The cellar was large and cool. There were tables everywhere, with a couple of people at each one, bent over a checkered board. A games room? The players were dwarfs, trolls, and humans, but what they had in common was concentration. Unconcerned faces glanced toward Vimes, who had paused, halfway down the stairs, and then looked back to the game at hand.
Vimes continued down to floor level. This had to be important, right? Mr. Shine had wanted him to see it. People – men, trolls, dwarfs – playing games. Occasionally, a couple of players would look up at each other, share a glance, and shake hands. Then one of them would go off to a new table.
“What do you notice, Mister Vimes?” said a deep voice behind him. Vimes forced himself to turn slowly.
The figure sitting in the shadows beside the stairway was shrouded entirely in black. He looked a good head taller than Vimes.
“They’re all young?” he ventured, and added: “Mr. Shine?”
“Exactly! More youngsters tend to come along in the evenings, too. Do take a seat, sir.”
“Why have I come to see you, Mr. Shine?” said Vimes, sitting down.
“Because you want to find out why you have come to see me,” said the dark figure. “Because you’re wandering in the dark. Because Mister Vimes, with his badge and his truncheon, is full of range. More full than usual. Take care of that rage, Mister Vimes.”
– Mr. Shine’s lessons |
Terry Pratchett, Thud!