“Darkness lurked before them, clawing at their faces as their feet sunk into the mist covered ground. Trees surrounded them, reaching to the sky through the fog that blocked their path. Sounds encompassed them, leaving a shadow in their brave though frightened hearts. Darkness was their friend. Darkness was their ally. And darkness would betra—”
“Hey, Benison! You mind giving it a rest there?” Golgh said, cutting the narrative short.
Golgh listened to his sigh.
“Very well,” Benison sniffled and began humming a delightful tune that grated on Golgh’s nerves.
“Hey look,” said Vargul, pointing to a light in the distance.
“That has to be N’Urd,” Golgh said. “Let’s go.”
The wood cleared and with it the mists and sound. The darkness stayed.
They came to a great wooden wall that rose to the sky as tall as an oak.
“So, what?” Benison said. “Are we just going to go in?”
“I don’t trust this,” Golgh said. “Let’s have a look around first.”
Golgh withdrew the great twenty sided stone and consulted the spirits within.
“I’ll start with an arcane check.”
Golgh clenched the stone containing great powers beyond in-play comprehension. After a moment the spirits spoke and Golgh passed his message along.
“There is no arcana here.”
“I detect no danger,” said Varghul. “You Golgh?”
“Nope. No danger here.”
“So that’s it? We go through the front door?” asked Benison.
Golgh scoffed. “No. We climb up and over.”
“I got this,” said Varghul, flexing his pecks and biceps. “I’ve mastered acrobats and stealth.”
With an utmost impressive display, Varghul launched the grappling hook up and over the great fence then, with a series of moves that impressed even the DM, Varghul scaled the wall.
“Looks clear,” Varghul said.
“I’ll go,” said Golgh who followed and then Benison.
One by one they lowered themselves down into the village. Quietly, they collected their rope and grappling hook. All was quiet. The main road stretched on ahead past the tavern, the grocer, a smith shop, and barracks. The village slept. All was dark save for the tavern to their left.
“There,” Golgh said. “We need news and answers. Let’s go.”
* * *
A lively upbeat tune greeted them warmly, giving Golgh enough reason to suspect foul play.
“There,” he said, pointing to the bartender.
“I got this,” piped up Benison. The old Cleric sauntered to the counter with an overly friendly grin from an old, strange gentlemen.
“Hi there,” Benison said, passing the tender coin. “You wouldn’t happen to have any news about this place, would you?”
The tender raised a suspicious eye brow and slowly replied, “No? Is it drink you want?”
Taken aback, Benison shifted his eyes. “Clearly, you didn’t understand me,” said Benison. “I just passed you tender. I want news.”
Slowly, the tender replied, “I have mead and ale. I might have some Eladrin wine in the back.
“But I just passed you coin.”
“And I took it,” said the tender. “Thank you.”
Benison sighed and rubbed his temples.
“Is there another tavern around here by any chance?” Benison asked.
“There is another,” said the tender. “Down the road a ways, but if its drink you’re looking for—”
“News!” said Benison. “I want news! Never mind.”
Benison turned, leaving the tender to his ales and mead.
“Well,” asked Varghul. “What did you learn?”
“Nothing,” said Benison.
“He looked at me like I had two heads and one eye.”
“He had no news?” asked Golgh.
“Nothing, but there is another tavern down the road,” said Benison.
“Alright. We’ll go there, I guess.” said Golgh.
Together, they left the tavern and slipped back into the dark street.
“Which way is this tavern, Ben—”
“Hey you!” came a voice. “You’re not supposed to be out after curfew!”
The three travelers froze and met the gaze of a constable coming at them with purpose.
“Curfew?” said Golgh. “We’re new here, we—”
“And how did you get in without passing clearance?” the constable said.
“We are but hungry adventurers looking for news,” said Benison.
“Might you spare a bit of information and perhaps a drink for some weary travelers?” Golgh proposed. “Perhaps this place has problems we can solve?”
The constable stopped in his tracks and shifted his eyes with suspicion. “You know who you are?” the constable asked.
Benison, Varghul, and Golgh exchanged confused looks.
“Yes,” Varghul said. We know who we are.”
“Come with me,” the constable said and led them into the barracks.