The Yawning Portal was busier than usual, and Durnan was glad for that. He was as honest a businessman as one could be, paying his workers generous wages and going so far as to ensure their safety by occasionally involving himself any danger that may come up the well built into the tavern’s common room. That well was the only known entrance to the sprawling dungeon underneath called Undermountain; occasionally a monster would emerge from it, but Durnan was prepared; there was a reason he kept his magical greatsword, Grimvault, behind the bar counter.
Durnan glanced around as he cleaned a few steins, soon to be filled with ale or mead. Many adventurers patronized the Yawning Portal, many of the youngest and most inexperienced often being turned away from entering the well into Undermountain. Durnan only allowed experienced adventurer’s down the well, and only if they paid him a fee. Alternatively, adventurers could take up the sponsorship for forays into Undermountain offered by Obaya Uday, a cleric and traveler from the far-off land of Waukeen. Though she wasn’t in tonight.
The usual lot were enjoying a good drink and a hearty meal tonight, all while regaling each other of their exploits, no doubt grossly exaggerated. Unless they were told by Meloon Wardragon, a relatively famous adventurer and not a man to be trifled with.
Bonnie, his lead barmaid serviced drinks and food to tables. “Threestrings” made music from his three-stringed lute in the corner. How he managed to get a serviceable tune out of his instrument always puzzled Durnan. Even more confusing though was why he couldn’t buy new strings? They weren’t that expensive.
Durnan was somewhat surprised to see one of the youngest and newest adventuring parties dining at his establishment this evening. They were an odd bunch: Gwyn Butterscotch, better known as “Cake” to her friends, female tiefling bard whose way with words apparently charmed an entire tavern of dock workers. Arrk, an aarakocra monk who loved drink a bit too much. Elodin Derly, a half-elf warlock who seemed brain addled and left one wondering why he was adventuring in the first place. And a newcomer Durnan had not seen before; the fourth member used to be a warforged skilled in stealth, but he had apparently quit the adventuring life after discovering that he had no taste for it. This new member, a halfling druid named Alder Underbough, seemed familiar, though Durnan could not place him. Then again, in a single day Durnan would meet so many adventuring types that he considered it a bit of a miracle he could remember anyone’s names. The only reason this lot stuck out was that they helped him defend the Yawning Portal from monsters that emerged from the well. They’ve earned his respect.
Durnan approached the table, questions rumbling in his head. Greeting the foursome, Durnan turned his head to Arrk.
“So, what brings you lot here…weren’t you going to open a tavern of your own? And what the hell is this “larduccino” I keep hearing about?”