The Dungeon Mistress, Part Two
The Night Of A Thousand Hours: Introduction
(When I think about why the adventure must have stuck with him, it comes down to three things. One is the framing device, which can be used in campaigns lots of ways, but is especially effective when the reveal arrives in the space of a one-shot, one-night adventure. The second is that they aren’t trying to save the entire multiverse, which is what you are usually doing in this shit. The other “thing” I mentioned comes in later.)
“Tell me again, Father Gordon! Tell me about my parents.”
“Are you certain, child? Have you not heard it enough?”
She is resolute. She pulls the blanket up beneath her chin; she will not be moved.
“Very well, then. Very well.” He takes a seat on the rough stool near the bed, and begins to speak.
“The Mermaid is an inn more famous than the town that surrounds it. There are those who say the town sprang up because of the inn, but this story is usually told late in the night, after many rounds have been ordered, and another is on its way.”
The sign swings on links of new chain, shining in the torchlight. Fresh paint draws your eye to a beautiful mermaid who has broken a trident over her head. Below it, a smaller sign is linked below - one that says Aer Saelarri, Hae Ghulimi Eleph Phaedest. Welcome to The Mermaid, Children of the Forest. Elven lands must be near.
(Jesus Fucking Christ.)
The weather is apocalyptic, and it’s getting late, so it’s good to be off the road. You shake the rain off your travelling cloaks and and step inside, to a roar of welcome and the clank of heavy mugs. It’s a full house, so you take a seat where you can, in the drafty place nearest the front, and when your drinks arrive it’s hard not to get into the spirit - raising them when the door opens, cheering as an elven woman enters. People quickly return to their drinks, their meals, and the town gossip that thrives in places like this. But you can’t take your eyes off the newcomer, still framed by the door. She seems to be scanning the room, looking for someone, but her eyes never rest in any one place. She clutches the bundle at her chest even tighter. A couple of shuffling steps later, and she collapses at the nearest table - yours. The back of her tunic is black with rain and blood.
Mugs clatter to the floorboards, their contents pooling and flowing through the cracks. She looks into the bundle, or appears to, but there’s no light in her eyes.
Inside the nest of rags, a baby peeks out without understanding. Her tiny face encircled by blonde curls, she looks exactly like the elf who carried her.
(The baby, yes. That was the other thing.)