Before the Fall

11th Scorpion, 250th YBC

The western sun hangs low over wintered mountains, another day of the House of the Scorpion drawing to a close. The road leads to the center of the broad valley to the town settled upon the junction of the roads of men and dwarves. The great din of civilized tongues carries though wooden town wall. The guard has to shout the town name of “Mercio” as you pass the town gate. The streets are the rural and broad stretch of an aged border town but even these are too narrow for the wagons and cattle within the city walls. Caravans line the main streets and master and traveler bicker in every known tongue over the cost of passage north. Men, dwaves, even the occasional elf and halfling weave through the mesh of coach and cart searching for any conveyance of hoof or wheel to bear them north, across the mountains.

The inns of Mercio’s heart overflow in creatures and ale. Small families huddle way from the late day chill and even the lone travelers crowd against door and window in hopes of finding a patch of clean floor to sleep upon. The crowd thins away the town’s heart and veins. Tucked in a corner is a small tavern under the tarnished shingle “Beaten Plow”. The laughter within is too bawdy for the common traveler and the brawny man under an eye patch rests against the door to scare the rest away. But a fire crackles within and sizzle of grease carries out on the strands of revelry and no one stands around the door. Even the scowl of the eye patch man cannot keep you from pushing through the doorway.

You dodge a tankard as you enter. By the roaring fire a dashing half elf belts out a lively rendition of a mandolin tune you recognize as Round Table Nights. Serving lasses weave though the mass of patrons clapping, stomping and dancing in time to music. The room and benches are packed but there is enough room for those that can force their way to a table. It is places like this where tales are begun and names are first forged…

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Kitnoka

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