Dragonhearts, Epilogue - Page 1

After Gordon fell silent, Erik stared at him for a moment, started to say something, stopped, then signaled the bartender for two more drinks. After they had arrived, Erik finally broke the silence.

"You tell terrible stories," he said with a shake of his head.

Gordon snorted. "I never claimed to be a great storyteller."

Erik shook his head again. "That's not what I meant," he corrected. "Aside from some glaring omissions, your telling was fine, it was the story that was terrible . . . especially the ending."

Gordon shrugged. "That's the way it happened."

"I'm sure it was," Erik said softly. "But I still have some questions to ask, least important first." He waited until Gordon gave him a grudging, almost imperceptible, nod of acknowlegement before continuing. "What happened to Rolph and his hired legbreakers?"

Gordon laughed bitterly. "The legbreakers drank themselves to death within a year, but little Rolph surprised me. He not only survived, but actually managed to balance his scales before he died; took him half his life, but he did it. After that he became a monk and spent the rest of his years looking after the poor and downtrodden, especially women." Gordon grimaced. "And there I was hoping he'd end up hanging himself."

"I can see that," Erik said with a smirk. "After all, better a despairing and pointless death than a person redeeming themselves, right?" When Gordon declined to answer, Erik changed the subject. "How did Elfreda end up as 'Lady Elfreda?'"

"She ended up rescuing a noblewoman and her brother from bandits . . . or cultists, or cultic bandits, I forget which, and became a lifelong friend to the family," Gordon answered with shrug. "Eventually she married the brother."

Erik smiled at that. "Sounds like a fairy tale come true," he observed.

"It wasn't," Godon sneered. "In fairy tales when the poor boy marries the princess, it's his 'just reward.' Elfreda had to deal with those who thought she was a common golddigger, as well as those who felt she had belittled herself by marrying and 'giving up her indepedence and becoming subservient.'"

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