'Five barrels of dwarven ale, two cases of elderberry wine, and a crate of Longbottom leaf is that the lot?' offered Aoran, the young bartender from the Sword and Shield. 'Well laddie, not quite, we managed to sneak you in two barrels of good olde fashioned dragons breath whiskey! You know for the celebrations!' replied a stout grinning Dwarf. 'Excellent news' replied Aoran 'Ill go load all this stuff into the cellar, then I can go about organising the food. Ive had to order in more from the local farmers, I dont know who is worse, dwarves or hobbits for eating one out of house and home'. 'Nothing beats a celebration laddie, and this is going to be a goodin' replied the grinning dwarf. Laughing to himself Aoran began the task of moving the large quantities of food and drink into the already crowded storage cellar of the Sword and Shield. 'Tomorrow night will be a night to remember' he mused. Taking one of the many oil lamps scattered about the inns common room he made his way slowly down into the dark cellar. The work was harder than usual he had never seen the cellar as full in all the long years he had worked here, but the occasion warranted it. A special envoy from Gondor (rumoured to be of the royal line itself) was arriving tomorrow, and the Sword and Shield was chosen to host an important meeting between Gondor and the Dwarven realm of Erebor. These 'meetings' usually ended up becoming a rampant celebration of the friendship enjoyed between the two kingdoms as such a copious amount of ale and wine was brought for all to enjoy. A shrill voice cut through the air. 'Aoron, you had better not be delaying down there, we have work to do'.
Snapped out of his reverie, Aoron quickly made his way up the spiral staircase into the cooks kitchen. Closing the cellar door tight behind him, he ran to answer his employers call. With a crooked half smile on his face, he chuckled 'This is going to be one of those days'. Like all hard days work, it passed with surprising speed. Day quickly fell into night, and before Aoron knew it he was shutting up the Inn for the evening unaware that it would be for the last time. Below the trapdoor in the cooks kitchen, the usually pitch black cellar was basking in a haunting orange hue, the type of glow that accompanies fire. The oil lamp used earlier to illuminate the perpetual darkness was uncovered and had burnt low. The wick had fragmented and its hot remains had fallen on an open crate of Longbottom leaf. Quickly consuming the dried tinder, the fire spread among the crates and barrels until the entire cellar was ablaze. In the corner of the cellar the two barrels of Dragons breath whiskey, along with many crates of spirits began to burn. At the western gate to the city four Vinyanost guards were keeping vigil on what was a quite night. Suddenly and without warning a thunderous concussion noise rent the air. Shards of rubble began to rain from the air. Shields! shouted the most senior guard. Trumpets rang out throughout the night air, as guards and citizens alike were roused from their sleep coming out of their homes all looked on in horror, as the explosion that had roused them had rained down burning rubble upon a portion of the city. A company of royal Gondorian household guards roused from their sleep by a deep thud, looked northward over the grassy Anduin plain. Several miles lay between them and its source but the glowing red sky told them all they needed to know. 'Make ready! fast march, fall into formation, we ride this hour'. 'Keep your eyes sharp and swords ready!' shouted the commanding officer. Riding along side his superior a young knight spoke 'Sir, is it an attack?'. 'Im not sure Irildean, either way Vinyanost burns.' With that the company broke camp hastily and rode with all speed northwards. The frigid predawn cold brought with it fog from the great river, helping the effort to douse the fire that consumed the city overnight. At midday the company of Gondorian knights entered what remained of the city of Vinyanost, now smouldering in a cold drizzle. The streets were covered in a black soot the people black faced were cold and huddling in groups trying to keep warm. 'Lieutenant' bellowed the captain of the Gondorian forces. 'Sir' replied a tall blond man. Inhaling deeply the captain spoke 'Make camp, set up a tent for the injured. Get every able bodied man and woman to search the rubble for survivors. Send riders north for help. Organise hunting and logging details, and set up a fortified perimeter around the old barracks. These people need food, shelter and fire. Go.' 'Sir' replied the young lieutenant. Scratching his head the captain grimaced. 'One more thing Lieutenant, send out scouts east of the Anduin, I want to know if something is coming before it arrives. That fire last night could have been seen for miles around.' Nodding to himself the young lieutenant barked one final 'Sir' and was off. Turning to survey the full extent of the damage done, the captain uttered one final word. 'Damm'.
For the full non rots formatting botched version, see rotsmud.org.
OOC Vinyanost has been destroyed, a small makeshift camp has been put in place until its been completely redeveloped.
Many thanks go to Azriya, Ramus, Elagor, Salia, Kandi and myself. Watch this space for more to come.