As the consensus falls on staying at this ‘Pleasant Pheasant’ tavern and Inn for the night, Theodore examines the rest of the buildings. Seeing the outward signs of industry and trade, he sees that there is a general purpose Smith, most likely dealing in cobbling, a Carpenter, a Translator and a Guide service to the local area. All the business buildings double as homes, and inside the windows scenes of family meals can be seen. Besides these four, the Inn and the Grain Store, another house sits at the end of what could be argued to be the street of this village. It bears no obvious symbols or signs of service or industry, and it sits in darkness.
Ero, Adrik, Darrin and Geran stand by the side of a wagon while the logistics of who is parking what where are being worked out.
“Well my fine gentlemen, we still have a long journey ahead of us. How many more days rides is it? My Uncle Tibsin should arrive at the monolith in three days from now if I’ve done my math correctly.” Nix declares to her party, a few of the Dwarven soldiers stopping to listen also.
“I think it would be smart of us to stay the night. If we push ourselves the whole journey we will be absolutely exhausted by the time we get there. We will make better time in the daylight anyhow. This looks like a quaint enough place. I love little new places like this!” Nix is not generally too perturbed about much, but she would rather not spend a night in a tent in the coming storm when there is a perfectly reasonable bed and breakfast right there. Dismounting from the wagon onto the crunchy cool ground, she passes Adrik giving Geran the Enervation Stone. The bound Elf Prince handles the stone almost gleefully, and he does seem to perk up visibly. Perhaps these stones do indeed work.
Ero echoes Nix’s sentiment in his usual, dry approach. “Here’s as good as a ditch by the roadside.” Ero gets a flash of disbelief across his face for a moment, though, as four nearby Dwarves laugh. They laughed at his joke! In all his time over the last few days, barely a one of his jokes had landed and found an audience, but these Dwarves let out more than a simple chuckle. Simon rouses slightly from his stupour at the merriment. Groaning, he looks about with bleary eyes. “Are we there yet?”
As the decision is made and the wagons begin pulling under the open cover next to the Inn, Erik and Theodore wander into the Inn itself. Ero and Darrin begin to argue, gently, about the merits of having Geran bound while on their journey. The threat of him casting spells, Darrin contends, outweighs the comfort of travelling without accost. Nix gets involved, and the conversation turns productive instead, Geran nodding away with almost every point. Nix gets ready instead to write a document clarifying that this Geran is an imposter, with a seal of her house, so that when the group departs in different directions in the morning, they won’t have to deal with too much hassle. Ero then considers his ability to change shapes in the first place. “Ancient One…” he ponders almost to himself, then turning to Geran directly. “How many faces can you wear?”
Geran grins widely at Ero, deliberately fumbles the Enervation Stone between his bound fingers and his eyes follow it as it tumbles to the hard ground. Flicking his eyes up and looking Darrin straight in the eyes, he raises one foot and stamps down hard on the stone. The sheer joy and victory in his eyes as they squeeze in laughter shocks Darrin for a moment, the cracking, crunching sound of the clay tile under Geran’s heel serves as the only audible accompanyment to his departure. Geran disappears in the briefest of flashes, knots and all. Geran is gone.
Darrin takes a few rapid deep breaths before calling a bit louder than he intended, eyes locked on the floor where Geran stood a mere moment ago. “Adrik! Do you have any more of those stones!?” Adrik obliges and hands the other over. Nix and Darrin examine it, turning it over in their hands and concentrating on it. Their combined magical energies flowing from their fingertips act as another sense, trying to divine any mystical properties of the instrument. Between them, they work out that these are not, in fact, Enervation Stones. They think back, and realise that the only source for that information was Geran. Talison and Ero look around for any signs of a trap having been sprung.
The Stone Geran used was a Teleportation stone, with a fixed destination. Now crushed, it is unusable. The function of the second one is presumably similar, and just as perishable. However the one that is currently intact seems to work the opposite way; it’s a summoning stone, designed to bring an item or being that has been previously marked by whoever made this stone to the point at which it is used. The destination of the first stone, though, will have been determined centuries or even millenia ago; it’s unlikely Geran even knew where he was going, just that he was going elsewhere.
Which then brings into question everything Geran said. Glauphin is indeed a Dragon written about in the annals of history, but his rivalry, the danger from the North, the need to escape from Glaurung… all of this needs to be re-examined, it seems. Disturbed by this thought, and with the wind howling about them, Nix gathers everyone and escorts them inside. Simon holds his head in his hands, seemingly oblivious to all that has transpired over the last three days.
The tavern of the Pleasant Pheasant is surprisingly active. While not heaving, there are a good dozen patrons, an active instrumental from a player in the corner and a healthy din of chatter. The entrance of the party is met with a nod and a hail from the barkeep. Most of the patrons simply look up and back down into their conversations, undisturbed. A few tables are commandeered by the Dwarves, and the thirty of you all sit in close proximity. Between the soldiers, drivers, friends and allies, the first mugs of ale bring about lively and friendly talk and tales. Simon perks up slightly, and gets involved with the lyrical poem being improvised to one side.
Nix, however, looks over the tile they have remaining while casting her Identify spell. Saving her eyes, and knowing she will be refreshed after a good rest, she opts not to perform the lengthy ritual. She discovers that the tile has a strange, unknown spell cast upon and within it. It appears to be a variation of an Instant Summons spell, but can transport a person instead of simply a lightweight item. The tile has been attuned to summon the King of Uril, likely a security measure to instantly free him from capture. Wherever the King is, dead or alive, he will be brought to whoever crushes the tile. Given the age of the ruins, most likely it will bring nothing but bones and his rotten clothes.
Ezra looks around the tavern, having noted the marking above the doorway showing that a guildsman was inside. Seeing a familiar face, they avoid eye contact and make it difficult for any onlooker to notice they wish to speak to Ezra, but Ezra notices. While up at the bar to get another drink, the pair communicate in their Cant, mostly through hand gestures. The contact, a member of the Cursed Children in Somergleam, asks if any interesting, guild-furthering discoveries have been made…
What do you do?
Bard’s Tale time!
Feel free to post a tale (or more than one). This “Bard’s Tale” can be a story set within the game world involving people and kingdoms we’ve encountered and dealt with, or they can be other stories that could be told in this world. It can be an account your character shares of their own experiences, if you like.