The running footsteps Merlin hears are Katina’s before she jumps and wraps herself around him, to her own feet again she drags him thru the standing others to the table and they settle-in. The seeking thrills of joy and thrills of pain in an indistinguishable peaceful phenomenon that deems no rhyme or reason to the properties of cohort consort, the noise makes lively rendition of fun. Enters Agnar again, and enter Varin and Bella, Agnar rushing to him to lift him from feet, she keeping eye on Merlin and walking, he trying to get back on the ground.
Braden: Varin, you devil dog’s son, how much do you owe this fine woman?
Braden: Bella, come away from him and be my second wife and let some stroppy woman carry Varin.
Varin: I can hear you.
Jonak: With those ears.
Merlin: You can’t hear much else, you bellowing horn. Don’t drink the water, I’m turning-in.
The termagant Ophiuchus watches, wondering what secrets hide in seconds of silence. Merlin and Braden speak in one language, heard by all while an old magic allows them to speak in another language heard by none. Originally they spoke thru their fingers, they say one thing, yet others hear an-other.
Merlin (masked language) This town had plague unnatural, if you were wise, you and your lot would have been hying to terra haute.
Braden (masked language) Then why are you here?
Merlin () A child is born in heritage, an, a friend of mine and wife, weeks to labor, maybe days. You?
Braden () Just another raid, this one gone to thin ice, are you sure you’re not here to battle the hexer?
Merlin () Every question with a damn question, c’mon, out with it, Braden?
Braden () These town is heavy in the pockets with silver, more so with a sickness, make a distraction, for us, tomorrow and never again.
Merlin () No. Good luck.
Braden () When have I and mine not raided beneath tooth and claw for you to steal some rotting book or bloody ink? Heavy laden coffers, and split with you, bury you a ton in the forest, just as you like. A nest egg for your friends…...?
Merlin () ……fine, what’s the signal.
Braden () We’ll be gathered by noon, go for a walk, if I wave my hand, go blast something to pieces.
Merlin () And if you fail?
Braden () Find out why, and I shall see you in Valhalla.
Merlin: (standing) I don’t think that’s where you’d go.
Braden stands and they hug-it-out. Ophiuchus watches in the room, less happy than the drunks yet no different from those suspicious of their candid presence.