With a welcoming hot spring at its heart, Seldom Spring is a small settlement located halfway between Luskan and Neverwinter that has swiftly grown in popularity since its founding by retired adventurer Dirk Seldom. With the construction of an inn, trading post, and hunting lodge, it provides the essential services required by most travelers far from home. Indeed, some caravans have halved their journey by trading at Seldom Spring, instead of their original destination, and business is booming. Growth seems inevitable, but for now the settlement remains small and vibrant.
The Seldom Spring is a large inn, barely a year old, built close to the hot spring from which it takes its name. It was established by its human proprietor, Dirk. Its well-lit common room is a warm and hospitable place, with no private booths or shadowy corners. Numerous tables and chairs are provided for its patrons, with food and drinks delivered from the kitchen on request. A small stage offers a place for traveling performers to work their trade, and the walls are adorned with an eclectic range of trophies and keepsakes. The inn also boasts a decent stable, comfortable bedrooms of varying size and quality, and of course, the spring itself, which is rumored to have magical properties.
Dirk has a personality some would call larger than life. He has a story for every occasion, and as far as anyone knows, they’re all true. Many would say he is loud, presumptuous, and even rude, but just like the settlement he founded, people love him, even if they don’t understand why.
Some regulars have even begun to view Dirk as a kind of mentor. He has inspired many to aspire to become great adventurers themselves. In fact, Jambiya is the only server the Seldom Spring has had that has lasted more than a couple months before leaving to seek adventure. Besides his servers, others in the settlement take a keen interest in Dirk’s adventure stories, even if they don’t show it. But even if they don’t show it, Dirk knows.
Yesterday, three individuals received hand-written notes from Dirk — delivered by the lovely and graceful Jambiya. Jambiya, a goblin, is the Seldom Spring’s main barmaid. She also happens to be the adopted daughter of Dirk and Brunthor Kettlegrip. The dwarf Brunthor is one of Dirk’s former adventuring partners who happens to be the Seldom Spring’s accomplished cook. The notes read:
I have need of you. Tomorrow before sundown. The Seldom Spring. Dirk
After being given the notes and charged with their delivery, Jambiya was able to deliver two of the notes to individuals sitting in the Seldom Spring: the often-drunk human Anafrey Iceriver, and the elusive and intelligent tiefling Ekemos Lucianos. Both accepted their rolled-up note with a look of confusion, but a silent wink from Jambiya and she was off to the next task, leaving them to their secrets. The third required the goblin to dance down the street to the hunting lodge to deliver the note to the lodge’s caretaker, the aged human Maldorn Whitehare. After handing the note to the man, Jambiya was gone before he could ask her anything about it.
The following evening, Dirk had Jambiya reserve one of the inn’s tables. At suppertime, he took a seat at the table and waited for his special guests to join him.
Maldorn Whitehare walks through the door and scans the tables for Dirk: "There you are you old coot. Will you buy an old friend a tankard of mead or do I have to listen to one of your adventurous stories first?"
Maldorn walks toward the reserved table making sure to nod a 'hello' to Brunthor if he is in sight. The old man is wearing his regular hunting gear, including knee high leather boots, breeches, tunic, and heavy leather gloves that reach his mid-forearm. Even the breeches and the tunic are in the shade of old leather, even if not made of the material. On top of his brown tunic he wears an old set of scale mail armor, made to mimic lizard scales. A greenish-brown cloak covers most of the armor but Dirk would recognize Maldorn's attire from past hunting trips or trap-setting excursions. Therefore, Dirk would be able to deduce that the armor is there. His mostly bald head (due to age, not choice) is unprotected, and reflects the candlelight/sunlight in the inn somewhat.
He takes a seat and occupies a second one by placing his traveler's pack, quiver, and trusty longbow on it. "It's been a while since you last invited me for a hunt. I had to go looking for my lizard skin in an old chest and dust it off. My arrow tips are sharp though, I assure you." He then looks over to see if Brunthor is within hearing distance and then whispers to Dirk: "I know you love the man to death, but between you and me, can we leave to dwarf behind this time? His squeaky metal leg always scares the game away."With that, Maldorn bursts out laughing at his own comment, regardless of whether anyone else is laughing with him or not.
