The stranger was not old but his hair was almost entirely white. Beneath his coat he wore a worn leather jerkin laced up at the neck and shoulders.
As he took off his coat those around him noticed that he carried a sword – not something unusual in itself, nearly every man in Wyzim carried a weapon – but no one carried a sword strapped to his back as if it were a bow or a quiver.
The stranger did not sit at the table with the few other guests. He remained standing at the counter, piercing the innkeeper with his gaze. He drew from the tankard.
‘I'm looking for a room for the night.’
‘There's none,’ grunted the innkeeper, looking at the guest's boots, dusty and dirty. ‘Ask at the Old Narakort.’
‘I would rather stay here.’
‘There is none.’ The innkeeper finally recognized the stranger's accent. He was Rivian.
‘I'll pay.’ The outsider spoke quietly, as if unsure, and the whole nasty affair began. A pockmarked beanpole of a man who, from the moment the outsider had entered had not taken his gloomy eyes from him, got up and approached the counter. Two of his companions rose behind him, no more than two paces away.