutal, intonations unsavory. Yet these were flavors of his character Kwinn had tasted throughout the years, and would not, therefore, be so shocking that he'd need to escape.
Riddien's companions, still seated at the thick table in the center of the pub, were quite sure Riddien had been in the wrong.
"You're really not as good at this speaking thing as you think you are," said Trill. His flat-featured face and his watery, white-blue eyes of his people cut a thorough and mean stare. "There's a lot about you that you think you're good at, and you're not really all that good at. Takes a lot more time to learn these things, it does."