Dragda, a half-orc barbarian, approached the edifice known as Iron Fort. The expected challenge to her presence was given, though being given entry into the town revealed that the defenses where undermanned; they didn’t have enough people on watch to lower the drawbridge and raise the portcullis at the same time.
She met the gatekeeper after that. Sabine let Dragda in after informing her of the rules, which boiled down to: ‘don’t make trouble’. After opening the final obstacle to entry, Dragda was directed to where the inn and tavern could be found.
It wasn’t long before the first caravan of the season arrived.
Joining the caravan for the journey were six newcomers. Somewhat oddly, five of them were related to each other in some way, the oddity being that they were a mix of humans, half-elves, and elves. There was Theraga, a half-elf fighter; Aderyn, an elven bard; Dore (like ‘dough-ray’), a human paladin; the half-elf sorcerer who only goes by Blue Eyes; Robin, an elven druid; and the outsider of them, Tair’vor, a magus.
Passage into Iron Fort was smooth, and the caravan stopped at the warehouse, while the passengers were directed to the inn and tavern.
Inside the One-Eyed Cat, Iron Fort’s only tavern, Dragda found a table in a corner. Brother Benedictus was nearing the end of his shift working. Working off his debt, that is. Ben had travelled south to Iron Fort to see what there was to see, and to avoid one or two previous bar bills.
Eventually, the six newcomers arrived at the bar. Not all at once; a couple of them had other things to do, such as reserving rooms at the inn. Most of them settled around one of the tables that resembled a picnic table.
Soon enough, the evening crowd came in. Ben’s replacement, Drogen, arrived. Ben switched from tracking other patron’s tabs to running his own, but stayed available if needed.
Dragda wanted to experience different drinks, so Ben thought it might be time to bring out the specialty beer he had created. Drogen, thinking the brewer mad for attempting his concoction in the first place, reluctantly went into the back and retrieved the small cask of drink. Putting a tap in, he poured out a mug for Dragda.
Dragda found the drink quite good, so Ben pronounced the brewing a success, relieved it hadn’t killed anyone. Yet.
The regular evening crowd started gathering, and noticed the number of newcomers in their midst. Drogen brought attention to this and called for people’s attention.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen so many adventurers gathered here. You are all adventurers, yes? Thought so. Last year we only saw two. The last time we saw more than four was… Grem! When was that?”
“Oh, five, no six years ago. Yes, six years ago,” Grem said.
“Right, six years. And when they explored the Southern Kingdoms, they made a map. A map carved out of the top of one of the tables just like that one,” Droga said, pointing to the picnic table most of the adventurers had gathered around.
The table was bare of any such carving, but that didn’t prevent some from looking at the underside to see if there was a map there.
“I’ve spent many a night under one or another of these tables, and I can assure you none of them have any maps on the underside,” Ben provided.
“What happened to the map they made?” someone asked.
“I think they took it with them when they retired,” Drogan said.
“Oh, I heard they destroyed it before they left,” Grem said.
“I heard they sold it to someone,” another tavern patron offered.
“Well, whatever happened to it, it’s gone now,” Drogan finished. “Heh. Guess you’ll be wanting to start one of your own, right?”