Ach! Just when it was getting interesting. Two amusements for the price of one, thought Nicolai. Then armed men in green livery. Nicolai recognized them as being members of the Vorloi family, one of the three prominent Specularum families. The trio of factions, the Vorloi, Radu and Torenescu are in a constant struggle for power in the city. The Traladaran families, Radu and Torenescu, were clinging to what’s left from their old days of glory. Meanwhile, the Vorloi family, being of Thyatian descent, were ably to quickly rise to prominence by aligning themselves with Duke Stefan, and are resented by their Traladaran rivals. Best not to interfere.
* * * * *
Feldard huffed out a short growling breath and hooks a finger toward the clumsy human.
“Fine. A tavern. I know of one. He’s paying.”
The sour expression hadn’t lifted from the Dwarfs face. As he started to shoulder his way though the crowd, which he did remarkably well considering, it was like watching the parting of the waves. Miklos followed in his wake, wondering if he had enough money to buy his way out of this. It didn’t occur to him just to disappear into the crowd.
His look was sour, curdled rage turned to the smelly cheese of helpless bitterness in the pit of his stomach. He was thankful, somewhat that he’d drifted out into the crowd still wearing his adventuring gear rather than take the time to get changed. It was less comfortable, and hot with all these bodies pressed together, but it gave him a more serious, fearsome appearance which he hoped these humans, tall and flimsy as wooden beams, were taking mind of.
As the trio makes their way into the crowd, a dark-haired, female elf steps in their path.
“Boy, you’re not planning on fighting him, I hope? He’ll rip you apart. And maybe eat whatever’s left.”
Miklos stopped, startled by this one-eyed figure. And what was this ‘Boy’ bit? She must be younger than he was! This was not his day.
“What? No, no… I mean… I thought I’d buy him a drink… or somesuch.”
Saeth chuckled. At least it wouldn’t be dehydration this time. “You know how much dwarves will drink, I trust?” The youth nodded with a show of confidence. But the way his hand crept to his money-pouch betrayed him. Saeth supposed she could help him when the dwarf drank away his entire savings–a kindness she likened to that shown by Bideven Broadleaf in the twenty-fifth stanza of his tale. But all the better to let him save face. “Well, as long as you’re prepared for it, that sounds as good a plan as any. This tavern you’ll be visiting, do they rent rooms as well? I do happen to need a place for the night…”
* * * * *
Nicolai thought it might be worth his while following this mismatched group, a Dwarf, an elf, a cleric and the youth, to a suitable tavern. A slow ale at an adjacent table might at least learn a story or two. Or a couple of easy marks when they fall asleep in their beer. Nicolai followed them, easily blending in with the crowd.
* * * * *
Between the Traladaran Festival of Lucor, and the yearlong millennial festivities celebrating the crowning of the 1st Emperor of Thyatis, the inns are very crowded. After snaking through the jovial crowds, the unusual group finds a street with an assortment of taverns with only their colorful names setting one apart from another. The Dancing Goblin Inn and Grogshop, The Joyful Fist Taproom, The Broken Knuckle Meadhouse and The Toothless Gargoyle Resthouse are all filled with patrons in varying stages of intoxication.