"Who goes there? State your business."
Two traveling parties met at a crossing on a rural Obrani road. One group was heading further north into the countryside, the other south towards Yedin.
A tall, dark-skinned woman stepped from her mount, spear in hand. A grey-haired man stood at her side.
The other group's leader, a young man, responded. "State yours first."
Neither party answered. After a minute of silence, the boy's second-in-command stepped forward to break the tension. "Well, who do we have here?" He took another look, and laughed.
"Ganno, you wily old bastard. We keep running into each other, don't we?"
The grey figure laughed as well. "It seems that way, Eivet."
The boy raised an eyebrow. "Old friend of yours?"
"From many moons ago, long before the war. I'd trust this man with my life." He turned to address his companion. "Though, you still owe me for that stunt you pulled in East Mirno–"
The woman interrupted. "Never mind that. If you two are willing to vouch for each other, then I suppose there's no use in pointing weapons around.
" She withdrew her spear, and the young man sheathed his sword.
The two parties agreed that the nearby tavern would be a better place to intermingle. They reconvened at dusk. Ganno and Eivet seated themselves at the bar, sharing drinks and stories.
"...So tell me, Eivet. What's with the kid? Seems a bit young for mercenary work."
"Apparently, his father was some Ibri war hero who got himself killed. Says he wants to bring the man responsible to justice 'one way or another', and he'll 'scour all of Obran if he has to'.
He's got initiative, I'll give him that."
"And he pays well."
"*Exactly.*" The pair laughed. "...And what's your story, Gan? Never thought I'd see you working for an Obrani."
"What can I say? The war ended. Ibri, Obrani, Vaía? There're no sides anymore. Just regular folk, tryn'to settle their own scores."
"And I assume *she*–" Eivet glanced over at Ganno's employer, sampling a drink at the other end of the bar "–is one of them?"
"More or less. Farmer's wife, living outside Yedin. War breaks out. Some Ibrihim captain an' his troops sack her village; the lady loses her home, her family, her *dog*– tragic, really."
"So you're helping her track this guy down to make him pay? Understandable."
"Well, that's where it gets interesting. See, we already found him.
She challenges him to a duel an' strikes him down in broad daylight– did I mention that she's *terrifying* with a polearm?
Anyway, we all thought that was the end, *but* rumor has it, the captain's son recently showed up, looking to avenge his *táma*."
Ganno took a long drink from his ale. "So, now Boss wants to 'hunt the little bastard down first', so she can, finish, the..."
"...Oh, son of a bitch."