Friday, August 28

Back at the Broken Horse Inn… (Original Fiction by Xan)

“Zander, I could have got twice this much!” Beasley complains in halfling. “If you would have only grumbled under your breath and folded your arms a little more gruffly that weapon smith would have purchased our wares at twice the price.”

“Yes, my little one. But at what cost?” The cleric began to preach once again.

“Would you see that we are never allowed back into his Shoppe? Would you prefer we come out with our pockets empty and licking our wounds? Be thankful that Othr blessed us with the wealth we received. Now quit your babbling in your own tongue. You complaints fall on deaf ears!” Zander lifts his barrel of ale for another drudge of the sweet nectar of the midnight rose. As he lowers his large coffer, he sees a tin man and a silky boy walk through the door. He waves them to their table.

“So, I see you have ordered drinks without us.” Mayvn grumpily slumps onto the bench. “Not much to find out. Just those slaves come from all over this region. Normally they are prisoners of war that have been sold into bondage three or four times before reaching Gleorn.”

“I, too, have found very little about your origins.” Solcloud shambles to the table, and finds the tall backed chair in the corner. “I have, however found a way to earn our keep and find adventure. But more importantly, rid the world of some evil.”

Beasley jumps onto the table. “Lower your voice! We are not in good company here!” The little halfling eyes the room. “What did you find?”

“There is a pit, at the inn to the north. This pit is a labyrinth where there are gladiatorial games.” Solcloud fumes with angst as he tells the tale. “This labyrinth is a way for would-be adventurers to gain fame and fortune through…survival.” The words come to his lips like poison as he spits them out.

“You enter the pit with a number; they keep track of your time in the pit. If you come out alive after the record, you gain a great reward.” But there is no way to tell those who never come up, if they are still ‘adventuring’ in the labyrinth, or if they are dead.”

“Sounds dreadful!” Mayvn shivers. “Dirty and smelly too.” He again turns his head to his silks and inadvertently smells them. He waves to a cute crimson haired barmaid with a white top, low cut and a dark green dress with an apron. He winks as she approaches.

“What can I get you gents?” The barmaid talks to the group with an eye towards the cleric.

“Well, my beauty,” Mayvn puffs up. “My boys and I would like a pitcher of your finest ale!” He waves his hands in the air in a big display. “And for your troubles, we have a few extra silvers for you.” Mayvn stands up, leans towards the barmaid, and winks.

The barmaid begins to withdraw from the advances of the thin man in flashy clothes. “And what can I get you, my lord.” She winks at the giant at the table.
Zander clears his throat uncomfortably. “Just another round of the biggest, tallest drink you have. My child, and please, call me Zander.”

“I am Jenny.” She smiles, bows to the group and hops off to bring back the drinks and a loaf of bread for the travelers.

“What next? We barely have any idea of where to go!” Beasley paces on the top of the table. “This is exhausting! What are we to do?”

“Your drinks, my lord.” Jenny respectfully interrupts. “I suggest you take your drinks to a room. It is not safe here.” Jenny seems to be a little on edge and restless.

“What is it Jenny?” Zander asks quietly, as quiet as a half ogre can. “What seems to be the trouble?”

“There is a room prepared for you all, upstairs.” Jenny looks behind her shoulder.

“Please, I will bring up warm blankets and hot water for your faces. But go now.”

“As you wish.” Mayvn stands and bows low and removes his hat. “Please, show us the way.”

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