“Oh no you di’nt,” thundered Einar’s voice as he threw the front door of the inn open. He stepped across the threshold, tossed his hammer in the general direction of the umbrella stand. His eyes scanned the room. They stopped at the object of his ire.

He shoved tables and chairs aside, and rushed towards Magnus, who sat, oblivious, at the bar. Einar smacked him over the head with his flat hand. “I said, oh no you di’nt!”

Magnus swung around and kicked Einar in the shins, all in one go. “You ficking oaf! What the hell did you do that for?”

Einar roared, “You traitor!” His fist rammed into Magnus’s chin and sent him flying across the bar.

“That was my wench you kissed, bloody fuckin’ elf!”

Magnus fell down behind the bar with a loud thud.

A loud murmur rose in the inn. Einar glared around with fierce eyes, and the murmur stopped abruptly, “I’m out of here!”

Just as he picked up his hammer, a gentle voice whispered, “Einar?”

He looked down at a trembling girl, and said, “Birgitta, why did you betray me?”

Her lips quivered and her teeth clattered. She let out a sob, and cried out, “You are too big for me, you oaf! I need to marry one of my kind!”

“He’s not your kind! He’s an elf! You’re fucking human!”

The elf in question peeked over the bar and grinned sheepishly. Einar roared. His fist smacked down on a table, splitting it right down the middle. He grabbed her by the collar, glared deep into her eyes, and snarled, “And I’m! Not! Big!”

She jerked free, sagged to the floor and blubbered.

Einar looked at her frame curled up next to his foot like a tiny mouse, and then at his own hulking gray body, casting a shadow over her. For the first time in his life he felt self conscious.

He grabbed his hammer and kicked the door open. He had to bend to walk out the door. A tear rolled down his cheek. With a soft tinkling sound a diamond fell to the floor, rolled up to Birgitta, and his voice whispered, so soft only the wind heard it, “I’m not that big…”

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