Memoirs of Father Shiron
Part 5 - B&B
Falamir and Shiron both tripped over together and went crashing into a tangled heap on
"What was that?"
asked Shiron in a perplexed tone. "I just tripped over but
there's nothing there at all to cause it." The others exchanged
amused knowing glances and Feanar answered his question.
"That is something that
happens if you aren't extra careful in situations like these."
what?" asked a bemused Falamir.
"Crossing a time interface
during an adventure."
What are you talking about?"
"What is the time
now?" asked Feanar. Falamir glanced at his red Ingersol quartz.
"3.20 pm." he
"Right," said Feanar. "And what was the time when, I quote, 'the party picked up their weapons and
equipment and marched off onward into the next part of their quest'?"
"3.15." replied Falamir.
"Right again," said Feanar. "That's 5 minutes adventure time, but in 'reality' it's
a whole day, as the author stopped writing at 3.15 our time and went to
bed. He then recommenced writing the following day at 3.20 our
time. Get it?"
Falamir scratched his head and
looked a bit pained. "Yeah, I think so."
"So he inadvertently created a 'time step' which you both very
carelessly tripped over, although it's perfectly understandable as you've
never come across one before and it doesn't mention them in The
Book. They can happen at any time but once you have got some
experience under your belts you get a feel for when one's coming and take
avoiding action. You may have noticed us all walking rather
strangely when we started off again after dinner.
"Yes. We couldn't
really miss it. We both thought you must all be pixilated after
drinking too much Carlsberg. Striding along arm in arm with big
ungainly steps shouting 'Oggy Oggy Oggy, Oi Oi Oi' at the top of your
"Precisely." said Feanar.
"I see," said Shiron and
Falamir in unison, together and simultaneously both at the same
"The singing and linking
arms isn't strictly necessary, just the big steps, but it's more fun that
way. It makes onlookers think we just a load of drunk mates having a
laugh rather than looking completely crackers."
"Good idea," said
Shiron and Falamir both at the same time simultaneously, together and in unison. "We'll remember that for next time."
The party continued onwards. The ground was now sloping away from
them (a subtle literary phrase meaning they were going downhill!).
They had reached the crest of the hill at dinner time, or lunch time,
whatever you want to call it and were now walking down the other side of
it which I might add is a very large hill with lots of grass 'n' stuff on
it, and some sheep, anyway.....
(To avoid further confusion among the readers concerning
relative meal times - Breakfast is had at breakfast time, lunch is had at
dinner time and dinner is had at tea time. 3 meals are generally
taken during the day unless there is a big battle going on or the
characters have been incapacitated by death or a sleep spell or
something. In author speak they are Breakfast, Dinner and Tea. Breakfast is eaten first, then dinner followed by tea unless of
course the party are sucked into a mirror dimension where the reverse is
the case. Clear? Good.)
Most of the afternoon was taken up with walking down the
hill and at around 5.30 pm the party noticed a ruin to their right as they
passed round a cluster of tall trees. The ruin looked very untidy
and poorly kept and, well, ruined. All in all quite usual for that
kind of thing really but there was enough of it left standing for it's
past purpose to be ascertained. It had been a temple or church, some
kind of religious structure which looked like it had been derelict for
much longer than the last 6 lines.
Just prior to spotting the ruin
the party had seen what they had been heading for, a village, nestled
between the base of the hill and the sea. The village was still a
good hours walk further on and they were all beginning to feel
weary. Thoughts of a cozy tavern with fine beer, hot food and snug
beds permeated their minds so they decided to give the ruins a miss for
today and press on to the village to spend the night. The ruins
would still be there tomorrow.
1 hour later......
The party entered the village,
looking about as they walked down the main street. It very much
resembled a little old fishing village, probably because it was a little
old fishing village. The buildings were of a timber and natural
stone construction, complete with thatched roofs, smoking chimneys and
deep set windows with the occasional characteristic round-warped effect
glass panes. The single main street wound its way down to the
harbour where wooden landing jetties projected into the calm water from
the rear of the quayside buildings. Fishing nets were hanging from
poles all around the harbour, drying in the evening sun. All looked
tranquil and sleepy, very much picture postcard, except for sounds of
music and party noises emanating from a ship docked at the main
jetty. The ship was rather large and obviously not a fishing
boat. It seemed out of place in this quaint little harbour.
They all agreed the first
priority was to get the drinks in and so they made their way back up the
street to the only tavern they could find. The appropriately named Village
Tavern emanated a welcoming homely amber glow from it's
downstairs windows and general tavern type sounds filtered through it's
large open front door into the street. Looking up Dick noticed one
of the upstairs windows displayed a little red light.
"This looks just the
place," he said, nudging Presto in the ribs and nodding his head
towards the upper story as he spoke.
