Durkon sipped his beer. It was thick and yeasty, flavoured with honey and a rich, golden color. In fact it was so good and strong it was probably dwarven beer. Besides, it wasn’t blue. Normally he’d feel homesick, but for some reason he didn’t. Rather then examining the feeling to closely he smiled contentedly and took another swig, put the empty tankard aside and singled for another one.

Lien was onto her third drink. She could hold her ale, he noted approvingly. That was good. She’d ordered the food, which came highly recommended, but he wasn’t sure he trusted. Food was simple and filling, lots of bread and red meat, with ale to wash it down, and he liked it that way. Not all these fiddly bits, more parts then he could count cut small and mixed together. Still, the taste wasn’t bad once you get used to it.

All around him he could hear the buzz of conversation, the gossip of merchants and soldiers, the hushed whispers of lovers and the idle chatter of friends. He ignored it. All his attention was focused squarely on the woman across the table. She threw back another draught, then put the tankard down. Durkon wondered faintly if anyone had died trying to get her drunk, with an amused smile.

“So.” She said, no hint of a slur in her husky voice, “Why Thor?”

“Ah’m sorry?”

“Well.” She elaborated, putting down her drink and leaning forwad, uncrossing her long legs, “Why do dwarves worship Thor? He’s a sky god, and it seems…odd for him to be worshipped by a race who spend their life underground.”

Durkon shrugged. “Pretty clear thar, lass. He dresses like ae dwarf, fights like ae dwarf and parties like ae dwarf. Who better?”

She conceded the point.

They chatted away. Durkon showed himself to be surprisingly knowledgeable about almost every subject she raised. For the most part, however, he let her speak, occasionally interjecting an opinion or asking for clarification, keeping the conversation moving in no way in particular.

Gradually she began to feel a warm, satisfied sensation in her stomach, and the splendid lightheadedness that came from drinking just enough alcohol to enjoy it but not enough to rue the effects the next day.

It was at that point Lien realized that Durkon had fallen silent and was staring at her, across the scatter of denuded bowls and the half-picked food. In the candlelight his skin was the color of old bronze, and a deep tawny glow lit his eyes.

He noticed her pupils were large in her eyes, and her lips were slightly parted. She was leaning towards him slightly. Durkon had enough wisdom to spot a clue when he saw one.

The kiss was nice, gentle and soft at first, but gradually became more insistent. Durkon’s lips were cracked, and chafed her own soft ones, but the feeling wasn’t unpleasant. Quite the opposite really. His deceptively soft beard was nice against her cheeks.

They broke away after a few moments, and for a moment neither of them said anything. Finally Durkon raised his hand. “Ah ken we’ll take yon check noo’.” He said, a little breathlessly.

The Priest and the Paladin left the restaurant hand in hand.

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