Finally got my contribution done--or at least I hope so. I went for original world this time around, since apparently "restitution" and Warhammer or 40k didn't mix in my head.
The common room of the inn looked much better now. True, remains of meals were strewn between the straw covering the floor and the smell of beer permeated the room, but the broken tables and benches have been removed. Nobody was moaning on the floor, holding a bloodied limb, either.
The innkeeper glared at the four of them—mostly at the dwarf, but Fynn treated him to her best sneer nevertheless. Lesser beings should not direct such looks at her.
“We got ‘em,” said the one-eyed human, whose main contribution to the hunt had been hiding behind the dwarf, placing a small bag on the counter. “You can count the ears.”
The innkeeper nodded and opened the bag. He spilled the contents on the counter—large, green ears, some still decorated with pieces of metal. There were twenty of them. The human pushed the ears with a thick finger, his mouth moving as he counted and Fynn felt another surge of contempt. To think an elf like her would have to run petty errands for a human who needed both hands and feet to count! And for what? A few measly broken pieces of wood?
At least the whole ordeal was over and she would be able to leave those wretches behind. She had no business keeping their company and longer than necessary and since their little errand was done, she planned to go back to her business.
“Twenty goblins dead,” the innkeeper said. “That won’t pay for what you lot broke, but I won’t have to worry about the buggers stealin’ an’ scarin’ people.”
Fynn sniffed angrily, ready to point out that she really shouldn’t be held accountable for the impulses of lesser races, when she felt a warm hand rest on her shoulder. She glanced behind herself and found herself looking into the orange eyes of the Abomination. It smiled at her. Fynn shivered, wondering not for the first time, how come a creature like this could even exist.
“Are you sure that’s enough?” it asked, now directing her grin at the innkeeper. The human swallowed. Fynn didn’t blame him, even a lesser being would sense the wrongness of a child born of fire and flesh. “They did break quite a lot.”
“Ah, well, of course, you never owed me nothing, Miss,” the innkeeper replied, swallowing nervously.
Fynn balled her fists in anger. That this… bastard of an elemental could command such respect, such fear and she, an elf of pure blood, would be held to the same standards as a filthy drunken dwarf and a primitive human was an insult she’d not let pass. Was it not enough that the greed and pettiness of the human owning the inn forced her to join those two?
“But I did, didn’t I?” she snapped angrily. “I was only protecting myself from his-“ she pointed angrily at the one-eyed human, “advances! Is it my fault that they all decided to break your furniture? I only broke one bench!”
“And nearly gutted one of the patrons,” the Abomination said cheerfully, but now its fingers were digging painfully into Fynn’s shoulder.
“Keep your filthy hands away from me!” Fynn snapped, trying to pull away from its grip, but for such a slender appendage, the Abomination’s hand had a vice-like grip. Its smile faded and suddenly Fynn felt a lot less certain. She suddenly recalled how easily magic came to the half-breed, how easily she could make anything burn.
“I am going to assume you enjoy being indebted, love,” the Abomination drawled.
Fynn was dimly aware that now everybody was watching them and she was reminded of the one time when she and her sisters had watched a cat kill a mouse. The expressions around them showed the same fascinated horror.
“Indebted?” Fynn asked, swallowing convulsively.
“Oh yes,” the Abomination replied. “Do you think I didn’t hear what you keep calling me? ‘It?’ ‘Abomination?’ Do you think I do not know who left the snake in my blanket?”
She placed a slender chocolate-brown finger over Fynn’s heart. The nail sparkled for a moment with a gentle golden glow. Then Fynn doubled over, pressing her hands to her breast. The pain was nearly unbearable—it was as if something was burning itself into her body, smoldering her heart. Flames filled her lungs and she coughed, desperately fighting for breath.
She was staring at the mud-caked boots of the woman she called the Abomination, but she did not truly see them, nor the bent dirty wooden floor. Pain, pain, pain, it was all that she could focus on, as something worked itself into the fiber of her being.
Then, finally, it stopped. Fynn looked up and found that the small circle that had formed around her before had now dispersed. Now, only the Abomination remained its dark face inscrutable.
“You’re mine now, love,” the Abmomination said. “You will repay all your debts to me—for every little insult, for every thought against me you had.”
Fynn gasped and tried to bite back a terrified sob. She looked up into the orange eyes and saw neither pity nor warmth in them. It was the look of a cat, staring at a dead mouse, disappointed that the rodent would not make amusing sounds or try to run.
“You can’t,” she managed to gasp weakly, breathlessly. “I’m the daughter of-“
“My mother was fire herself,” the Abomination said gently. “Why should your pedigree matter to me, when I can summon her very fury with my merest whim?”
Fynn fell silent. She wrapped her arms around herself and cast her gaze around the room, searching for someone willing to help. None met her eyes; the dwarf already gulping down a mug of beer, the one-eyed human talking with the innkeeper. She thought she saw him glance at her and smirk, but it was just a ghost of an expression.
She looked down, back at the floor and thought bitterly that she was lost.