Cookiemonger gave me a writing assignment. This is part of it.

“It’s clear enough to me, why in Gaia’s name do you need to know how it works?” Staphylus kneaded his forehead with the tips of his fingers. “All I did was ask you to work out lodging. I didn’t even care about lodging. That’s what you always do, you complain about something until I have to take care of it, and then when I try to take care of it, you suddenly need to know everything about what I’m doing.”

Echion gestured toward the former with wineskin in hand. “I wanted to know if there’d be time for a drink. You’re making it too hard. Do you need to be near the spirit to figure it out, or what?”

“I, ugh,” Staphylus started to answer, and then scoffed with a mix of exasperation and contempt. “I’ll need time, and I’ll need space. I need to study its environment, I’ll need to work through the local legends, figure out what it wants, why it’s here. Who summoned it, if it’s that kind of spirit.”

Echion continued gesturing with the wineskin. “You want some? I think you could use it.”

“Certainly not,” Staphylus said with another scoff, though to the untrained ear it could almost be confused for him clearing his throat. “Wine clouds the mind. Makes thinking, ‘hard,’ as you’d say.”

“Suit yourself,” said Echion, and he dropped his arm to his side. “Pylos will be back soon enough, and then you’ll have someone else to talk to, Gaia knows you don’t want to talk to me.”