Back at the Inn.
Pioloss walked casually behind the group of smokers into the Seven Oaks Inn, keeping a carefully measured distance between them. To the casual observer he would appear as just another member of the group, but it was a fine line. Too far back and he would once again become an individual, but too close and one of the men might notice him and take umbrage at his invasion.
Contrary to the rest of the town, the Inn was a bustling hive of activity, filled nearly to capacity with all manner of men and women hailing from every corner of the Worlde. The constant background thrum of dozens of people all speaking at once filled the air, and a surreptitious glance towards the bar confirmed that the barman would, at least for now, be too occupied to have noticed him. However, with so many people here, it was going to be more difficult than Pioloss might have liked for him to find and retrieve his precious belongings.
He followed the men deeper into the Inn, until as one they made a sudden, sharp turn towards a group of tables on the far side of the room which had been haphazardly pushed together. The larger group had the look of the Kingdom of Skylds about them, and if Pioloss wasn’t mistaken, possibly they were of the Lursak Clan.
Savvy traders, able seamen, and fierce warriors all, Pioloss had spent a brief spell amongst the Lursak several years ago when he had been tracking a newly turned vampire whom he had then hoped would lead him onto the one who had killed his family. The lead had been a dead end, but he still remembered his time amongst the clansmen vividly. They had a brash honesty about them and a direct way of speaking which Pioloss had greatly admired, and what’s more they knew how to drink! Ye Gods! That mead they had shared with him had felt like he was drinking naked flame! But with his impromptu escort now gone, Pioloss was left standing alone in the middle of the Inn, feeling naked and exposed.
He looked around for another group to blend into, and spotted instead a small empty table filled to the brim with empty tankards - perfect! He began to make his way over, meaning to slump down on one of the chairs, pretending to have drunken himself into a stupor as he planned his next move. But before he could, the entire inn suddenly rocked sideways around him as he was struck by a sudden, violent assault - like a war hammer blow to his psyche!
Pioloss stumbled, crying out as he toppled forwards into the drinks laden table and hitting it hard before sliding sideways onto the floor, taking every single tankard, and then the table itself down with him. The noise was cacophonous, yet he barely even noticed as at the edge of his awareness, some great, unfathomable presence began to stir, sending ripples of a dark malevolence out into the Worlde. He became aware of someone screaming, an awful sound that was filled with terror and pain, and it was quite some time before Pioloss realised that the scream was in fact coming from him! The realisation acted like a bucket of water over the head, bringing Pioloss shuddering and gasping back to his senses. He pulled himself shakingly back to his feet - only to find that near every eye in the Inn was now fixed firmly on him.
Gods darn and curse it!
Thinking on his feet, Pioloss began to mutter incoherently as he stumbled about the place, pretending to be just one more drunkard who couldn’t handle his ale. Luckily this was something he had had a fair amount of experience in in recent years, so his performance was not lacking in authenticity, but he would need something else... A distraction with which to draw the attention away from him.
Scanning around him as he continued to stumble and mutter, his eyes once more landed on the group of Skylds Clansmen.
“Here goes nothing…” He breathed to himself under his breath. “I really hope that they’re Lursak.”
Closing his eyes Pioloss steadied himself with a deep breath, before raising his voice and beginning to sing in a surprisingly clear alto.
“Oi drinks Ale and wine an oi drinks meade when sailing through clear water,
But alls I’m really thirstin for is a foine young Lursak daughter,
If you like women with vigor and vim then yes sir you’re in luck,
‘Cos if’n you get her betwixt the sheets there ain’t no better -
The song was one of the more memorable drinking songs from his short time amongst the Lursak, and more often than not, signing it would quickly result a severe increase in libations, along with every other Clansmen within ear shot loudly joining in, sometimes even with a fight or two breaking out for good measure. And it was just such a reaction that Pioloss had sought to inspire from the group sitting across from him now. However the words died in his throat as to a man, the entire group were just staring silently at him, their expressions caught somewhere between shock and outrage at the sight of this bedraggled man - who clearly was not one of their own - singing one of their favourite drinking songs.
Pioloss felt his mouth open and close soundlessly, and he wondered how in the Worlde he was going to get out of this without causing yet another scene as several of the men climbed to their feet, cracking their knuckles menacingly.
He felt the blood lust start to rise up within him in answer to the sudden threat of violence, and out of sheer desperation pointed a finger back over his shoulder towards the front door, yelling “Look over there!” before diving low and sliding under a table. As luck would have it, some God or other must have been listening, because in the moment before he had dived, the door opened to reveal a dust covered, road weary traveller who had just entered the Inn.