It was a cold winter’s day in the land of Wildepond. The wandering huntress, Lilirese, was seeking shelter for the night. She saw a bright light coming from the Red Dragon Inn and decided to sneak in there.
The inn was packed as the town was celebrating the annual feast of Erymanthia, which centered on feasting on a boar’s head.
She was surprised to see that many of the friends and allies she encountered on her journey through Wildepond were also in this inn. The great Abbess leader, Elitina, was enjoying a light ale, laughing with her friend, Jorlyn, the great warrior princess. Katdare and the wandering troubadour Maxilind were having a drinking contest with the elf mother Cabelarel. Renowned scholar Schiler was singing with the sheriff, their courtship plain and obvious to the other residents of the inn.
Many tables had gambling games going on. Lilirese was surprised that the wise Counselor Tomzonu and the great sage Wilquet were playing with a high wage alongside the local giant troll, Marcellius. Since she was in need of money, she joined their table.
“Gambling? I’m in!” she said.
“Well if it isn’t our favorite little thief!” Counselor Tomzonu said.
“We thought you were in that sunny little land in the west,” Marcellius said.
“I was only passing through there for a little while,” Lilirese said. Dropping her gold on the table, she said, “I raise.”
Unfortunately, the great sage had the winning hand. He used the money to buy a round of drinks for everyone. After having a light ale, Elitina drank Holy Water as a chaser, restoring her spirits. Others had light ales or wine while others spilled their drinks.
After everyone tipped the wench, they all sat down at a long table for conversation as the boar’s head was being served. Lilirese loved that she got to spend time with the people she considered family. Life in Wildepond has dramatically changed with the new regents. Many of her mentors have left. While Lilirese never officially left Wildepond, Marcellius was right about her spending time hunting in a quiet sunny town in the west.
Lilirese observed the others. Most of them were playing some kind of jokes on each other in hopes of reducing fortitude. Elitina had an advantage, though. Being an abbess allowed her to protect herself from losing fortitude. Maxilind, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as lucky when Schiler bought a round of drinks for everyone.
“You’ve had too much and you’ve lost all your fortitude, dear friend,” Katdare said.
“Game over, man! Game over!” The giant troll said as Maxilind passed out on the table.
“Game over? Really, Mark?” Teresa asked as Elizabeth cleaned up the table.
“I only thought it would be appropriate,” Mark said.
Katrina laughed as she finished the rest of her beer. “I thought it was funny,” she said, slurring her words.
“We shouldn’t have made this an actual drinking game,” Joanne said, her face flushed from a few too many.
Max sighed as he folded his deck and left the table. “I’m gonna go sleep this off!”
“Maybe we should watch a movie,” Leah said. “This game has been going on for a while now.”
“We can watch a movie after I beat Mr. Z here,” Mr. McDonald said.
“I don’t mind either way,” Teresa said. “I’m just glad to be with y’all again.”
It was New Year’s Eve. Everyone gathered in a little supper club called the Biergarten for the annual party. Leah brought in the game Red Dragon Inn and Katrina decided to make it a drinking game.
Teresa kept looking out the door.
“Are you waiting for someone?” Tom asked.
“Just hoping that I might have someone to kiss at midnight for once.” She looked back at the party and sighed. “I’m just glad that everyone’s here.”
The drinking that everyone partook in was balanced out with a great feast. Teresa especially enjoyed the spaghetti.
When it was about an hour away from midnight, there was a knock on the door. Everyone looked at each other, wondering who it could be. Elizabeth opened the door. Teresa smiled.
The one they’ve all been waiting for has come.