The Truth About Lies
Wood let the last patron slump onto the tavern porch to sleep off his binge drinking and locked the door. It had been a good night, packed—as always, but he was already shaking his head.
“You keep changing that story, old man.”
Terrin grinned to himself as he poked the coals in the hearth. “Some stories have to be refreshed and updated to keep the attention of a new generation.”
Wood laughed then, “If you’re not careful, you’re going to get someone to actually believe that I am a Verrdrä! Then where will you be? Even worse, where will that leave me?”
“I do apologize, if this has made you uncomfortable, my friend.”
The tavern owner snorted, “No. I’d just be a bit careful about how you spin the Gypsy portions or interpret any rumors you hear. There is magic in this tavern, but it’s a far stretch from merchant doors to an information network, endless treasure and Gypsy’s teaming up with dragons!”
The bard chuckled and slipped his pipe into his vest pocket. “You have a point. Don’t want to ruin an endless flow of copper and silver, nor a comfortable place by the hearth.”
Terrin grabbed his cloak and walked to the stairs, “Goodnight, my friend. May peace ever find you and yours.”
Wood kept wiping the table, not looking up. “And you.”
It wasn’t until he heard the click of the bards bedroom door close that the tavern owner looked around the Great Hall and sighed.
Setting the platter of dirty dishes in the basin, Wood wiped his hands on his apron and pulled the string over his head. Tossing it onto the bar counter, he pushed the swinging door aside and walked through the kitchen. Working his way around the barrels of wine and mead, he opened the door to the storage area.
For as long as he’d owned the tavern, Wood had never thought to keep one of the bedrooms for himself. He looked down at the rough carved bed, stained and worn blankets and single pillow of goose feathers. Tonight of all nights, it sounded like a good idea for a change.
Stepping behind the bed, he tugged on one of the wall sconces.
A panel slid open in the wall, revealing a narrow set of stairs.
He stepped drowsily through the opening.
Pulling a small lever, the panel slid securely shut behind him.
Wood yawned deeply as he wandered down the steps. It had been days since he’d slept, but tomorrow the girls would take care of the breakfast crowd and he could enjoy a leisurely rest until the evening crowd drifted in.
Pulling a fat coin purse from his belt, the nights profits in gold, silver, and abundant copper, he tossed it onto a long, narrow table.
“I think I’m going to have to have a conversation with Iyl-Tandril,” he yawned again, pulling his tunic up and over his shoulders, “before this becomes a problem.”
With that, the tavern owner stretched out his arms and legs, nestling into the sea of gold, amidst the small grove of potted Andle saplings.