Rappan Athuk

Resting up

Dirlum looked at her mug with deep suspicion. The thin, almost watery brew that partially filled the cheap wooden vessel did not inspire her with any confidence in its quality. Wasn’t the discovery and enjoyment of many fine and exotic beers part and parcel of being an adventurer? She was certain one of her older sisters had said so! …well, slurred so might be more accurate.

Dirlum looked at the drink once more and sighed. She doubted this was potent enough to make a dwarf hiccup, let alone slur.

Lagertha nudged her. “This is great!” she said, loudly. “The water here actually tastes a little like beer!” The other dwarf looked at Dirlum’s mostly filled mug. “Hey! You gonna drink that?”

Dirlum shrugged. Lagertha’s point of view might not be strictly accurate, but it might let her enjoy things a little more. “Yes,” she told the other dwarf. “If you want more, buy your own.”

Across the table, Kratos looked up from his book with a sour expression. The tavern—if one could call this repurposed barn a tavern—smelled like a goat pen, the food was overcooked and under-seasoned, the dwarves were loud, and there was no wine. He was miserable, yet thankful for all his dissatisfaction. He was, after all, not back at his master’s tower facing the daily feeding of the Things.

Yes, there were worse things than smelly rooms, bad food, paltry drink choices, and loud companions. Fighting gargoyles for one. After all, they seemed to focus on him—at least for the short time he remained conscious. That had been a terrible fight, and the wizard wished he could forget it the way his companions did. He almost envied them their small, simple minds.

“Dirlum! Catch!”

Sighing at the outburst and ensuing splash, he attempted to return to his studies.

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