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  •  A Little Privacy Please (10+ / 0-)
    "Crumb's Dispeptic Duodenum!" Murray muttered between clenched teeth.  "Look who's over there!"

    Cal lowered his mug of ale and looked over his shoulder in the direction Murray indicated.  In a booth over on the far wall sat a fat, jovial mage in a threadbare cloak with a greyish corkscrew of a beard.  "Damn.  It's Froop."

    Murray slid off his stool, his hand clenched in a fist, but Cal put a hand on his shoulder.  "We'll go together."  He glanced over at Diedrie.  "Wait here a moment, will you?"

    Diedrie put the little paper umbrella she was playing with back in her drink and pushed it away.  "I'm coming too."

    The three of them threaded their way across the crowded tavern, trying not to jostle the dart-playing dwarves, and approached Froop's table.

    "Greetings!  Greetings, friends," the wizard beamed.  "How good to see you again!  I trust your quest is going well?"

    "Why you flea-bitten son of a wilderbeest!  I'll give you --"

    "Easy, Murray."  Cal leaned on the table at the wizard.  "About that sword you gave me."

    "Sword...?"

    "The Holy Sword of Hasenpfeffer."

    The wizard's smile widened slightly in a painful manner and he glanced about.  "Not so loudly, if you don't mind," he said in a low voice.  "The walls.  Ears.  You know.  Please, sit down."

    Cal nodded at the others.  He and Diedrie sat across the booth from Froop; Murray sat next to him to block his exit, drawing his dagger for no particular reason.  Froop tried unsuccessfully to maintain his smile, then finally gave it up.  He set a small talisman on the table and uttered the words "Locus solitudo."

    Immediately a curious grey mist seemed to surround their booth and the noises of the tavern became muted, as if muffled in cotton.  A strange, soothing music began to play, coming out of nowhere.

    Cal frowned.  "What the hey?"

    "A spell of my own devising.  I call it the Zone of Privacy.   It clouds the perceptions of those around us so that they neither see nor hear us.  A very useful spell, if I do say so.  Which I do."

    "But what's with the music?"  Murray asked.  "It sounds like... Burt Bacharach?"

    Froop gave a sheepish and apologetic grin.  "It is a part of the spell.  I usually use the spell for... ah... shall we say other circumstances."

    "Yeah but why would you want to play make-out music..." Murray noticed that a dreamy look had come over Diedrie's face and she was resting her head on Cal's shoulder.  "Never mind."

    "Um, Diedrie," Cal said, "maybe you should wait at the bar after all."

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:57:18 PM PDT

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