I really liked this exchange between Darwin and one of his friends. It was kind of sweet since they were just getting to understand each other. You get a good sense of how Darwin thinks too.
Unable to sleep and not wanting to disturb his exhausted friends, Darwin wanders the streets of Soltis. Remembering advice from Arlinger, he jots down a list of landmarks to help him find his way back to the inn. Paying attention to the task helps him forget all of his problems, but they come back the instant he stops looking for things to catalog. Several times, the halfling turns a corner to find patrolling guards unwittingly heading in his direction. Before they can see him, Darwin puts them to sleep and hurries down the block to get out of sight. The loud clang of armored bodies hitting the road are always met with complaints and calls for the guards from the surrounding buildings. Those who look outside to shout directly at the source never notice the retreating figure, their attention entirely on the sprawled forms they mistake as a group of drunks.
The encounters become less common once he leaves the outer ring of Soltis and enters the tent area. Hanging torches give off some light, but he is forced to depend primarily on the blue moonlight coming from Tavon, which is hovering directly above the city. The eerie atmosphere causes him to take out his fabric swatch and grip it tightly, but the action does very little to calm him down. He jumps at the slightest noise, which ranges from someone rolling over in their bed to nocturnal birds flying overhead. Instead of casting spells at guards, Darwin avoids them and ends up getting horribly lost among the tents. Panic swiftly sets in to the point where his arms are flailing and he bites his lower lip to hold back the urge to cry. Running out of the area, he hits a railing and awkwardly slips through the mangled bars. The halfling is about to hit the river when a hand catches him by the ankle and lifts him to safety.
“Good thing I followed you,” Zynth says as he puts his companion down. He leans on the railing and immediately jumps back when it falls into the water. “So, you had trouble sleeping too? I can’t stop thinking about everything going on. This liquid knife, splitting the twins, Brid clearly hitting on me, Urian Coy, being unemployed, and you in general are weighing heavily on my mind. What has you worried?”
“I’m sad that I couldn’t help Maeve and Brid,” Darwin admits from where he is sitting. He wipes at his eyes, which are tearing up, and blows his nose into his sleeve. “I promised that my vision would help them, but it didn’t work. Maybe I missed something that was important. I tried the spell again. All I got was my monster nightmare. Also, if people are going after my friends, then it means I should stay away from them.”
“That’s the last thing you should do,” the elf quickly replies. Sensing his voice is too stern, he clears his throat and takes a seat on the ground. “First, I think you gave Maeve and Brid more hope than they’ve had in a long time. I get the sense that your vision and actions have made their dream a possibility. It doesn’t matter if things are going to take longer than expected or be complicated. You opened an important door for them. Second, whether you stay with your friends or leave, they’re going to be in danger. Lord Coy clearly thinks catching them will make you go to him and surrender the bracelet. He wants to use them as bait. The further away you go, the more danger they’re in because it would be harder for you to get back.”
“You’re really smart.”
“I have my moments.”
“Too bad you were fired.”
“The blade man said you were fired first.”
“Because I’d already quit in my heart.”
“Oh . . . Your heart can talk?”
“Every heart can talk if you listen.”