Tristan: "It makes you wonder how much is fact or fiction," "Not that I doubt your knowledge, of course."
"I'm pouring beer," Brandy countered, joking quick on her feet. "Maybe don't take me as an authority on werewolves…" She smirked, laughed, and kept listening.
Tristan: "Men like that, though? They're bound to spin up tales to boost their reputation and scare people off." "I could do with the extra coin, as much as the next guy, but I think I'll stick to dragons and vampires, for the time being,"
Dragons, like werewolves, Brandy knew nothing about except the gossip that came through her neck of the drunk-ass woods. But vampires, she did know, and the mention of them piqued her interest in a less… performative way. The barmaid was a fun caricature, but at the mention, she broke character for a breath and her expression sobered a touch...
Tristan: "I'm Tristan, ma'am.""We've actually met before," "The day of the storm, when the King..." "I'd met you briefly at your stand, as well as that nobleman. Sheriff...something or other."
She thought back to that day and honestly didn't find much. There'd been a noble, but she didn't recall his name nor barely his face. There had been a thief! Her magical purse had been stolen, and then a storm had come out of nowhere. She had to stare at Tristan's face for a long moment before she remembered: "Oh - the knight! I bet your tournament was cancelled, huh...?" She smiled. "Well, Tristan, nice to meet you. Officially."
A chorus of shocked gasps drew her attention away, though. A man was on the floor, on hands and knees, retching. Brandy assumed he'd drank too much, until she noticed it was the man who'd bought that meat pie. Probably got fucking food poisoning - these vendors were so unsanitary. You can't have meat resting at room temperature for hours! No wonder he was sick!
"Take him outside," Brandy ordered, and then, with a nod of her head, asked one of the kitchen girls to take him a jug of water.
Two men hauled the sick one to his feet, dragging him to the door… and found that it would not open. Which caused the men, who had each had a few drinks themselves, to glance wonderingly at the lock that was clearly, visibly on the inside and did not seem to be in place. Was it blocked, or…?
Before they could decode the mystery, the sick man let out a terrible cry. But instead of crashing to the floor, he surged up, grabbing his friend and - to Brandy's horror - sinking his teeth into the man's throat.
Screams went up all around the dining room, punctuated by the crashing of the ceramic jug of water to the floor and the wail of the victim as blood spurted onto the floor.