Why did things always have to go this way? Whenever Alquis sat down to a warm meal and a good scroll, there was someone or something pulling him away, demanding his attention. There was shouting now, and it sounded like a couple of men had started brawling, just two tables from where he sat.

Alquis calmly rolled up the scroll and tucked it away in his satchel. He would have to read the rest of it later — now there was a disturbance that needed to be dealt with, and it sounded like a situation he was uniquely suited to solving.

From within the bag, he withdrew a slightly-oblong crystalline sphere — while the brawl escalated less than ten feet away. One of the long tables nearest him was overturned, and Alquis took the opportunity to crouch behind it, where he accidentally stepped in the remains of someone’s meal. He frowned and focused on the orb in his hands, as images began to swirl and form within it.

In the reflective surface of the sphere, Alquis could see the faces of the men who had joined the brawl. He cringed as something thudded against the table, and a moment later, a man slumped over the table, probably unconscious.

He cleared his mind and focused on the spell — if he centered one of his illusions on the middle of the knot of men, he could easily catch them by surprise and overwhelm their feeble minds, ending the fight with just the one spell. He stood up and gestured with the orb in hand, as the spell began to take shape. With the formula in his mind, he traced symbols over the orb with his thumb.

Before he could finish the incantation, he was hit from behind with a large wooden bench, and he collapsed to the ground, the wind knocked out of him. He wheezed and tiny, bright lights spun in his vision. He caught sight of one of the other patrons stepping past him, wielding the bench as a weapon. Alquis gasped and gaped because he had no air to speak.

Though he didn’t remember closing his eyes, by the time Alquis regained consciousness a minute or so later, the fight was over. He quickly and quietly tucked the crystalline orb in his satchel, made sure he had his other belongings about his person, and left the scene.