All it takes is a little trust.

Drifter leaned against the bar in The Ether Tank and watched the morning's bustle. Days started slowly now that the Kell was out of town, and the deposed Baron of the Tangled Shore preferred the night shift. Spider did not want to be awake this early.

"So," Spider said hoarsely, addressing a scrawny Eliksni who stood beneath his overbearing gaze. "With Misraaks so busy saving prisoners from the Shadow Legion, it's become my business to find you all a little gainful employment. Do you understand?"

The Eliksni hissed and chittered in response.

"Let's not be rude, Thrysiks," Spider said while gesturing to Drifter. "We don't want to exclude our friend from the conversation."

The Dreg responded before Drifter could voice his indifference, "Thrysiks speak Human. What does Spider want?"

His voice was filled with derision. A look of surprise crossed Spider's face for one bare moment.

"You speak it well," Spider responded in an oily tone. "Wonder where you picked that up."

Thrysiks said nothing. Spider continued.

"As for what I 'want'… I hear you left Eramis's House. There's good Glimmer for secrets. Even more for spying."

Thrysiks pressed his two fists together over his chest and then pulled his arms back sharply.

"Thrysiks knows you, Spider from the Tangled Shore. Thrysiks has nothing for Spider."

Drifter laughed. Spider leaned forward, his rebreather emitting a low, guttural hiss.

"Say that again."

Thrysiks did not flinch or look away. There was a moment of tense silence.

"You heard him," Drifter said at last. "He ain't interested."

Spider huffed and sat back in his chair as Drifter led Thrysiks outside and into the streets.

"As you just saw," Drifter said in a low voice, "Spider's tryin' to use this little charity to bring more people into his crew. Eido told me to keep an eye on him. And she told me another thing, too—you're good with kids."

Drifter paused at Thrysiks's silent confusion.

"Hatchlings! All swaddled up and smiling. So cute I could eat 'em up."

Confusion turned into apprehension.

"Ah, just an expression. Old Earth phrase," Drifter explained. "Anyway, lotta orphans comin' in from the EDZ, and your Scribe's a bit preoccupied. Eido said you looked after them the other day. Even led them in a little song. That true?"

"Yes. Thrysiks likes hatchlings," the Eliksni buzzed. Drifter grinned.

"Good. Let's hope they like you too, Teach."

Buzzard (Adept)

Category: Eliksni

Castaway's Shell

Buzzard (Adept)

Category: Eramis

Chapter 2: Itinerant Mendicant

Candescent Strides

Category: Mithrax

Castaway's Shell