"There's usually a sound, at home in the quiet dark, like a gunshot, or a snare, so unique, yet so common, I think, that we hear, you know, when we're alone, makes us jump, a little, we never get up...we always kind of feel a bit queasy about doing that off the hop, but we always look keenly in that direction,peek around the corner, and always, always, push our chin in that direction. Feels a little cold, a little more silent, and we never make a sound."
"Yeah, sure, but I don't know about the snare drum."
"Isn't that eerie? There's never anything there, but we still want to ask, 'Who's there?', maybe we want someone to be there, just for some kind of thrill, or at least to know we're not hallicunating. A ghost, right? That'd be a great story."
"Yeah, sometimes I get up to check."
"Well, sure, everyone does, but not right off the hop. You wouldn't, right off the hop, you're too scared. You'd just kind of sit there, kinda dumbstruck, with hairs sticking up on the back of your neck. Especially you, but it doesn't matter, because it happens to everybody.""
"No, no, never right off the hop. That's true."
Somewhere in the distant future, this conversation would inevitably be had, and this is said, so that should one be so acutely involved in this tale, they might be warned, that nothing that happens here will ever change those things that go bump in the night, but to comfort any who hear such sounds, that this is a normal thing, and should not be overly alarming.
Before anyone had had a chance to properly introduce themselves, the door had opened and slammed no less than eighteen times, with each new entrant being taller than the last, like porcelain Russian nesting eggs bursting from the inside out. A priest of the Celtic persuasion had arrived to pronounce an impending cataclysm before realizing he actually had the wrong tavern altogether, and after sheepishly, yet sincerely apologizing to anyone who would listen, he had showed himself out through the kitchen, but not before giving the cook a knowing glance. A fiendish fellow with a rat's nose (in his hand) had disappeared into a flash of smoke so as to fraternize with a group of like minded candles. Then was the man with the hands of a fish come looking for his boots who was immediately followed by three sets of quintuplets whose ethnicities and motives had been all but reasonable. They had shown each other the most pleasant time, exchanging stories of growing up in crowded households, and had shared much laughter over such a queer coincidence.
Errol had found his table usurped by the newcomers, fooling himself that it was his notoriety that had brought them there, although in reality, the tavern was full, and none of them really saw him as being able to say much about it. Honestly, the heroes in this tale began it by being inconsiderate jerks. It would all quickly be forgotten.
The original two had begun to argue incessently. First, it was about who was tallest, but that had switched to who looked more imposing in the black cape which, according to the man in the bow, was actually a birthday gift, and that the first dark stranger had no business wearing. The barmaid had been called over, and hesitanrt to take sides, had been only able to neutralize the situation through a declaration that she had seen no figure as impressively daunting as the two of them combined. This had escalated into an arm wrestling bout over who was actually in a more foul mood.
The man with the bow had slammed his stein on the table, nearly knocking Errol off his stool, demanding why his stern faced counterpart had called him a chicken, before they both fell on their arms weeping in laughter at the misunderstanding of the word, "foul."
Errol had no idea where to look, or what this Hand was that they spoke of.
The white as snow, stony and sincered Brynawyndil, (from the corner, the first one) looked around once more , yet unsure whether to divulge her vital information, and her eyes shone even brighter than before when she approached Daugleriadwhen, whose waist length hair was covering the doe at her knees.
"So, Daugleriadwhen, , I only know your Elven name..."
Errol hopped up unto his stool, frantically waving his hands for attention. "Adored Warrior!"
Brynwandil eyed him warily, and turned to Dauleriadwhen, to respond, "Acrobat doppleganger." Before Errol could utter a rebuttal, she shushed him, and sternly intervened, "I know many things."
"I am not who you think.", hissed Dauleriadwhen, but it was a melodic hiss, with an underscore of jubilant rythm.
"Well, that just proves me* point. I didn't think you were.", snapped Brywaldin, her tone challenging the frigid weather outside the tavern.
The two other lumbards had taken to cooing at Errol and scratching behind his ears, amidst a gentle discussion as to how old he might be.
Errol was socaught up in his own foolishness that he noticed none of this, chastising his own foolishness for paying that Elven language instructor. He knew that was no elf the moment he saw him. My adult elf ears haven't grown in, that only happens when we turn 1300. Likely story that was! At least he could console himself that it had not been improper to slip deadly nightshade into the man's tea, rather than pay him for his time.
However, his ears picked up when he saw Daugleriad's muddy boots shimmy in a surprisingly demure manner towards the table, and she had leaned in so close to Errol's ear that for a moment he had felt that they were actually in unison.
"Your name isn't Brywaldin either, is it, Errol?"
It was then that Errol had realized what they all had in common.
*Although this may seem like an unlikely typo, 'me' is a way that Irish people or medieval characters speak in stories like this. It means <i>my<i>. Pirates have been known to use the same dialect when refering to timbers.