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.

25 v) The gang spends the rest of the day approaching the city

The gang spends the rest of the day approaching the city, reaching its cobblestone streets at dusk. Warm light spills from open taverns as people hurry about, driving goats and pushing barrows. Despite the gang’s haggard appearance from days on the road, nobody gives them more than a passing glance. The glowing sphere bobs and weaves, but attracts no attention.

Jaunty music reaches the party’s ears from a two-storey wooden building with simple stained glass windows.

“My thirst is suddenly overwhelming,” Cang announces.

“My throat, too, is parched!” Fassn adds loudly.

“Yeah? And when we can’t pay the bill?” Shyan asks.

“I don’t want to run,” says Abia.

“But perhaps we will strike up a contact, someone who will know where we can sell our goods,” Cang adds with a placating grin.

Shyan shrugs. Marching through the tavern door, she says, “Well it would be nice to sit down.”