Noting that I rely too heavily on dialog, I decided to try a tiny scene with no actual dialog taking place.

If I don’t push myself a little, how will I ever learn?

When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. When in your average feudal-society vaguely-European fantasy realm, you dine as the fantasy-realm folks dine. This is especially true when you’re new in town and looking for gossip, or looking for work, or looking for gossip about work. And this means patronizing one or more somewhat rustic dining establishments. Public houses, sometimes called. Taverns, in the most common vernacular.

When you intend to hold a private conversation at a tavern, you find a secluded table well away from the high traffic areas. When you intend to gather information, however, you get a table right near the bar.

Lynn pretended to be focused on her brunch, her third barely-nibbled-at meal of the day as she and Adam toured the city’s tavern selections. Adam wasn’t pretending quite as much as Lynn, though he did relish the opportunity to sip as much ale as he pleased.

Words criss-crossed the air around them. Boisterous words, furtive words, cajoling words, nervous words. Nothing specific, because some things about some people you don’t come right out and say in public, do you? Just, it’s a shame about the boy, isn’t it? There’s some story about the family, something that happened generations ago, maybe that’s something to do with it. Hush now, they’re good people really, they treat us well, best not to borrow trouble. Also best to keep one’s head down, don’t you think? Especially in troubled times. Curses, those are only in tall tales. Beast-men, everybody’s seen them, and that paladin who came through a few years back, he sure did some flashy things. But curses? Dare we even say the word, witches? Tales to scare youngsters, that’s what. But a friend of a cousin’s, she works there, she heard the noises. Nonsense, terrifying nonsense. Just not right, is it? Who’s going to set this right, anyway? It’s terrible. We can’t go on like this.

A stack of coins, the provenance of which might horrify the local taxmen, decorated a small table near the bar along with two mostly full plates of food and one empty pint glass. The diners, having gathered enough words, were on their way to the palace.