Set in a somewhat central location to the newly founded Kingdom of Nova Regnus, The Wayward Minstrel Tavern is a place for travelers to sit by the fire and enjoy ale and stories from others who travel the harsh roads of Osterra. Recently there have been more visitors who come from far off places, talking of portals and magics hitherto unknown to the simple people in the hills and farmland surrounding the tavern. The inn-keep, a man by the name of Bartimus, has been keeping an eye out for these strange folk, hoping to determine whether they are either mad, dangerous, or both. So far there has been little to cause him worry, and he hopes to keep it that way.
On this particular evening the tavern is nearly empty, with only a two or three of the regular patrons sitting at the bar
drinking and talking of crops and horses, and the occasional tall tale of having to fight of orcs or were-beasts from their farms with pitchforks. The rest of the large and friendly, if sparsely decorated, room is empty, and the large fire on the far wall is lower than it would normally be. It seems as if it will be just another quiet night. Until the door swings open and the cool spring breeze it lets in brushes past both the patrons and barkeep.
A man stands in the door, wearing a chainmail shirt and carrying a rucksack in one hand and what looks to be the head of some sort of weapon attached to a small piece of splintered wood. Normally this sort of thing happened every now and then in these parts, with the occasional mercenary or adventurer stopping by to eat and rest. The the thing that made Bartimus reach for the cudgel on the shelf below the bar was all the blood. It seemed to be mostly dry, though a few spots dripped on
to the floor as the man took a step forward, and the weathered barkeep frowned. The man hesitated, then looked down at the mess he was making. With a sigh his gaze returned to the bar and he made eye contact with the now tense little group of people.
"Hail friends! I apologize for the state of my attire, I was waylaid by some rather nasty trolls a few miles back. It seems I made a wrong turn in the wood and we disagreed over whether my presence there was a nuisance to the meal they had been sharing."
This greeting was met with silence, and the warrior continued.
"My name is Kailos, a traveler and friend to the council of the King. I have spent the past few weeks traveling the northern stretch of the kingdom to find..." the speaker paused awkwardly for a moment, "To find resources and allies to help the cause of the King. If its not to much trouble I was hoping to find food
and possibly a room for the night. I wish no trouble on any here, and hope that this grizzly state in which I arrived has not so thrown you that I must return to the wood for shelter this night."
There was another long pause as Bartimus sized the stranger up. Sensing no threat from him, he relaxed his grip on the still hidden cudgel.
"The inn has a few room
s available upstairs. You'll be the only one staying tonight possibly, as it has been a quiet night. Put your pack there by the door and go out back. There is a water barrel next to the stable you can use to clean yourself up. I'll have your things taken to your room and once you are done you we can discuss payment and if you'll be needing food."
A wide smile spread across Kailos face and, after thanking the innkeeper graciously, he followed the given instructions. Less than twenty minutes later he sat by the warmth of the fire, a half finished bowl of stew sitting in his lap and a crust of bread on the trencher next to him. Bartimus came over with a second tankard of ale and grinned.
"You have spent
a while in the wood haven't you." He nodded toward the bowl.
"Aye," replied the warrior through a mouthful of stew. Swallowing he reached into his coin purse and produced another coin for the ale. "It has been about a month on the wild, and while I have learned much and enjoyed my journey, it is still nice to return to the civilized world."
Bartimus laughed. "Civilized. If you say so friend." He walked back to the bar and returned to his earlier discussions with his regular patrons, though he occasionally threw glances towards the newcomer.
Kailos finished the stew and bread, and then sat in thought staring into the fire.