1,192 YEARS SINCE THE SEVERING
The Neberan town square had been decorated with every imaginable color. Strips of red cloth covered the ground before the sacred boulder where the couple had sworn their oaths to Veri—the local god—and then cut each other. The red strips represented blood and life. To Adar Rahid blood always represented death, and not because of a religious ceremony.
“Thing is, you look familiar,” Neare Paler said, his face barely visible in the setting sun. He’d approached Adar from behind as Adar had been watching the wedding celebration. Adar had chosen to ignore Neare’s approach because he didn’t like the man.
Neare wiped a small amount of sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. The heat of the day was dissipating with the evening and Adar welcomed the chill. Before long, it would become cold enough that most would head home. He’d stayed on the outskirts of the celebration for a reason. He wasn’t big on social gatherings and had hoped to avoid speaking to anybody. He’d only come to check up on Jorad.
“Can’t quite recall from where,” Neare continued. “A poster perhaps?” Neare had a cup in hand that he looked ready to drop so he could grab the gaudy sword that hung from his belt. It wasn’t as fine of a sword as Neare supposed. Adar could see that without having to handle it, but no doubt, the blade was sharp.
Adar wasn’t worried about the threat Neare posed. Should Neare move to draw his sword, Adar could have his sword out of its sheath before Neare’s was halfway. Adar wore his blade on his back in true Radim fashion. It wasn’t Adar’s favorite weapon, but it wasn’t as recognizable as his Radim sword.
Poster? Adar thought. That shouldn’t have followed us here. He turned his full attention to Neare. As usual, Neare was dressed in clothing more suited for a big city than that of a small town like Neberan. His shirt alone had probably cost Neare half a gold piece and his sword was the ugliest weapon that Adar had ever seen. Adar wondered how much Neare had paid for the travesty.
Surely, Neare wasn’t brazen enough to draw his sword at a wedding. If the rumors around town were true, Neare knew how to use it. Adar had almost been forced to learn firsthand when he’d come across Neare roughly evicting a man and his family. The spat had ended with Neare leaving for the mayor. Neare was a fool, perhaps a moderately dangerous one, but a fool nonetheless.
“Hear you’re doing a lot of business with Polaer recently,” Adar said, turning back to the celebration. Adar had figured that the rumors about Neare and Polaer’s wife were just that, rumors. However, if Neare was going to make accusations, Adar would make some of his own.
Neare’s face tightened and it looked as though he was going to drop his cup. Adar kept his arms folded and resisted the urge to reach for his sword. If Neare reacted, it would be as good as an admission. Neare must have known the stories that were told of him. There was similar gossip about his son Erro.