The Wizard’s Tale

In dank and dreary tavern room

gathered round flickering flame.

 

Patrons, unwashed peasant folk

lash our thoughts with banal jest

Laughter, banter and bawdy songs

surge, break against our hushed confidence.

 

With clink of coin and clunk of mug

they turn their dull lives’ night to stupors revel.

 

On our table gather

once-foaming mugs of swillish ale

Gormlin, does his best to toil

through brackish mire of beer

Blame not his taste, he belchingly declares

A dwarf’s a slave to nature’s thirst

On nights like this, the throat constricts.

 

We let him drink

his council at best, muddled as his tangled beard,

draped with flotsam snared from

watery gruel masqueraded as sustenance.

 

Brenwyn picks at table’s edge,

cutting grooves in nervous wait

The road she walks keeps dirk in hand

or never far from reach.

 

By our meager light

guarded with huddled form

an ancient parchment spread,

old even by Elvish years.

 

Beyond the wood, mud and mire

that passes for this squalid town.

Hidden by the pass of time

faded from song and memories.

 

The map before us laid

with glyph and tongue of ancient dread.

A door scribed across the stones,

etched into mountain vale.

 

The riches whispered from the map

caress our greed like siren’s song

draw us out from safe harbour

pull us to its dark embrace.

 

The elven pair stands aloof

hooded, quiet, deep in thought.

Their council, in words so hushed,

that a mouse might miss

A plan to reclaim fortune’s lost.

 

Gormlin offers counter point

a few more days to soak in sights

fix an axe and mend his mail.

 

Let the thief scout about

She is best at finding ways that

others miss with heavy tread,

eyes muddled in the gloomy light.

 

 And if one did not return

then others would seek the way

or better still remain indoors

ward against the winter’s chill.

 

Brenwyn offers counterpoint

a place where thieves can stick a dirk

lance a festering dwarven boil

before it bursts more putrescent verse.

 

Quickly before this night descends

into another tavern brawl

We part the two with consolatory words

lest sharp tongues turn to sharper blades.

 

Fast as anger rises, Gormlin

roars a hearty laugh

Mugs of ale dissolve his fury

fast as drink is downed.

 

Brenwyn slithes back into her brood

more difficult humour to cultivate,

nonchalant she shrugs, returns to table’s work

asserting all was spoke in jest.

 

Still, I fear for Gormlin’s fate

should fortunes find the pair alone

resolving differences in blood.

 

The plan is bared

its teeth gleaming, sharp and full of malevolence.

 

As rain sets in

rattling shutters above the constant din

I wonder to myself

what manner of man

would call himself adventurer.

 

 

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