"This is the only place by
the looks of things," answered Erendil. "Let's get
inside and sort out some rooms for the night and then get some
nosh." The party entered the tavern and were relieved to notice
that the patrons greeted them with little more than cursory glances before
returning to their business.
"This has got to be the
right place," observed Feanar. "They've hardly paid
any notice to us compared with those people back at the resort.
They're all dressed similarly to us apart from the armour and weapons
and the village in general is much more in keeping with a D&D
adventure. That resort was definitely out of place."
"Quite so Feanar,"
said Presto. The party found a large vacant table, piled their gear
on the floor and sat down.
"Who's round is it
then?" asked Dick rubbing his hands, eager to get the nights
drinking underway. "I seem to remember you still owe me a
couple of drinks Presto after I rescued you from that Hill Troll two
"And they say elephants
never forget," replied Presto with a resigned look.
"I'll get the first lot
in," said Erendil. "It'll give me the opportunity to find
out some information from the bar staff." He turned to
Shiron. "In these sort of fantasy adventures the innkeeper is
always a mine of knowledge about all sorts of stuff. Local places,
people, happenings, rumours, you name it. They are also very well
connected and can put you in touch with useful people. In fact now
it's a requirement of every adventure, laid down in The Book. Once
an adventuring party went out on strike because there wasn't a helpful innkeeper
to be found anywhere, caused an awful fuss." Shiron
nodded in a 'I'll bear that in mind' kind of way.
Erendil made his way over to
the busy bar which stretched along the entire length of the far wall, and
sat down on a stool straight across from the pretty barmaid.
"Hello there," said
Erendil in a suave voice.
the girl. "What do you fancy?"
"We'll get to that
later," answered Erendil with a grin. "First things
first. What's your name?"
answered, deftly pulling a pint of bitter into a pewter goblet.
"I'm the innkeeper's daughter. That's my father, Mr. Artois, back
there." She nodded her head in an apologetic sort of way to a
rather tubby looking man in a beer stained apron being sick in the back
room. Erendil raised an eyebrow in surprise but otherwise maintained
"I see. Well then
Stella, I'll have 6 pints of your finest house ale please. (If you
can't get that one first time then I'd give up now!)
"Certainly sir," said
Stella and proceeded to pour the requisite number of pints of you know
what. "That'll be 3 silver pieces please."
"3 silver pieces?"
choked Erendil in disbelief. "It's only 98 pence a pint in my
local back home."
"We like to think of it as
'reassuringly expensive'," answered Stella defensively. "It's
partly the tourist trade which allows us to charge so much but we also
suffer heavy taxes here, especially of late due to the happenings."
Erendil's elven ears pricked
perceptively forward as his senses sharpened. "The
happenings? What do you mean?" he enquired.
"I don't really know that
much about it myself but my father will no doubt be able to tell you more
if you are interested. He knows all about that sort of thing you
know. It was a requirement of the job. He could only take on
as innkeeper if he was a mine of local knowledge and had connections in
all the right places. Something about keeping up the popular image,
or something like that."
"I would be most
interested to hear more if your father doesn't mind. We'll be
sitting over there when he's, erm, ready. Thanks for the drinks,
keep them coming." Erendil paid for the round and, placing
them on a tray, carried them carefully over to the others. They only had time for a couple of deep, thirsty swigs
before the innkeeper
appeared at the table.
"Stella tells me you'd
like to see me sir," he said to Erendil.
Erendil. "I understand you are a mine of knowledge about local
happenings and know all the right people."
answered the man self consciously. "I do so hate being
type-cast. I've run several hostelries in my time and it's always
the same - 'requirement of the job', blah blah blah. It
would be nice just for once to not have to keep up with everything that's
going on and maintain good relations with all sorts of folk who may or may
not prove useful. But that's the way it's got to be so here I
am. Have you any idea how much time and effort it takes? It's
hard enough work keeping the tavern running smooth, especially in high
season, without all this as well. Anyway sir, that's not your
problem now is it. What can I do for you?"
"I couldn't help noticing
you being rather ill earlier," observed Erendil.
"Are you alright?"
"Oh I must apologies for
that sir," apologized the innkeeper. "I was
experimenting with a new mixture and unfortunately it rather disagreed
"Oh, and what was
that?" enquired Dick as he finished off his pint and wiped his arm
across his mouth.
"A rather potent cocktail
consisting 2 parts lager, 1 part sweet cider and 1 part whiskey,"
answered the innkeeper sheepishly.
"Good God man, that sounds
disgusting," said Dick with a grimace.
"It doesn't taste that bad
actually, especially after a few tinnies to warm up, but it does kind of
take you by surprise and then you're on the road to chunder city."
"Definitely sounds like
something to avoid for the future," Dick advised.
