This novelette pokes fun at traditional fantasy and D20 gaming tropes. Featuring a depressed cleric of Gloom and Doom, a bloodthirsty wizard-hating dwarf, and a wizard so prone to overthinking that he usually causes more problems than he solves.
Tarly and his friend reached the Inn quite late, and despite his original plans of keeping the host engaged in philosophical talk through the night Tarly found himself nodding off to sleep only a few sips into the glass of red that the older man had given him upon arrival.
The sound of footsteps woke him. Loud, clompy, footsteps. And a voice. A booming and gravelly voice engaged in some sort of ghastly morning song.
“Mead and meat! A healthy breakfast to get me on my feet! With a toast, or four, today’s hangover will be no more - so this morning we drink to tomorrow’s!”
The voice and footsteps were shortly accompanied by a wild looking dwarf. The dwarf charged down the stairs, into the common room, and proceeded straight to the wooden bar top that dominated one side of the room.
Tarly sat up with alarm. He wasn’t particularly old, but sleeping along a wooden booth just isn’t a comfortable experience. It might not have been quite as bad if he’d bothered to finish his wine first.
The aching wizard struggled out of the booth and to his feet with the vague, but strong notion that he was under attack. He cast a flamebolt at the ragged looking dwarf – one of the few spells that Tarly could cast without consulting his spellbook.
Despite being half asleep the wizard struck true with his spell – a fist-sized ball of fire shot from his palm and struck the dwarf right in the chest, knocking him from his feet, and immediately removing his good mood.
With a full battle roar Randell pushed to his feet and charged Tarly. The wild-haired dwarf collided with the befuddled wizard in a messy tangle of robes and curses. Before the enraged Randell could bash Tarly’s skull into the floor more than a few times a wave of stillness washed over the two. A door opened, and the robe-adorned old man walked into the common room.
“No fighting within the Inn. It doesn’t like it. And when the Inn of Adventurers gets testy it tends to eat its occupants. And I’m left cleaning up the mess every time. So please, if you really must kill each other be considerate enough to do it outside."
Movement returned to the guests, but they both sat there staring at their host.
“Right then; since you’ve decided to be civil, I’ll grab us some refreshments while we wait for the last member of your party.” With that said the old man stepped through a door set behind the bar, returning shortly with a food laden tray, four mugs, and a stout, dust-covered, bottle.
Randell was stunned, shock and joy overwhelming him with the discovery that he had finally reached his destination. And to think that he’d mistaken it for some run-down old Inn kept by a peculiar lumberjack.