The fire crackled and sparks flew off to strike the floor, then die out.
Shameen licked his right paw while observing his only occupant. The dark
clothed man slumped over the table, tapping it in boredom. Shema was
humming a Shaperian song in the kitchen while preparing the evening meal.
The man introduced himself as Dante. There was something about the man that
Shameen didn't like, but he couldn't really put his paw on it. The times
were hard, since almost no travelers came to Spielburg anymore. As Shameen
was pondering the times that had come, the door to the inn swung open.
Shameen jumped up off his pillow. Standing in the door was what
appeared to be a very bloody warrior. His clothes, hair and body were
covered in blood and gore. The stench was amazing.
"Here! This is the inn!" The warrior said.
Two men stepped in from behind the warrior. One was wearing a large gray
hooded cloak that hid most of his features. The other wore a long red cape
and immediately pulled a purse out of his belt.
"How much for room and board?" He asked.
"Ah, the rooms are five silvers each, and the meals are two silvers."
The warrior slammed the door shut, oblivious to the loud sound it made. The
man in the cape pulled twelve silvers out of his purse.
"My name is Jester, and this is Darion."
The man in the cloak nodded. Shameen bowed.
"Welcome to The Hero's Tail. I am Shameen, and my Shema will immediately
start preparing your meal. Meanwhile, please, sit and enjoy the fire."
Darion and Jester sat down at the large table across from the brown
headed man. The warrior stepped forward and addressed Shameen.
"I am Geno Star, son of Laurence Star, and I am here to be your hero!"
Darion threw his hood off and shook his head. Jester coughed. Dante
pretended not to be interested in the new occupants.
"It is well to meet you, hero, but not well to smell you. You have the
sight and smell of many dead things."
"Oh, I guess I do smell kind of bad. I need a bath."
Shameen held his nose and led Geno to another room and closed the door
behind him. Shema appeared from the kitchen with two large trays of food.
She placed them down on the table.
"My goodness! What is that unholy stench?" She said.
Shameen pointed toward the door where Geno was, and the sound of running
water was heard. Shema walked over to a window and opened it. Jester
immediately grabbed a hunk of roast and several potatoes, placing them on
his plate. Darion took several potatoes and a leg of chicken. Dante
refilled his coffee mug and took a piece of roast. They all ate in silence
while sizing each other up. Suddenly Geno stuck his head out of the door,
his wet hair clinging to his face and neck. He threw his bloody clothes out
on the floor.
"My clothes don't smell to good. Can you please wash them?"
He shut the door. Shema walked out of the kitchen and picked them up,
holding her nose. She took them with her into the kitchen.
"That kid is as dumb as a saurus." Jester said.
"Who is he?" Dante asked.
"Just some kid we found in the forest. He killed about fifteen goblins and
now he thinks he's Hercules." Darion said.
"He is pretty strong, but goblins are nothing I hear." Jester added.
"So he wants the hero title, huh?" Dante asked.
"It would appear so." Jester said.
"And are either of you two looking for that position?" Dante asked.
Darion looked into Dante's eyes, but he found it hard. Long strings of
brown hair fell down, just covering his hazel color from barely being seen.
"The position is desired, but it's not the reward I'm looking for." Darion
"Then what are you looking for?"
"Honor." Darion said bluntly.
"I just want to learn some more spells and be the greatest wizard to grace
the earth." Jester said.
Darion turned to look at him.
"I thought you said you wanted to be the hero?"
"I just said that so you would let me travel with you."
Jester smiled weakly. Darion shook his head. Dante laughed. The door to the
bathing room opened and Geno stepped out in a fluffy white robe. His hair
was towel dried, and he still dripped a little water from his legs. He sat
down at the table next to Dante.
"Hi there. I'm Geno Star, son of..."
"I heard. My name is Dante Vellmont."
"Oh. It's great to sit next to you Sir Vellmont." Geno said, grabbing a leg
of chicken and stuffing his face.
"Why did you call me sir?" Dante asked.
"You look like the nobleman I served back in the castle I worked at. I
figured you were a nobleman." Geno said in between bites.
"I'm not a nobleman."
"Ok. I'm happy your not, because most noblemen are bastards."
Dante silently agreed with Geno. His father had been a bastard. But he was
still amazed that the kid had observed his place in society.
"So how old are all you guys? I'm 18 midsummers."
"22 midsummers." Jester said.
"21 midsummers." Darion said.
"...21 midsummers." Dante said.
"Wow, you guys are all older than me."
"Yes, it would appear so."
"I'm sleepy now. My first great battle, and now my first victory meal. That
deserves a heroic nap."
Shameen stood up.
"I would be happy to direct you to your room."
The other three occupants stood up.
"Or, I could show you all to your rooms. Please follow me."
The four followed Shameen up the stairs. Geno had the first room next to
the stairs. Dante received the room on the other side of Geno's. Darion's
room was at the end of the hall, and Jester was two doors down from Dante.
Entering his room, Dante cased it. Bed, dresser, chest, candles,
window. Window. He walked over to the window and opened it. He looked out
and saw that a long vine climbed up from the wall to the window. That would
prove very useful. He locked his door and blew out the candles. Stealthily
he climbed out of the window and down the vine to continue his quest for
riches and wealth.