Prologue

Hiccup!

"You see, the thing is - no, shut up, listen - the thing is, it's magic users."

"Yes, you've said that before." Morag seemed unfazed by Chagrin's blatant disregard for her heritage.

"Be quiet, wait. It's magic users. Not magic. Magic is, well it's magic, isn't it?"

Hiccup!

"How profound, such wisdom. Truly a question for the ages!" Tyth's words seemed almost painted in sarcasm, the art of which fell on deaf ears. Morag having missed the mark (going by the offence on her face), and Chagrin who lapped it up and continued with vigour.

"Yes, it is! Magic will heal me, wake me up, cure my hangovers, but magic won't Eldritch Blast me itself - a magic user will."

"A magic user will also punch you in the throat."

Hiccup!

"You know, I don't think I've seen him this drunk before. He's so deep in his cups, I'm surprised he isn't spitting out pearls." Tyth noted to Morag as he studied the dwarf. The last hiccup! had been so violent that Chagrin was almost thrown from his chair. Managing to right himself before painfully greeting the floor, he turned and strutted to the bar with all the balance of a ball bearing in an earthquake. Disappearing into the crowd, his movements could be tracked by the displacement of the other patrons - the occasional curse spit downwards, a flagon or two knocked straight upwards out of startled hands by a dwarf on a mission. Tyth let his eyes wander. If Chagrin managed to upset the wrong person in the short trek to the bar then surely they would hear the commotion long before they saw it. There wasn't a hope in seven hells of tracking him before his journey's end.

Chagrin knocked one last tankard out of his way, ignoring the gruff exclamations of displeasure from those caught in the light shower of hoppy dregs, and climbed up the bar stool. He teetered on his knees upon the seat for a few moments as he considered his liquid options. He took no notice of his surroundings: the two women to his right, pretty enough through his mead-filtered vision, enamoured with the hooded gentleman to their right - holding onto his every word as though they might fall from the earth otherwise. A number of lonely figures on his left, all stood hunched against the bar and tables so they might block out the clamour of the world around them, none inviting conversation of any but the barkeep.

Mead, stout, ale. Chagrin had had his fill of these. He fingered his hammer. Pensive.

Back at the table, Morag rose from her seat, which would have gone unnoticed by the focused Tyth had she not tripped on the strap of her bag and knocked him painfully into the side of the table.

"I'm going to…there. Over there." Stubbornly ignoring the world shifting under her feet and the grumbling human, Morag departed the table, leaving Tyth alone with his thoughts, his ale, and his people-watching.