"You want to know my life story?" I asked, somewhat incredulous. The young lady nodded, causing her tightly woven hair to bob a little behind her. I inhaled again on my cigarette, setting it on the edge of the tray before exhaling into the air. The smoke took on the look of a fish, circling my head once before leaping higher then dissipating. She watched with admiration. The girl was nothing special but I had her love for now, maybe for the night. "Alright, I'll trade you."
"What...what could I possibly have to trade?" she asked, sounding more fearful than angry. She looked around the common room and wrapped her arms around herself, gloved hands rubbing her arms.
"Stories, dear, same as me," I smiled and raised a brow, "Let's have your name first lass." I sipped a bit on my ale, and settled back deeper into my chair.
"Alayne Smithson" she blushed, and batted her lashes at me,"I'm not a son though."
"That goes without saying. I was born Breslin Fellhand, late in the winter. My mother likes to claim I brought spring with my voice." I took another drag on my cigarette, this time letting the smoke hang naturally. "Since a young age I had three primarily talents. I have a knack for magic, I exercise an amazing capacity for charm, and most importantly I'm possessed of exceptional wit." I set aside my cigarette and settled back looking at Alayne. We sat in silence for several moments.
She went from attentive waiting to annoyed waiting until finally asking,"Well? is that it? I wanted a story." I smiled, shaking my head slightly then piquing an eyebrow at her.
"You gave me a name and you got back more than that. I promised you trade, not stories."
She sighed and rolled her eyes,"I am first born to a smith. I am the first and only daughter born to his line in over 300 years. I hate smithing, metal, and fighting. When I was a young girl he tried to teach me all three. I was slow with a sword, and worse with a crossbow. I still to this day can only tell coins apart by marking; not my taste or weight." She fell silent, tapping her arm with her left hand. "And I am missing several fingers on my left hand. Apparently I'm no good with a smelter, either."
I nodded, solemnly. "I'm familiar with failing a parent. As I said I've a knack for magic - you've seen the show." She nodded, and I continued,"When I was a very young boy, maybe seven years, my father came into a few coins and insisted I be trained in wizarding." I sipped my ale and leaned forward, lowering my voice. It had the desired effect and she leaned closer as well. "I was sent to train with Calum, an old coot even then. I couldn't focus on my studies at all. There was so much reading, so much why and how and other nonsense." I shook my head,"Magic comes from your blood; it just is part of you. The stuffy book-noses say anyone can learn it. If that were true, I don't think anyone would muck stables, among other professions."
She giggled before saying,"So you aren't a wizard?" I shook my head slightly. "More's the pity, I find wizardry sexy."
"You find magic sexy, lady Smithson, wizardry is just putting pomp and circumstance on what is already there." I grinned,"So I failed to learn to wizard. Calum turned me out as unteachable and dispossessed of talent. This was because I never scored well on the lessons or exams, nor could I recite any spells. My own opinion is that I made the more learned students jealous. I never did well, save when we had practice with actual spell slinging. I already was more practiced than the most advanced apprentice. My parents were very unhappy I wasted my opportunity."
She nodded,"At least you were born the right gender."
I shrugged, and started to roll another cigarette,"Do you smoke, Lady Smithton?"
"I do, and I insist you call me Alayne, Breslin." She smiled, laying her left hang on my arm. I could immediately tell the pressure was off, she had been honest about the accident.
I rolled another cigarette and handed it to her, lighting both with a tiny flame from my fingertip. We both sat smoking awhile, like that. She would look away to exhale, then smile at me and I'd do the same, winking. This dance stretched on for many minutes, before she broke the spell.
"So, you failed out of magic school? Then what?"
I smiled, and jingled two coppers behind my back,"There's a price to enjoy the scenery, Alayne."
She slapped me playfully with her still gloved maimed hand, smiling. "You're a tease, you know?"
I feigned shock,"Who have you been talking to? I've never been so shy."
She laughed a deep, hearty laugh,"Well then, a story?"
I nodded, motioning in a wide arc with my hands,"Make it a big one."
"Alright, when I was eleven the woman's blood was upon me. My mother had died in childbirth and my father had relegated me to sewing and cleaning. I was fully unprepared and I feared I was dieing." I frowned, taking the opportunity to put a hand on her arm. She didn't stop me and exhaled a large plume of smoke before continuing,"So he had no answer. He fetched the midwife that had helped deliver me, asking what I should do. Now, the midwife meant well but her daughter was my greatest enemy." She smiled,"Don't laugh, mortal women are far more deadly than any phantom of the stage."
I grinned,"Please, continue."
