Pavel stowed the ring is his tunic pocket for now, making a mental note to repair the cord later and the three prepared to leave the tavern when the silence was broken by a loud burst of laughter, It seemed to come from a hulking figure in the shadows a few tables away. Having already lost a perfectly good leather cord and one of his most cherished secrets in the last few moments, it seemed that his dignity was about to follow.
“Something funny?” Pavel asked, turning toward the laughter, barely concealing his annoyment.
“Sure,” a deep voice bellowed, apparently quite amused, “…that little guy just just kicked yer butt, no mistake!”
Rallo, smiled ever so slightly but stayed silent, curious as to where the conversation would travel to.
Pavel began to stomp off toward the table to confront his accuser but Johannes’ hand on his shoulder slowed his pace and gave him a moment to regain composure. Getting the hint about curbing his temper, Pavel swallowed once, then spoke slowly, calmly-
“Had I sensed any peril in his strike, I would not have let his rapier near me.”
“Yeah,” the stranger smiled, “…righhhhhht…,” and then in a mocking tone, trying to copy Pavel’s accent-
“Had I sensed this much bullshit in you, I would not have let your comment near me.”
This time Rallo and Johannes both stifled a snicker. The seated human took a long swig from his tankard and popped a few nuts in his mouth from a bowl on the table. Pavel got the feeling he would have wiped the foam from his chin with a sleeve…if he had been wearing a shirt. Instead, an elaborate set of tribal tattoos covered his chest.
“Apparently the sign by the door that says ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service’ is a bit beyond your reading level,” Pavel snorted.
“I read just fine, " the human answered, rising and grabbing his axe handle, “it’s just that anyone here acquainted with me knows not to make anything of it.”
The bartender put his palms up and shook his head rapidly back and forth, apparently not interested in enforcing the dress code at the moment. The hulking human, set his axe back down.
Pavel was still fuming and Johannes sensed the young monk was about to do something very stupid. The elf smiled and quickly stepped forward, offering his hand to the newcomer and defended the young monk.
“I dunno, Pavel’s got quick hands, it might have been a close contest. My name’s Johannes…”
“Fen. Nice to meet you, lad,” the barbarian answered, taking Johannes offered hand, “Let’s see, just how quick this youngster really is-”
He grabbed a handful of walnuts from the table and tossed them at Pavel’s head. What happened next suprised everyone- including Pavel. Reacting instinctively, Pavel’s limbs became a blur, and the first two walnuts were slapped aside, redirected toward Johannes satchel and the halfling’s hat, which he now held in his hand. Pavel caught the third and fourth walnut, one in each hand. With a squeeze and a loud crunch Pavel cracked them, dumped the fragments into one palm, then began picking out the edible parts to pop into his mouth. He tried hard not to look too surprised and instead behaved like that was exactly the outcome he expected.
Fen burst out laughing again, this time nodding his head at Johannes.
“You’ve got speed and pluck,” he smiled, “I’ll give you that! Yer little group is only missin one thing-”
“What’s that?” Johannes asked.
“Me.” Fen smiled.
“Funny, Johannes answered, “I was just thinking the same thing.”