At the Tavern
Sep 09, 2019
Evening approaches at the Mountain Run Tavern. In the corner an inebriated bard strums a lute boisterously as his elven companion sings to a different tune. The tavern is filled with the sounds of people talking and grousing about the day and its troubles and joys. The tavern doors swing open with a bang, silencing all the chatter, as a dusty figure in a wide-brimmed hat, and a travel worn coat and boots enters the smoky but well-lit interior. His boots thump on the wooden floorboards as he strides up to the bar, sweeping his hat off his head. A winning smile and mischievous eyes greet the patrons who have paused their drinking to eye down the newcomer. The new traveler relaxes on a stool next to a depressed knight deep in her cups. At the far end of the bar, a large man in red nurses a mug of ale. Around the corner strides Foster, who passes a mug of ale to the knight. “I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before,” says Foster to the newcomer. “Who are you?” The stranger responds in a distinctive drawl, “Jeff Decorum, at your service. And this is my first time in this fine country.” “In that case, welcome to Nova Regnus, traveler! Can I get you any food or drink? Our prices are fair and the fire is open to all.” Jeff takes a long sniff of the air. “I’ll have whatever chow’s already cookin. Smells delicious. As for drink, tea if you have any.” Foster raises an eyebrow, “An odd request, but I’m sure we have some.” He walks back into the kitchen, wondering at Jeff’s bizarre accent. He shakes his head at the endless variety of portal travelers he has seen. Back at the bar, the knight next to Jeff taps him clumsily in the shoulder. “Hey, you should wash yer tone… Thash King Foshter yer talkin to… Show some reshpect.” Jeff raises both his eyebrows in surprise. He had heard of King Foster from other travelers on the road and had planned to meet him during his visit. He did not expect to meet him in a tavern. Foster takes this moment to return with a steaming plate of roast chicken and vegetables and a mug of tea. “Everyone behaving all right here?” Foster asks. “Yesh yer majeshty. Jusht makin sure the new guy shows you proper reshpect,” the knight mumbles. Foster smiles, “Thank you Gretchen.” Gretchen nods contentedly and returns to her cups. Jeff takes a deep whiff of the sizzling and steaming food before, savoring the aroma of the meat in particular. He pulls out a handful of coins and places it on the bar for Foster. “Thank you, your majesty,” says Jeff. “I would like to speak with you further, but this food’s makin me weak with hunger.” Foster smiles as he sweeps the coins into his apron. “Take your time. I look forward to hearing your story.” Jeff nods and tears into his meal with ravenous intensity as Foster moves to another section of the tavern. Half an hour later, Foster returns to find Jeff sipping his tea contentedly, his plate empty except for a pile of chicken bones and some gravy. “My compliments to the chef,” says Jeff. “She’ll be pleased to hear that,” responds Foster with pride. Jeff leans forward. “I must say, I’ve never met, nor heard tell of a King that tends bar.” Foster raises an eyebrow, “Met many Kings have you?” Jeff grins. “Maybe. So why the tavern?” “It’s what I did before these people crowned me King. The work keeps me grounded. How about you? What drew your wandering feet to my home?” says Foster, turning the conversation to Jeff and his mysteries. Jeff sets down the now empty mug of tea. “I have wares your people might be interested in. I’d like to do business here. With your permission of course.” Foster stares at Jeff intently. “What kind of wares?” Jeff’s grin grows wider as he responds, “Spells.” The large man in red at the end of the bar perks up.