Lexa pulled Kiri through the door into the kitchen. The patrons in the bar took no notice that they had left and continued to discuss the events of the evening and try to formulate different plans.
“Kiri listen, if we organize everyone, we can control them so that we can accomplish what WE want to have happen. If we wait until someone else organizes an army, then we are just followers and we can’t control what they do and we have no say in what happens.” Lexa said.
“An ARMY? Lexa they’re not an army, they are just a bunch of drunk guys who aren’t going to remember any of this in the morning. Right now, they are brave and ready to take on the world because the beer is talking and giving them courage. But you talk to the same people in the morning and you’re going to have a whole different story and your little ‘army’ will fall apart. When that happens, we will be standing there looking like fools at beast. Chances are, we’d then get thrown in jail or worse.” Kiri explained.
“But what if we put them up here? We’ve got the room. Then in the morning if anyone has doubts, everyone else is here to argue the point again and we can stay banded together.” Lexa suggested, “We can use the bar as our headquarters, our stronghold against the Envahir.”
“No! What happens to my bar when we are found out and they break up our little army? They’ll take my bar and throw us in jail, or worse. I can’t afford to lose my bar; it’s all I have and all I have left of my Father.” Kiri said, “I can’t do it.”
“But Kiri . . .” Lexa didn’t finish what she was going to say. She looked towards the kitchen door.
“What is it?” Kiri asked.
“Do you here that?”
“No” Kiri said and then it dawned on her, there was absolutely no noise coming from the bar.
Lexa and Kiri looked at one another and then looked toward the bar. They slowly walked to the door, unsure of what they would find. Kiri looked around the bar and noticed that everyone was quiet, trying to drink their beer and blend into the surroundings. The discussions had ended abruptly and people weren’t even looking at one another. Standing in the doorway, Kiri saw the annoying man with the sword from the other day in the bar. Standing behind him were several soldiers, carrying swords.
“I am Captain Voler of the Envahir.” he said.
Everyone glanced around with worried looks.
“Are you the proprietress of this establishment Wench?” he asked.
“Yes, this is my bar if that’s what you are asking.” Kiri said walking straight up to him, “The name’s Kiri and if you are in my bar that is how you will address me.”
“Ha, ha ha!” Voler laughed, “As you wish. Were you and your patrons not made aware of the curfew?”
“We got your little notice,” Lexa said, “and I’ll tell you what we think of it.” She grabbed the parchment from the bar, crumpled it up and threw it into the fireplace.
“Now I can show you what we think of those people who disagree with our authority.” he said.
Voler snapped his fingers. A soldier walked forward, sword drawn and slammed the hilt of his sword against the side of Lexa’s head. Lexa’s lifeless body crumpled to the floor.
“NO!” Kiri screamed as she ran towards Lexa. Before she could reach her, the soldier pointed his sword at her and she stopped dead in her tracks.
Voler announced to the bar, “Now, if any of you do not wish to face the same fate as this foolish girl, you best take my proclamation to heart and realize that there is a curfew. Out of kindness, I will give each of you enough time to make it home, without consequence but only if you leave now.”
Everybody began to quickly get up, some knocking over their chairs, in their haste to leave. In a matter of seconds, the bar was cleared and the patrons were running towards home.
Kiri stood looking at Lexa. Voler walked through the bar and looked up the steps to the rooms.
“These will do.” he said. “We will make this place our command post. There are enough rooms here for the officers. The bar will allow us to have food and drink and it’s a good location within the town. I will even allow you to stay and continue to be our We… our waitress.”
Kiri spun around, “Never! I will never let you in here. I will never serve you or your men. I want you out of my bar now!”
Voler pointed to Lexa and ordered his soldiers, “Take that one out.”
“Wait!” Kiri said.
Voler stopped and turned towards Kiri.
“Leave her. What has she done to you?” Kiri asked.
Voler looked at Kiri, “Will you reconsider our offer to use this place as a command post?”
“Never!” Kiri said.
“Very well.” Voler said, “Take her away and then, burn the place to the ground.”
“NO!” Kiri screamed running towards Voler.
Voler swung a mail covered hand, striking a backhand across Kiri’s face, sending her falling backwards, hitting her head against the bar, knocking herself unconscious.
“Cough, cough…hack, cough” Kiri woke with her head throbbing, her throat raw. She gasped for air and struggled to find any. Through the haze she began to see light and slowly realized that the bar was on fire. She struggled to stand up and stumbled around the bar and towards the kitchen. She fell against a counter and her hand fell against something smooth, she vaguely realized it was a book and shoved it into her apron. She stumbled towards where the door should be and collapsed, gasping for air.
She felt the heat rush away and the burning in her throat left for a moment; then she felt something press against her arms and then … nothing.