“My gods…”, Carmen started, almost in a whisper, “It’s been so long since I saw you last… How long exactly, two years?”, she asked, her brows furrowing as she tried to recall something.
“Yes, it’s been far too long,” replied the dark-haired teenager with a smile. “About two years now I believe. I didn’t think you would recognize me so easily though…”, he then added with a small pout.
“It’s your eyes that betrayed you.The same brown eyes as your father when he was younger…”, she replied, a large smile appearing on her face.
She moved towards him, opening her arms again so she embrace him once more. Even if he was expecting it this time, Thrista wasn’t anymore ready than the first time. She managed to knock the wind out of him a second time. But he couldn’t care less, he was happy to see the older woman again. He let his joy do the talking, embracing her in return once more, this time putting in a bit more strength and emotion.
“Wow, you’ve definitely gotten stronger!”, she commented as she let him go. “Could’ve crushed my bones there!”
The tavern’s owner chuckled as she said this.
“Oh, sorry!”, Thrista immediately began to apologize.
But she interrupted him.
“No, don’t worry, it’s fine! It’s good to know you’re happy to be back and to see you’re in good shape!”, she explained, still smiling.
“Yeah,” he nodded, “I’ve had the chance to travel in good company.”
“Good!”, was all she replied as she studied him.
The young man thought he saw concern in her eyes for a moment before it quickly vanished and was replaced with the usual cheerfulness. Suddenly she seemed to remember something important, she turned around without waiting for a reply and rushed towards the kitchen.
“Do you want something to eat or drink?”, he heard her ask from the other room.
“Yes I would, thank you. I haven’t eaten since this morning!” Replied Thrista as he put down his shoulder bag by the table nearest to him.
He also took off his cape, revealing a long staff-like object encased in leather and cloth and held to his back by straps . He hesitated to sit down but preferred to take a stroll around the room instead. The tavern looked a lot bigger from the inside than it appeared from its exterior appearance, the room was wide and usually luminous. A number of chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling in the center and several candle orbs could be seen on the walls, no light was emanating from them at that time of the day though. One could see the heavy beams made of old oak protruding from the walls to hold the ceiling in place, which gave an old but familiar air to the place. It also offered an unimpeded view of the room, giving it feeling of spaciousness. If the room had been emptied and the curtains opened it would have easily passed for a small temple, the carvings on the ceiling and the paintings depicting epic scenes hanging on the walls helped reinforce this feeling. The young man heard the innkeeper whistle a tune from the kitchen, he couldn’t help but smile.