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From "One Night" - Madolyn Locke
The rich, dark wood of the bar nearly glowed under the attentions of Kellan’s rag. She wasn’t as focused on her work as she might have been, had there been more to clean. She rarely saw many travelers during the run of the yearly Faire in Caelfall, so business had been slim for several days. But now the faire was over and people were returning – that meant tonight would likely see a full house; both her regulars and those passing through on their journeys back home. It was still early yet; so far there was only a young couple seated near the fire, but the customers were coming – even the dark, threatening sky wouldn’t keep them away.
Kellan squinted up through the window at the gathering clouds, chuckling and shaking her head. It looked to be quite a squall on the way, which would be good for her. Storms wouldn’t keep people away, not right after Faire, but it made them less inclined to go back out to their homes too quickly. The entire staff would be busy!
“Teague!” Kellan called out. A young man with an unruly mop of dark red hair poked his head out from the kitchen door. “Bring up more wine barrels. Better now than when we get full up.”
“Surely!” He smiled, slipping back into the kitchen.
“And then more firewood!” she yelled after him, causing the couple by the fire to jump in surprise. Kellan had quite the booming voice when she cared to use it. She smiled down at the counter as she went back to polishing. When she reached the end of the counter, she tossed the rag into a bucket on the floor and strolled over to the couple.
“Anything I can get for you?” she asked as they looked up at her.
“No, thank you.” The man replied. “We were just finishing, actually.”
“Fair enough,” Kellan returned. “… won’t be long before every table down here is full up. You two seem the type to want some privacy.” The startled look in their eyes made her want to laugh, but she was well accustomed to schooling her reactions when necessary. “Will you be needing one of my rooms? I only have the three, so if you do you might wish to claim it now.”
“Um… I… that is…” a deep flush stole across both their faces, telling Kellan all she needed to know. “… we’re leaving,” he finally choked out. They scrambled to drop some coins on the table, gather their things, and bustle out the door. As the latch clicked behind them, Kellan finally allowed herself to let out the laughter. She gathered the coins and the cups before heading back to the counter.
She guessed she had just enough time to grab a quick bite from the kitchen before the night’s real activity began.