I picked up a tray of bread and stood next to Beathan, studying the man's face as it became visible through the smoke-filled room. I guessed him to be about twenty seasons. He had an intelligent, broad forehead. His gently sloped nose was not large. A beard, the color of an iron pot left outdoors, covered his cheeks and chin. His sharp eyes were a curious blue, not of the daytime sky, nor of flowers, but midnight blue. He seemed tired, yet wary.
The stranger stole a look around the lodge, then reached down and picked up his pouch. The crowd fell instantly quiet.
Beathan reached behind him and clapped him on his back, almost pushing the stranger off the stool.
"I have his dirk," my uncle said. "He is no threat."
The talking and shouting began again. The man laid his arms and head on the table and did not move except to breathe.
"Women!" Beathan said. "Bring us more to drink and eat! T