Everyone was already gathered in the inn by the time the red bearded dwarf sauntered in for supper. He pretended not to see them and shuffled over to the seat he knew was waiting for him next to the hearth. His full beard hiding a broad grin as he spied the pitchers of ale sitting on the slightly raised table in the corner of the room. Presenting a sturdy mug of pure mithril inlaid with the symbols of the Brewmaster, he spit into the mug, wiped it out and with practiced ease filled it to the brim. Draining the mug in one long swallow, he wiped his mustache with the back of his hand and belched proudly. “Now where was I?”
“You had just slain the cowardly ogre waiting for you in the hall and the twisted ogrelings in the dining hall with the horrible face!” a young child blurted out in excitement.
“Aye! The ground floor had been cleared of the foul beasts! We ascended to the upper levels of the twisted and filthy house. By this time, we were wary of traps laid by these cunning beastmen and we found another at the upper levels as well! As we cleared the floor, we are beset upon by rats the size of wolves!” At that, the sound of scurrying and squeaking comes from beneath the floor. Many of the children, ladies, and quite a few of the men jump at the sound eyeing the floor woefully. “But fear not! The beasts were no match for Dwarven steel! Bral, the Mighty quickly dispatched them and set into the creature which was their master. With the aid of The Silken Lady, Zai, and the deadly bolts of Garret the Marksman the monster was defeated!” The sound of clashing steel is followed by the smooth clinking sound of a weighted scarf and finally the sharp, clear sound of a crossbow firing with a long gurgle of pain. As the crowd cheered, the dwarf poured himself another mug of ale and looked onto the crowd with a dour expression. Wondering what the expression meant, people quieted down quickly.
“Now, it was time to enter……the basement!” The crowd gasped and children pulled themselves closer. “While ye fine people may fear to venture into the earth, the cool, dark is home for the dwarves. We were ready. Proud as we were, we were not prepared for the filth which awaited us there. Putrid piles of rotting flesh and gore on monstrous tables and scenes so horrible, I cannot begin to describe them to ye! Then, we entered the moss pit of despair..(the quiet inn great room seems to fill with the distant sound of water dripping in the distance)..Bral the Mighty and Garret the Marksman went to explore and a creature pulled itself from the muddy pits buried under layers of muck! (a great squelching sound rings out across the room) A towering nightmare of moss, tentacles lined by thorny tentacles dripping with foul ichors, and a great gaping maw ringed with similar thorns. (a low moan-growl washes over the crowd) It lashed out and its venomous touch caused the The Marksman’s very muscles to freeze tight! The Mighty Bral pulled his companion to safety as we lay into the beast! The Silken Lady tore at it with her blades (more clinking silken tones); the wee Conjurer Iyan released streaming bolts of power (crackling energy sounds streaming from one side of the room to the other); his otherworldly beast tore at it with gnashing jaws and talons like short daggers (vicious snarling and ripping sounds); and with a prayer to the Brewmaster, I charged in to stab at the beast! (the mug begins to glow with a soft light) We fought bravely, but the beast seemed to be recovering quickly from our mighty blows!! Bral drew Garrett to the safety of a side room while we drew the monster away down the great hall. Drawing a fell item of power from her flowing skirts, the Silken Lady threw a bauble of fire onto the creature! (Turning quickly to point at the fire as a bright point of light emanates from the flames just as a low booming sound comes from the same fire) And how the beast cried! It was enraged! It attempted to draw me into its wicked maw! I fought and struggled, singing to the gods for aid in my hour of need! The Conjurer surely is the reason I live and breath before ye this day! Iyan drew on his eldritch might and made me slick as a greased pig at a fair, just as he sent his beast to ram me from the very jaws of death! The noble beast taking my place before sudden doom! The Conjurer released more arcane might as we pressed our advantage. It enveloped the Silken Lady and meself in its tentacles, the thorns digging into my flesh! By the grace of the Brewmaster’s frothy grace, we were able to lay low the great beast and claim the day!” People on the edge of their seats suddenly realizing they are gripping the table relax a moment.
