An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
Here is Part II! For all you D&D fans out there, yes, this is a small tribute to…well, you can figure it out 😉
Leaving Gurno behind, she crept into the rotting building, being careful to avoid the jagged teeth of steel that jutted out from the walls and floor. The whole thing was a massive carcass of a once proud tower; she could only imagine how it must have glittered in the sun of the world that existed before the Withering.
She held her small lantern aloft; it swung in her hand, casting spectral shadows on the surrounding catastrophe.
Muddled shapes flared to life on a far wall; her eyes grew wide and she stopped.
Somebody had put a lot of effort into painting an elaborate mural on the only large blank surface the building still seemed to offer.
They were characters, she realized. Each had been lovingly traced and filled in with minute details and glorious colours. They had remained so spectacular because the artist had chosen a wall that was well-protected from the sun.
“That way, they may just survive forever,” she murmured. She looked at them more closely, noting the towering grey barbarian, the small well-dressed bard, a blue-skinned smiling cleric…
The voice emerged from the shadows, soft and warm, but she still almost dropped the lantern.
“I was just…,” she mumbled shakily, as the white-haired figure stepped into the light.
“You were just seeing a sliver of the past,” the blue-eyed man intoned, staring wistfully at the mural. “The stories we told together…they changed the world. In way, it was the beginning of the path that brings you to me today.”
He paused, staring at the lithe figure of a red-haired druid.
“A shame that it should come hand in hand with the Withering,” he said softly.
He turned and beckoned her to follow, his dark cloak caressing the ground as he moved away.
His steps led her to a large staircase leading down and then further still, wandering through the depths of the earth. She followed him through a long network of tunnels until they finally emerged into a large cavernous hall. A gentle fire purred in a pit at the far end, and a small table had been set up not far from it. On it she could see a screen, a cup and a pitcher, an empty character sheet and a set of clear dice.
Her eyes danced around the room, picking out the miniatures neatly arranged on countless shelves, the maps carefully framed and twisting on strong lengths of rope. A multitude of binders and stacks of paper littered a small desk at the opposite end of the room. More doors seemed to leave the hall, and for a second, she swore that she could hear something moving further along the tunnels.
“Come, your trial awaits,” said the older man, his voice now booming, causing his long hair to flutter a little.
He moved to the table and poured the contents of the pitcher into the cup. Then he sat behind the screen, and waited.-