Along the many grand, stone roads of the Achaean Empire, numerous inns had cropped up to accommodate weary travelers. This was one such inn, a little place along the road connecting Piera to the Tall Fort. From here, a traveler could see much on a crisp day: they could see many rolling farmlands, and the hilly orchards of Appledale far in the distance. Looking back, they might even be able to spy the tall cities of Piera and even Whitehorn in the distance.
The inn itself was fairly cozy, not really suited for a large traveling party but perfect for a smaller one, and it even had a stable outside for horses and other travel animals. It had a fairly sizable downstairs, with numerous tables and chairs, and an innkeeper, his wife, and his daughter running the place. They were nice enough, all kindly peasant folk trying to make an honest living. The food and ale was good, and at night, the inn was lit with the warm glow of wooden chandeliers and assorted candles, along with a crackling fireplace.
Every upstairs room was laid out the same: two beds, each with their own nightstand and chest for holding goods, with one window in between them. The furnishings were simple but effective, not too rich and not too poor.
But for the riders approaching the inn and stables now, they could see nothing of the pleasant views for the thin, misty rain turning their whole world grey and shrouding everything in fog. It coated their suits of armor in a layer of fine moisture, making them shimmer all the more as they approached the lantern hanging outside the inn.
Heading the large group of riders were the proud Templars, clad in all their red, gold, and silver, spangled in the stars of Astra Aeterna. At the front of the group rode Knight-Captain Stevan Rolf in his winged helmet, alongside Lady Mina Tamaria. None of the Templars were arranged in any particular rank or file, though they rode in a disciplined formation: Sarael Raia, Malvolio Borgia, Gauvain Frigidian, Irena Cathas, and Sebastian Leclair.
Joining the Templars and taking up the center of the group were the black-clad Inquisitors, headed by Inquisitor-General Sir Tobias du Edrimark. Flanking him were Ben Blackburn, Kristina Reyne, Mettius Tibur, Evan Ebonstone, Cicero Silius, Lucy Augustus, Augustin Caesar, and lastly, Yaroslava Sturm, with her black moosehound Shade walking alongside her steed.
Riding silently at the back of the group was one pair of Venatori, partnered up for this mission: Hadrian Holt and Grey Blackwell.
The horses were growing tired. They had been informed of several places they could go next to continue their investigation, but they had yet to agree on which one took priority. Such matters could be discussed easily at this inn, where they would take up residence for the night. After all, if they would have to get used to working together, and they hadn't eaten supper yet. They had been riding for hours, and they could stand to have a nice meal instead of food eaten on the road.
Right now, it seemed discussion of their mission would be put aside in favor of their immediate needs. This inn seemed like the perfect place to do that. Shade clearly agreed, as the hound trotted up to the door and looked back at them with his bright pink tongue lolling out.
Once the horses and mules were stabled, the large party of Templars, Inquisitors, and the two Venatori entered the inn. The innkeeper's jaw dropped the second he saw them, and the tankard he'd been wiping off very nearly fell right out of his hands. But he promptly set it down and got ready to fix some food and drinks.
"I, uh - don't have enough room to accommodate quite so many, milords," said the innkeeper, sounding like a nervous wreck to see so many finely-clad Imperial officials saunter into his humble establishment. "I certainly have enough food and drink, but I'm afraid several of you will have to share rooms."
Stevan arched a brow, glancing over one large shoulder to everyone else. "We can manage," he said optimistically, offering the innkeeper a smile. He promptly went over to the bar to order himself some food and a drink, setting his helmet down on the counter beside him and pushing the coif off his head and neck, which fell away from his scarred throat.
Meanwhile, the others started to split up. The innkeeper's wife and daughter were serving food and drinks. Yaroslava took a seat in the corner with her cheerful dog and started sharing her food with him, but as she sat down she remarked to everyone present, "Whoever bunks with me is bunking with Shade, too."
Ben grunted something in disapproval at that idea, sitting in his own corner apart from his fellow Ebonguard and her hound. He finally removed his helm for the first time since anyone had met him and put it on the table beside him as he accepted an ale from one of the serving women, propping a guitar - which he'd carried in from his horse's saddle - against the wall by his side while he focused on drinking for the time being.
Sebastian, however, shrugged and said, "I'm not choosy. I can sleep on the floor, if need be." With that, he went over to join Stevan at the bar and eat his meal.
Well, that was it. After they ate their fill, they'd have to pick one or two people to share a room with. It was time to get acquainted. In the morning, they could decide where to go next.
((Welcome to Damnatio Memoriae. Just to kick things off, I'm going to shove everyone straight into some character interaction, before you decide exactly how you want to pursue Letom and try to find his trail. So now's the time to mingle with your fellow players and the NPC companions, all of whom will - of course - be very important in the coming adventures.
Oh, and since the inn doesn't have many rooms, as mentioned... be sure to pick someone, or two or three someones, you would like to share a room with. No, not that way. Still, this might just be your first choice and consequence.
You can find an updated player list, including the NPCs, at the end of the starting post for the Damnatio Memoriae sign-up thread. Be sure to check the NPC Companions thread for further descriptions of your other traveling partners, listed under the section for this campaign. Have fun!))