The Honey Pot Inn (Dread pt. 1)

A large crowd of hardened adventures stood around the “Call for Assistance” board outside of the inn waiting for the next batch of summons to be posted. One large man in particular was brandishing his new sword that he had received as a reward from an obscure Lord who lived in the next providence over.

“Take a look at the hilt and you’ll see the crest,” the man pompously yelled in an attempt to draw all attention to him. He was successful in drawing in everyone with the exception of a single group that was more concerned with when breakfast was done being served and when the bar would be opening back up.

“No one cares about your dumb, shiny sword Collin,” the innkeeper yelled through an open window on the first floor. “Swords are rewards from Lords who don’t actually have the coin to pay their mercenaries. You might as well be just as poor as the rest of us.”

Several in the crowd snickered at the innkeepers remark. Collin’s face turned red in embarrassment and he quickly covered the sword with his cloak. The innkeeper came out to the board and started pinning up flyers. The crowd of 20 or so waited patiently until she was done and stepped back inside before erupting into a frenzy to find the highest paying job. The group of three that was standing off to the side watched in horror as the others clawed at one another and fought over flyers, but somehow where also remaining careful not to rip the flyers. The rule of the summons board was no flyer, no reward upon completion.

The innkeeper watched the delicate violence from the open window and rolled her eyes. There were plenty of other inns these barbarians could do this at, but for reasons unknown to her they chose to behave like animals at hers. She looked over to the threesome who wasn’t participating in the weekly scramble.

“Never seen you three before,” she said with a curious grin, “it isn’t often I see new faces this far away from the big city. What are you running away from?”

“I will have you know Miss, we aren’t running away from anything or anyone,” the tallest of the three replied jumping to his feet. “We are strategically avoiding responsibility.”

The other two members of the party looked up at their friend with annoyed expressions.

“Thanks, Arlo,” the female dwarf said smacking the back of her half-elf companion with her staff.

“Ouch Marine,” Arlo whined rubbing where the staff had struck him. Marine glared at Arlo and then looked over at the third member of their party expecting a response.

“Xander, do you plan on commenting on your half-brother slandering us in front of strangers,” Marine said tapping her foot on the ground impatiently.

The innkeeper’s gazed passed between the three wondering if she should be listening to this exchange any longer.

“It isn’t slander if it isn’t true, Marine,” Xander said while folding up the map he had been looking at. “We are simply taking an extended vacation from our studies.”

Arlo and Xander high-fived and laughed. Marine looked at the ground and sighed. The innkeeper couldn’t help but laugh at the trio.

“Well if you three are looking to avoid going back to whatever university you came from, it looks like there is one more summons flyer on the board,” the innkeeper said leaning out the window and pointing at the lone flyer on the board. “Chances are if no one has taken it, it is low paying and easy. It could also be a good way to delay your return to where ever it is you’re supposed to be going.”

Arlo and Xander looked at each other with excitement and ran over to the board. Marine scowled at the innkeeper.

“You’re an enabler you know that? We were just going to stop here for some road meads and now I fear we are going to make another unplanned detour.”

“It’s just business, Marine was it? The more jobs that get completed off my board, the more jobs get posted on it again which means money for my inn where the mercenaries stay while they wait for the next job. It’s nothing personal I promise.”

Marine heaved a heavy sigh and joined the brothers who were already talking about the job.

“Finding an old elf woman and bringing her back to her family, how hard could it be?” Arlo said pulling the flyer off the board.

“The flyer already says the family knows where she will most likely go and based off the map, this Autumn Hill place isn’t too far away,” Xander said looking over Arlo’s shoulder. Marine pulled the map out of Xander’s bag and opened it up.

“It is in the complete opposite direction of where we are supposed to be going you half-wits.”

“And that’s why it is so perfect Marine,” Arlo exclaimed picking up Marine and throwing her onto his shoulder. “And the reward sounds pretty sweet. Just think, we could all ask for employment from this Blackwood family and then we wouldn’t need to go back to school!”

Marine, who hated being picked up, started smacking Arlo with her staff again causing him to drop her. Xander caught Marine and set her down, but he also fell victim to a swift smack on the back from Marine.

“Think about it Marine,” Xander pleaded,” none of us are good at school, never have been. We are only there cause our families wanted us to be, but what if this is our opportunity to forge our own path in life. We could even become great mercenaries or just get comfortable jobs with this noble family.”

Arlo was aggressively nodding behind his brother in an attempt to sway their friend into agreeing.

“It’s not like you want to walk all the way back to university just to share a dorm with that weird roommate of yours again,” Xander slyly mentioned taking the map back from Marine.

Marine stared off into the distance remembering her first semester with her Arakocra roommate who had some eccentric habits. She shook her head to try and loose the memories from her head.

“Fine, lets go.”

And so they were off. Marine the dwarf, Xander the human, and Arlo the half-elf on their way to Autumn Hill in search of Adlana Winters on behalf of the Blackwood Estate.