There were four cups remaining as I finished this tale. Four cups, as four of us huddled into the dying firelight, thinking about everything we’d been through to get here.
Which meant my round was only four more cups. There was a bright side.
I looked up and realized that it was nearly dawn – we’d lost listeners, as people had drifted away. I dropped into a daze, contemplating the four remaining with apathy. Knowing that one was my executioner, and the other two, witnesses.
But they couldn’t kill me while the tale remained. While a chance for all I’d fought for and lost was still theirs to snatch from me at the last minute.
But then, a final figure drifted back. Dark robes hiding them in shadows behind me. I smiled and offered them an imperceptible nod. I could have sworn the darkness returned my gesture.
The magister cleared his throat. “And is that all?” he said, and double tapped his cup. The other two also double tapped, so I raised my hand, signalling for our round, and I said, “well, not quite…”
“You, madam, take this too far,” Meneise said, with a tired yawn, but waved her hand, in a gesture of continuance. So, I bowed my head and waited, trying to think about anything else I could tell them. I had explained the worst of it, past my escape, past the assassination, but I had held one thing back….
The serving maid brought us more ale, more bread, more cheese and I took my portions, chewing thoughtfully, and then, with a sip, continued my tale.