Humming. Always the humming. The place is clean and kept-up, but here and there the years show; in the way his feet scuff on the floors where polish has given way to unsanded wood, in the slight gouges and nicks on the bar-top that feel like musical braille under his fingertips. His whiskey-aged baritone hums what his fingers feel; an orchestral score of decades of revelry, tears, and drunken debates. He should write it down. He probably won't.
A lone man drinks at the end of the long slab of wood, pulling on a pint of something dark. Thick-built with skin like old panther leather, the man says nothing as the bard strokes the bar. He does not even look up. But a few bars in, his voice - rough as a plank - joins, deep and untrained, a thrum that feels like solid rock to the bard's flights of vocal fancy. There is no audience save a singularly unimpressed, plump, butter-colored cat that seems to have taken up residence in the great hall, and no interruptions for several minutes until a thunderclap punctuates the strange duet. The man sitting at the bar ceases his singing, staring into his beer, and the bard stills his hands as the vibrations spread until the waves of improvisation have rippled out of the room. Then, with a slight smile, the bard takes up a parchment and begins to tally the liquors.