The party was greeted very heartily in the Snowdrift Inn by a portly man named Quimby. Apparently, he rarely had visitors, and was very happy to have business.
“What’s happening? Have all the elves decided to migrate to Easthaven?” he asked as soon as he laid eyes on Jaruah. She eyed him warily, still wishing they had been nice to the insufferable Pomab so she would have a comfortable, two-handed broadsword instead of this . . . big stick.
“Watch your tongue around me, innkeep. What do you mean by your words?” she asked, gripping her big stick tighter.
“Well, besides you six, I’ve got one other guest,” Quimby said, scratching his head. “Another elf . . . Airvane, or something. His room is right across from yours.” He guided the party to a sparsely decorated room with two bunk beds, a writing desk, and a small chamber for washing up that was barely large enough for someone to stick their head in. As soon as Quimby went back to the front desk, Borg gave a semi-animalistic cry and launched himself at the ladder, throwing himself onto the top bunk of one bed and making it sag under his dwarven weight.
“This be me bed, and nobody be takin’ it from me!” he growled, and nearly cleaved the bed in two with his axe while trying to make a point. He swung it into the wall instead, sending splinters all over his pillow. Borg let out a string of profanity that reflected his upbringing on the coast and worked to get his precious baby out of the wall. It kept him occupied relatively silently while the rest of the party decided which two would sleep on the floor.
“I am not sleeping on the floor!” Catti said vehemently. “Do you realize how much filth and dirt there is? And I need something moderately comfortable to memorize my spells.”
“Oh, sure,” Jaruah said, rolling her eyes. She and Catti got along very well despite their differences. “Use the ‘I need to memorize my spells’ excuse. Next you’ll be complaining about your beauty sleep.”
Elijah sighed in the manner of a person who has suffered much and gained little. “Fine. I will sleep on the floor.” He began rolling out a down sleeping bag.
Killian and Magdelena had already claimed the second bunk bed, and were quibbling over the top bunk. Their voices were steadily rising.
“Do you mean I have to sleep underneath him?” Catti said in disbelief, pointing at Borg. He still had not managed to pry his axe out. “He’s so heavy, he’ll either make the bed collapse on me or make it fall when he turns over!”
“Catti, it’s that, or sleeping on the floor,” Jaruah said. A wicked idea popped into her head, and she looked at the unsuspecting halflings. “Or maybe . . . not . . .”
The arrangements were made, and only three were happy with them. The twins were being made to sleep in the same bed (being family and all), and they protested until Jaruah allowed them the top bunk. She slept beneath them. Catti was not at all looking forward to sleeping with Borg the Bloody above her doing who-knows-what in his sleep. Elijah was resigned to his fate of sleeping on the floor.
But, since it was only early afternoon, only Borg and Catti elected to stay in the room. Elijah took requests on what to buy on his second visit to Pomab’s Emporium, Killian and Magdelena took off to explore and satisfy their halfling curiosity, and Jaruah wanted to meet this mysterious elf Quimby had mentioned.
The elf was by the hearth, staring into the fire. Jaruah looked him over from behind and decided he wasn’t bad looking. He had smooth, pale skin, with a greenish tinge to it, and hair like spun gold that was not overly long. He turned when she entered and his blue eyes measured her.
“Greetings,” he said. “I am Erevain Blacksheaf, and I hail from Evereska. It has been a decade since I have laid eyes on another elf, and I left my own people just over twenty years ago. The Migration to Evermeet was not what I wished to spend centuries of my life on, so I took to adventuring.”
Jaruah nodded. “I am Jaruah. Well met. What brings you to Easthaven?”
“Oh, just the pull of adventure,” Erevain said with a roguish grin. “You?”
Jaruah gave a hollow laugh. “Not much adventure to be found in this icy hole, friend. There are five others in my group. Elijah dragged us up here because Hrothgar wants some fools to do his bidding. I was unfortunate enough to get caught in it, but my friends are all I have.” Jaruah shook her head.
