A full moon and a sky of stars burned over the smokey stacks of Balefire. Shipbells dinged mournfully from the docks and the streets were enveloped in a low hanging mist obscuring the passed out drunks and puddles of dark yellow and brown piss trickling down the cobbled gutters.
Sailors and hard-handed dock workers were carousing. Up and down the streets singing one nonsensical song after another while hellcats whistled and called to them beckoning them into the heavily perfumed sheets of the red light district. Some would get the night of their life others would wake up in a slaver ship heading for the distant lands around Eisigonol and Besignol. It was a devil’s game, but that the game everyone plays on the docks of Balefire. Fuck or be fucked. But as the stench of stale fish and bilge lift away the hills swell out in all directions.
Closed shops and squat houses rub shoulders with large fenced off manors and bustling Taverns of a...higher quality. Balefire is home to many people many guilds, but one tucked out past the town proper is both blessed and cursed with a reputation. Tis the Rogue’s Gallery, home of the thrill-seeking treasure hunting Rogues that make up the Gallery’s ranks. Criminals, runaways, outcasts, and wild beasts fill the two story long house. Open to the public, but under the thorough, but carefree eyes of the Guildmaster Dagur Harken. Disgraced son, self-made man, and fool extraordinaire according to some. But he doesn’t care, he’s earned his name, all that matters now is his people just closed a huge payday from the Dwarves of Ebonrock to find the ancient mine of the Green Water, this did so and were given a nice bag of emeralds apiece for the trouble. But the Guildmaster woke up with such a magnificent stamina today that he wore out two young serving girls before it was sated. And for an old man if that’s not an omen of even greater fortune he didn’t know what was. Nothing has happened yet, but he knew it would soon, his people were enjoying themselves even the dour merc Adam Oakland was smiling. He didn’t know where Balder or Tristifer were, but he was sure they’d show up soon. The rest of the inn was full of townspeople looking to spluge on good beer and good food away from the stink of the docks.
Tristifer strode through the door a bottle in his hand. His eyes flickered around the common room settling on the guildmaster, the archer raised his bottle in salute. Taking a long pull from the bottle he lowered it and moved into the room. Picking out a deserted chair the human sprawled across the seat comfortably, taking another pull from the bottle her glanced at Adam before offering the man the bottle.
It’s been a long time since Adam could say he was content. Not overly happy, just content. Life was going good. He was alive, employed and best of all no one was any closer to learning his secret. And now he had a bag of thirty emeralds on his belt, a leg of boar on his plate, and a tankard of the Guildmaster’s Reserve to wash it all down with. While the Gallery was open to the public the reserve was only for members of the Guild. And it’s violet color and strong burn was always a point of recruitment.
He didn’t know where the rest of his comrades were, but he was looking forward to some peace and quiet, the townspeople generally left him alone. It was nice, until Tristifer walked in carrying a bottle of his own choice. One of the few humans that make up the guild’s ranks, Sheva being the other one, but Tris was like a annoying kid brother sometimes. And as he handed him an empty bottle Adam had only one thing to say before tossing the bottle back. “Jerk.”
Snatching the bottle from mid air Tris smirked. “Bitch.” He shot back, before resting the bottle next to the leg of the chair. “Willing to gamble yours away yet?” Tristifer asked offhandedly. “I mean you're certainly not spending much hiding in here.”
The archer twirled a knife in the hand next to the bottle. The payday was nice however Tristifer was restless. The job didn’t require much in the way of his skills, and so he felt the need to flex certain muscles; As well paid as they currently are.
Adam chuckled leaning back in his chair lifting his tankard shaking his head.
“I’m not enabling one of your bad habits. Besides I got plans for those gems, why not go find Balder? He seems to enjoy gambling with you.”
“Have you ever asked him to pay on a lost wager?” Tris flipped the knife idly. “If its not an excuse to slip away its an accusation of cheating. Typical behavior from a ‘wise old trader.’ Besides, he's probably already broke.”
“Anyways, he insists on distance over accuracy anymore.” Tristifer smirked, “Only chance he has at winning.”
Adam laughed nodding at the Archer’s words. “Well when your ranged weapon is a boulder being shot out of a tree do you really need accuracy? Besides Have you ever actually tried to collect off him? He’s never welched a bet I won of him.” The Skirmisher put his tankard down and dug back into the boar’s leg. He took a few large bites that would make a Leor proud before nodding towards the kitchen. “Why don’t you get some food, you young boys are always growing and good food will help.” He said in a parental tone patting Tris on the head the reserve loosening him up enough to be a joker.
“You don't win 9 of 10 bets.” Tristifer said with a grin. At the mention of food his stomach rumbled. Tristifer whistled grabbing the attention of a serving girl; Receiving it he mimed eating, ordering a plate from across the room. The archer leaned back in the chair, sheathing his knife.
“That’s why I always bet big on time number ten and win it all back. So since you seem so keen on talking about my jewels am I to assume you spent all yours already?” He lifted the empty bottle from before and studied it. It was a rum of some kind, but foreign, granted Adam wasn’t a hard drinker like some of the others. “I do hope you didn’t spend thirty emeralds on this. Tell me it at least sang a song first.”
He chuckled again and placed the bottle in front of the other man again.
“If I had spent it all, what would I wager?” Tris stated. “And the bottle was won, so…” The archer shrugged. “Some people can't even toss a coin straight.”
The human smiled at the serving girl when she delivered his plate. He tore into the boar with gusto. Stopping to swallow, he turned to Adam. “There any pie tonight?”
Adam shrugged turning back to his own food, but a jovial voice answered the question.
“There’s always pie in the Gallery, Mr. Tris you know that!” Following the voice Guildmaster Harken soon appeared downstairs and joined the men ordering up his own mug of reserve. “Just don’t make a mess with the Baker’s daughter this time understood?”
Tris raised his fork in salute as the guildmaster joined them. “I make no promises,” The Archer shrugged, “Some pies taste better with sweet cream.”
“So,” Tris started between bites. “What brings you down amongst us plebes?”
Dague chuckled sipping his mug. “Well I have blessed with good feeling all day, and it’s telling me something dangerously exciting is about to happen.”
Adam chuckled finishing his meal. “More excitingly dangerous than find an underground river lined with emeralds and guarded by big rock monsters?”
The older man nodded and winked behind his mug. “Very much so.”
“Bout damn time.” Tris said through a mouthful. “Some of us aren't being used to our full potential.” He complained after swallowing. More it was that he wanted a bigger cut.
Dagur nodded lifting his mug in cheers to the other men.