Beatrice sighed as her son struggled to escape her lap and attempted to placate him with a quiet song. He soon settled down and, mercifully, drifted off to sleep. She looked up and found her husband watching her with a dopey grin.
“For Founder's sake, Marlo. Keep your eyes on the fu-” She brought herself up short and tutted her annoyance. “Keep watching the warehouse or we might as well not be here.”
“Sorry love…Benny was watching, so I don't think they-”
“Benny is a dog dear. Benny can't testify before the council.”
She glanced down at the canine officer stationed at her husband's feet.
“Also Benny is asleep.”
As her husband began to chastise his partner, Beatrice rolled her eyes and signalled the barstaff to refill her tankard. Marlo had definitely gone soft since joining the Tender church; ten years ago, when they were just married they'd just have kicked the door in, beat a confession out of the villains and been home in time for an early night. These days it was all 'due process' and 'legitimate authority'. Some tough had tried to chase them off yesterday and after she was done correcting his behaviour, Marlo had let the scoundrel limp off with a stern warning. Soft.
“Not that I mind sharing a drink with you in every tavern around this square, but shouldn't your party have shown up by now? It's been what, 4 days?”
“Yes, I am starting to get a bit worried. I thought maybe they followed that Lady of Keys deeper into the underground, but you would have thought they'd have at least sent word to the bank by now. Frankly I'm not sure I believe that Lord Graves would go without a bath for that long- he seemed like a creature comforts sort of fellow.”
“Go talk with Olivia and find out what's happened to them. I'm not having you become a social pariah because you abandoned your comrades to die in the deeps.”
“That's not fair, Bea! We were in hot pursuit, and then I heard a cave-in behind me…anyhow I can't just leave you here-”
“Oh shut up and go, I think I can handle things here.”
She silenced any further protestation by laying her mace down across the table with a heavy thud. Marlo gave a nod of defeat and got up, snapping his scabbard back onto his belt as he rounded the table. He leaned in for a kiss and then taking their stirring son from her grasp he clasped the toddler to his shoulder, where it immediately began to drool vigorously.
“I'll drop him off with Maribella at home. Do you want me to see if Lady Reeva is free to join you for a drink?”
“Oh, that would be nice! I haven't seen her since that business in Caul with the Nine Anvils Society.”
“I'll tell her you're here. I love you, Bea.
“I love you too…and and take the dog.