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The door swings open...


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...admitting a tall, lean figure whose mottled green cloak sheds flakes of snow as he pushes the hood away from his head. Grey-blue eyes peer from a careworn face, surveying the nearly empty room, his features carefully neutral. Still, the barest trace of a wry smile flits quickly across his face, as might a hurried shadow cross the lane amidst the blowing snow outside, only to disappear in the swirling eddies of light against dark.

A deliberate but easy stride carries him to the hearthstone, where firelight casts a warming glow upon his well-traveled leather. There he pauses for a moment, his body soaking up the radiant warmth as though too long bereft of such a simple pleasure. With an almost inaudible sigh, he steps away from the fire and moves to an empty table, setting a much-used ash bow against the wall before settling into a chair. His drawn features slowly, inexorably ease as the familiarity of room begins to set in. Nevertheless, his thoughts whirl, and those who know him might recognize, under it all, a shade of what might be called fear. "I remember," he thinks. "But will they?"

He withdraws a leather flask from under his cloak, drinks briefly from it before setting it on the table, and then is still. Those gentle, tired eyes slowly peruse the room as he waits, quietly, to see what happens next.


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A door creaks in the back, as he turns, a dim light makes it tough to see, then he sees an older, yet very strong fellow enter and block out the candle light. Without a word, the man walks to the fireplace and stirs up the embers while adding another log. Slowly, he turns toward the green cloaked man sitting in the chair, and says:

"Welcome to the tavern, Stranger. My name is Gavyndel. What be yer name?" "Tis been a long time since we have had visitors, the wild ones tend to keep people away."

He ponders the question and the information he has been given. With a smile, he says, "I have been called many names. I will only pass on my real name to those that have proven their worth to the world."

He thinks that he has heard that name before but he cannot remember where or why. The man looks at the innkeeper studying him and decides that the old man had paid deeply to help the realm. He says, "My name is....."


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He says, "My name is..." Again, that ghost of a smile plays across his face as he nods, simply, in gratitude for the simple warmth of the man's kind welcome. When he does speak, his voice is quiet, as though one long accustomed to quieter pursuits, or perhaps less accustomed to speaking at all.

"I am called only what I style myself, though as the years have worn on, it fits me less than perhaps once it did. I was once called Desperado, when last I was numbered among the denizens of this place. I suppose that shall suffice, as I have had no need..." He pauses, exhales quietly. "Well, there is no need to go into that, now. I thank you, noble Gavyndel, for your kind welcome. It has been too long away from these walls for me; I thought these lands to be long behind me on my journey." He stops and looks around somewhat bemusedly. "Never did I expect to find this place again."

He shrugs out of his cloak, letting it drape as it will across the stiff back of the chair. His hair is close-cropped, the color of good, fertile soil, with only touches of frost at the sides. The skin of his face is deeply tanned, an outdoorsman tan, and the crow's feet at the corners of his eyes are deeply set from too long looking into the low sun.

He nods again to Gavyndel, this time, the soldier's unspoken salute. To those unaware, it appears as merely a motion of the head. To the old soldiers, those who know, it is a gesture of brotherhood, a recognition of the paths that have passed behind, and the brothers left along the way. It speaks of pain, and tribulation, and it carries with it the deepest respect.

A leather-booted foot slides a chair out from the table, as he gestures towards the chair in invitation.


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Knowing the nod for what it was, Gavyndel returns the time honored salute and slowly turned his back to reach for something near the bar. Desperado raises an eybrow and moved his hand slowly under his tunic to the dagger at his belt. Gavyndel lifted a large keg of ale, like it was nothing, from behind the bar and grabbed two pewter mugs and then turned back to the table where Desperado sat. Desperado let out a small sigh of relief and removed his hand from beneath his tunic and thinks, "I have been on the road for far to long, worrying about a weary, old man.

Gavyndel sat down the mugs and placed the keg on the floor next to them and sat down in the chair that was offered.

"I can see tis been a long road for you Desperado," Gavyndel said. "I recall many times that I dreamed of the warmth of a fire and some friendly company. The words that came be often of filled with death, magic and misforture. Take some time my friend and tell me your story."

As Gavyndel filled the mugs, he muttered a word and the fire flared as another log magically appeared and brought the fire to life.

Desperado slowly surveyed the room, this time, knowing it was safe, he notices the small, insignificant things he did not see before. His eyes were more adjusted to the light and the first thing he noticed was a beautifully crafted sword, jewels in it's pommel, and shield, both above the fireplace mantle.

As his gaze continued around the room, he saw things only those trained as he was would notice.

Runes he recognized, but was reluctant to use, were above the door.

Near the bar was a crossbow with a bolt loaded.

Amoung the recipe books was a book with a dark binding that sent the fire light dancing in different directions.

Past the half open door of a cupboard, he saw a suit of strong, yet light, leather armor tucked away.

As his eyes settled back on the old man, an amulet around the old man's next caught the firelight. Desperado was sure he had seen an amulet like that before, but where and why does it seem so important now. He tried to come up with answers but it was all to foggy in his weary head.

