• TONIGHT, BOYS, WE'RE EATING LIKE KINGS •
They were stretched thin these days, like butter scraped over too much bread. He could feel how it grated against him, poked and stabbed under his skin and left so much irritation at how things were now, and how they used to be. Caldo had dominated, and he should have been happy for that. He was, but that joy had faded a decade or so ago and now, settling in for the long haul of their unforeseeable future, he felt how it pulled on him and saw how it pulled on the others.
He spent more and more time away, these days. During the war he had gotten so accustomed to being in Caldo after leading his small outpost in the marshes, that now it bothered him to be away again. The younger man who patrolled and caused mischief and mayhem had died in the most recent war, and left behind a stone cold, calloused man in his place. He was more serious these days and spent most of his time chasing away bandits and rogues from Attiracs borders. He supposed it was a result of their lack of troops; how many had they lost? How many men was he filling in for now, just to scrape by the skin of their teeth?
Karin had sent for him, and he was grateful that she had, even if it meant he only got to get away from patrols for a few hours. From the distant deserts he trotted in on paw to Dragonden, answering her call and shifting as he approached the tavern. Dragonden was a wreck, and he was content to leave it so. Let the liars and betrayers have their carcass; these days he only had time for Attirac.
He strode through the tavern doors with a roll in his shoulder, looking to the back corners for the relatively small, blonde figure. A tight smile pressed his lips when he noticed her beside him, flexing his hands as he gave a suggestive nod back out the door the way they had come. They were not the kind to sit at the bar and toss back a few drinks like old friends, and their conversations were not for the whole of Caldo to overhear. "What right do you have to drag me in from the dunes, I wonder?"
• 'CAUSE WE'VE ALL TASTED DEATH TOO MUCH IT SEEMS•