The Lone Pine Inn

From my first full length novel The Sureshot Rises

Durbar pulled his cloak over his head and began to walk to the east end of town, toward the keep and the garrison. The inn wasn’t far from the Harmon Keep. Durbar found it without a problem. The sign above the doorway had a picture of a large solitary pine on a hill. It looked like a mighty giant standing defiantly against his foes; its branches appeared as swords ready to attack. From outside, the inn seemed to be rather busy and there was a noise like the rushing of a great river flowing from the patrons inside. Light invitingly escaped from the cracks in the large double doors. Durbar drew a deep breath and stepped through the doors into the light.

The Lone Pine was a large place. There were a lot of tables throughout the room with a small stage in one corner. In the middle of the back wall was a bar. There were a couple of women serving drinks to patrons. Large chandeliers hung from the ceiling that held four small torches each. There were also torches on the walls. Large buck antlers adorned the walls and furs covered the floor. A huge bear pelt hung on the wall behind the bar. To the left of the bar, while facing it, there were stairs, which led up to the rooms. There were twelve rooms altogether. The innkeeper and his wife lived in one and their daughter in another. The other ten were for guests. The inn was bright and loud. It felt alive to Durbar, very different from the lonely cabin, lost in the woods and lost from the world.

Some people stopped their conversation when Durbar entered the room and stared at the dark, cloaked woodsman. He stood for a moment by the doorway scanning the scene before him. He noticed a crowd of people in the far right-hand corner. He didn’t see Prince Rothan anywhere else so he thought he would pass by to see if he was at that table. 

Durbar weaved his way through tables, chairs, and people toward the corner table. As he approached, some of the people standing by it noticed him moving toward them and stepped back whispering alarm to the others. As more people saw Durbar, the crowd parted to avoid his path, which led directly to the prince. Some thought that he might be an assassin sent to kill Rothan. No one could see Durbar’s face because he had his cloak pulled far over his head. Rothan had his guards with him, and as they saw Durbar they stood up, drew their swords, and waited for the approaching man to make a move. All the people between and near them scattered with the threat of violence. Durbar stopped just before the table and paused for a moment. Rothan called out to him as he too stood up, drawing a dagger from his belt, “Who are you? Identify yourself! Why have you come here to threaten me?”

“I have threatened no one, and I am here by your request,” Durbar answered voice clear and strong but forced as his spirit sounded the alarm and the hairs on his neck and arms stood up. Durbar’s eyes darted from one person to another and then back to Rothan. He felt like a hare surrounded by foxes and though he froze in his tracks, his heart raced and his gut told him to flee. Suppressing the trembles deep within, he stood tall.

“What?” shouted Rothan. “Who are you? Tell me now!”  Durbar slowly raised a hand to the hood of his cloak and pulled it from his head revealing his face. Everyone just stood still, waiting for Rothan’s response. He himself was searching for the man’s identity. Then it struck him.

“You…” he began, “you are the man we found in the forest. You are the one who shot Jeshker’s cap from his head. You are Sureshot!” A wide grin crept across the prince’s face.

“Sureshot?” asked Durbar, eyes squinted and brow wrinkled.

“Yes, that’s what I have been calling you because I never got your name,” blurted Rothan.

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