Unfortunately for Eve, the storm had not completely halted him. The snow and the wind had just started to pick up when about half a score of cloaked and hooded beasts approached the gate Eve and Jake had passed through not minutes before. "She entered with a companion, a monk I think," a rat said, addressing the obvious leader of the party.
"A monk is nothing to be worried of," the beast replied calmly. This creature had a rather deep, refined tone. He pronounced his words clearly and eloquently, much differently than his companions.
"But, I think 'e was a wolverine sir," the rat said, a little nervously.
The lead beast halted, having reached the gate. "Now, a wolverine could be a problem. That's why we should have taken her yesterday, if it were not for that fool Dirtclaw," the leader said, still not losing his composure, "where is he?"
"Er, dead, y' killed 'im yesterday," the rat said, his voice getting much shakier, "I didn't have nothing to do with it though, boss!"
"Of course. Just don't make his mistakes," the leader answered. He gave a nod to the largish stoat who stood next to him. The stoat approached the gate and rapped on it loudly with his fist. The squirrel looked over the wall again, his lantern somewhat obscured by the ever heavier falling snow. "More farmers, seeking shelter?" he asked rhetorically, expected that to be the case,"I'll let ye in!" The gate slowly opened and the cloaked beasts poured into the village.
"Thank you, my friend. Now, can you inform me of an establishment where a drink and shelter may be located?" the leader asked with a friendly smile.
"Right that way! Though she may be gettin' a bit full!" the squirrel indicated the tavern with a paw, "say, you are the second polecat to come in here in today! We don't see many of your kind around here!"
"How interesting! I rarely meet members of my own species. Maybe I'll get the chance tonight!" Savas said with the most deceivingly pleasant grin.
"Aye! It was a girl, headed to the tavern herself I think!" the squirrel continued, utterly clueless of who he was informing, "now, I must get back to the gatehouse!"
"Thank you, you have no idea how helpful you have been!" Savas said before leading his party of towards the tavern.
The stoat caught up with Savas and asked, "do y' really think we can take on a wolverine?"
"We will have to be smart about it. I did not gain command of the horde by being the strongest, did I? I dare say you are a mightier beast than I," Savas explained as he approached the tavern door, "but I could best you in a fight. You do not doubt that, do you?" The stoat hastily shook his head, "no."
"Good, then leave the thinking to me," the polecat smiled, "I want you all to disperse when we enter. Sit anywhere, but keep away from her. If anybody asks, you are a farmer from the south valley. You know enough about farming to reply if asked?" The vermin nodded. "Then let us begin," Savas stated. He opened the door to the tavern and entered, followed by his crew of cloaked vermin. As commanded, the went off to odd parts of the establishment, taking seats where they could be found. Some put down their hoods, the smarter ones laughed and joked with each other and the other patrons.
It took Savas all of a second to find his sister and the monk, sitting together at a table. Giving them no more than a passing glance he strode to the tavern's counter, leaving his hood up and his back to Eve and Jake. Taking a few coins from his pocket, he handed them to the same young dogfox Jake had just spoken to. "Pardon me, young sir, I would like an ale. A small tankard, if you don't mind," Savas said, giving the fox a rather pleasant smile. He could never really drink like most vermin did. He wasn't very large, and when his father had him drink he had found it didn't take much to get him tipsy. The fox gave a nod and ran off to fetch the drink.
He soon returned with the ale and gave it to Savas with a friendly smile. The polecat took the drink with a grateful "thank you" and took a seat on a nearby bar stool. He took a slow sip of the ale, contemplating its flavor. "It's good ale," he thought to himself, "though I prefer wine, I suppose I could get used to this."
Savas took a quick glance at his sister, seeing her smiling sweetly and talking happily with Jake. For a moment, a strange thought entered his dark heart. "What if there was happiness to be found there? Was his sister right, could he live in peace?" the thought went, "would it perhaps be better to be in the monk's place, happily spending the evening with Eve, instead of hunting her down?" This though frightened Savas, that was the thought of a weakling, not a warlord. He pushed it aside hastily and get down to planning. How would he take Eve in such a public place?