“But there was more! Surely ye have not forgotten about the Barn of Webs! We had not yet found the rangers we sought, and we entered the Barn, wary of even more traps. (the sound of a creaky wooden door opening very slowly) Inside, we find more foul ogrekin and we fell upon them with righteous fury! I barely had time to raise me mug to strike by the time the Marksman’s bolts whizzed by me piercing the foul things in their vital organs! Bral laid low the last of them and we looked with grim faces at what foul beast might lay behind that wall covered in webs. (Turning to face the wall of the inn behind him an pointing at it as chittering sounds begin behind the wall.) Garrett checked the area for traps and clued as Bral tested his dwarven gut against the foul brew the ogrekin were making in their sill. He found it not to his liking. (sounds of retching and gagging echo from Beldal’s empty mug. ) Filthy stuff, he learned the cost of his blasphemous drink! Garrett came to tell us that there were red dragon tracks along the loft!”
“I knew it were a dragon! All the best stories have dragons!” cried someone from the audience.
“NAY! They were FEEDING this thing dragons!” Beldal replied and waited with a long, dramatic pause as the disbelief and curiosity washed over the crowd, using the time to refill his mug. “The wise dwarves thought it best to draw on our vaunted wisdom and consider our next course of action in dealing with a dragon eater. The brave Zai and Iyan, unconcerned with their safety walked along the catwalks into certain DOOM! Knowing that there was naught where an elf and halfling would dare go but a dwarf not we rushed after them. Just in time too, as Zai was under attack by an enormous creature! Gorgospider! The vile ogrekin had been mixing gorgons with spiders and making new horrors! Suffering from its potent venom the lady was falling! Calling on the power of the Brewmaster, I pulled her out of the way and took her place in the face of this great beast! (chittering sounds get louder) The Marksman and Conjurer let loose bolts of deadly accuracy and arcane might at the monster! Both of them felt the piercing sting of its venom. Petunia, the faithful creature from another world, was enraged at her master’s pain and leapt onto the monster’s back tearing and clawing at it!” (snarling and ripping sounds mix with the chittering sounds)
“Meanwhile, seeing that the very men we sought were chained here as food for the foul monster, I called on the grace of the Brewmaster and defiantly walked in to save the men. Protected by the power of his Frothy Grace, I freed the men from their bonds! But foul magics! The Silken Lady had fallen! The foul monster must have developed fangs it could throw, b/c she was pierced and bleeding! Again, calling on the power of the Brewmaster, I found the divine strength to pull all three men and the fallen Silken Lady to safety!”
“The combined might of the Conjurer and the Marksman was too much for Gorgospider and it fell in a smoldering heap! (A sound of rapid fire crossbow bolts and the whizzing energy bolts, followed by an insectoid crunch) Bral the Mighty was attempting to build a fire to burn the foul creature just as we emerged. We nursed the men back to health and brought them here to the good people of this village! Home, warm, safe, and these wicked ogrekin will trouble yer people NO MORE! So swears the Grey Wardens!!!” Beldal finishes as he holds up his, once more empty, glowing mug.
The room erupts in cheering and clapping. People begin to dig through their coin purses. “Nay! Keep yer hard earned money! Ye are good people who live on the earth. Yer attention and time this evening is the payment I will accept! The people of the fort may yet need yer strength, yer blood, and yer arms yet! But that is for another night. Tonight, we drink!!!” And with that, Beldal tosses a small bag of coins onto the bar. “ALE for all of me friends here!!” The crowd cheers and whistles. Just as Bral and Garret walk in.
“Aye! I am magnificent aren’t I!?!” a grin which was probably intended to be cheerful, but only appears leering and fiendish on his scarred face, “Now, where is the ale and food!?!? I could eat a horse’s ass I am so hungry!” Beldal tosses another small bag on the bar.
“Here, lads!” as they approach, in lower tones, “The barkeep probably thinks we just did him a favor. Let’s show him we didnae!” followed by a wink.