"Absolutely. I think
I'll stick to Snakebites from now on," agreed the innkeeper.
"I'm for another,"
announced Dick emphasizing his empty glass. "My round."
"But I've only just
started mine," said Falamir with a virtually full pint before
him. The innkeeper gave him a suspicious look.
"Are you over 18?" he
"We'll, err, no, not
exactly," answered Falamir in an annoyingly, frustratingly
"No matter," said the
innkeeper. "Although the prices have gone up of late the
licensing laws have been relaxed and so you can get a drink at any
"Thank goodness for
that," said Falamir with relief in his voice. "I couldn't
face having to drink bitter lemon for the next 2 years. This stuff's
really nice. What is it?"
"It's our own home
brew," answered the innkeeper proudly as pride swelled in his
chest. "We haven't actually given it a name yet. If it
was a pure hop beer I would have been tempted to call it Artois Ale but
it's more of a strong lager and so I'm stuck for a good name."
"I'm sure you'll think of
something," said Falamir.
Presto slammed his newly
emptied glass down on the table. "Set 'em up Dickie boy.
Will you join us Mr. Artois?"
"Well alright but just a
Pepsi thank you," answered the innkeeper rubbing his ample stomach
under the beer stained apron. He pulled up a nearby stool and sat
down. "I've had enough alcohol for the time being."
"Does your fine
establishment provide any gastronomic amenities Mr. Artois?" asked
"Beg pardon?" replied
the innkeeper puzzled.
"Food," said Presto.
"Ah. Yes of
course. We have a full a la carte menu available between 6.30 pm and
10.30 pm, a specialty Chinese menu, a comprehensive range of bar meals and
snacks served from 12 pm onwards and, when it's in season of course, the
house specialty, fresh Dover sole."
"Mmm, I fancy that, but
when is it in season?"
"Great. Put me down
for one then please."
The others all agreed that the
house specialty sounded fine and so the innkeeper ordered up a batch from
the kitchen along with a basket of appropriate condiments.
Dick returned with a tray of
brimming pints and a Pepsi and Erendil leaned in conspiratorially towards
the innkeeper. "Now then Mr. Artois. What's all this
about strange happenings?"
"What's it to you, if you
don't mind me asking? Can't be too careful these days, a lot of
funny folk about and information is power, as they say."
Erendil looked around him,
leaned in even closer and answered in such a way as only the innkeeper
could hear him (called whispering in his ear). "Quite so.
We are a party of professional adventurers, hired to solve the problems of
"Thank goodness for
that. So you are the people we've been waiting for!" exalted
the innkeeper so everyone in the entire place heard.
Erendil visibly winced as he
put a finger to his lips. "Keep it down please. We don't
want every Tom, Dick and Sauron to hear of our business. No offence
Dick." Dick was too engrossed in his pint to even notice.
the innkeeper. "I'm just so happy that someone's finally here
to do something about it. I guess it started about 3 months
They all gathered closer about
the table and listened with interest. "You see it all started
when there was this.........." The innkeeper's voice faded into
a inaudible monotone and the scene became all fuzzy so you couldn't follow
what was being said. That's what it's like in films when they don't
want you to hear the story being told isn't it? After about 15
minutes the haze cleared and the innkeepers talking became audible
again "..........and now you're here and will hopefully sort it
all out." They all pushed their empty plates away and
complimented Mr. Artois on the fine meal that had arrived sometime during
the hazy, inaudible bit.
"I see," said Erendil
rubbing his chin in a thoughtful manner. "Interesting.
Very interesting indeed. I think that calls for another
"Hear hear," agreed
Dick enthusiastically. "Must be your round now
Presto." Presto grudgingly got up and made his way to the bar.
"You say these hippy types
in the ship turned up just after it started and have been here ever
since?" asked Erendil.
"That's right. But
they haven't really been any trouble at all, other than the all night on board
parties, and the freely available mind altering drugs," added the innkeeper.
"But you think they're
connected with the strange events?" probed Erendil.
"I'm sure of it. Got
to be more than just coincidence them turning up like that, but they're
good at hiding it if they are," responded the innkeeper.
"OK we'll check them
out." said Erendil in an authorative way. By now you must have
noticed that Erendil is the front man of the outfit. This is mainly
because his ego is bigger than everyone else's put together and his desire
for EPs (experience points) is unprecedented. "We'll get
started in the morning, meanwhile we'll be needing somewhere to stay
overnight and possibly for the duration of our business here.
sir," said the innkeeper. "We have a number of rooms
upstairs all with en-suite and mini bar at very reasonable
rates." They booked up 3 twin rooms and then returned to the
important business of drinking more pints of Mr. Artois fine home brew.
"Let's not get too carried
away lads," said Feanar. "Remember we've got a job to do
tomorrow and we'll need our wits about us."
