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Roadhouse on the Old North Road
22 Narquelië FA 1 - Fifty Miles North of Bree on the Old North Road
The inn looked deserted as he rode up to the door. The rain fell steadily, and the wind made the weather-worn sign swing awkwardly from one of its two hooks. The other had rusted and broke. He dismounted and gave his horse a pat as he stepped on the porch. He reached up and stopped the sign from moving as he tried to read the weather-worn words. The Roadhouse was all he could make out of it. He turned to the large oak doors. One was ajar just enough to be able to squeeze inside. The hinges were rusty, but with a bit of a push, the door squeaked closed. Inside was dusty, as if it was simply abandoned by the proprietor. He walked over to the bar and looked at the dust. He could hear the water dripping onto the old well-worn wood floor near the fireplace, and so he pulled his flint out and used his knife to kindle a candle that was laying there on his side. The dim light flickered to life, and he considered lighting some of the other candles. After getting a few to burn, he decided to light a fire to take the damp chill away from the place. There was still wood piled by the hearth, and even though some was dry rotted, it worked to get a flame to grow. Yes, he would stay here, at least until the rain passed.
Once the fire was burning hard with the kindling, he used a few small logs to cover it, and he went outside to tend to his horse. He led her around back to the decrepit stable, but he deemed it safe enough for her to shelter in, for the rain was not going to let up any time soon. She settled into the old hay and he gave her a brush to allow the water wash her some.
”I will be back soon missy.”
He said as he gave her some oats he carried. He needed to get to Bree and re-supply soon. After the rain stops. He went in where the fire he had made was attempting to warm the place. He sat down by it and watched the flickering flame.
The constant drip of the rain leaking in echoed through the empty inn, and Durian leaned back against the beam by the window. The old oak whispered to him, hinting at many stories. There were strong Arnorian soldiers arguing over the impending division of Arnor, to relationships made and broken, to plots and plans of good and ill, to death and blood, to intense love and feelings.
Durian felt their whispers, and he turned and slowly reached for the oak beam. A vision flashed in his mind when he set his hand on it. A fair maiden moving about the wood, her long raven hair swaying and wrapping about her. She turned and looked at him and smiled... Durian let go of the beam and blinked his eyes. He had a hard time gaining his breath and he set back down on the hearth. He felt strange, and though it was only a moment, it seared itself into him. He again stood and stepped over to the beam where he saw a slight glow. There on the beam was carved finely as if an Elven craftsman had worked it, a heart with the names Halrohir and Lonannuniel. His fingers came up to it but hesitated. He touched the name Halrohir and saw a brief vision of a handsome Dúnedain ranger. When he moved his finger to the name Lonannuniel, a beautiful Elf maiden flashed in his mind. But she was not the same as the one he had seen earlier. When he placed his finger on the heart, he saw the two people very much in love getting married. He retreated his hand from it and could see the glow where he had touched it had faded some.
He stared at it for a time until a loud pop from the fire broke his thoughts. An orange ember out and it bounced across the floor. Durian quickly stepped over and ground it out with his boot. With his movement away from the beam, the visions faded in intensity in his mind and only became a vague memory. He decided to rummage around behind the bar to see if there was anything drinkable. There were a few bottles of wine still sealed, and a firkin of ale that seemed to have not leaked. He pounded the tap into it and tried some of it. A heavy stout, smooth and very well aged. He looked for a tankard and found one that was not broken. It was turned upside down as if it were waiting for some bartender to turn it over and fill it. That hand never came until now when Durian set it upright and tipped the firkin to fill it.
"This will do nicely."
he said to himself as he walked back over by the fire. He sat on the hearth and leaned his back against the stones to the side of the fire. Sipping his ale, he sat and listened to the rain on the roof and the leaks and their continuous dripping, along with the sound of the fire next to him…