Anafrey slams the doors of the tavern open, loud enough to startle most, but anyone who has already seen her here before know's she's the town drunk and quickly return to their suppers and conversation. She clutches her forehead with her left and, and stumbles to the wall. "Why is it so... daytime... in here?" she says, a bit too loudly and she closes her eyes tightly, pained by the sound of her own voice.
She leans against the wall by the door, looking for Jambiya. She thinks she spots the goblin girl and waves to whomever is that is there. She's dressed in full leather armor with a green cloak, and carries a short sword on her hip. Her white hair, pale eyes and skin tell of her northern heritage. She wears a heavy pack, with an old wooden shield strapped to it, the varnish roughly stripped away whatever left of the blue and red paint are little speckles and patches as if someone was trying to remove them. There's an unstrung bow and some arrows loosely held in her quiver.
She looks hung over, if not still drunk, and left side of her head is freshly shaven from the temple to the nape of her neck. In the shaved area, someone has written in grease pencil "GOODMORNING ANAFREY!" If she has noticed it, no one can tell.
She slides with her back against the wall to a seated position, elbows resting on her knees, one hand on her forehead, waiting for Jambiya to come help her to the table.
Ekemos sat in the a corner of the Seldom Spring covered in shadows his red iries trained on the group slowly forming, clad in his black leathers and hooded cloak he had watched Dirk enter, no doubt the old goat knew exactly where he was. It always seemed no matter how well his form dissipated in a room lost on the common folk Dirk's eye found him every time but whether or not Dirk had seen him he chose to remain back and wait. His mind wander off as he watched him so many questions flood in his thoughts and all of them unanswered...it was infuriating. Pulled from his thoughts he watched as the first two made there way to the table, he knew there names as he knew everyone who currently was in the inn years of practice had taught him to alway see and know as much as possible that way you can never be taken by surprise, the more knowledge you can glean from those around the more likely you will know where the daggers will come from. The first to Dirk's table Maldorn Whitehare clad in his usual hunters garb, it was no surprise to see him here, in the street Maldorn was as common as any man but in the wilds...even as stealthy as Ekemos was he shudder at the idea of trying to lose him in the thick woods, there were few that could match him..if any for that matter. The second Anafrey Iceriver who not surprisingly didn't even make it to the table, the smell of drink followed her as much as the his devilish tail followed him, but any man who underestimated her was in for a painful surprise, she being almost as adept as he was in her agility but her strength far outclassed his. What exactly was Dirk planning...so many unanswered question...it was infuriating.
"Master Whitehare," Jambiya comes up to him as he sits down. "What can I get... oh, one moment!" She hurries to the door where Anafrey has begun to slump towards the floor.
"Up we get," she says, putting a shoulder under her arm. But Jambiya is short and slight, and she strains a little to get the larger woman back on her feet. "It's just a short way to a chair, miss 'frey." She snaps her fingers under Anafrey's nose and there's a smell of peppermint and coffee, "Here we go, feet under you, that's right! No mind, I'll bring your gear in a moment, here we go!"
She attempts to help the woman stumble to Dirk's table.
Jambiya is a young woman (4'5", so about the size of a ten year old human girl), and while everyone knows she's goblin, she doesn't look it, exactly. The green skin, black hair, and golden eyes are offset by her willowy frame, her quick—if sharp-toothed—smile, and her fine, fey features. She's dressed in a practical working get-up, loose shirt with the sleeves pushed up, britches, and comfortable shoes. She blows a strand of black-green hair out of her face as she grins under Anafrey's weight. "You're heavier than you look, miss 'frey, all that outside living, to be sure."
A slight figure, a bit over 3.5 feet tall, pushes open the door, absentmindedly blowing on some birdpipes that seem to be a bit off-key. His nimble fingers fiddle a bit more with the bindings and with a small click, a corner of a smile creeps onto his face. A questioning, optimistic trill dances out of the pipes almost out of earshot, and as his eyes rise to take in the Inn, Erric Hillfall, a red-haired halfling, lets the full smile wash over the rest of his face. He seems to be very happy to be back in Seldom Spring. A round of applause and some happy cheers greet him as he arrives (though sharp-witted observers would notice that no one in the Inn is actually physically clapping or cheering and some seem surprised by the sudden sound).