"Spoilsport. First one under the
table's a sissy," contradicted Dick. They all took up the
challenge and stayed up well into the night for a lock in, getting
absolutely plastered. At last they staggered upstairs and somehow
managed to sort out who was sharing with who. They all crashed out
on their beds and immediately fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
There was a thunderous crashing on the door. Shockwaves reverberated
around the room and straight through Falamir's head. He put his
hands over his ears to block it out but it didn't seem to help at
all. His brain felt like it was being violently pounded from
within. He cracked open an eye and immediately shut it again as searing
bright white light fired into it. He vainly struggled to
comprehend what was happening. Were they under some kind of magical
attack? Was there a dragon in the room with them? Was the
world ending? Why did he feel so dreadfully bad? He turned his
head and dared to open his eyes again. Although still bright, the
light was not so blinding as before and he could make out vague
details. He was still in the tavern bedroom and he could make out
Shiron lying motionless in the adjoining bed. A quick check revealed
the room was thankfully mageless and dragonless. The searing light
was nothing more than sunlight streaming in through the window.
Again the door thundered but this time he could make out a voice over the
din. It sounded a bit like Dick.
"Come on ladies, get
up. It's nearly 9 o' clock. We're all down stairs waiting for
"For goodness sake please
keep it down will you?" pleaded Falamir pathetically as the very
effort of speaking sent fresh sharp pain shooting through his head.
"Don't be such a
pansy. Get your butts out here, there's work to be done."
Movement and groaning came from
Shiron's bed. "Oh God I feel awful," said a shaky voice.
"Me too," agreed Falamir. "We'll be down as soon as we can," he said to the
"OK but don't take too
long about it. You don't want to make me come in there and get you."
Falamir heard the sound of heavy boots disappearing back along the wooden
landing. 15 minutes later they appeared in the tavern lounge feeling
and looking like death warmed up.
"Oh dear. Can't take
our drink can we lads?" teased Dick with a wry smile. Falamir thought some of the others looked like they didn't fell much better than
he and Shiron did, Presto especially, who was slumped against the stair
rail. Falamir shuffled over to Feanar who looked brighter than
most. Maybe he could just magic him well again.
"Can you do anything for a
banging headache Feanar?" he asked hopefully.
"Luckily for you,
yes. Put out your hand and close your eyes." Falamir did
so expectantly. "As with most spells there is a material component," continued
Feanar as Falamir heard a rattling sound and
felt something fall into his hand. "You can open your eyes
Falamir saw two small round
white pills in his hand. "What are these?" asked Shiron
who had also received some.
answered Feanar. "You know what to do with
"Yes, thanks," they
replied, feeling slightly short changed.
Predictably, Erendil took charge of the situation. "While we
were all asleep, someone slipped this note under Dick and Presto's
door." He held up a written piece of parchment and gave it to
"But it's just a shopping
list," said Shiron puzzled.
Erendil rolled his eyes. "Try the other side." Shiron
turned it over and with Falamir peering over his shoulder, read the note -
'Leave now while you still have the chance. The business of this
place is none of your concern. If you involve yourself you will
bring great evil down upon you. This is your first and only
"Seems someone doesn't want us here." said Shiron handing it back.
Erendil. "We've got no way of knowing where or who it came
from. Maybe if we had set a watch we would have found out and got a
valuable lead on the case but instead we're in a worse position than
before as who ever we're after knows we're here and is ready for us."
"Told you so," said Feanar
"It's my fault," said
"We're all as much to
blame as each other," continued Erendil. "We'll consider
it a lesson learnt. The important thing is what we do about it
"Didn't Mr. Artois mention
the ruins last night?" said Feanar. "He said nobody went
near there now because strange things have been seen and heard there
"Yes, I believe he
did," answered Erendil.
"Well, then I suggest we
start there as it's the best thing we've got to go on at the moment."
"Sounds good to me,"
agreed Erendil. "What about the rest of you?" There
were general nods of agreement from the others but Falamir piped up,
"I'd rather go back to bed
if it's all the same to you."
"We all go together.
One golden rule in this game is never split the party, it causes all sorts
of problems and can lead to disaster. Anyway the walk in the fresh
air will do you good."
"OK then, let's go,"
"That's my line,"
"I give the commands
around here," answered Erendil, his ego inflating rapidly.
"Oh, I'm so sorry old boy,
I didn't mean to intrude. Please, be my guest," retorted Feanar
with a huge slice of sarcasm as he bowed theatrically.
"Good. Ok then,
let's go," commanded Erendil in a commanding way. The
others rolled their eyes and exchanged tired glances as they picked up
their gear and followed Erendil outside into the glorious morning
Here endeth Part 5.
Don't miss the next episode 'Going Down'
It's here now. Click on Next.