The Hero’s Quest VII – Tavern Times
The Hero is unaccustomed to such large places, being a young Farmboy, and so immediately seeks refuge in Fantasy tropes. As such, he enters the first tavern that he sees, the appropriately named “Hero’s Rest”.
On greeting the bartender, he requests, “One pint of your finest ale, barkeep!”
This phrase is universally used by those entering an unknown place to announce to the regular patrons that they are not local, inexperienced, naive and possibly about to get drunk for the first time in their lives. Why this announcement is required remains a mystery.
The barman, who looks exactly as you picture a barman in your head, enthusiastically provides the drink while unsubtly nodding towards each of the establishments shadier patrons to invite their attention to the newcomer.
This scene marks the beginnings of The Hero’s first failure. A story without failure is a boring one indeed, and it is not the place of a Hero to succeed indefinitely. He must engage his audience through overcoming his failures in order that his inevitable victory feels believable and enjoyable. It will also serve to introduce The Hero to the wider world and the dangers that it presents. Apart from the beginning of the journey, which doesn’t count as that was necessary to establish a tragic backstory, his travels thus far have been remarkably easy. This must, of course, change.
With the various denizens of the establishment suitably aware of his presence, The Hero retires to quiet corner to decide on his next steps and get a little buzz going on from his first experience with Ale. He would like to think that he has selected a quiet corner, but in order for us to be able to see what is happening with clarity he has opted to sit next to the fire. This has the added bonus of his every movement casting shadows across the entire room, a wonderfully evocative image that symbolises how the actions of a Hero have consequences that reach across the lives of common folk.
As The Hero sits in reflective solitude, one of the shadiest of the shady folk inhabiting the bar approaches and sits in the chair opposite. Unlike the person who is mean, this particular person is obviously evil. He has scars on his face, but not in a cool way. He wears a hood that obscures his eyes, this being a universal symbol for having something to hide. There is a knife in his hand that he twirls in a menacing manner, one of those viciously sharp curved knives with several notches in the blade just to make sure that any onlooker knows that he has used it before. The biggest giveaway of his evil intention is that the man who sits opposite The Hero is dressed all in black. Dead giveaway, right?
When the man talks, it is with an obviously fake cheeriness that contains an undertone of menace. The Hero is, of course, oblivious. If he was wise to such things then he would avoid the danger that was about to befall him, but that doesn’t fit with his narrative.
“Are you looking for someone, little boy?”