Will rode into the small costal town known as Wet Walk around early evening, the sun would be on its way down now, but Will couldn’t say for sure as it was covered by a thick layer of grey clouds. The town had been extremely prosperous at one time when Abanard was much younger, as a result many buildings had marbled facades and statues of fish and mermaids were scattered along the main road.
The city had only the one main road, The Wet Walk aptly named after all the rain it saw, but was second largest port on the western shores of Abanard. Maiden’s kiss was the first, of course. It was, as usual, raining. It was only a light dusting but it coated the marble buildings and cobbled roads in a wet gloss, like the trail left from a slug. Wet Walk had moved on from it’s glory days trading spices and cloth from the southern realm and sending back the stones mined in the north. Wet Walk was still a fishing town, but no longer was it a port that traders visited if they could avoid it.
It was now known to be a smuggler’s hub.
Will was no smuggler, but he was little more than any other slug that traveled through the town. He wore rough spun travelers clothes, a blue tunic under a dark brown cloak to absorb the rain. He had been here a few times, before always for the same reason. Gold. He had a little on him, but his pocket felt heavy from the weight of the coins and his throat was rather dry.
He stopped in front of the Thirsty Lion, a large two story building with marbled columns rising from the ground up to support the second story landing. There were a few hitching posts for travelers off to one side where he tied his big grey mare.
“I won’t be long Walder.” He said to the horse, patting him on the head. “I’ll get a drink for you too.” He left his things with Walder, after taking his sword belt and buckling it on. He was glad for the weight of steel on his side. He wore a long sword and a southern gladius on his left hip in addition to the twin daggers that crossed at the small of his back. The daggers weren’t attached to his sword belt and hardly ever came off his back.
Will pushed the cold iron doors open and stepped into a lively room. The room glowed with fire light, coming from candles and a large fire raging int he middle of the room.There was a bard in the corner belting out a song about a Misty Mountain. Women sat with men, boys sat with women, and girls sat with men. Ale and water covered the slick marble floor. Will couldn’t help wondering how such a wonderful building ended up as a tavern.
Off to the side, almost lost in the revelry of that days work was a wooden bar. It’s dark oak almost fit in with grey shinny color of the walls and ceiling. Will made his way there, avoiding a particularly drunk youth stumbling out the door, and finding himself a seat at the bar.
The bar man was at the other end of the bar, white sleeves rolled up to his elbows, leaning on the counter talking to a pair of well dressed men. He looked down at Will and gave him a look that told Will he wasn’t a particularly hard worker. After finishing up his conversation he came down to WIll.
“What can I get you?”
The bar man, pulled out two bottles from the cabinets under the bar top. One was a clear color the other a rich amber. “Which will you have?”
“The dark one.”
“You expecting company?” asked the barkeep pouring the amber colored spirit into two glasses.
“One is for my horse.” Will said after draining the first cup.
“More?” The barkeep asked gesturing at Will’s empty cup.
“No, I don’t think Walder will be drinking his. He is a horse after all.” Will had discovered that if you show up with two swords and act just crazy enough to make people think your unstable but still capable of using the steel you carry, that generally you get better service.
Four promptly poured drink later Will was feeling very good about himself. He had been watching the wooden door in the back of the tavern for some time now and had decided it was just about time to go over. Most of the usual crowed had arrived. Cold Foot Joe, Hairy Harry and Newt the Noble to name a few. Newt was the one Will had been waiting for and so he paid the barkeep and headed to through the old wooden door.
Behind the door was a stairway leading down. The smell of ale and sweat was thick in the narrow stairway. The steps were slick, the water from previous patrons boots pooled on each step. The decent itself was dark but at the bottom, perhaps fifty feet down, light spilled up into the dank entryway. The sounds of merriment and drinking echoed in the small stone way. Will made his way down, feeling the effects of his spirits much more now that he was up off the bar stool. He placed his hand on the wall to guide him. When he reached the bottom, he was surprised to see the amount of people that had already arrived.
Besides Cold Foot Joe, Hairy Harry and The Noble, Will saw the Grail brothers and Bizarre Bertha, a rather hairy woman who totted an axe and was known to wear full mail. Will made is way giving a few cursory nods to the patrons that he did know as he made his way to the bar top below the bar. “The amber spirit.” He told the barkeep who had been watching him approach.
“You fightin’ or gamblin’?” The man asked as he poured the drink.
“Well I’ll be damned. Ain’t you the Wanderer?”
Will drained his glass and proceeded to tap it’s rim until the barkeep took the hint and poured him another. “Well I’ll be damned. Will the Wanderer.” Said a gruff voice from behind him. A large hand followed quickly slapping him on the back. “I thought you was only gonna fight in the circle. I thought we was below you.”
“We can’t all have what we wish.” Will didn’t turn to speak to the man, he knew him well enough and didn’t need a reminder of the man’s ugly face.
“Its good to see you, though I’ll bet some of the other fighters aint all to happy to see you. Suppose you heard Newt was coming?”
“I was just going to go talk to him actually.” He threw a couple coppers on the bar top and headed off to find Newt leaving Big Bill to chat with himself. The lower floor of the Thirsty Lion had once been a brewery, it had since been cleared out and turned into a make shift arena. The fights held weren’t technically illegal, but but beating another person senseless with a blunt weapon was illegal, the Thirsty Lion got away with it by saying it was just another bar fight. The gambling just happened to break out along with the fight.