Session One : Thursday, 28th day of Fall
In the country town of Wedge, bordering the Ethersand Desert where very strange things are known to happen, is the inn known as the Raven’s Caw.* Even in this smallish town such a fine establishment can expect patronage all throughout the day and noontime is no exception. Today the place is at about half-capacity (the real business is in the evenings) and the innkeeper and barmaid are happily busy.
A friendly gathering of tieflings occupies a large round table in the center of the space, sharing hilarious work stories, enjoying meals and wisely ignoring the other patrons. In contrast, there is also a lone hooded figure at a small table near the door who does not appear to be eating or drinking and continually gestures the barmaid away, to her annoyance. At the bar sit two shadowy figures in deep conversation, voices pitched low and faces turned away from the prying ears only a seat away. A seat away, two well-armoured individuals are finding eavesdropping difficult thanks to the efforts of an intrusive young genasi lass who has taken a liking to these stoic battle-hardened men and is definitely not attempting to pick their pockets.
Of interest to the reader right now is a large and brutal looking fellow. Easily six feet, with rippling muscles beneath his furs and horned helmet. He glares about the bar in a drunken haze, torn between collapsing and his desire to wrestle a bear. Right now.
“HHhhooOOOOiirrraa… YOU,” he manages finally, singling out the small Genasi maiden as a compromise. “I’ll FIGHT YOU.”
Aly giggles, looking up at the large helmed man beside her. “I think he’s talking to yooouuu.”
Canis glances at her briefly, then over his shoulder at the disturbance, and then away in disgust. Not worth his time.
“Hhrrreeyyyyy,” the barbarian growls, his ale-addled brain still managing somehow to identify a slight when he sees it. He stumbles toward to bar unsteadily, using tables and other patrons and everything inbetween to steady himself. As he passes the tieflings’ table, just about leaving an handprint in some fine mashed potatoes, he attracts all manner of hisses and flicking tails and dark mutters.
“Raarghgh,” he growls, attempting to push the other man off his barstool with little success. “FIGHT ME!”
“I do not wish to fight you,” Canis replies cooly, easily keeping his balance. “Please return to your seat.” He gestures to a table where another big man has long since passed out.
The barbarian roars in his face and with a yell of “BEAR!” aims a fist at Canis’ visor. Already expecting such behaviour Canis blocks the punch, though not without some strain, and engages him in a grapple, gradually forcing him to turn and pinning his arm uselessly behind his back.
“You’re far too much trouble,” he mutters, slowly dragging the barbarian away from the bar. Every person in the bar watches. Better than street theatre!
With much struggle, Canis gets the usurper out the door and slams it behind him. Surprisingly he doesn’t immediately try for another round, likely because he’s finally passed out. A couple of tieflings at their table clap in appreciation. The shadowy figures return to their conversation.
As Canis heads back to the bar, a bright golden emblem on the inn’s jobs board catches his eye. The notice calls for able-bodied individuals to report to the Captain of the Guard for temporary employment. The emblem depicts folded golden wings in the shape of a shield. It looks promising.
“I see you are eyeing the Guard Captain’s notice?” intrudes a sinister voice. “Perhaps we could work…together?”
Turning to face the voice, Canis is greeted with the sight of the most sinister looking individual he has ever met. A sinister face wearing a sinister smile, sinister arcane robes, and a sinister hand with long and sinister clawlike nails extended in definitely sinister greeting. Behind him stands Drow holding an enormous bow, who eyes him with disinterest.
“I don’t work with warlocks,” Canis mutters, spurning the handshake. He signals to his comrade at the bar that he is leaving and pushes past the warlock and his Drow friend.
At the bar an attractive Eladrin male named Gallindan Silverlight rolls his eyes as he unfolds himself from his seat. “Well, that’s that, then. Off I go,” he says to apparently the air in front of him.
“Oh, what? No, I’ll come with you!” keens Aly, popping up from the wrong side of the bar. “We’re friends.”
“Are we now,” Silverlight wonders aloud, checking that his many weapons are in order. “Then I won’t stop you.” He walks away smartly, allowing a curt nod to the warlock and his companion on the way out, Aly trailing behind him.
“I find their sense of team spirit lacking,” the warlock Elzix tells his Drow friend, eyes narrowed. “Quickly, we must arrange for ourselves to be first to the Guard Captain!” He sweeps out, his cloak wrapped about him. Xorud follows, if only for lack of anyone more interesting to irritate.
*The Raven’s Caw belongs to a fairly successful franchise of birdcall-themed taverns. Other popular venues include The Rooster’s Cockadoodle and the Riki’s Tiki Tiki.