"So you're here at Hrothgar's beck and call?"
"Yes," Jaruah said shortly. "I suppose I am. Well, it was nice meeting you, Erevain." She crossed the hall again to take a nap, and hoped to Celestia that Borg and Catti were not engaged in another of their infamous arguments.
Elijah decided to himself that this was one of those times that it was best to ‘grin and bear it.’ His father had been a paladin in the service of Helm and his mother a cleric of Helm, so he was not the first ‘freedom fighter’ in the family. He had been taught such phrases as ‘grin and bear it’ from early childhood.
He breathed the frigid air and watched the cloud of his exhaled breath form in front of him. Living in that comfortably warm place called Amn prepares no one for this, he thought fervently.
With the sound of ringing bells, he was in Pomab’s (warm) Emporium again.
“Well?” Pomab said arrogantly. “Have you come to your senses?”
“I would like to see your wares, please,” Elijah said. His mind wandered to the many reasons why his life’s work was made more difficult by the people he dared to call his friends.
Consulting his list, he bought each of his party long-ranged weapons and everyone but Maggie and Borg a melee weapon. There was enough left for one suit of splint mail (Jaruah), three suits of chainmail (for himself, Borg, and Killian), studded leather in just Maggie’s size, and a scroll case, potion case, and gem bag for Catti.
“The party will be by to pick up the purchases as soon as I can round them up,” Elijah told Pomab as he counted the coins onto the counter, took his own new belongings, and left.
Killian and Magdelena were the closest kind of friends. They were biological twins, and had grown up inseparable in Luiren, the land of halflings. When the time had come to choose their professions, however, Killian had trained long and hard to become the warrior he was. Magdelena had absolutely no interest in any profession; she took pleasure in stalking people, obtaining things through her sticky fingers, and the challenge of picking locks. Therefore she officially became a ‘re-allocator of goods,’ and had been at it ever since.
The two halflings were roaming Easthaven, scouting for things to do that would raise gold for more equipment, and generally enjoying themselves. First they encountered a terrified man.
“Help! Help me!” he cried, rushing at them. “There’s a wolf in my workshop! Oh, please help!”
“Yeah, yeah, we’re going,” Magdelena said, and hurried to the door of the place. It was locked, but the simplicity of the lock was easily foiled by a lockpick. The wolf inside was another matter. Killian did not yet have any weapons, but he did have the ten rough tchazar gems that Magdelena had insisted he carry. They could function as bullets, after a fashion.
The wolf had been gnawing on freshly cleaned knucklehead trout bones, but it charged when it spotted the little people. Magdelena slashed furiously with her new dagger, but she was always frustrated by the beast’s habit of ducking its head when she was just about to cut its throat. Killian pelted it with the gems.
“Hey, knucklehead!” Killian shouted as he threw another stone with all his strength. It hit the animal’s eye as the beast turned slightly to look at him, and the wolf gave a yelp of pain, throwing its head back. Maggie dove in and slashed the throat, and it died with a small gurgling moan.
They poked around the shop after Killian collected all the gems again. Magdelena positively lit up when she saw the first, palm-sized piece of scrimshaw.
“It’s so beautiful,” she breathed, and picked it up. The scene was of a frozen lake, with snow-covered tree skeletons in the background. A small figure was ice fishing near the bank, and it was obviously a halfling or a gnome. Behind the fisher stood a dwarf, with its hand on the fisher’s shoulder. Nevertheless, Maggie fell completely in love with it and just had to have it. Killian, still attempting to instill morals in his sister, insisted she pay for it rather than her conventional way. They met the scrimshander outside of his workshop.
“Thank you so much,” he sighed in relief, and was touched by Maggie’s praise of his art. She gladly paid the reduced fee of twenty gold for it and tucked it in a small blue bag.
“My name is Apsel,” the scrimshander said. “Here. Take this dagger as my thanks.” And he disappeared to straighten up his workshop.
The handle was delicately carved in flowing, dark lines like a running stream. Of course Maggie switched daggers and stashed Pomab’s old one in her little blue bag.