Toting a plump little sack and wearing some fashionable but well-worn traveling clothes, he takes in the room and its inhabitants. Eyebrows rise when he spots Ekemos in a somehow-darkened corner table. They rise further when he spots Maldorn sharing a table with Dirk.
And he darts into action when he blinks and realizes the twin figures of Anafrey and Jambiya are struggling in front of him. He's immediately at Anafrey's other side, helping steady her with an ease of apparent practice. He glances up at Anafrey, sniffs, and says "But you have so much more of the evening to go, and so much more fun to have, if you've the gumption and tolerance, Ana! Can I get you some potatoes and stew to soak up that ale? I do love talking with you and that's often easier when you're conscious. Also I love what you've done with your hair."
Looking past her at Jambiya, he chortles, "...peppermint and coffee? If I have too many tankards, can I get both a free ride back into the Inn AND a delicious treat too? It's lovely to see you again, my delightful, towering friend."
"Now, this is a fun diversion, but where exactly are we taking our cargo load this fine evening? And why?"
He both guides and follows them toward Dirk and Maldorn's table, almost unseen behind the taller women.
Dirk, not at all distracted by Anafrey and Jambiya, stands and smiles at Erric, waving him over to the table where he is sitting.
"Ah, Erric, my young friend. I've been expecting you. Please, have a seat."
Jambiya smiles at the help, "Timely master Erric! Yes, if you'll help to guide her to Dirk's table, he's expecting her... oh, and you, too, it seems," her smile slips a fraction, but then flowers again. "Let's just sit her down and I'll take care to get you your fare..." and she grunts as they shift Anafrey towards the table.
Anafrey slurs something unintelligible at the mention of her being heavier than she looks then laughs. "Thanks, little one," she hiccups "I can... I can always count on you" As soon as she is guided to her chair she starts to steady herself, wavering a bit in her seat but appraising her company. Just when you think she has herself sorted, she lets out a lout belch and giggles.
Once Anafrey is settled, Jambiya smiles at her father. "I'll just bring a round, and some stew for master Erric, something settling for miss 'frey. Back in a shake!" and she heads to the kitchen while the group is still gathering.
She will return in short order deftly carrying a burdened tray. She offloads a large loaf of bread, a knife stuck in it and a crock of butter balanced on top, then generous bowls of stew for Erric and Anafrey, magically made piping hot has she hands them over. Finally, four large mugs, three with the house ale, the fourth for Anafrey with some heavily watered wine, all magically chilled as she deposits them.
"That should do it." She glances over at the spot where Ekemos is sitting, knowing she'd handed him an invitation, too, and quirks an eyebrow at her father.
Anafrey nods to Jambiya, then tears of a hearty chunk of bread from the loaf and proceeds to devour the stew with a fervor that would give a hungry dog pause (paws?). She drinks the watered wine equally quickly then leans back in her chair, belching again and settling her hands on her stomach. Her eyes appear less dull but still she waits, quietly looking around at everyone seated around the table.
Jambiya sighs at her father's contented silence, and with a toss of her hair, and a twirl of the now empty tray, heads over to where the mysterious Tiefling sits. On her way she stops to exchange a word or two with other patrons, but doesn't tarry too long. When she gets there, she hugs the tray up to her body and smiles. "A fine evening. I believe my father is enjoying holding court over there," she indicates with a nod, "And if you'd like to join them, I can bring you a fresh drink." She notes what he had, and heads to the bar.
Fishing around among the more esoteric liquids, she turns to the open door to the kitchen, calling out to Brunthor in a sing-song voice. "I don't know what's under your saddle tonight, Grumpy Pops, but if you'd take a rest from mercy-killing the soup pots, I could use a little help out here. Daddy Pops is holding forth and I'm having to tend his audience, and there are a few customers could use your loving attention."