He took a long drink of the ale in front of him as he prepared to talk. "Thanks for the ale, my friend" he said. "It began many years ago...."


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He took a long drink of the ale in front of him as he prepared to talk. "Thanks for the ale, my friend," he said. "It began many years ago... though I suppose in many ways, it always does." A wry smile quirked the corners of his mouth as he peered at Gavyndel. "Forgive me, I forget my manners. My humble thanks, both for the ale, and for the sanctity of my thoughts. I have little doubt that the ease with which you managed the keg serves an ample indicator of the power of your will. If the scattered tomes and runes are any indicator, you have been well-schooled in more arcane powers, and tired as I am, I suspect I would prove little challenge, should you have decided to push. A toast, first..." He lifts the mug, one elbow resting firmly on the tabletop. "...To honor, and respect. May those who retain them teach them well, and may those who lack them, learn them." He takes a long drink, then sets the nearly emptied mug back on the table. With a sigh, he leans back in the chair, his eyes half-closed as he takes pause to remember. After a few minutes, he speaks again, his voice still mildly quiet.

"Surprisingly enough, I may be one of the few who can claim that it wasn't a woman that drove me from these lands, those many years ago." He smiles, self-deprecatingly. "No, it was money, or the lack thereof, that bade me depart for other locales. In my time here, I built up quite the debt to the landowners. It was easy to do; combine good fellowship with quality ales and wines, and a bit of adventure and derring-do, and it is easy to see how a young man could be enthralled so. I spent many an hour in this very room, with many whose faces I can recall as though they were sitting here with us at this very moment."

He sighs, a long, drawn out sound that rasps as the wind through barren trees. "Once it was apparent that my debt was beyond my means to repay, it was time to move on. The farewells were... difficult... even though there were some who were happy to see the back of me. There were others, though... you may think me foolish, but I can say with honesty that there were some here whom I loved, and with whom a part of me stayed behind."

"But enough of that, lest I drag this into melancholia. I moved on, as all who are forced from their home do, in order to survive. I visited the lands of The Realm, and briefly, Britannia. Of late I have wandered through the lands of Tyria, Cantha, and Elona. It is in those lands where I find I am most comfortable, and where my lessons learned here seem to serve me best. It seems that a good ranger is never a wasted thread in those lands."

He retrieves the mug and swallows the last of the ale. "My tale is wearisome enough to tell, let alone to listen through; I thank you for the indulgence. But tell me, noble Gavyndel, of your tale. You have done far more than serve ale to wandering prodigals; that much is evident."


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*Sits forlornly at the empty, dusty bar, peering down into a mug of ale she's drawn for herself, as no barkeep seems to be around*

{{{sigh}}} It certainly is difficult and lonely down in the volcano with no other questers to travel with! It took me nigh 5 hours to eek out level 10!

*Tears trickle down her cheeks as she recalls the olden days when this Tavern was so popular and so full that no more could squeeze into the space*


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With a start, his eyes open, and he glances up sharply, warily, his gaze swinging about the room with alacrity. After only a moment, his eyes stop roaming, looking over at Kajira questioningly. My pardon, lady. I did not mean to fall to sleep here. He notices her tears. Why the tears, lady? What is it that troubles you so?


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He retrieves the mug and swallows the last of the ale. "My tale is wearisome enough to tell, let alone to listen through; I thank you for the indulgence. But tell me, noble Gavyndel, of your tale. You have done far more than serve ale to wandering prodigals; that much is evident."

After a long draught on his mug, a glimmer of light showed in his eyes. “It started when I was still a wee lad, working in the fields. I dreamed of bigger things and adventure as all small boys do but expected only to become a good father and help our small town.” The air around Gavyndel seems to sparkle and swirl as if charged with a great energy. “One day I noticed a man, watching from a distance. He watched all of us working in the fields for days. For reasons I still do not comprehend, he approached me. He was not an ordinary man, that much was clear, but he did not seem to stand out anymore than you or I. As his horse came to a stop in front of me, I stopped working and looked up. He said, “You have been chosen, come with me.” From that day forward all things as I knew them, changed.” He filled up both mugs on the table and continued to speak. “I traveled around with the man for many years and was taught how the animals communicate with us, the ways the forest speaks with us, the magic that is inherent in all things. As I grew older, I started to feel the power that surrounded me. Still young and impatient, I overused the power that was growing in me.”

A sad look came across his face, as the memories came back to him. It was apparent that the guilt and pain of years past was still fresh in the man’s mind. As he looks around the room and notices new patrons have entered he lowers his voice and says “I shall return as soon as the needs of these traveler’s are met. You can tell me your story then.”

He rises slowly, but Desperado notices that he has a bit more life in him, more spring in his step as he moves toward the fair maid and the man, whom he recognizes from his travels as once famous bard. “Hail my friends” Gayvndel says “The next round is on me for I am the proprietor.” He winks at Desperado and flashes his smile and the fire flares with new life as he fills everyone’s mugs.