The innkeeper of the Sleepy Grove Inn in eastern Gategrove was caught off guard when a highwayman had him at knife's edge. And as that knife threatened to jab between his ribs, the man obligingly showed the brigand that the people he was searching for were not, in fact, staying in the inn.
Room after room was quietly opened and inspected, just quietly enough not to disturb the other patrons of the inn. In the darkness of the halls, nobody noticed the look of panic etched upon the innkeeper's face.
"As I told you, they did not stay here."
"There's something you're not telling me. I can smell more than a lie. You're omitting something fierce."
The innkeeper gulped, "They reckoned they were being followed, when they fled."
"Eh? What tipped them off?" asked the highwayman, as he drew the iron knife threateningly to the man's neck.
"Oh, you're n-not the only one following them. They weren't the first bit of t-trouble that came to visit me last night," said the innkeeper.
"Who? Spit it out before I gut you!"
"Gifted knights, in golden armour. I've not seen their likes in years."
"You tellin' me lies, just to save your skin?"
"No sir! I can show you where these knights are staying. You see, there's a special room that every innkeeper in these parts keeps. We reserve it for those that know of it, those of desperation and secrecy. More than often, they're Gifted folks like those peculiar ones you're tailing."
"So you're saying these knights are here? Show me!"
The man slowly walked towards the edge of the inn's anteroom and pulled away at some loose floorboards after moving a rocking chair to the side. And then he lifted a handle, and pulled up a trap door.
"See for yourself," said the innkeeper, as he began to contemplate another line of work. He knew, however, that the knights of Summerealm would make quick work of the thief even if they were caught off guard. He even smiled, as the other man walked down the stairs below the hatch.