“Magpie, what’s that bag you’re continually putting stuff into?” Killian asked.
“It’s a Bag of Holding, Kill,” Maggie said. “It holds stuff that you couldn’t carry around usually.” She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper and said, “Just don’t tell Eli. He’ll explode and ask why I didn’t tell him earlier.”
“Why didn’t you?” Killian asked, wondering if it was wise to ask.
As they started back to the inn, Magdelena replied, “I didn’t want to.”
Killian shook his head. Sometimes he just didn’t understand his sister.
Borg was in a good mood.
Although this sounds preferable to his bad moods (which usually involved him swinging his axe into various animate and inanimate objects), Catti knew his good moods were infinitely worse. He had a hobby that grated on everyone’s nerves, and that was what he was currently doing at the moment, perched on the top bunk. His axe had finally been yanked out of the wall and tucked under his pillow lovingly. Catti, on the other hand, was seated at the writing desk, studying her mage and cleric spells. Jaruah had come in later and flopped on the bottom bunk, and was asleep in minutes.
Borg was singing. To be more exact, he was singing the first two verses of “Drunken Sailor.” Repetitively. Finally, Catti threw down her ink pen in disgust. “Haven’t I told you already that you are giving me a migraine!?”
Borg stopped singing and grinned at her in a maniacal fashion. “You know, I do believe you mentioned that.” He shrugged, not taking the hint, and continued with the next verse.
“Do you realize how incredibly insane you are?”
Borg cocked his head and scratched his chin through his wiry goatee. Unlike most dwarves, he didn’t like long beards. “Absolutely.” He had started on the final verse with relish when Jaruah broke in. “Some of us are trying to sleep, if you don’t mind!” Jaruah snapped, raising her head from the pillow for a brief moment, then hiding it again.
Catti shook her head as Borg continued his rendition of “Drunken Sailor.” She picked up her pen, and raised her thoughts to whatever god was listening and felt particularly benevolent today. Grant me patience in dealing with fools.
The rest of the afternoon was spent retrieving things from Pomab’s. But later, when daylight was fading to twilight and twilight to night, Magdelena and Borg headed back to see the shopowner.
“Good evening, Pomab,” Magdelena greeted him sweetly. Pomab glared.
“Get out of my shop, thief,” he snarled. And was greeted with a swaying axe in his face. The wielder was a very psychoneurotic dwarf with a glint in his eye that the Calimshite wasn’t brave enough to test. Pomab’s demeanor changed instantly.
“I mean . . . what would you like to buy?”
“I’m selling,” Maggie said brightly, and produced the old dagger and the ten tchazar stones.
“Those are mine!” Pomab said, trying to grab them, but Maggie held them away with a smirk.
“Of course they are . . . if you like them that much,” she said slyly. Pomab was faced with an axe or the idea of paying for his own belongings. He chose the latter rather than have his neck rearranged.
“And I be wantin’ a bottle o’ booze ye got,” Borg said, gesturing with his axe. This made Pomab quite nervous, as the axe was dangerously close to his jugular.
The wine was shoved into the dwarf’s hands with the request that he leave quickly and kindly take aforementioned axe with him.
This went over rather well, and the two little people left the shop snickering.
Later that night, the room was occupied by six cranky people who were trying to sleep. They weren’t having much success. The first voice to pierce the silence was that of a halfling male. “Stop hogging the blanket!”
“Well, you’re kicking me in your sleep!”
“Dwarf! If you keep it up, I’ll take that thing away from you!” Catti snarled. Borg, snoring loudly, had one arm dangling over the side of the top bunk, and clutched in it was a very sharp axe. Every so often, it would sway slightly as the sleeping dwarf shifted.
“Calm down, everyone. We won’t get any sleep — OOF!” Elijah was cut off by a male halfling being tossed out of bed and landing on him.
After Killian had climbed back into bed, the party gradually drifted off to sleep.
II. Introduction to Easthaven
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