“Greetings friends!” the young man beckons, identifying the new adventurers as they enter the tavern. “Please sit and enjoy the best wine this place has to offer!”
This is a bit of a dubious invitation, as the region is not known for its wine, and the tavern in particular is known more for the warm swill it calls ale. Yet, the half finished bottle next to the smiling red haired man indicates that it can’t be completely undrinkable. Beside the bottle, a sketch pad lies open showing the lovely face of a young woman – unmistakenly that of the serving girl in this very tavern. His artistic talents are clearly evident, although misguided as she seems determined to avoid the table.
Names are exchanged, and the party learns their host’s name is Corian. An well spoken fellow, he regales the newcomers with useless trivia, thoughts flitting from topic to topic. The impression is of a creative mind sorely lacking organizational skills. Probably a good move to hire people to accompany him.
At length, Corian gets to the point:
“A moderately wealthy fellow recently passed away. As he was reclusive, news of his demise has not yet become known. I only know because of someone my uncle knows.”
“Anyway, he didn’t leave behind a next of kin. You know how things are around here. His tower will just get looted. I’d like to visit before the place totally gets run over. The location of his tower is known to me. And there are some items belonging to one of his associates that I was hoping to recover. In addition, the fact that he’s fairly well off means he likely has a fair amount of gold stashed away.”
“It’s strictly a recovery mission. But obviously, I can’t go on my own. The roads at night aren’t always safe for a single fellow like me. This is where you come in. Help me out on this straighforward journey and an equal share of the proceeds will be yours.”
The dwarf has a short bushy beard and full mustache, thick eyebrows that don’t hide his piercing black eyes, a wide, flat nose, and wild brown hair above his high forehead. The few steps he takes from the door of the tavern to the table are enough to make apparent his martial background, and his bare forearms are spiderwebbed with scars earned learning his trade.
He accepts Corian’s offer of a drink, and introduces himself as he pours, “I am Drebb.” He pauses to take a swig from his glass and grimaces, then tosses down the rest. “This is terrible,” he says as he begins to pour himself another.
Drebb takes a seat at the table as the others introduce themselves, and listens to Corian’s small talk, interjecting a comment here and there.
When Corian finishes his tale, the dwarf is silent for a moment. “An interesting proposition, though your flowery talk seems to be hiding much that I would know before agreeing. Who was this recluse? What was his occupation that he could live by himself in a remote tower and be ‘moderately weathy’ as you put it. Who is this associate and what are you retrieving for him? It does not sound so straightforward to me. It sounds like you mean to rob a dead man.”
Drebb seems to realize that perhaps he has gone too far, and softens his tone, “Please explain so that I can better understand.”
“Well, er, ahem,” Corian mumbles, a bit taken aback at the dwarf’s abrubtness. But, recovering quickly, he leans forward, and in an (unintentionally) theatrical whisper, he says, “I’d like to tell you more, but,” glancing about, “listening ears, you know…”.
“But what I can say is, ooh! Samantha, more wine please!” as the tavern girl walks by. He is clearly smitten, and completely obvious about it.
Drebb’s glare brings him back to topic. “Um, the person in question was a bit of a dabbler in magic. Not his profession, mind you, more of a hobby I think, but anyway, that’s not important, he’s dead, right? Ha ha,” pouring some more wine. Not only is he inexperienced with the ladies, but it appears he can’t hold his liquor either.
“Now as to the question of the poor fellow’s belongings. His more important possessions would be wasted upon common looters, or worse, the orcs in the south!”
“We would simply be preserving valuable items that could possibly be damaged or destroyed once his tower is found to be unoccupied. In fact, we’d be doing a great service to his memory, yes?”