Athrogarr sipped his warm beer at the bar, his massive frame supported by an arrangement of three stools. His skin was covered in a thin layer of mud, a mixture of his sweat and the dust from the trail.
Finril stopped behind Athrogarr and sniffed the air exaggeratedly, his pointy blue nose digging through the air like a spade breaking up soil. The slender Nymph on his arm, her skin tone similar enough for them to be a socially accepted couple but a bit greener, laughed deliciously at his show.
He stopped and took one final deep whiff above Athrogarr and painted a look of disgust across his face.
“Oh!” he laughed, “It is you Athrogarr! I thought some fishermen might have left their day’s catch behind. “
Athrogarr poured the rest of his mug down his throat and slammed it down on the counter, banging for a refill. Melinor was swift to the rescue.
“Anything to do for you, Finril?” the stern old Hill Elf asked, as he poured Athrogarr a fresh cup.
“I’m just consulting the local vanguard, Elf. Thank you,” he said, shooing Melinor away with a dismissive backhand wave.
Melinor, who had other business to attend, did not move. He might have recognized tradition and obeyed reverently when called for, but he wasn’t listening to anyone--Nymph or otherwise--tell him what to do in his tavern. He simply leaned over the counter and glared.
“Athrogarr. Let me ask you this. I hired a guide--that is an actual guide; someone who knows their way around the mountain--to take my lovely here and myself on a little adventure some weekends ago. I think we paid thirty-five-hundred round for it.” He threw out the number as if he hadn’t complained about it for hours, at the time. “Tell me… You bodyguards, vanguards, whatever it is that we’re supposed to say… Do you make thirty-five-hundred round per trip?”
Athrogarr looked at Finril incredulously. “What would I do with thirty-five-hundred round?”
Finril laughed obnoxiously. “Anything you want, you brute!” He slapped the Barbarian on the shoulder and his hand bounced like it had smacked the head of a drum. “Go on a holiday! Buy some wine instead of that muddy grog you all seem to like wallowing in!”
“I like this beer,” Athrogarr reasoned.
Melinor smiled sarcastically at Finril, deflecting his insult.
Finril, guffawed again and started off with his woman in tow. “Alllll right,” he condescended.
As the two rode off on their self-satisfaction. Melinor and Athrogarr met eyes, a silent conversation swapped in mere moments. Their eyes and cheeks seemed to swell until they were both pouring raucous laughter across the bar.
“Can’t believe anyone would actually pay to go up in those mountains,” Athrogarr huffed, as soon as he caught his breath.