Rose for a Thorn

Tyrric set out the following morning. It was no secret where the troupe was bound, as they posted fliers in hopes of getting more of an audience in each village they passed through. It seemed as though their schedule was a packed one this year, and he arrived in each town just as they were packing up to head to the next. He didn’t get a chance to find and corner Miri until they were almost into Silvermoon.

She dropped a bundle of clothing in shock at seeing him, then quickly snatched it up again and fled. Suspicions whirling down a thousand possibilities, Tyrric pursued her into a tavern, to find her speaking with a quel’dorei man, his clothing cut like a Farstrider’s. Tyrric stole into the tavern behind them and sat in a shadowy corner beside a potted plant, watching.

She seemed to be crying, and the Farstrider seemed to be exasperated. They leaned their heads together, and Tyrric leaned forward, expecting a cheating kiss, but it was only to look at the bundle in Miri’s hands. There was a flash of gold, and Miri’s voice just barely carried across the crowd.

“It’s all I have left… Please, can’t you–?”

But what the Farstrider could or couldn’t do, Tyrric didn’t hear, as one of the drunken patrons banged into him on her confused way to the backroom.

He confronted Miri as she left, now bereft the bundle, a stray tear still on her cheek. He maneuvered himself into the doorway and turned so she’d have to run into him, and one of the other patrons trying to exit behind them gave an impatient cough.

Tyrric paid him no heed. “What was that about?”

Miri looked up at him, stricken like a doe catching sight of a hunter. “…I don’t know what you mean.”

“Are you cheating on him? Do you have no shame?”

Miri stared at him until Tyrric’s meaning clicked into place. The other patron gave a snort and moved back to the bar for another round. “I–no. Y-you’re Keelath’s brother, right? Is he well?”

“Hardly!” said Tyrric accusingly, crossing his arms. He wasn’t expecting Miri to then break into tears up front of him and lean into his arms.

The rest of the tavern was beginning to take notice of their spat, and Tyrric’s cheeks burned. Feigning that this was all part of the plan, he hugged her to him and folded both of them out of the way and off to an empty table. “Here, now, what’s the matter?” he said gruffly as he sat her down. “Yes, Keelath is well, though he’s been pining after you. You’ll cause him to lose half his weight at this rate, you know.”

“I’m so sorry,” Miri said between hiccups. Tyrric hesitated. There was a story there, but he wasn’t sure if he’d get it out of her in this state. He called the barmaid over to fill them a couple glasses of scotch, and Miri did seem better for it as her hiccups died and her tears dried.

“It’s my father,” she said when she could talk again, “he’s ill, and Thalas’talah doesn’t pay nearly well enough for us to take the trip while I’m so low on money. Th-that was my mother’s necklace you saw there; she died from the same illness, but I don’t know what else to do for the money!”

“Oh,” said Tyrric, feeling rather stupid now about making a scene. “Is this disease very contagious?”

“No. It’s an old elf’s disease. The priests in the city can do something about it, but only if you pay them exorbitant amounts.”

“That is a shame,” Tyrric said blandly.

Miri hiccuped again and took another drink. “I can’t go to Keelath now. I’m so sorry. I really wish….but I can’t.”

“I’ll take a message for you,” Tyrric said, stirring from his dark thoughts and pushing another glass towards her. “You just… drink up and calm yourself down. You’re sure to feel better if you give it a rest and a think. And don’t worry about paying; the tab’s on me tonight,” he added reluctantly.

Miri gave him a wavering smile. “Th-thank you,” she said.

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