Jazra stared at the bottom of her mug, just visible through the firewine. This stuff was cheap, to be sure, but at least it was cheaper for her. The management at Vander’s allowed the tiefling to stay for free, and extended a deep discount on her purchases, in exchange for all the business her touting brought in. With nothing better to do tonight, she was trying to get drunk, and having a rough time of it, given her light coin purse.
She looked up to see Hexla coming through the front door, dazzling in her red dress, holding her gold dragon mask in one hand. Seeing Jazra, Hexla headed straight for her table and sat down. She stuck out like a sinner on Mount Celestia in this seedy place, but she didn’t seem to care.
“So how did it go?” Jazra asked, though the answer was already visible on the witch’s troubled face. Hexla swiped Jazra’s drink and swallowed it in one gulp; unsurprised, the tiefling signaled for another bottle.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Hexla sighed.
“That woman! She’s – Margone is just monstrous, Jazra. I can’t come up with words for it, not even in Infernal. You should have seen how she treated her son!”
“You mean Haden?”
“I think that was his name,” said Hexla. “Do you know him?”
“Only by reputation.” Jazra ran a hand through her frazzled dark hair. “So you refused her bid?”
“I told her I’d have to think about it. Don’t give me that look, Jazra! I need work.”
“You need jink,” said the tiefling. She scratched a pointed ear with a three-fingered hand, jingling her earrings.
“Right. It’s like I was saying, if I can get someone to invest in a potion shop, I can build a new lab and use it to continue my research.”
A bottle of firewine arrived with another glass; Jazra poured for both of them. Wincing at its bouquet, the tiefling said “I could never own a business. I thought you wanted out of the Cage, though.”
“I do. I did. You know how I feel about Sigil, Jazra – too many people, too many bad memories. But,” she said, her tone shifting, “now I’m not so sure. Something else happened tonight.”
Jazra leaned forward, and the table’s candles gleamed in her dying-ember eyes, and in the red gem set in her forehead. “You make it sound like something good.”
“Talan was there.”
“Talan? Handsome ranger Talan?”
“The same,” Hexla said coolly, sipping her wine.
“Then he did escape Avernus. What in the Dark Prince’s name was he doing at the Masque?”
“I’m not really sure. He and Haden were looking for someone, I think. There was a scuffle, and then Talan was chasing some big cat. I used the confusion to hightail it out of there; I just couldn’t take Margone’s company any more.”
“I don’t doubt that. Did anything happen this time? With Talan, I mean?”
“No, but he’s interested. At least, I think he is. He’s very quiet, and shy…”
“A real man of mystery,” Jazra said. “Then the night wasn’t a total waste.”
“Not at all,” said Hexla. “And I was afraid I’d bought this dress for nothing!”
“Congratulations,” Jazra said, topping off their glasses for a toast. “Send him my way if it doesn’t work out, will you?”
“Anything for a friend,” said Hexla.
“Free League forever,” replied Jazra.