The rain fell in sheets. By the time Manak woke up enough to realize what was going on, his clothing was soaking wet. Add to that the layer of mud that clung to him and his body felt worse than the nonstop hangover raging through his head.
No use moving, he thought. Rain’s not going to stop. At least I’ll get somewhat clean this way. Something on his chest and legs moved, the weight shifting enough that he knew it wasn’t just mud or excrement from the sty. It didn’t feel like the pigs, though.
Opening his eyes, he slammed them shut again as a rather large drop of rain landed on the bridge of his nose.
“Bonecrusher,” the innkeeper’s voice barked.
“What?” he grunted, not bothering to open his eyes. Damn that mead was strong!
“I need to let the pigs back in here to eat. They can’t get fat enough to make good bacon if I keep them starving. Grab your friends and get out.”
My friends? He opened his eyes and raised his head slightly. Laying across his chest and legs were three women, covered in mud and nothing else.
The one closest to him stirred. She turned her head and looked at him through stringy, dirty hair. “Hi,” she croaked.
“It wasn’t supposed to rain.” She sat up, making it so he could do the same. The water began to rinse the mud off of her. “Oh, well. We left our clothes inside anyway.” She turned, nudging the other two. “Drisa, Abi, come on. Time to wake up.”
Manak looked at her. “I must’ve had a lot more to drink than I thought.”
“Oh, you were pretty drunk. Lots of fun, though,” she winked at him. “Come on,” she said to the other two. “Maman will want us to bathe before we see anyone today.”
He reached out and grabbed her wrist. “Lots of fun, huh? Can we have some more? I mean, I don’t remember much of last night.”
She stared at him, “Sure. If you pay us. We did what Christos paid us to do. Anything else is on you.” Her gaze took in his appearance. “Come by the house later, ask for Marnie. But after you bathe. Sleeping with you out here was bad enough. I don’t want my room smelling like a pig sty.”
Without another word, the three left Manak sitting in the muck.
Looking around, he saw the innkeeper leaning against the top rail of the pen. The man had a smirk on his face. “Ain’t often I get someone out here sleeping in the muck with three whores who can’t remember what happened. I’ve gotta raise my prices…or water down the ale.” With a laugh, he swung open another gate and ten pigs came running into the sty.
Rising, Manak staggered toward the exit. The women said Christos had hired them. It was time to find the bard.