Dumia 20th, 1217
Initiative: 19 + 1 = 20 / 17 + 1 = 18
Shadowfell Despair: 8 – 1 = 7
Effect: 2 – Apathy
Flaw: “I don’t believe I can make a difference to anyone or anything.”
The weather is still cold, but it’s slowly getting warmer with Spring well on its way. The day light hours are as long as those of the night, but the nights are getting shorter. In the Wellsorrow Region, the Shadowfell despair is fading in its cycle. The people of Ashbourne and surrounding areas are feeling happier and it’s easier to shake the despair, and harder to fall under its influence. There is a half moon in the night sky tonight.
Shadowfell Despair Check: DC 9/15
The boat finally docked and Else had closed her trap long enough for us to disembark The Cardiff, but that didn’t stop her from flirting with every sailor as we left. It had been a long trip, but she was at least decent company. Not that there weren’t a few attractive men to bed down with.
The captain put his hand on my shoulder as I walked the gangplank down to the dock. “Good luck outrunning your debt. I never saw you.”
“Your tune will change when he finds you. But hopefully I’ll already be gone and you won’t have a clue where I’m going.” I said.
The captain had been good to me. Too good, actually, one of the few sailors I had spent the night with. Too much rum, too much gambling and I swung from the captain’s bed one too many nights. Company was good, the sex was better, but it was the distraction that meant the most. Even Else was good for that.
With the captain’s good will at my back, I looked upon my final destination. The only city in Wellsorrow wasn’t like every other city in the world. Where the docks should be full and bustling, they were not. A few ships were in the docks, but no men loaded or unloaded cargo, no man or woman shuffled from the passenger ships. It was quiet. The only true noise came from the seagulls screeching above and the lapping sound of the waves on the hulls of the ship. Even The Cardiff’s men were sullen behind me.
The buildings were dingy and dull. The sun and sea had not weathered the paint. A man dangled from a nearby building laying on a fresh coat of red paint. It should be the color of blood, but it was washed out and gray as soon as it touched the wood. The whole place was bleak.
I shifted my back on my shoulder and asked the dockmaster, who stood at the end of our pier. “Where is the nearest inn?”
The man looked me up and down and glanced at the Cardiff behind me. “The Scared Horses is down thata away.” He pointed down the coastline. “Follow it till the juncture. Can’t miss it. ”
The name didn’t sound promising, but I was ready to sleep in a proper bed, have a hot meal and maybe a different sort of companion for the night. Or a game of dice. Cards weren’t my thing, and that was all the sailors had played, even if I suggested dicing.
The dock master was right. The Scared Horses stood out amongst the other buildings on the corner. Not only was the sign obvious with its fleeing horse statue swinging from the roof, but music flooded through the slats in the walls, the door opened, and the sounds of revelry flooded the streets.
How could a drab city like Ashbourne had a place so full of life?
I pulled open the door and slipped inside. It was warm and bright, like every tavern in every inn. I pushed my way past the doors through the crowd that watched a man on a lyre with the personality of a goat sing his baudy song of sailor’s delights. I could play better than that!
And that was the plan. Sing for my supper. I waded through the crowd and found a thin man drying a mug behind the bar. “I was hoping I might catch a few songs, make enough for a hot meal and bed for the night.” I hefted my lute above the bar to show the man what I came to do.
He glared at me. A hand on my shoulder made me turn to look, and I saw those green eyes and blonde hair I’d spent so much time with. Else gave me a bright smile and offered the man in front of us her hand. “I’m Miranda Elovar, and this is al’Zand, my husband. We are the Great Elovars. Maybe you’ve heard of us? We could play a few songs tonight, entertain your crowd for room and board?”
She brightened man’s demeanor with a smile and her heaving bosom. I rolled my eyes. “Sure thing, sweetheart. We can fit you and your husband in for the night.”
Else gave me a bright smile when the man handed us a bowl of leftover steak gruel and she headed off for a table near the stage. A proper stage not some make shift place the entertainment set up. Else sat in front of me and I gave her a pretty smile. “Miranda? my wife?”
She smiled sweetly at me. “They don’t like strangers here. We need to stick together. And am I really that bad to be around?”
I sighed and shook my head, “No, not that bad.”
I had barely scraped my bowl clean with the man behind the shooed the lyre playing man away. “We have a treat tonight. The Great Elovars from across the Great Sea are here to play for us.”
The crowd booed and hissed and Else, no Miranda, stepped up on the stage with her lute and I followed her. This wouldn’t end well. But Miranda started playing a song, and I followed along. It was a song the sailors on the Cardiff had sung many times, and it had stuck in our heads. We played, the crowd changed their tune and were singing the baudy pirate songs right along with us.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Except as we started the fifth song, I saw a small slip of a man pick up my bag and steadily sneak towards the door.
What should al’Zand do?
Post your choice in the comments!
- Chase the Bandit
- Complain to the Tavern Owner
- Ignore Else and chat up another in the Tavern
- Keep playing