You sigh, and run a hand through your short hair. You’ve suspected something like this for weeks.
“What kinds of tea do you have?” you ask.
Your companion is taken aback, but recovers quickly. “Any kind you like,” he proclaims, waving a hand imperiously toward the next room, which you assume is a kitchen.
Sages, he’s so dramatic. “How about that lively dark blend we had in Riverswalk, oh, a fortnight past?”
“I don’t know if I have that one,” he says. He’s looking increasingly confused. “I must confess, I did not imagine you would take this nearly so well, my friend.”
“You do have that blend,” you say. “I know you do, because the teahouse master told me she’d sold a full two measures of it to a handsome yet delicate man with a very distinctive scar, three months to the day you and I arrived in Riverswalk.”
You let your eyes follow the curving path of his scar, from the point of his chin to the bottom of his right eye. You hold his gaze, and watch the shock settle in.
“You know, of course,” you tell him, “that the Riverswalk tea houses are infamous for their wards, which dampen all items of power brought within their walls. They are places of congress and diplomacy, and items of power threaten their sanctity. And I’m sure you know this too: the wards allow the tea master to identify any such objects on sight.”
The colour is draining out of his lovely face. He opens his mouth, and just as quickly closes it.
“The tea master said the man carried a small bronze brooch inlaid with silver, in the form of a tree.” You reach into the inner pocket of your vest, where for three days and two nights you have carried the metal object you liberated from his person as he slept. You show it to him. “She told me the brooch was the most powerful item she had ever seen. That it held within it the power to pull the stars down from the sky.”
He’s trembling, ever so slightly. You pause, allowing yourself to enjoy the moment.
Well. Perhaps you have a touch of the dramatic yourself.
“You bought two full measures of that lively, dark blend from a tea house in Riverswalk, three months to the day before I arrived there with you. I met you six days after you purchased the tea. So I know you must still have that blend, because you can hardly have drunk it all in the time between.”
You smile at him. You’ve won, so you can afford to be kind. You have grown to like him, beautiful and charming as he is.
“I’ll have that tea now, my friend.”