Stormy Jake Janzen was bored.
The Scarlet Raven was as quiet as a morgue these days. No more all night parties, no more dancing, drinking or carousing. The Funk was gone, vanished in the blink of an eye – or at least the flash of a bomb. And with it went the excitement.
Word of the Eastvale bombing had reached Darkshire within hours of the occurrence, causing the already suspicious folk to question what happened. Rumours flew as fast as the crows: Goblin assault teams, the Guard doing it themselves to kill off the deliveries, magic gone wrong (people in Darkshire always blamed magic) – even a band of pirates trying to seize control of the fabled drink.
Jake doubted the validity of the stories, yet he had no clue of what had truly happened. Grimmka had left him hanging in this Light forsaken horror of a town, with nary a word of instruction. It was almost like he no longer existed to her, or the Company – the fabled and fabulous TwinSeas Trading.
She had pulled him from the netters, rescuing him from a life of never-ending knots and sea tales while seated amidst slimy fish. Instead, he found himself flung into a dark forest, in a dark town (even named Darkshire) filled with suspicious people who rarely talked.
In other words, boring. And it was time to go.
“See ya round, Trelayne,” Jake said, placing his empty mug of ale upon the bar. He dropped five silver coins beside the mug. “I think I’ll be headin on o’er to Goldshire, see what the cat’s dug up an all that.” The barkeeper nodded, not bothering to look at her only patron.
“Give my regards to Farley,” she said, whisking the coins away, then wiping down the bar. Jake waited for her to say something more, but she didn’t. Instead, she walked into the kitchen and ignored Stormy altogether.
“Yea,” he said. “I’ll be doin ‘ that.” He shook his head, plopped his hat atop his head and walked away from the Scarlet Raven.
Goldshire was ‘slightly’ busier than Darkshire, he noted, seeing one well equipped adventurer ride through on his way toward Eastvale. By the look of the man, Jake doubted he’d be stopping in the lumberyard, instead continuing onto Redridge.
“I reckon that place be dead as well,” he said, meandering his way toward the tavern. He laughed, thinking of the bombing as he said the words. “Dead,” he repeated, chuckling. “I no be thinkin a bomb went off there.”
He noted a heavy Guard presence in the town, especially when he mentioned the word, bomb. Two glared at him, carefully studying the former sailor from beneath their steel helmets. Jake even knuckled his forehead at the Marshal, certainly as a sign of welcome. He got a harsh stare in return. Maybe the man be suspicious of all newcomers, Jake thought, crossing the street toward what had once been called the Hearthstone. It no be like I got a bomb er anythin’.
The clinking of glass captured his attention as he walked through the door, as well as the scent of roasting meats. It was already a much better experience than the Raven and he’d not even entered the common room yet.
Stepping around the corner, he opened his arms wide and smiled. “Stormy do be here,” he exclaimed. “Ready ta be regailin ya with tales of gold, glory and far’way lands!” He imagined winds snapping and billowing his wide, whitish sailing pants, his long brown hair blowing behind him – held only in place by a thin, leather cord.
A mighty sailing captain standing atop the bowsprit as his ship sailed into port, greeted by cheers and shouts from fair maidens who lined the dock - ready to lavish Stormy Janzen with kisses and more. Crowds upon crowds standing ten deep, waving and shouting to the returning hero – knowing the treasures he brought would be spread amongst them all.
The man behind the bar stopped cleaning the mug he held, his mouth agape, his towel stilled at the sailor’s glamorous entry. A head peered around the kitchen’s corner, eyes narrowed with surprise at what he saw. A barmaid stopped swabbing the floor, her mop leaving a wide puddle of water from being stopped mid-swish.
In fact, Jake noted, all eyes turned his way - not that there were many to do so. The place looked as empty as the Raven, though certainly lighter and more cheerful feeling. He felt the hero and a hero needed drink.
“Ah,” a man said, wiping his hands on a white linen cloth. “Can I get you a drink, sailor? Bourbon, perhaps. We’re rather famous for our bourbon.”
“Cherry grog,” Stormy stated, placing his hands on his hips, much like he’d seen Captain Sebastian Stealjaw do when the Widow’s Tongue sailed into Booty Bay. “And ifn ya no grog, the bourbon be doin just fine.”
The innkeeper lifted an eyebrow, nodded and turned toward the bar. “Bourbon it is. Have a seat anywhere, we’re just readying for the rush.”
Stormy Jake Janzen smiled, looking around the room and noting only one additional patron; currently, anyway. The innkeeper had said rush. Nodding, he found a seat near the bar, his body filled with the feeling that he would no longer be bored.
Thomas Jarington & Co.