Taverns were something of a universal place of well being. They were cheap, but social, more often than not. It was easy enough to steal from one, too, if one was careful. Elloria wasn't the most proud of the fact that she had been careful, but a girl had to eat. Not that she didn't try to live honestly: even as the wandering woman she was, Elloria Shando did her best to find a job, earn some coin, and afford her room and board. The wanderlust just made it difficult to save anything up for her next travels, or fall into an easy rhythm that would let her live without the occasional theft. That, and one other reason: her ears were just a little bit too suspiciously pointed. Rather than the same round shape as the humans in the regions that Elloria frequented, her ears and rough handle of the language marked her as an outsider. An elf.
Constant motion helped deal with that. The two races didn't get along very well, and both were suspicious of the other, but rarely did one act on the immediate presence of the other. The sour glances were a good motivation to move on quickly, and it helped that everything was a bit more fun that way, too. So the woodsy skinned young woman traveled, and was as merry as she could be. She would even tolerate the humans that said "You're not so bad, for an elf", if it meant a warm meal, or a busy evening.
But it had been some days since she'd last had one of those sorts of gatherings. The slender woman had been alone, watching her worn clothes and black hair get dirtier day in and day out. A part in the back of her mind told her that the longer she waited to clean herself and return to civilization, the worse it would be, but then she would cast her black eyes to the ground, or the sky, or whatever flora was around her, and through the thought out of her mind. She went forward, determinedly, until the little part won out.
Elloria found a stream to bathe in. The water was cold, and her hands could only scrub so well, but it helped her push the knots out of her hair, and remove the stink from her clothes. It was another day and a half of walking after that before she returned to humanity: a tavern, at a crossroads, with a number of other small buildings about it. Well, she was going to have to steal, it seemed, lest she could work out a deal with the manager, that had been an unsuccessful venture thus far. As dusk fell, Elloria pushed the door open, and took in the sights and sounds of the tavern as she found a seat at the bar to sit in.
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Aldritch's Tavern was placed within the middle of a small town. Modest, the tavern had two floors where the second one served as an inn and an adjacent little house for the owner. Inside there were tables and chairs everywhere, with a single bar tucked in the corner and barrels of ale and beer behind. On the other side was a fireplace occasionally used to roast large pork for special occasions, but most of the time it was used to warm the hall and give visitors that homey feel.
It was afternoon so patrons were scarce, but Kody Aldritch wasn’t worried. He still kept the place open just in case, but the regulars usually come late at night. So to pass the time, he cleaned the tavern in preparation.
Kody was now the sole owner of the tavern, inheriting the business after the death of his aunt three years before. A place of gathering, the tavern had seen so much history, even becoming a symbol of the town’s recovery from a major plague that claimed Kody’s mother and grandfather. A young man then and still young in the eyes of the older residents, the transition between generations was swift and easy as he already had knowledge of how the tavern worked before. He lived in Aldritch’s, grew up in it; the tavern was all Kody had ever known.
A woman entered through the swinging doors. She had a breathtaking face, but her clothes looked worn and dirty, as if she had just walked through a muddy forest. While still tending to glasses, he offered his services to the girl; she’s still a customer, but if she proved to be one of those troublesome drifters, well he had more than enough muscle and experience to handle it.