“On the contrary,” Anvar explained, “I could tell from the first sip that the drink was more than I could handle.”
“But I saw you drinking all night,” Linvin protested.
“Indeed you did,” Anvar answered. “You saw me drinking water. Newminor was so preoccupied with you that he took no notice of me dumping his liquor and refilling my cup with water. I see that you took a similar approach to the evening’s festivities.”
Linvin nodded. “He was far too sharp of an individual to match wits with in an altered state.”
“He was sharp,” Anvar agreed, “but I did not trust him. His blatant attempt to intoxicate the group made me suspect that he had an unseen motive. That motive had become quite clear with the sunrise.”
“He was clearly a thief,” Linvin recounted, “but I cannot help but wonder if there was more to his charge than he told. What if he was sent to get the key?”
Anvar stretched and then searched the saddlebags for some pork. “As odd as it sounds,” he began, “I believed him. The key was the only item of value he could find to take. He admitted to being a thief, and I think there is little more to his story. Besides that, with our sentry performing a lackluster job, he could have easily returned in the night and stolen it again or even killed us all. He did neither. By the moonlight, your heart told you to set him free. Why would the sunlight tell you differently?”
As opinionated as ever, Anvar restored Linvin’s faith in his decision to spare the gnome. Deep in the recesses of Linvin’s mind, he held an unwilling admiration for Newminor. The gnome was a person who said what many others may have thought but would not dare to speak. Instead of following the herd, he struck out on his own without a heading. Rather than fret about the future, he viewed it with anticipation. Such a carefree existence pushed Linvin beyond admiration into the realm of envy.