"So this woman told me about horsehair and how important washing was. She must have discussed it at home though, because word spread around our tiny hamlet. Every boy thought that my girl parts were full of blood because they bit off manhood." She grinned,"And they do."
It was my turn to laugh,"Awful, awful story. I suppose you blossomed later on?" She bit her lip and held her cigarette out, motioning up and down her body,"All this? old hat. I bloomed very young, but teats are no consequence if the gash is toothy."
I winced, shaking my head,"I get the feeling you spent time as a sailor now."
She laughed, putting her bad hand over the one i was resting on her arm still. She very deliberately repositioned it to her thigh, sliding her chair closer. "Now, Breslin, I believe you mentioned being charming?"
I rubbed my hand along her stalkinged thigh,"Of course I am. Embarrassing puberty stories where I'm charming, allow me to consider." I took time smoking a cigarette and trying to furrow my brows.
"Oh come on! You're teasing me again!" she said.
"I'm building ambiance, mystique, anticipation." I leaned close on the last word, deliberately pronouncing each syllable, inches from her mouth.
She turned her head,"Mmmmaybe once I have my story, Sir Charming."
I smiled, retreating slightly but not removing my hand,"When I was a teen my mother fell ill. My father was around but not close. It fell on me to buy her medicine." I paused here to draw my coin purse between us. "As you can see, it's completely empty." I opened it, showing her to assortment of coins.
"Liar, you've got plenty there to buy a woman a drink." She tilted her head towards the bar.
"Are you sure? I could swear I'm broke." I overturned the purse, waving a hand to disguise the sound and look of the coins tumbling. "See? nothing." She smiled and put her hand into the pile, breaking the illusion.
"That earns you a drink, Lady Smithson" I raised my glass to the barkeep, raising 2 fingers.
"Alayne, please. Now, about your charm?"
"Ah, yes. I filthied myself up and sat outside the finest dining hall around. I begged for days, but with a smile and a wink. Most people gave a copper, though a few women I complimented well gave silvers. In under a week's time I could afford the alchemical cure, and provided it to my dear mother."
"You're bragging about begging? How is that charm?" She wrinkled her nose at me.
I slid my hand up and down her thigh, working it to the inside,"I have no idea, how am I charming?" She laughed, and pulled the pins from her hair, letting it flow around her shoulders. "That was bothering me all day. I'm ready to relax, have some fun." She grinned,"do you have a house?"
I gathered up my coins, paying for the drink and giving the barkeep a tip. I rubbed my brow,"I don't love, just a room upstairs. I'm not from here, I live in Sandpoint usually."
"A traveling magician?"
I nodded,"I'll tell you all about it if you give me another tale" I handed her the drink, "Cheers" before drinking deeply of my own.
She drank, and belched loudly causing us and several nearby to laugh. "I could tell you about the work I do."
I raised a brow,"Sounds like it might be dull"
"Oh no, I'm a dancer."
"Dancing pays well?" She smiled,"I dance for men in private, and it ends with a certain flourish."
I shook my head,"that's not called dancing where I'm from."
She laughed,"It makes a few silvers to rub together." Her hand went to my lap, rubbing gently,"I think there's some rubbing to be done, together."
I smiled,"I best make my last story a fast one." She kept moving her hand, watching my face. "As you said I'm a traveling magician. I recall a town where several ladies came to see my show every night we were there. On the last night a great barrel of a man demanded all the money I'd filched from his daughters. I refused, and the man threatened to beat me."
She quickened her pace, increasing pressure,"And did he?"
I inhaled sharply, fighting for composure,"No, I threatened him right back. I said with the way his ladies had addressed me, he should be pleased I didn't abscond with all of their hymens."
She laughed the deep laugh again, granting me a brief reprieve from her dancing technique. "Alright then, shall we retire? I'm assuming a virginity thief is not an exclusive taste"
I smiled,"You assume correctly." I stood then as did she. We joined hands and navigated to the stairs, her trailing behind. When we got to the second floor I found room six and put the key in the lock.
Before turning it, I faced her and drew her close, our bodies touching. "I believe you promised a kiss once the story ended."
She leaned up to kiss me deeply and I kissed her back. When she stepped back she licked her lips,"Who...are...y" and she collapsed. I opened the door and dragged her into room six.
"And that's where we are now. I thought you lads might need to beat her down."
The man scowled at me,"You should let the guards guard, Moniker"
I smiled,"I should have let her show me her dancing before capturing her. It's Magical Moniker, Captain, and are you upset my plan worked or that there's no longer a dancing girl available on cold nights?"
He threw a sack of coins on the table. I reached for it and he put his hand over it,"How did you get her to confess?"
I smiled,"I told her the version of the truth she wanted." I snatched the purse and walked out.