February Through March


Hey. Bartender Ben here. You may know me from my tiny role in Holly Drake’s books. Minuscule, but, well, that’s the way I like to keep it. I surf that space just below notice, but not so invisible as to draw attention for being a nobody trying to avoid notice. Watching the comings and goings, I see a lot. If they knew I was paying attention, I’d lose my edge. Can’t have that.

You want to know what I know? Keep your eye on this space. I’ve wormed my way into the action–whether they like it or not, I’ve got information. Here’s a teaser: the people Holly’s working with aren’t who she thinks they are. But who is it? Let me turn up the heat: it’s someone you know. Could be me. Could be someone else who comes into my drinking and listening club. But who….? 


Hey. Bartender Ben here. 

The rumor mill is churning and I’m in the enviable position to hear things no one knows I’m hearing. Maybe the sources are patrons at my bar, maybe they’re patrons… in my listening booths–that’s a secret I’ll never divulge. Am I so honorable that I’d rather be stabbed in the stomach forty times with a fondue fork than allow my listening booths to be bugged? Maybe. 

I am pretty honorable, even if I’m an eavesdropper.

So, not saying where I heard it, but word’s circulating that someone big is on their way back into town. When that happens, I anticipate a power struggle like none we’ve ever seen in the 6 Moons.

You know it depends on where you focus, what you see. Most people in the City just want to live–have their job, build their wealth, have a family. They don’t see the faction battles. I see them. I hear about them. I carry the weight of knowing what my patrons know… it’s not enviable. It just is. 


Hey. Bartender Ben here. 

Grab a drink and sit down. I’ve got a big one for you. 

The other night, I overheard some patrons discussing “plans” that, when they noticed me nearby, they shut up about. 

I’d already heard enough, though. Ready for this? Here’s the word. 

A certain legendary “retired” thief was recently asked to assist in securing an object of high value and esteem for a prominent Centau family (aren’t they all prominent? Morons). Word was that she turned it down. 

But then I heard that a rival faction was looking into that object and was making a move to snag it. 

And then I heard that the retired cat burglar got involved after all. 

Do you follow? I know it’s hard to keep straight, especially since I’m not naming names—because I’m not in that business. We call those narcs and they’re universally reviled. While I’m universally revered, for being the best damn bartender around and staying circumspect and choosey in who I share information with. I trust you, so take that as the compliment that it’s supposed to be. 

I’ll have more information for you soon. I’ve also got something I think you’ll love next time. Still getting it ready. Look for it! See you soon, my friend! 


Hey. Bartender Ben here, the best damn bartender around. 

Had a drink lately? I’m not trying to push drinks on you, you know, but you look like you could use one. 

Did that come out wrong? I meant it like, you look happy and not rundown and tired, or something. And since you’re so happy, like maybe you’d love to celebrate with a Frozen Pearl or some other kind of mixed drink, with umbrellas and fruit hanging off the edge. 

Perfect. I’ll get one for you. 

In the meantime, remember how I told you about that “retired” thief coming out of “retirement” once she heard there was competition going for that object of high value? 

I heard what the object is.

And I heard how much they’ll pay her if she gets it. 

Not to brag, but I also heard what she plans to do to get it. Oh yeah. I’m a trove of info today. You’re pretty lucky to know me. 

I didn’t say it was Cosma. You said that. Not me. 

So, Cosma’s making a move to take the Eternity Horn…

No, like a horn from a ram, not a trumpet. Ixion’s teat–you’re a laugh a minute, aren’t you? Sorry, Ixion’s teat, that slipped. I usually dial it down for clients, but I’ve gotten to know you too well. 


So. The Eternity Horn. She’s going after it. A certain client gets a bit loose when he drinks. He’ll be in again tonight. I’ll know more next time we talk. For now, I’ve got a crate of bottles of yublis branco and anhasis granva to unload. And a large party just showed up, and I know these people–they’re high maintenance. 

Keep that under wraps, the stuff about the Eternity Horn. And Cosma. You’ve earned my trust. Don’t do anything crazy to lose it, my friend!


Hey. Bartender Ben here, no turning and burning ’em here. Stay around a while, get some drinks, let your hair down, that sort of thing. 

Where were we? Cosma. The Eternity Horn. 

Cosma’s going after it for the notorious collector Ume Kauss. Centau. Rich. Sworn bachelor, comes in here in his robes looking as smug as all the Centaus. Some Centaus are tolerable. Ume is somewhere between intolerable and tolerable. When he gets a tad drunk, he becomes borderline decent. 

He’s not precisely one I’d describe as clean. As criminal as all of them, really. 

I still haven’t heard who’s got the Eternity Horn. Ume mingles with another client occasionally, you know him as Dave. I’ll keep my eye out and continue to fill you in on the details. 

I’m working on some other things that I’ll be laying out for you soon…

Till next time…