“It is safe, Anvar. You can come out of the corner.” In the far corner of the deck, between a chimney and wall, came the sight of a small orange light. After having puffed his pipe, Anvar exited the shadows and walked over to his nephew. He leaned on the rail as Linvin was doing. “However did you know I was there?” asked Anvar. “Please Uncle. I could smell your apple flavored tobacco the moment I stepped onto this deck.” Anvar looked at Linvin’s glass of brandy, which lay largely untouched. “I see you have the same love of fine brandy that I do,” Anvar said with a laugh. Then he turned to the bartender. “Do you have that item I gave you to store?” “Of course,” replied the bartender as he bent behind the bar and produced a small keg of elven ale. “I think you have earned a reward, my boy.” Linvin dumped his brandy over the rail and said, “I could not agree more.” Anvar had been prepared for this eventuality. At his command, the bartender produced two massive steins and filled them with ale. “Will there be anything else, sirs?” “No thank you,” Anvar replied as he handed some coins to the man. “Just leave the keg out for us.” “Very good sir,” replied the servant before going downstairs to help with the aftermath of the party. Anvar and Linvin each took up a rocker and drank their ale. Before long, Linvin had his pipe out as well.
“Mother was right about the view up here. You can see the entire city.” “Speaking of views,” Anvar chided, “You had quite the nice view of young ladies out here.” “Do not remind me,” Linvin said as he rocked. “I felt like the prize whore in a brothel. Could you hear what they were saying from over there?” “Sadly, no,” replied Anvar. “The acoustics were not very favorable in the corner.” “In that case,” Linvin laughed, “I envy you. They were all like trained pets following their mothers’ orders. Everything they said sounded like, ‘I love children. I hope to have several. In fact, boys run in my family. It is not my place to question my husband’s authority. He is lord of the house and his word goes. The only reward I seek in life is to make my husband happy and did I mention how much I love children?’ And this was not one person’s answer. They all said the exact same thing! Sometimes they would change the order a bit but they all were the same. It was all I could take not to scream!” “Well,” laughed Anvar, “Those all sound like fine qualities in a wife.” “Oh please,” barked Linvin, “Those are fine qualities in a dog! The answers were as phony as the ones I gave this evening, only less convincing. If they were really telling the truth, then why would I want a wife like that anyway? They sounded like servants. I do not want a wife like that and truthfully, until my mother made it a priority, I had no urgent desire to attain a wife.” “Surely one of those beauties must have stood out from the group,” Anvar said before drinking his ale. “Not one,” Linvin said as he walked over to the rail again. “Sure there were some that were ravishing, voluptuous and captivating in appearance, but I want more than that. I want someone with a brain. Someone I can talk to. Most of all, I want someone who cares more about me than my money or name. The question I really wanted to ask was, ‘If I was poor and no one knew my name, would you still be so eager to marry me?’” “That would have raised some eyebrows,” Anvar laughed, “I take it you did not ask because you knew their answers.” “No,” Linvin corrected, “I did not ask because I did not trust the answers they would give.” Anvar filled his drink and rejoined him at the rail. “Well, if you are looking for a woman who does not know who you are or your family’s worth, do not even bother looking in this town.” Linvin drew on his pipe and exhaled. “That is the conclusion I came to tonight and it is not just the women who seem wrong for me. This whole place is not…me. The house, the servants, the whole society thing. It just seems like someone else’s life.” “Give it time,” Anvar said as he patted Linvin’s shoulder, “You have only been home one day. You will adjust in time.”