Lornaal found the warmth and shelter of the tavern to be a welcome respite from the winds shrieking in off of the bay. The promise of ale did not hurt either.
While none of his companions would find Port Parlone to be anything more than a dreary backwater, to one who grew up in the shadows of the Spinereach it was as cosmopolitan a town as one was likely to encounter. The size of the southern ships impressed Lornaal, as they always did. The sounds of the slippery southern tongues were like worms in his ears.
The drab colours that made it difficult to know where the stoney shore ended and the grey surf began were unlike those of home. The deep, almost encompassing greens of the pine forests echoed in Lornaal’s mind. He pictured the high meadows in spring, bedecked with glorious blankets of flowers, then the hush that covered the land after a fresh snow-fall. There was a raw beauty to the Spine Gulch and its absence filled Lornaal’s heart.
Seated at the table with his companions, he turned his attention to the pressing need for beer. The battle with the mantacore had been trying and the long march from the Winter Woods had been taxing, even to a man with his size and vigour.
As the day began to slip away and Lornaal set his mind on getting drunk, he was drawn to the greybeard and his intimate talk of the Northreach. To be honest, he had hardly heard a word that his companions had spoken, or the telling and re-telling of their stories and exploits. Somehow, though, this grizzled man seemed to speak directly to Lornaal, making his heart sick again, in a strange and infuriating way.
When the man suddenly turns his attention to Lornaal and switches to the tongue of his people, he stiffened. He recognized the words as those that lived in his own heart. There was a warning there, or perhaps a recognition.
After that, however, the man’s words and their meaning were utterly lost on Lornaal. Instead, his mind soared to the north. Like a hawk he saw the foreboding entrance to the Boneshatter pass, still covered in snow, and the lost warriors of his tribe picking their way towards Lodd on their planned raid.
Suddenly restless, his great thirst made even more powerful by these ruminations, Lornall raises his voice in a tone often used to speak through the shrieking winds of a mountain pass,
Ale. And keep them coming.