Beyond the oaken door wide and heavy, between the cracks and below the door; golden warm light escaped in to the darkness of the winter night.
Across the road, from within the darkened forest, the light would seem like a welcoming beacon to any traveler tired on his way. Heavy feet have crossed this road many times to seek comfort and shelter within the warm and cozy halls. The walls looking worn and used, a dash of fresh paint here and there are just enough to cover the rough. The windows squared and made of thick glass, no fine craftsmanship was done as it was to hold the heat within. A low sign bashing in the wind by the door, creaking back and forth barely able to be read. Dimmed lights in coarsely crafted lanterns were lit around the very old inn.
A home for many travelers and salesmen, the Wayfarer’s Inn served them all. From rangers that trot the forests and near mountains to the traveling merchant seeking a hot supper; all finding the soothing little place a good home. Steeds of different breeds, reined to the posts outside if the stables were full, at the left of the inn, the stables were held. The doors firmly shut and barred the light as well as the inn; welcoming and warm.
The steps towards the oaken door were crude and variant in sizes, easy fixes were the fault of so. Steps large other small all important was, you could set your foot safely and heave yourself closer to the door. One, two, three wooden steps leading you to a big rock to step from, taking the last two wooden steps up. The oaken door was old and weather battered, warming to the touch and heavy to the feel. A crude handle was made of steel, holding the door shut from the outside troubles such as winds, rains, colds and worries.
With a loud crank, the handle would give in; the door creaking open by its very weight, pulling it open for you to enter would be of no problem, pulling the door to close would be a different task.
Your first gaze inside would be that of fire places and cheerful folk of the region, people traveling to find a new life and beings willing to run away from it all. The next quick gaze would be that of two heavily armored guards, granting you a glare as the door you fondle so difficult with finally shuts closed.
The heavy slam of the oaken door would shake the doorframe loose of some dust and maybe a stray mouse, hinging the crude handle in its place just by the force of the slam. The hinges of the door is as well, crude steel work by solid made, most likely of travelers whom might had fallen low on currency to pay for their meal, or stay.
The two armored guards, clearly welcomed and hired by the innkeeper, both granting a firm nod and returns to their very own table, it wasn’t big, a table for two but with more finely padded chairs and a range of weaponry and a shield leaning against it, as well as filling a few heavy chests lined up. The picture was clear from their duty, make sure to hold the peace as well as enforcing the no weapons rule that was made for the inn.
Your eyes gaze upon the many chests, filled with various sorts of weaponry or would be weapons. You let your dagger and sheath fall to the far left chest, clonking up against a rather large axe, rolling down in the bottom of the chest.
The guards would change their firm stare and smile, raising their mugs to bid you welcome.
They sure did a fine job at finding the guards, carrying armors of mail and leather but northerners, not falling for alcohols that easily but holding their job at heart. A few coins is still an honorable job, even if they are just passing through for a few nights.
The floorboards creak as you step past the chests of weapons and other various imaginative ‘tools’, they were putting quite some weight on the boards. A few more steps and your boots are met by the softer sound of a rug, a long wide rug going through the main section of the building and all the way up to the greatest fireplace. The fringes of the rug was matter and barely able to see that it used to have any other colour than the actual rug; the rug looking quite clean and smooth, the maidens of the inn had most likely a task of washing the rug.
Clouds of sweet scented pipe smoked hovered across the first few tables, joining together with the many foreign merchants own products of tobacco. Was still a new trade within the small village they were near but many held interest in other kinds than the ones already grown here. Followed by the clouds of new scents was the light tunes of a piano and a violin playing in simple connection of harmony and soothing tunes of these expensive instruments. The tunes hold calm yet to a cheerful nature, the man at the piano smiling wide, him in his grey suit and by the looks of it, his daughter playing the soothing strings of the violin.
You step past the first few sets of tables, tables for four, two and even the longest following the rug, the grand table for 24 guests. Many set there, scooted along the various sections of the bench, leaning over their own meal, or in for a good story or two. The atmosphere welcomed the many stories of the travelers, even held small trophies from some.
The antlers of the rampaging market stag, a might creature that had lost its way and suddenly was fending off fruit salesmen and trashing market wares. Took Bjorhan, the local smith four swipes with his mighty sword to finally set the stag to rest, a meal was formed in the honour of the stag that had lost its way.
Next to the right of the antlers a cracked lute hung, a story known by everyone in the region and still spoken off so often today as the word of saying, ‘Don’t be a bard’. The saying basically got the meaning; do not fall in love with the first woman you see without being sure she feels the same. The poor bard was struck in his heart with love for the daughter of the local butcher, she did not agree with him, she swung his lute to his head so it cracked open; both instrument and head.
Many more items hung across the mean beam of the inn, swords, animal heads, tools, armors and much more – even a small funny shoe.
The floorboards creaking has almost gone to a halt as you stand at an overlapping of carpets, another carpet had joined the little road down the right side of the inn to a small lounge, the farmers always had their last drink of the week there. To the left, the floor was soon met with a rather solid counter of a bar and servicing desk, stools lined along the counter to welcome people for a quick drink, or if they sought to spend the night at the inn.
As you step towards the counter, the sneaky foe of any traveler would have struck you by now, or maybe even earlier. Speared and sizzling to the side of you, in the great fire a honey glazed pig; turning slowly and spreading at hunger infusing scent across the inn. The juices dripping in to a pan, now and then missing as it would run along the spear and then strike the flames, making the fire sizzle and burst now and then. Servings has already been taken but can easily feed many more mouths.
