This is the first part of a serial I'm going to be doing (hopefully) every Saturday. When it runs out, I'll take a couple weeks of break and start another.
Unexpected Adventure, Part One
In an unnamed world, an adventure was about to begin.
Regis didn’t know it. If he had, he would have been better prepared. As it was, he carried his shield strapped to his back, and his two short swords in a cylindrical sheath across his shoulders. Two daggers rested against his hips.
His pack lay limp against his shield. Regis frowned, and hoped that he would come across a house on the mountain trail. He’d been traveling for two weeks without seeing anyone.
He looked to the sky. Grey, and heralding a snowstorm.
Teeth grinding, he slid one of his daggers from its sheath. Without changing his pace, he threw overhand. The dagger whistled through the air.
He paused when he reached a split sapling. The dagger was embedded in the ground several inches away. He retrieved it. Bits of dirt clung to his wool gloves. He sighed and sheathed the weapon.
After several more miles of sameness and pine, a curl of smoke wafted up through the trees.
Regis brushed chilling white flakes from his thick clothing. He adjusted the kerchief over his mouth and sucked in a breath. His lungs burned. With a growl, he sprinted.
The trees and trail faded in his vision. His only focus was ahead.
A door, bound to be locked against intruders. He lowered his shoulder.
There was the sound of hinges turning, but he couldn’t stop his momentum. It carried him into warmth, over a table, and onto the floor.
The door shut. Regis lay on his back, gasping.
A small, square-ish face peeked over the table. A blond ponytail dangled down and brushed against his propped up boots. “Are…you alright?”
Regis nodded. He managed to work himself into a sitting position. His boots caught on a shelf, and something clattered to the floor.
“Ee-ya-ha! Don’t touch.”
An elven girl dashed around and lifted the thing—a squat, black container—and slowly put it back on its shelf. “That’s the ink bottle. Mom and dad won’t be able to get another one for a few months, so I have to be careful.”
The girl stood and shifted a few things on the top of the counter.
Regis grunted and stood. “Sorry.”
“It’s alright.” The girl didn’t turn around. She asked his name, and after a burst of suspicion from Regis, wrote it down in the registry.
She turned around and grinned. “My name’s Cloudwillow, and I’ll be your host.”
She then showed him the inn, though he didn’t pay much attention to her chatter. The rooms were cozy, the kitchen stocked food (did she say something about…mountain dog?), and there was a fireplace along the left wall.
He ordered a warm meal and dropped a handful of coppers into Cloudwillow’s hand. The girl vanished behind a thick curtain of fabric.
He went to the long window on the far wall. Snow fell in earnest and left streaks of frost against the pane.
With a grateful shudder, he stood in front of the fireplace and removed his gloves. As his fingers thawed, they tingled and twitched.
Cloudwillow came out of the kitchen bearing a tray. She smiled at him and set it on the table nearest the fireplace. “Here you go.”
Regis was halfway through the stew when he realized that there was meat in it. He stared into the creamy liquid and poked at a chunk.
Cloudwillow—she was still standing there?—giggled. “Don’t worry, it’s chicken.”
Regis swallowed and crumbled his bread into the stew. “Can’t a man eat in peace?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m not a man.” Before he could answer, she whirled and ran to the door. “Oh, another customer! These storms always seem to bring in the best work.”