Kingsday, Mercsmonth 20
The town of Bayside seems abandoned less than a week after the Festival of the Merchant. Wicked storms off the Dragon’s Rest Sea tore through Kepinger Bay on the Festival’s final night and turned the tent city outside of the town into a pit of mud and fouled carriages. But even the wreckage has been more or less cleaned up by this point, even though the rain only stopped as the sun went down on this Kingsday. Now, in a cloudless sky, Dragon’s last arc sits ready to dip below the horizon, its light casting a yellow orange glow upon the weathered doorway of the Twisted Maid.
One of several small taverns on the Bayside docks, the Twisted Maid has long been a watering hole and meeting place for those acquainted with the town’s underbelly. For whatever reason, it was always a good place to hide one’s face away for a time. Tonight, however, is not a night for hiding among strangers, but one for seeking friends.
And you find them.
The door opens silently into the quiet barroom. Dark shapes huddle close to the sputtering candles centering each tabletop as if seeking warmth from its glow. Yet, as the black hearth attests and the glistening sweat on each inch of exposed skin reveals, the rain did little to cut the sweltering heat and even less to alleviate the summer humidity.
A movement out of the corner of your eye draws your attention to the small pool of lantern light at the bar and the man behind it. The man’s name rushes from your memories so forcefully that you have to check yourself before saying it aloud. Boris Guthand, the tavernkeep; a man so short and stout you’d reckon he was half dwarf, if such an abomination actually existed. His hands busy drying a mug, he nods to a corner of the room, the motion setting his long earring pendulating.
You follow his nod to a corner table. Even before you approach, you recognize some of the shapes around it.