Throughout their late breakfast, Coris and Mallos had inquired after Master Danse, but the master had eaten breakfast early with the household staff and taken off in pursuit of the day's business. The offices in the house were empty. The two friends finished cleaning up after breaking their fast and set out to look for him to have the talk they had been promised which seemed to have been forgotten. Finally, they happened across Butler Hadus and a couple of his lads.
"Hadus, there ye are!"
"And where else should I be, Master Coris? One cannot stay in one spot when in charge of teaching a bevy of clot-eared mule-headed boys how it is they are supposed to help take care of the household. Do they care that I am trying to better their lot in life? Not one jot, I'll own."
"Yes, yes, I'm sure," Mallos interjected smoothly, earning him a raised eyebrow, "but we have been looking for Master Ranchrid. Do you know where he might be?"
"Why, he left for the warehouse and offices down on the waterfront over an hour ago! He's no slugabed, ye know! Not like others I could name." Mallos shrugged sheepishly for Hadus as Coris grabbed him by the sleeve of his bright fustian doublet.
"We must fly, miserable slug! There's no telling how long he will stay there! He could strike off for anywhere from there, on Goddess alone knows what appointments, and from there to any of ten-dozen associates all over the business district, as the whim strikes him." Coris took off with Mallos in tow, snatching their cloaks down from the perch by the back door of the screens passage and out into the kitchen dooryard, whipping them about themselves against the cool air to billow out behind them like the wings of two great plaid birds.
They rode the few blocks to the waterfront as swiftly as the crowds in the streets would let them, in other words, at a dead walk. Coris swore vile oaths of impatience under his breath the whole way.
"I wish you would settle down, ignoble peasant. We'll get there as soon as we can, as soon as we are allowed by fate and the gods. Your swearing won't get us there any faster."
"Don't ye mean as fast as the Light will allow, ye irreligious vagrant arch-heretic?"
"That too, greasy dirt-grubbing rat without a tail."
"Ye're a strange one ... "
"And you're no run of the mill dwarf either, from what I've seen, impertinent base-born curmudgeon."
"Mmm .... Scrofulous wagdog."
"Scrofulous?! Your virginity breeds mites like cheese."
"Hah! Ye best set yer lower parts where yer nose stands."
"I see. It amazes me the manifold ways in which you show yourself highly fed and lowly taught."
"Irritable vexatious gnome."
"Gnome?! I'll make of ye a map of woes!" Coris growled.
"Say on, old toothless tiger. I'll begin to shake anon, my fear hasn't yet arrived." Mallos chuckled.
They rounded the corner out onto the stone quay, the myriad towers of Kingsbridge rising up at their backs, when Coris saw his father through a break in the crowd of locals, travelers, clerks, and workmen.