Many faerietales are told in Ealisia. Most bards shy away from such tales as legends and songs reap more coin. Some will take the time to entertain young and old with fantastic feats, most likely of the imagination. Most likely, but not certainly.
2 – Ragnar
During the two day trek to the inn the mountain dwarf named Mic shies away from the party, preferring to keep his grief to himself.
It is probably better that way. Ragnar does not like to dwell on losses. Life is hard. Deal with it.
That stump of a man Everett takes a different approach and seems to empathise with his companion. A man who deals with his grief will be better for it. Alfred taught him that.
That half-Kasun Willy, not stooping under the weight of his bow, shield and battleax, laughs with Vin as they walk side by side for the most part.
It must be his human side causing him and that barbarian to get along really well.
What that tribesman clad in wolfskin lacks in sophistication, he made up for in his skill to find food. He may be a human, but Vin’s skills are appreciated given the circumstances.
Again he catches the halfling studying him, much like a stablemaster will study a new horse. With a grunt, Ragnar increases the pace. Best get to the inn and be rid of these odd traveling companions.
At dusk of the second day they arrive at the inn. Seemingly built in the middle of nowhere, few hovels are spread across the surrounding lands. Why people choose to live here is beyond Everett’s comprehension.
Buildings are not built in this style anymore; this inn has been here for at least two-hundred years.
Great stone blocks make up the base of the walls, and the roof is properly thatched. It is actually in remarkable shape being so far from the nearest city.
Willy pushes the open the large door. Not even a squeak from the hinges. The scent of meat, grilled and seasoned, grabs his attention.
A wave of warm air washes over him through the doorway, reminding him of the cosy hovel where he lived with Alfred. How would the old man be doing?
There are few patrons in the sparsely lit common room. His companions immediately settle in at a large table, and Ragnar walks up to the bar tended to by the scrawny man who is the inkeep. If he recalls correctly the man’s name is Ommanion.
With an accent common this far up north, in which the s turns to a z, the scrawny man speaks: “So good to see you have returned. Tell me, were you successful?”
In response, Ragnar heaves the sack with the two giant heads onto the bar. The loud thud draws attention from the few patrons in the commonroom.
“Very well,” the innkeep says. Does disapproval flash across his face? Licking his thin lips as if he is nervouse, the man repeats the words, almost as if speaking to himself: “Very well.”
If he didn’t want them dead why would the man have sent him out to hunt them. What an oddball.
“Please,” the innkeep says, “Sit down. I will bring you ale and your reward.”
Ragnar knows he has an imposing figure, more so with his hood still drawn over his head. Yet the innkeep is not impressed. He leans forward, glaring at the hooded man.
“Is there anything else you want?”
At that moment the door swings open to let in a gust of cold air. Ragnar casts a glance over his shoulder to see a young man clad in grimy workers clothes enter the room. Slamming the door behind him and striding straight for the bar, rubbing shoulders with Ragnar as he plants his hands upon it. Humans.
With a shrug Ragnar turns and saunters back to the table, the bench creaking under his wight as he sits down. Ale and meat would be most welcome.
3 – Everett
Curious about the hushed whispering, Everett walks up to the bar, then moves around its corner. He is not sure if any of his newfound companions notice. Mic is too distraught to notice for sure.
His head does not even reach the top of the bar, and peering around it, past the inkeep’s legs, he sees a doorway to what must be the kitchen.
The innkeep and the young man speak in hushed voices. It is clear that the young man is displeased with something. Despite his proximity to them, Everett cannot make out the subject of their conversation.
Carfeul not to draw attention to himself, he sneaks behind the innkeep’s legs and enters the kitchen. Behind him, the young man raises his voice.
“She was last seen entering this establishment Ommanion!”
“Please calm yourself Master Fentis!”
The nervous laugh from the innkeep seems made. It is more like a sneer. How quaint.
“Many people come and go from this establishment.”
“Where is she?!”
Their voices are dampened by the walls as Everett moves further into the kitchen. He has seen many kitchen’s in his life. Large ones, small ones. Why, he even served in a galley once! An experience he would rather not repeat. Yet never has he seen a kitchen in such pristine condition. Especially not inside of such an ancient inn. It seems like the place has hardly been put to good use.
“Perhaps the young lady was not…ah…how does one one put this delicately? She was no longer interested in your attentions, young friend?”
“Nonsense! Sous loves me!”
The conversation seems to be over, and Everett walks around the deserted kitchen. Where does the food come from then?