common room, and with the bustle and chatter of so many, three lonely figures in the corner went almost unnoticed as they waited for their supper. Which little troubled them, for they'd their own business.
"—only did we spend half the day choking on dust behind a Dwarven caravan—" Aragorn was saying, when Halbarad chimed in, grinning.
"—but when Aragorn left to see to their ponies, some cook threw a pail of dishwater out the window. Right in the face," he finished, eyes atwinkle.
Their tablemate, an older Ranger, Telebrin, grunted after a glance at Aragorn. "No harm done, it seems," he remarked.
"Oh no," Halbarad said, grin broadening. "Quite an improvement act—"
"So Heron—" Aragorn began, and his friend groaned.
? They'll hear—"
"'Heron'?" Telebrin asked, skeptically, gaze shifting to Halbarad.
"Chamberlass-clept," Aragorn declared solemnly.
"Least she's pretty,
," Halbarad grumbled, and got a glare. Their companion shook his head.
"Well, I think you've naught to complain of," he said, matter-of-factly.
"No." He began ticking points off. "You're alive. You're paid off. It was dishwater, not a chamber pot—" the younger men grimaced at this "—and as for your new names—"
He was interrupted in his recitation by one of the serving lasses, calling to them above the din from three tables over: "Sorry, lads, it'll be a minute more. And what was it again that you'd wanted, Stilts?"
Aragorn and Halbarad exchanged a look, and Halbarad, after a moment, mouthed, 'Stilts?' Telebrin gave a pained sigh, glared at his young companions, who were manfully attempting to seem somber, and then turned an incongruously mild gaze upon the girl.
"It matters naught, my dear. Just make it strong, whatever it is."
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