36 ii) In her vision the dragon’s claws bite into the golden throne

In her vision the dragon’s claws bite into the golden throne, rending the soft metal and leaving permanent scars. The dragon sneers at her from impossibly high, wreathed in dark smoke pouring from its slitted nostrils.

The sound of fingers snapping. “Abia? Abia?” It’s Shyan, trying to get Abia’s attention. She slowly opens her eyes and the driving tavern music floods back in. Rufus and Rivera are absent, and the minstrels present are giving it their all.

“You’re looking even more spaced out than usual,” Shyan says. “Everything all right?”

36 i) An hour later, the gang’s warming themselves by the fire

An hour later, the gang’s warming themselves by the fire at the same dingy tavern where they’d first seen the musicians perform. Their coin goes a long way in this place, and stacked before them on the rude wooden tables are a dozen empty tankards and stacked plates, each with its attendant greasy streak or blob of hardening sauce. They sing and caper about the little tavern, buying cheap drinks for lucky bystanders.

Abia makes merry with the rest, but inside, she does not feel the heat of the hearth. In fact, she’s quite cold. She thinks back to the dragon perched upon its throne and right away she’s flush with heat.

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.”