By Scott Kujawa
Date: 26th day of the 3rd tenday of Mirtul in the year 1375 - The Year of Risen Elfkin
Time: Morning to Evening
Location:South of the Moonsea on the way to Shadowdale.
Weather: Temperate and overcast.
About midday the Red Shield’s entered Voonlar and they followed the caravan master towards many different buildings of the Shield Trading Company, where she could store the wagons until she was ready to leave. Once the wagons were in place, she turned to the different companies and told them to meet her back here tomorrow morning and that everyone could go enjoy themselves in the small town.
Ragnar turned toward his companions. “Right, does anyone have any idea what one can do to enjoy oneself in this place? I’m minded to go look for a good tavern myself, anyone care to join me?”
Auy blinked at Ragnar's statement and then her eyes shifted to each of the companions as she pondered the best way to phrase her reply. "Well, I do have a few ideas what... or who, one can do to enjoy oneself, but those ideas work for pretty much anywhere." The priestess smiled a wide playful grin at Ragnar. "But it’s been a while since I've seen bails of hay, Waterdeep wasn't much for having those."
“Who can resist an obnoxious loud tavern filled with inhuman odors.” Luie did a bad impersonation of a noble, “I will go with you old chum, mayhap we can taste the local flavor. I heard that pickled eels are in this year.”
"I cannot say how much I enjoy such establishments but..." Raaf paused and gave a light shrug, and a rather adventurous smile. For an elf. "I suppose there's a first for everything."
Caerlin wrinkled her nose at Luie and shook her head. "The things that you want to eat. I'm going to walk around town and see if I can find the few things that I want to purchase. After that, I would be more than happy to join everyone for drink and food but not for pickled eels." She smiled at her companions.
Ragnar smiled at the various responses and the faint, elven smile. “Oh, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it Raaf. Just make sure not to act too um... like an ar’tel-quess if there’s sawdust on the floor. I’d rather like to keep from hitting the locals.” He turned to Auy. “You must’ve been looking in the wrong places. Remind me to show you some of the bigger stables if we ever get there. The cattle-markets tend to be too noisy to stay focused on the task at hand.” Having finished that little monologue, he gave the priestess a playful wink before he turned to see if the Lady Knight was interested in joining them.
She stood a few feet away. “Aye, I could use some drink and we’ve been busy these past few days, so it’ll be good to relax.”
"Is it... normal for N'Tel'Quess taverns to be unkempt?" Raaf arched an eyebrow slightly and they heard scorn in his voice. He wasn't being sarcastic, either. The humans that he had known (the few of them) in Culcandil Keep had been very clean and respectful. But this wasn't Culcandil, so maybe things were different.
”Only for the good ones,” Ragnar replied, and then added – grinning broadly, “Of course, you could always go look for a festhall, they’re usually more tidy. I mean look at Auy over there, see how clean and tidy she looks and her patron is the patron of festhalls and those that work in festhalls.”
Vin stepped forward. "As long as the fare is good, the wine is chilled, and the prices are reasonable, I could care less what’s on the floor. Let’s be about this so we may wash the trail dust from our mouths."
Caer chuckled at the exchanges between her companions and then looked towards Jelitha as the caravan master oversaw the loading and unloading of her supplies. "Is there a good tavern or inn that you can recommend for us to visit?"
“Sign of the Shield, since it’s owned by this Coster and then you don’t have to worry about the Zhent’s or the Zhent leader since they and he visit some of the other taverns and inns. Head down the main road a bit and it’s on your left. Look for the sign that has a shield over a wagon.”
Caerlin stepped away from her horse after it was stabled and rubbed down. Before she left the buildings of the Trading Company, she told her companions that she was going to look for some items and that she’d meet them at the inn.
Luie cracked a joke about Caerlin tracking them down at the nearest tavern. He does mention that if she isn’t at the Sign of the Shield before dark then he would track her down.
Caer chuckled at Luie. "Aye, I'll meet all of you at the Shield, unless anyone wants to join me?"
Auy looked at Caerlin. “I'll join you. I’d rather not head straight to the Shield and I doubt that many of us will leave there once we get there, except in the morning, of course."
"I, too. I fear what may become of me if I leave myself to the tender ministrations of good Ragnar here." Raaf smirked at the bard.
Caerlin, Auy, and Raaf left the buildings of the Coster. Ragnar, Luie, Vin, and Auren left the Trading Company a moment later since Ragnar wanted to enjoy a tavern.
Later that evening, the innkeeper stopped near the table and Auren smiled to herself as she glanced at the female owner out of the corner of her eye.
“I heard that you are a bard. Would you be willing to entertain for awhile? Your companion said that you are skilled...”
Nursing the last of his wine, Vin nearly spit the contents of a mouthful out onto the table as he looked over at the knight and she smiled back at him in amusement. He swallowed and started to chuckle as he poured more wine into his tankard before he motioned for the maid to bring him another bottle as the night is about to get much better. She did so when she passed their table on the way to another table.
“Oh, I’m a mere journeymen, fair dame, but I’m guessing that I can still do better than nothing at all. The only question would be what my reward for keeping the taproom busy – or hopefully, even busier?” Ragnar replied to the innkeeper, giving her a quick smile.
Auren leaned over and whispered, loudly enough that the Shields could hear, “I’ll give you a reward later.”