Finding what she was looking for, she mixes a drink for Ekemos and starts heading back to Dirk's table.
Erric, happy at the invite and eager to rest his feet, eagerly complies with Dirk's request. He glances around before the food comes, notices everyone being expectant, and apart from Anafrey's burp and giggle, fairly quiet. He pauses, a tremor of concern souring his happy affect.
"What is this, Dirk, an intervention? Is that why you're expecting me for a surprise meeting just as I re-enter your lovely establishment again? And if so, who is the guest of honor? I certainly have my vices but I'm sure there are better candidates," he says, spooling off word after word in a nervous patter with a significant glance at his soused roguish friend.
When Jambiya arrives back at the table with a round for everyone and the food, he relaxes immediately. "If it's this kind of intervention then I for one am completely on board."
He tears into the stew and bread alongside Anafrey, taking happy sips from the mug, giant for him.
"So! What's the occasion, then? Are you all so happy to see me back?"
"Oh Dirk, don't tell me you invited the Iceriver gal to our hunt..." Maldorn looks bothered at first. "How many times have I told you about the fox hunt? She can be careless at times, Dirk, and I swear it is mostly to spite me!" He gives Anafrey a glance to see if her reaction, if any, proves his suspicions right.
He continues: "Got into the Hunting Lodge once, slamming the door open as usual. She brought a fox in that day, though I thought it was strange she was holding her fresh kill by the navel." He looks around to make sure Erric is listening to his tale. "And do you know why that was the case, m'boy? I'll tell you. She slaps the animal on our dressing table and waits for me to come close. She says something like'I've brought you a gift, gramps'and lets go of the fox's belly skin." Maldorn's face begins to sweat a bit. Still looking at Erric, the old man slams the table and says: "Shit everywhere, boy! Everywhere! The crazy woman calls herself a hunter but killed that fox by stabbing it in the intestines! She had a smile in her face too!"
He looks back at the proprietor: "I swear she does it on purpose, Dirk! She'll give me a heart attack one day, I just know it!" He frowns towards Anafrey for a few seconds, before bursting out laughing once again. "The meat was all spoiled, but once cleaned, that pelt was indeed quite the gift." He laughs some more and drains his tankard.
Now that Anafrey has had a meal her she has a bit more of her wits back and when Maldorn mentions that she might be harassing him on purpose she puts on a feigned look of shock and touches the tips of her thin fingers to her collarbone. As Maldorn continues with the story she bursts out laughing, doubles over, and slaps her knee. "Oh yes that was a good one. I had almost forgotten!"
She tousles her long white hair and notices that some of it is missing. She rubs the freshly shaven side of her head gently and pulls her hand back when she feels the oils from the grease pencil then looks the blackened smudge on her fingers. She looks around for a reflective surface then settles on the back of a spoon. "O...lleh yerfana? What in the hells?" Pushes herself up from the table, knocking back her chair and points at Erric.
"You go too far, Hillfall!" She pulls at her long white hair, throwing it over her right shoulder to keep it away from the grease smearing some black grease in anyways from her fingers. She sneers and him and bends so that they are nose to nose.
A rumbling comes from her stomach and Erric sees her eyes change from hot anger to a look of sudden surprise as she lets out a horrid belch right in his face. Taken aback by the gaseous expulsion, she stumbles backwards into her chair laughing again.
She turns back to Maldorn. "Besides which, I had more than enough meat to offer with the rest of my bag. You have to admit, I do well enough for a sodding drunkard." She smiles at him broadly. "Speaking of which, I'm starting to sober. Jambiya?!"
Jambiya brings the Tiefling's drink and puts it at an empty spot. "In a hand's time, if Ekemos has not come to claim it, this drink is on the house," she notes cheerfully. "If there's nothing else, Pops, I'll see to the other customers. Grumpy Pops is in fine fettle tonight. Let me know if you need aught!" And she turns to leave.
"If there were any fair maidens about, I might," Jambiya replies with a sharp-toothed grin. "I'll swing back around in a bit and see how you all are doing, and I'll bring it by then" and she moves on to another table, working her way through the customers and eventually back to the bar.