We returned to the temple, taking those we freed from the Amnite slaver. When the high priest learnt of what we accomplished, a celebration was the order of the night. I wanted to mark the occasion with someone special, so I returned to the Troll and Maiden.
I approached the innkeeper, as when I entered the taproom, Tia was hard at work serving.
"Is there anyway I could arrange the night off for Tia?" I asked him.
The Innkeep was pleasant in his response. "As you can see, the bar is rather busy tonight, I don't think I can afford to be without her."
"There is a special celebration at the local temple, as many thought taken as slaves have been returned."
"That's good news, but we are so busy." He said, perhaps a little annoyed that I was still talking to him.
This was going to be difficult, but I thought I had an ace in the hole. "As you know, my friends and I have been staying here quite often in recent days, and as we need base of operations in the area. We were thinking the Troll and Maiden would be ideal. Letting Tia have the night off, might help convince us."
The Innkeep looked unsure.
"Remember, Thoram travels with us."
He considered for a moment, but not for very long. "I think we manage without her tonight. "
Tia was surprised when she was called over, and given the night off. We strolled arm and arm back to the temple.
In my absence, they had gotten the feast ready. They sacrificed a cow, and prepared vegetable dishes of amazing complexity and variety. Bread, beer, and wine were served with the feast, and nearly every local resident attended.
We were treated like heroes. Thoram ate everything they put in front of him, and the more he ate, the more was placed in front of him. Ulf bailed early, preferring to chase the wenches at the inn, but the rest of us stayed.
But before the night broke up, I walked Tia back to the Inn.
In the light of the lamp at the taproom entrance we stopped, Contented and happy, I looked into her eyes and she in mine.
"Freeing slaves," she said, voice dancing across my consciousness like a song of intense beauty," I hadn't realised your work was so dangerous."
I nodded, "Its what I do, but, Tia," I said with emotion than ran from my heart," You've come to mean so much to me in such a short space of time, I don't know why, but, no matter the danger or the situation, I still find a moment to think about you. I will do the things I must do, but I need to know you are here."
Her answer was a kiss, long and hard in the lamplight.
We said our goodnights, kissed again. Tomorrow, I knew, I would be off again. But I would tell her in the morning.