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Chapter One – Raven Inn.

Every good adventure begins in an inn; the story of Garan starts behind one, bent over, throwing up.

  The back alley of Raven Inn lay in shadows. There were no windows on this side of the inn, and the sun had long since gone down. It was also muddy because of a cool spring rain coming down. Faint sounds of merriment came through the walls, but Garan didn’t care about merriment at the moment. Instead his throat contracted, and he heaved up drinks from the inn, splashing in the mud.

  Garan straightened back up, wiped his mouth, and looked around. No, no one had seen him here, throwing up. He gave a slight smirk at that, then loosened his ponytail, letting the shoulder-length dark brown hair fall in front of his face again. He shook himself, both from the cold and to clear his mind. Looking around, he walked to the backdoor, opening it, he adopted a slouch, put a mirthful grin on his face, stepped inside, and pulled up his pants a bit. He took two steps, then swerved to his left, putting a hand out to catch himself on the wooden wall.

  “Heyyy,” he drawled on the word, smiling at the three men at the table he left just a few minutes earlier. He could smell a bit of vomit on his breath and grabbed a beer from the barkeep and took a big swig to wash that away. The barkeep began protesting that it wasn’t his beer until the silver Griffon hit the counter. Then he just nodded and started pouring another while Garan carried off the one he’d grabbed.

  “Room for more drink now, Bill?” a short but wide man with crude cut black hair, and a leather armor that had more holes than leather, grinned up at Garan as he returned to the table. Garan just nodded, then sat down on his chair with an unsteady move.

  “Can’t have too much…,” another man, this one slim, almost bony, his head shaved bald. His voice trailed off, not finishing the sentence, his eyes losing focus. The last man at the table didn’t say anything, but soft snoring was audible from where his head rested on the table, his thick beard fluttering with his deep breaths.

  Garan looked between the two that were awake. “To, new fwiends…,” he raised his pitcher in the air, the other two following along, all taking a long swig from their drinks.

  “Two nu … ends,” Crude Cut said with a drunken grin and almost missed the table as he put the mug down. He grinned at his own failure and tried to hit the table two more times before he was successful. Then he leaned back in the chair. “Just clos’in me eyes a mom’nt,” he mumbled as his eyes closed, and he smiled, almost sighing in pleasure.

  The bony man looked at him… “Can’t hold their likvor.. liccur… liquor..” he gave a small laugh, stood up from his chair, pointed at the two sleeping men, then sat down again, missing the chair.

  Garan quickly reached out and grabbed Bony; he was surprisingly heavy for such a skeleton of a man. “Why don’t I help you back to your room, mate? … you can’t even sit on your chair.”

  “Nah… I’m… good,” Bony mumbled as he let himself be led past a few tables and through the door to the rooms of the inn.

  “Do you remember the number?”

  “Four,” Bony said, his feet disappearing under him as he swung up his hand to show five fingers, only Garan holding him up.

  “Four it is,” Garan nodded, then stopped before door number four and helped Bony get his key out of his pocket. He unlocked the door, Bony hanging on his shoulder, then stepped inside, guiding him to one of the cots in there, and letting him fall onto it. Looking around, he started going through the backpacks in the room. One by one, Garan rummaged through them till he found a thick-handled dagger in a beautiful black scabbard with silver scrollwork. He smiled, putting the blade in an inner pocket on his worn leather coat, then slid the backpack back under the bed. Bony was already snoring on the bed. Garan straightened back up then walked to the door with steady steps. Avoiding the common room, he exited to the back alley and hurried away from the inn.

  “Like taking candy from a toddler,” he grinned, then burped. Closing his coat tight in the rain, he strode through the empty evening streets of Holztown, eager to reach his own inn at the outskirts of town. Almost no one was out at this hour. No sane person wanted to go out into this rain if it wasn’t necessary, so Garan arrived unchallenged to his inn, going straight inside and grabbing his gear from his room. He gave a quick nod to the innkeeper on his way out, having already paid him this morning. Garan strode to the stables and saddled his horse, waving the stable boy away as he threw him a copper bit to spend, not needing his help.

  “Time to ride again, Noi,” he said as he tightened the girdle, then threw his saddlebags over the back of the tall, brown horse. The horse neighed, “Yeah, I know, I know… you’d rather sleep now, but I think we’d better leave town quickly.” Garan led the horse outside, then mounted up and waved to the stable boy, who was closing the door for warmth, as he rode out of town.

Where does the story go next?

Choice 1: Garan meets a strange old man traveling
Choice 2: Garan gets attacked by goblins outside of town
Choice 3: Come with a suggestion in the comments

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Read the intro text • Go to Chapter Two (coming)