In an inn located in a remote little village on the road which connected the main highway and the wilderness outposts frequented by adventurers and thieves alike, the usual patrons were sipping ales and enjoying their meals.
The winter was just waning and the roads to the hills and beyond were finally melting and passable by any brave enough to challenge the cold could travel once more.
The villagers were not the adventuring type. They were simple homesteaders who made their life farming and living from the various resources found in the area. A community of about 50, they had little need for much else as there was usually enough food and brewed beverages to keep everyone content.
The simplicity of their lives did leave them hungry for one thing, however, entertainment. This was provided by the travelers who usually stopped at the inn at least a night or if nothing more, for some food and drink. They brought news of distant cities and kingdoms and sometimes tales of wars and battles. Others regaled them with stories of monsters or hoards they encountered and others still about great treasures or relics they sought.
In the area, a certain bard stopped by every so often. When he did, the entire population was likely to crowd into the smallish inn to hear him tell tales. He overflowed with stories, poems and songs they all enjoyed deeply. His name was Bruno.
In the fall he stopped by with tales of an adventure he was engaged in. Apparently there was a group of monks nestled high in the mountains beyond the village. None of the villagers had ever heard of any such place or even rumors of a mountain monastery, but Bruno was set of finding it. He claimed that they were in search of a relic that was stolen from them years before and Bruno heard of its whereabouts. That was months ago.
Winter set in shortly after Bruno came through. The town’s folk suspected he was swallowed by winter’s bitterness and lost. But as usual, the spring thaw always brought new life.
The door to the inn was a bit swollen from moisture in the spring rains and a strong shove pushed it open and as a cool wind rushed to invade the warm inn, a lean man stood in the doorway, beard long and unkempt, flesh on his hands and face abused by the weather. He had a large pack on his back and a sword on his hip. After a dramatic pause he stepped inside and slammed the door closed.
The bartended smiled and as the pair of men at the bar by him turned to see his reaction, he declared, “He’s back.”