Yours eyes regretfully turning away from the welcoming sight, leading you towards the counter. Pushing a stool to the side, the counter is welcoming your touch. Your hands running along the brass edge of the counter till it finds a bell, almost the playful mind of any being, striking it is tempting. Raising your hand just high enough to strike it but halting mid air, looking to your right just above the bell a sign saying; “A strike of the bell calls all for a mug of ale”.
A chuckle is heard from beyond the counter and then a screeching sound of wood dragged along the floorboards. A struggled breath reveals your host for the night, a short fella no more than to your waist, a dwarf. The dwarves weren’t common in this region, if at all hardly seen any but barkeep Helmurr. The barkeeps of his dwarf genes were no taller than one, unless he used his trusted stool for raising himself up the counter. The brown beard would be the first you notice as you bow your head politely, the hairs on his head were almost done, quite polished one could say. Wearing a fine shirt and leggings, he stood to the counter in a deep but cheerful voice speaking.
“Welcome friend, ain’ yu lookin’ a lil’bit worn out, eh? Gon’ need some fewd, drinks an’ a bed so comfy?”
The barkeep would show you a smile so bright if not for the beard so thick, his hand digging under the counter to fish up a mug.
“Though, ye gonna have te wait for the bed, they all gon’ taken by a group o’ fur hunters” he spoke still cheerful. “But don’ ye worry, the fire can keep ye warm, it ain’ no weather to go out in, so ‘ave an ale and si’down”
The heavy mug is slowly pushed over the counter, easily a welcoming pour as a drinking man would say, the foam was almost none and the ale was just as refreshing as any traveler could have promised himself ale should be. Along the counter others had already sat, trades were always the order of the day for many so of course an easy coin or more was a good goal.
Stepping back from the counter as your eyes gaze across the many different beings and tables, even a few corners where there were a few couches – normally for the richer people. Beyond in the furthest corner at a small fire pit, a fire pit carved in a stone table crackling and lighting up the little corner, revealing the face of a young nobleman and his companions, ladies in fine garment as well as a servant sitting on his own padded chair. The girls were giggling loud, could hear the fake giggles from at least one of them. Another couch further away were already occupied by a dark being, a rumbling monster kids would say but none the less, it was a lumberjack sleeping off the bad weather.
Further to the right section of the inn, the ceiling seems lower; you might at times need to duck to avoid bonking your head against one of the low hanging lights. In the far right of the inn, a fine padded chair untouched in a corner of windows, easily welcoming a tired soul as you. Your boots scraping along the floor as your steps bring you closer and closer to the chair, finally allowing you to fall in to the padded arms of the soft chair, sighing out in comfort.
A soft voice breaks the calmness of the corner, breaking your eyes free from almost pulling you to sleep. Next to the table, bend a little over the table was one of the maidens, smiling. She had fine golden hair hanging, a lovely dress of fine cloth but not too bright colours, a few straps of leather to hold it and some skin revealed. The chest part of the dress were easily caught for attention of many, mostly for tips sadly others thinks for entertainment, this inn were no different than others at times. Her smile was calm and pure; lips decorated a soft red and a small white ribbon in the right side of her hair.
“Helmurr told me you looked a little worn, so were to bring you something to fill you up for tonight” she spoke softly with a smile.
She put down a wooden tray, sounding quite well enough to almost feed two by the sound of her soft sigh. Upon the tray were the many things that the innkeeper and his with conjured for the many people day in and out, the menu never being the same and the bellies never being empty by closing time.
A companying his not even half empty mug, another mug of mead stood ready on the tray. A finely crafted bowl of glazed clay, the content steaming and inviting; chicken soup with the local vegetables, diced chicken and a creamy feel to the taste. A few pinches of bread at the side of the tray, clearly they looked for the soup with a light edge of seasonings.
The bowl was not even in the middle, just like the mug of mead, it was balancing slightly to make room for two plates. On one plate a few generous cuts of the sizzling pig, the sweet scent rising to the nose. Fresh potato pilled together with the rough cut carrots and green stalk beans; both had been grilled on the pan in oil and seasonings from across the lands. The potatoes covered lightly in a blanket of gravy, a fine smooth brown and tasted for the fitting of the roasting pig; mouth watering sight.
The other plate also a generous serving, of course that is how the inn works in the end, a good serving will make any man know he’ll be paying for it – t his wasn’t different except for the free mead; which was homemade and brewed upon own honey production.
The last plate looked just as inviting as everything else, the fork already set in to it, slicing it open a little. It was a pie, warm and filled. Within being some chopped root vegetables, beef chunks and smoked sausages, the creamy fill of eggs, and milk were helping well with the appetizing look. The light dough makes a lovely golden crust around the whole pie and on top, a sauce glazing of the juices from the beef roast to seal the pie.
She smiles at you, giving you a gentle nudge and a wink. Her hips sway seductively as she walks away from you, her final words being “Enjoy your meal”. She walks away in to the people crowd, your eyes gazing to watch her hips swaying a little more before they return to the feast of a serving.
You lick your lips and smiles, hiding away a little run of drool as your long journey had been eating your energy till now. Hand sliding in to the inner pocket to fish out the coins needed for the payment, stacking them up lightly, four silver coins and 9 coppers. The price should be right enough to cover your hunger and thirst, your knife sinks in to the pie crust. The first taste spelling the words in your mind and heart, ‘Welcome home’.
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