The Drunken Wizard was busier than usual, and pushing myself through the thick crowd of ripe smelling individuals, I looked around for my friend Velka, but her blonde mane was nowhere to be seen. The grubby hands of the usual patrons occasionally smacked my butt, which didn’t improve my mood. The bloody mage must have lost herself in the arms of another lover, leaving me to wait here fending off the drunken lechers. Thankfully, the mercenary leader, Janik, was sitting in the corner with his rowdy company, and I pushed through the crowd to get to them.
“Oi, shift your ginger arse and make a space for a delicate lady,” I said, pushing myself between him and some other goon. The bushy red beard turned toward me, looking for something above my head.
“Where is this lady? I can’t see one.” His deep voice, laced with laughter, echoed through the inn, and many patrons turned in our direction.
My elbow in his stomach didn’t even make a dent, except I felt like I had hit a stone wall. The mercenary was built like a brick outhouse with bulging muscles under his blue shirt, and I’d heard he was a tireless lover. However, I had never been tempted to find out. He was a friend, and I was not a girl who wasted a wonderful friendship over a few hours of frolicking in the hay, no matter how tempting it sounded.
I waved at the bar’s owner, an imposing but friendly troll, and Gruff wandered over with a tankard of mead and an all-knowing smile. “I heard your aunt is prepping you to be the next court mage.”
“And I heard your information is last year’s news. I never agreed to accept anything like this. If I want to see drunkards day in, day out, I can come to your tavern and at least get a decent drink for myself.”
The troll laughed at my speech, but I didn’t hold it against him. Nerissa was becoming more persistent in her efforts to persuade me to take my ‘rightful place’ among my peers and become a royal mage. Or, in other words, the potion supplier for hangovers and sexual prowess.
Janik leaned over, saying, “aww, Striga, but I would love to have a royal mage as my drinking buddy. Who knows, maybe I would even see you in one of those flowery dresses from the court and fall in love at first sight.” He brushed his beard over my exposed neck, clearly asking for trouble. I looked deeply into his eyes and trailed my hand over his collar while my other hand wrapped itself around his tankard.