Harkin pauses in the dim, dingy hallway and draws a breath. Outside, on the street, the sounds of a spirited argument graduate toward those of a violent scuffle.
Easy, now. Them lassesr safe n sound, what wi Rigger watchin oer em. Best keeps me mind on me task.
Stepping softly, he moves through the gloom toward a rickety door, its bright outline belying the lamplight behind.
Harkin swallows, hard.
For a moment, the lanky old rogue reconsiders.
Never too late t turn tail, ol boy. No shame nit neither.
Harkin knows, however, that he wont. He had been drawn to this place, from the minute he learned that she had returned to Meridian. Hed conjured a thousand reasons not to come, but come he had, nonetheless. He could not back out now.
The blade at his side feels heavy and useless, a clumsy thing. Reaching the door, he raps softly once, twice, thrice with one gnarled hand, the other clutching the offering hes brought.
I hope tis enough.
As the door opens, Harkin stifles an urge to flee. Standing tall, he manages a broad, toothy smile and mechanically thrusts forth a bouquet of barrow irises.
Mlady, tis a wondrous pleasure t set me eyes on ye once more!