They went on talking for several more minutes, seeming to forget about the long- haired man over at the bar. They ended up putting their backs to him, and did not realize until it was too late that he was on the move. All of a sudden, there was a voice above them, serious, although not at all loud.
“Are you here to deliver a message?” the voice asked.
Cerys very nearly shrieked, so startled was she but the voice. She craned her neck to look up at the man who stood directly behind her. She looked back at her friends, and then up at him again, too astounded to say anything.
It was the man with the golden hair, dressed in green leather, white linen underneath. She loved being able to see him up close, where she could make out the details in his tunic, the fine leather-work of his belt, even the designs in his greaves and bracers. What might have served for some as armor were for him more a work of fine art. It amazed her that he could wear such things and still move as though he were unhindered as well as unafraid.
Peter was the one who finally broke the silence. “Don’t mind my sister, he told the man. “Sometimes she forgets how to use her brain.”
“That sounds like a problem when it comes to delivering messages,” the man said.
The party was not sure whether was simply not interested in playing around, or if he had too much on his mind to have any fun with words.
“I am sorry to have bothered you,” he told them. “I did not mean to intrude up on your lunch.”
He was turning around to go when Himeko very nearly grabbed his arm in order to prevent him from leaving. “Wait,” she told him. “You said something about a message?”
The man met Himeko’s eyes, and she was struck how how bright and silvery-blue they were. When she forced herself to look away, she noticed the symbol on the brooch that pinned his green cloak. The back was a pair of overlapping leaves, wide ones like from an oak or a maple, hammered out of metal the same color as his eyes. Layered over that was a copper circle, etched with a jagged N that might also have been lightning.