The tavern room was what Kelgar had expected for a town this size. There was a bed, much too small for Kelgar’s girth, a single chest for keeping whatever belongings the patron deems precious and a wash stand in the corner with a half shattered mirror barely hanging onto the wall above the sink. Kelgar noted that the maid had already delivered two buckets of steaming hot water to his room and assumed she must have seen him get up from the back table in the bar to pay for his drinks.
“At least the service is good…” Kelgar grumbled as he set Betsy against the far wall, the floor boards creaking in discomfort under the weight of his war maul.
Kelgar set his attention to the chest at the foot of the bed, observing that it was made rather well, solid oak, steel hinges and a place for a solid padlock should he have one to secure his belongings. Opening the lid to the chest, it creaked from lack of oil and a waft of stale oak tinged air assaulted his nostrils. Inside was a simple quilt for the colder nights. Even with the quilt, the chest was deep enough to hold Kelgar’s backpack of meager belongings. Shutting the lid, Kelgar rose to his feet with a grunt, his body reminding him that he was no longer the spring chicken from the years when he served in the Order of the Sacred Hand. Kelgar welcomed the pain though; it reminded him that he was alive.
The giant 52 year old, began undressing. His already large frame was made more impressive by the full plate mail under the oversized linen tunic he wore over it to hide the markings of the Sacred Hand. He lay the tunic in the corner to be washed by the hand maidens later, and started unbuckling his gauntlets, pauldrons and breastplate. The armor of the Sacred Hand was dwarven crafted and designed to uphold through years of abuse without losing its infamous silver gleam, but since his exile Kelgar had abandoned the tradition of oiling and polishing the armor each night. The armor was now a dull iron shade, with stains of grime and blood splatter from previous encounters. Nevertheless, a man of practicality, Kelgar pulled out a small vial of oil and cotton cloth from his back pack and began massaging the leather straps and buckles knowing that while the iron may have lost its gleam, the leather was more critical in keeping the armor functional.
Once his armor was taken care of, Kelgar removed his undergarments and examined himself in front of the shattered mirror. The goblins that day had successfully rendered him unconscious for a bit, landing two blows that Kelgar had not expected. The first goblin was all but dead and so Kelgar arrogantly left it behind for the friar to deal with when it lashed out and dug its scimitar into small gap between his thighs and calf that was unarmored behind the knee. The second found the unprotected space of the underarm where the pauldrons and breastplate joined together.
“Ye gettin careless old man…” Kelgar muttered to himself as he examined the two wounds. The friar’s magic had done wonders, closing the wounds, healing the infection such that all but a faint shade of pink remained where the scimitar blades had pierced his skin. The muscles were still tender, but even that would abate in a few hours and there would be no reminder of his carelessness. Kelgar did not like the completeness of magical healing. To him, scars were important as shown on the rest of his imposing frame. His back and chest were an intricate vine work of scar tissue and his fingers traced the more prominent scars along his torso absently as his mind remembered the foes that taught each lesson; an owlbear here, a wyvern there, and even a stone giant. Those lessons though were nothing compared to the one permanently etched into the right side of Kelgar’s face, a lesson in the foolishness of faith and the purity of vengeance.
Kelgar shook himself from his thoughts and finished washing the day’s grime from his skin. His eyes, he noted were blood shot and glassy from the five pints of mead he consumed down in the bar, and though he was drunk, he was not burden with the typical handicaps of intoxication. His mind was still sharp, his reflexes and motor coordination no slower than before, only his eyes gave any indication that the burly old man was drowning away or numbing some sin from day long gone. While he served in the order, Kelgar remembered looking down on men who lost themselves in the glass, but now he understood the why and the need. For him, it was one of two things that could curb the constant boil in his blood.
Finished washing, Kelgar took out a clean tunic and britches from his backpack and also a padded leather tunic, dark green hooded cloak and a pair of finely crafted soft leather boots. As he dressed, he thought back to the day’s adventure and more specifically the two new comrades he and Maeve had met.
Friar Vorric was a man of abundance and good cheer. A cleric of Alegos, the man, to Kelgar, had an incessant need to talk throughout the entire journey, but he had been useful in battle. Despite his rotundness, Vorric had proven himself quite capable of keeping up in their travels and even more capable in wielding his long sword and shield. He would be a viable ally in battle if Kelgar could ever get used to the constant babblings of praise be to Alegos. Besides, Maeve seemed to enjoy his company and the food he brought with him, despite Kelgar believing it to be absurd to tote around such a feast while they were on a mission.
Then there was the quiet man named Leslie. Kelgar favored this young man as he kept his words sparse and his secrets to himself. Kelgar wasn’t concerned with the man’s secrets as he proved himself to be honorable in battle and quite capable. Besides, in Kelgar’s experience with rogues, most of them were merely petty thieves or honorable contract assassins, Leslie did not strike Kelgar as one of the more rare sadistic assassins of the Shadow Blade. Kelgar appreciated Leslie’s keen eye in battle strategy, a skill that perhaps he acquired in some former military training.
Lastly there was Maeve, Kelgar’s traveling companion for the past year or so. Maeve was a strange child. Kelgar chuckled at the idea of calling Maeve a child when she nearly doubled him in age due to her half-blood heritage, but he could not deny the bond they had formed and how he viewed her almost as a surrogate daughter. A half elf by fate, a necromancer by choice, Maeve had set the world against her almost from the start, but Kelgar did not pity her, but rather found admiration in her steadfast beliefs and courage. Sure she was a bit jaded and distrustful of society, but she was a long ways from becoming the abomination that he had become. There was still love and trust in her heart and Kelgar found it comforting almost soothing to be in her presence; she was a reminder of what life had been and Kelgar would do everything in his power to ensure Maeve got her happy ending and found her place in this world.
Kelgar gently placed his backpack into the chest, secured the padlock and tucked a pair of daggers into his leather tunic. Leaving Betsy propped against the wall and taking one last look at the room, making specific note of the arrangement and location of everything, Kelgar shut the door and ventured out of the tavern into the darkness. Hood up, he shielded the right side of his face and took on a false limp and a slow drag of his left foot, identical to a crippled beggar. Kelgar made sure to travel down the less lit alleyways of this small town as he headed towards the tanner that he had met earlier that day. His new found sense told him that this tanner was up to something no good and Kelgar intended to find out what it was and enact whatever punishment he deemed worthy of the sin. Should some of the local thieves try and stop him in the alleyways, well that would be more fun for the evening.