Aw, dammit. We're snapping out of this extremely slow-moving flashback to the present.
So what is this chapter about? ALOS AND BOOZE. Yes, an entire (if short) chapter devoted to the local boozehound.
Alos smacked his lips and peered at his mug and then at the ale flagon, both empty. "You tell a powerful tale, Lady Arin. Works me up a great thirst, you know. And there's none left in the pitcher, what with Egil here drinking, too."
"If thou enjoyest mine stories so much, I shall tell thee with more details of our travels."
"NO, PLEASE! ANYTHING BUT THAT! I need booze just to dull the pain!"
So everyone just... sits around until Alos drops more hints that hey, mebbe Arin should order more ale. After all, he hasn't wet himself and passed out on the floor, so he's practically sober.
"Is the story done? Surely not. And don't you think that Egil here needs some more ale to last him through the rest of the tale? I know I've worked up a great thirst, or did I say that already?"
HOLY SHIT, will someone please stuff a sweat sock in his mouth? We get it, he's a professional lush and he's ALWAYS sniffing out the nearest source of booze! We don't need an entire chapter DEVOTED to this!
Arin sighed. "Nay, Alos, my tale is not yet complete; there is more to tell. Much more."
And I die inside.
"W'll, if that's the case, then I say we'll need another flagon or two, eh?"
Order three - that way you can break one over his greasy head.
For some reason, Alos' boozing makes Aiko mad. No, we won't find out why until the end of the book, and it will be completely unforeshadowed except for her total hatred of Alos.
Arin stepped to Egil's side and felt his brow and took the measure of his pulse. "Art thou able to listen to more? I would not overtire thee."
NO! Get this shit over with!
Fortunately for my sanity, Egil wants to hear the rest of the story. Alos keeps harping on about getting more ale, and Aiko promptly stabs him in the head. Wait, that was just my fantasy.
The Dylvana shook her head. "Nay, Alos. First I shall tell more of the tale and then shall I let thee see to the replenishment of the flagon."
"I would prefer for thee to only fall in a drunken slobbering stupor AFTER I hath finished mine tale."
Egil smiled and held out his half-full mug. "Here, Alos, perhaps this will hold you a moment more."
I wouldn't be so confident. Arin tells stories like a maiden aunt with a dislocated jaw - long, slow, boring and full of stuff you don't care about.
So while Alos works towards his lifelong goal of alcohol poisoning, Aiko comes back and Arin starts yapping again.
"We had just come unto the marches of Darda Galion..."
Sit tight, kids.