1. The Drunken Mare
It was quiet in the Drunken Mare tavern, a quiet that had not been heard since the day it opened. It was unusual, for it was evening; the time in which the men would arrive exhausted from a day’s hard work and come to eat and share stories. But nay, the seats were empty, the tables were polished and untarnished, there was no speaking. The silence was sullen, shared by all. If one even looked for a sound they might find slight crackling in the fire in the hearth; or the soft footsteps of the bar hand going about and re-cleaning the tables that were in no need of cleaning to begin with. But in essence the tavern was dead. The only presences in the room were the barkeep, his companion, and the three men in the corner whom refused to talk, their only movements were to draw sips from their drinks.
The gravest of these silences was the barkeep, even as he moved about behind his counter polishing his glasses and readjusting liquors. Somehow his feet even nimbly avoided disturbing the creaky wooden floors. His silence was only so grave because, you see, he was waiting to die.