The water-wall

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We meet Tun

Tun stood at the water-wall with his zox in his hand waiting for the goblin beside him to finish and leave. It was taking a while — the goblin had obviously drank a great deal of nek and was leaning back making small moaning noises as a heavy stream of water (like a takka-beast, thought Tun) hit the wall, splashing everywhere. Tun sighed and stared down at his own dry patch of wall, he didn't need to go at all. The water finally stopped and the goblin beside Tun fastened his pants and stomped out of the water-wall and back into the Immortal Korcal, the busiest tavern in the Great Gox Clearing, leaving Tun finally alone.

Zox replaced, Tun took out his other tools. He unrolled a soft sheet of treated baby dum leather containing three screwdrivers, a pair of pincers, a small hammer and some other more arcane-looking instruments. He selected one of the screwdrivers, a tri-head imported from Vangi, and set to work on removing four screws from the piping that held a large cistern in place above the water-wall. The first two came out easily, pocketed swiftly; the third was stiff, aged and rusted, and resisted. Tun broke out into sweat, the head was mangling, no, no! Then the noise of the water-wall door being kicked open by another full nek-drinker. Tun scrambled to switch tools as a new goblin stood beside him.

Back in the tavern, three screws in-pocket, Tun ordered a medium-sized mug of nek and sat squeezed on a narrow stool against a wall of similarly wedged lone-goblins. It was hot and smelled thickly of sweating goblins, nek, and the nearby water-wall. He sighed and fingered the screws in his pocket, assessing their weight and length, tracing the heads and shafts thoughtfully. He thought of the remaining, mangled screw; in the water-wall the cistern creaked and leaned against it heavily.

Tun tried to take a drink, he had just pulled his arm, with some difficulty, out past his neighbour and into enough space to raise it to his lips when a passing goblin was pushed into him by a somewhat larger model and caused the mug to smash into his teeth and splash his face. No one said a word and Tun simply blinked three times and carefully took a sip. He held the mug in the air as there was no longer any space to put it back down, so crowded was the tavern.

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