“See?” Zephyr said to Joulan as the Overseer stepped into the building.
“I’ve got eyes, how do we get in?” Joulan replied.
“Not yet. We’ve got another stop to make.” Zephyr said. He guided Joulan out of the alley and onto the main street avoiding the traffic as men sought the quickest way to their drinks. Their destination was a tavern a good distance away. The Mellow Moss. Several patrons stood outside and enjoyed a smoke, some sort of dry herb. Zephyr hated the smell of the stuff. It burnt his nose with its foul stench. Together they made their way round back. Empty bottles and barrels littered the backstreet as Zephyr navigated to a hefty wooden door at the back of the pub. Then proceeded to pound on the doors with his fist. It took a second but they swung open and the air wafted with the smell of beer and stew. Out stepped a large man, he wore a grimy apron and sported a thick mustache. “You’re late!” He said as he gave the boys a look up and down. “And what’s this young Zep? You brought a friend? Lovely. Don’t be expecting any more coin’ out of me though.” He huffed.
“It’s alright Con. Long shift today. He’s just here to help me out.” Zephyr replied.
Con huffed again. It seemed to be his typical response. He then disappeared back into the tavern. A few grunts later and the man was back. He produced two wooden barrels. One under each arm. He placed them at the their feet. “Right.” He said. “Get outta here, lucky I didn’t get someone else to do it.” Said Con.
“Thanks, Promise we won’t drink it all.” Replied Zephyr.
“If you did I’d drown you. Those would be your caskets.” Con said but with an open smile. He flicked a penny at Zephyr then drew a piece of bread out from his apron and lobbed it to Joulan with a grin. Then the man hauled the two wooden doors shut. A clunk indicated he’d locked them again.
Liquid sloshed inside the kegs with each step. Combined with a longer return route, to avoid the ale ailed men, it made the journey more of an endeavor. “So this is what you’ve been doing after shift?” Joulan said to Zephyr.
“Yep, took a while for Con to treat me like one of his boys but it’s a penny a night,” Zephyr replied. “Sometimes a stale piece of bread too.” He continued. That drew a smile from his friend. It faded when Joulan noticed movement in front of them. Shadows before them coalesced into the shape of three youths. One in the middle stepped forward.
“Drop them, leave em ere’.” Said a low, lethargic, insouciance voice. A girl Zephyr saw. Hard to tell with the straggly short hair. Off to each side a boy stepped in line, each holding a crude club.
“Can’t do that. You know the brewers don’t take kindly to thieves.” Said Zephyr.
“I said leave em.” She replied.
The ring leader motioned to one of the boys and he took a step forward. Weapon raised.
“Arielle!” Joulan intervened.
Her gaze shifted to Joulan with a blank stare. “Arielle, it’s me Joulan. Mitzy’s brother.”
“So, what of it?” She replied.
“You were friends before..” Joulan said then he realised his mistake.