Prompt: Have you ever spoken up when you saw something happening that was wrong?
“It’s not any of our business. Dancer, let’s just go. Please?” Pearl’s small hand clutched at his stained sleeve.
“I have to do something,” Dancer growled. He stabbed at the seasoned potatoes still on his plate. They had grown cold while he was distracted by the men in the corner of the tavern. Dancer hated cold potatoes.
“Don’t get involved,” Pearl said. She tugged his shirt again, forcing him to look down at her. “There aren’t many places where we are still welcome.”
Dancer grunted and glanced at the men. The serving maid approached the group and handed them the second round of ale horns they had ordered. The first round was still dripping from her discolored apron. The one who seemed to be the leader of the group, a lean man with a neatly trimmed dark beard, sniffed at the liquid.
“We ordered good, strong Kitrean beer and you’ve brought us piss-water. Again.” He glared at the woman as she shivered at the end of the oak table.
“We do not have Kitrean beer, as I have said.” The serving maid smoothed her soaked apron with shaking hands. “We only have birch ale and spiced summer cider.”
The bearded man stood, toppling his stool. “You lie! I saw the barrels from Kitrea on the wagon behind this tavern. You will bring us what we ask for.”
“Sir, those are not –” she was silenced as the contents of the ale horn were dumped over her head.
Dancer left his fork in his potatoes and rose to his full height. He had to stoop under a few of the ceiling beams as he approached the laughing men. The woman, wiping ale from her eyes, scuttled away from the table when she saw him.
“What do you want, stinking forest dweller?” one of the men snarled, noticing Dancer looming over them. “You want some of the same?”
“It seems you’re hard of hearing,” Dancer said. “There is no Kitrean beer here.”
The bearded man whipped around, hand caressing the handle of a knife tucked into his belt. He glared up at Dancer, blue eyes sparkling in the candle light. He set his now empty cup on the table and placed his hand on his hip. They stared at each other for a few long breathes before the smaller man looked away.
“We shall go elsewhere,” he said to his friends. “This place is too crowded and smells of moldy trees and turned fruit.”
Dancer remained planted where he was as the group shoved past him. Once they were gone, he tossed two gold coins onto the empty table before returning to his seat on the other side of the room. Pearl scowled at him from her place across the oak planks.
“We’re lucky they decided they didn’t want more trouble than they’d made,” she hissed at him. Dancer shrugged and bit into a cold potato. He hated cold potatoes, but at least now he could eat them in relative peace.