by Janella Vallonia
Janella was forced to admit that the Jack Pot Inn had to be one of the most wretched inns she'd ever laid eyes on. The tavern boasted one pane of glass for a window, but any view was distorted by the dark stains splashed over it. The common room was small and slanted, and the bar, if indeed it could be called that, consisted of little more than some wooden planks spread across four or five posts. Its tables were slick with grease, and the chairs wobbled more than the drunk patrons did themselves. In at least one corner, Janella spied a swept pile of rotten food, broken mugs and what even appeared to be a tooth from some large humanoid - perhaps an ogre or hill giant. Cracked floorboards were in abundance. The warrioress didn't miss the gleam of a rat's red eye from below as it scampered away from her boot.
The first to turn at her entrance was the balding innkeep. Her arrival had apparently interrupted his work - that of watering down his ale! Janella snorted and strode up to him, ignoring his angry glare and gripping him behind his back. It was obvious that this woman wasn't here for a drink, for even the most unruly of customers rarely felt it necessary to order by pressing a dagger to his throat. The innkeep growled and spat, "What do you want!"
It was only mid-day, and so the inn's only two patrons present jumped up, took one look at Janella, another look at each other, and ran out the door. Janella leered, forcing the innkeep against the wall, aware that just behind him a rusted nail was protruding from the beam. "I want Bargos. He stays here. Show me where his bloody room is."
"No one's here by that name!" The innkeep struggled to get free, but he swore the woman's hold on him was tighter than a dwarven vise.
"Show me where his stinking room is, or I'll water that damn barrel of ale with your blood!" Janella pricked the tip of her dagger against a liver spot on the man's neck. That seemed to inspire him. He hissed and tried to indicate that he'd tell her. She grabbed him from the wall, prodding him across the floor while barking her orders again. "Show me! Show me now! If you try so much as to pick your nose, I'll stretch your tongue between those two posts and skin your hide for a tablecloth." Her dagger flashed again, promising more than pain.
With no other options to choose from save that, the Jack Pot Inn's owner uneagerly led Janella to a back room.