“You are back early.” Mariana was pleasantly surprised at Orlons appearing. “And you are in luck stranger, dinner is about ready.” she smiled. Her unfamiliar kindness caused the present townsfolk to raise eyebrows.

“Thank you kindly.” the tall man replied looking around the room. “Have any other guests checked in that are unfamiliar to you?”

Mariana tilted her head slightly. “I’m afraid not, and trust me, in times like these I’d know of strangers in my house.” She noticed that her guest was nodding, but she didn’t wait for any responses or additional questions, instead she hurried to the kitchen, where her sister in law prepared the meal. Both their husbands had died in the recent year.

“Are you trying to find yourself a new man?” Mariana looked shocked to her upon hearing that question. “Why, no. Of course not.” she blushed slightly.

“Good, by law the Inn would be his then.” her sister in law pointed back to the taproom with a grim expression. Mariana rolled her eyes while preparing the meal for Orlon. She wouldn’t take another husband for the life of hers.

Eventhough the stranger was attractive in her eyes.

As she returned to Orlon the villagers had gathered around him, pestering him to tell of the creatures he had slain, the adventures he had been on. In his grim expression Mariana could see that he was considering a violent outburst. “Leave our esteemed guest alone, he has better things to do rather than to tell you of his life.” she drove away the men from his table and proceeded to serve his meal in a slow, but fluid motion. “It’s stew.” she elaborated as he paused for a moment.

“I know.” he smirked, picking up the cutlery.

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