26 i) The tavern is full to bursting with sweaty souls

The tavern is full to bursting with sweaty souls, soot-streaked from climbing in chimneys and sunburnt from days in the fields. An upbeat, driving tune comes from a pair of musicians on top of a table, one with a pair of small drums, the other a slender wooden flute.

Fassn and Abia amble off to find an open table while Cang and Shyan approach the ruddy barkeeper.

He raises his hooded eyes just enough to meet theirs, then returns immediately to serving the rowdy patrons jumbled along the bar. Only when, cocking a single eyebrow, Cang surreptitiously shows the bartender the jeweled necklace that he gives them his attention.

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