Ragnar sighed in an exasperated manner that made Auren smile again and shake her head. “Nobles.” He stood up, leaned in towards the knight and whispered, “I’ll hold you to that you know.” He pinched her bottom as he spoke and her smile turned into a deep throat laugh. “Well, it would appear that I have been press-ganged into working for free my dear innkeeper,” he told the owner of the inn, hurriedly getting himself outside the reach of Auren since she smiled at him with a smile that Auy used when the priestess was watching her arcane artist lover.
"Just who are you calling noble?" Vin asked, while he sampled the new bottle of wine that the maid left in front of him.
“That’d be the sweet Lady Auren. Now, I think I have a reward to earn,” Ragnar replied. He looked around for somewhere to stand so that the whole room could see him. Before he started his flute-playing on the raised platform to their left, he leaned down to his companions, whispering to them. “If the performance goes well and the crowd starts to warm up, try asking some surreptitious questions about whether there are any cults of Myrkul near here.”
The bard settled in and set his flute to his lips, filling the common room with a swift tune. Just as he started to get into his music, Auy, Caerlin, and Raaf entered the inn and joined the other Wyrms at the places that have been left for them at the table. While Ragnar played, he focused his playing and released minor lights by drawing on the melody that flowed through him, so that small bursts of lights formed each time that he increased the tempo of the wind instrument.
Caerlin, wearing a new dark blue shirt, black pants and boots smiled at Ragnar as he played, enjoying the music. She has a new bandolier over her shoulder and two axes on her right hip. She beckoned to the maid and when the maid stopped by the table, the scout ordered a tankard of ale and asked what is on the menu for the eve.
“Today’s house special is beef pie and apple tarts. Cook is also making fried chicken, a slab of roasted pig, corn and bean soup, and breads that are either black or white or corn. We have various wines, ales, ciders, teas, mead, beers, and other drinks.”
Caerlin listened to the maid, nodding now and again. "I’d like the roast pig and some of the black bread please. Mayhap one of the apple tarts later, if I have any room left." She smiled at the maid and the younger human smiled back.
The sun elf was not entirely comfortable in the inn. It hardly seemed to be rowdy by human standards, and in many ways was similar to elven ones, but in others it was deviant. He remained quiet, having seated himself; he listened to the fare offered and considered. After a time, he ordered bean soup and a good glass of wine.
Luie held up a pile of bird bones for the arriving Wyrms and then rubbed his stomach.
Once the maid walked off to get her order, along with Raaf’s and Auy’s order, Caerlin smiled at the rest of the Wyrms. "How goes the entertainment here? And I see that Ragnar is doing his best to impress everyone." Auren laughed at the scout’s words and tried not to choke on her ale.
The hin squinted at the scout. “Nice threads, shopping went well I take it? As for the entertainment,” Luie covered his ears, “I’m not sure how much longer I can stand the noise.” His tapping foot betrayed his fake angst.
"He's not half-bad, either,” the gold elf remarked, smiling slightly as he watched the half-elf's entertainment. It was not impressive as far as raw power went, but elves always preferred creativity and beauty, and Ragnar conjured both.
Caer smiled at Luie. "Aye, shopping went well. I should be set for supplies and clothes for the rest of the journey." She raised an eyebrow, and a mischievous glint appeared in her eyes. "That is, unless you decide to borrow more of my shirts again."
Luie’s face flushed red. “I’m so sorry! I’ve not forgotten, I will replace your shirt.” He jumped down from the chair and moved to where the scout sat near the halfling. He gave two quick bows in front of the scout and then produced some twine that is marked off with small dark lines. He began to take measurements of her waist. “Hey this shirt might be able to fit me...” He winced. “I said that out loud didn’t I?”
Caer started to laugh and she waved Luie away. "I was only kidding my friend. No need to replace it at all, since I picked one up off the pirates' ship anyway. And thank you for the compliment on the clothes."
The maid returned with their fare and set it down in front of those that ordered. Auy smiled in thanks at the maid before the priestess look down and poked her food. She ate a bit and then frowned. After having smirked somewhat through Luie's and Caer's little talk about a borrowed shirt, Raaf turned to his food and started to eat. He seemed intensely interested in the food, and he ate it slowly. It wasn't... bad. But nor was it good. And the wine was a little too bitter for his taste, but he bore it well, with a small smile.
Auy leaned back and listened to the bard's music before she smiled and sprang out of her chair and swayed over to the bard and whispered into his ear.
Ragnar finished playing the song that he’s been playing before he started faster songs. Auy waited to hear part of the song and when she knew that she had the tempo down, she started to dance to the music. Some of the patrons looked at her, as the follower of the feline deity swayed and strutted across the small space that was set aside for dancing.
Throughout the night, for a few hours at least, Ragnar played for the different merchants and clients that came to the Coster’s inn to eat and sleep. When the Wyrms were tired of the inn, they tossed about five gold pieces onto the table to pay for their fare. Auren waited for Ragnar, since the Knight had paid for a room and she kept her word that she’d repay the bard since she was the one that told the innkeeper that Ragnar was a bard.
The small hin got up while everyone was distracted and the merchant’s attention was elsewhere and the monk quietly faded into the background by hiding behind a statue of Waukeen that has two potted plants on the sides of it. He waited until the merchant left before Luie decided to follow the man. As the halfling pondered the merchant, the monk nibbled on a piece of bread and he occasionally looked around the room to see if anyone has found his hiding spot but most of the merchants and patrons are tired, drunk, or lost in their own thoughts and no one noticed.
Luie looked around the edge of the statue, and through the right plant, to see that the merchant climbed the stairs to the upper floor, where the rented rooms of the inn are.
The content of Champions of the Silver Wyrm is the property and copyright of Scott Kujawa and is not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Next Chapter coming soon!
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