The heavy wooden planks creak below your feet as you make your way towards the sturdy, fir wood iron topped bar at the back of the common room in The Iron Tavern. The dwarf with the graying beard adorned with various beads of an off orange color turns his attention to you as you approach.
“Welcome to The Iron Tavern mate!” the dwarf states as he wipes up a spot from the iron topped bar. “Don’t think I’ve seen ye around here before. The name is Baerun Ironforge.”
“Take a seat right there.” Baerun says, motioning to one of several empty bar stools “Ye look like a Copperstone Ale could hit the spot for ye, the climb up the pass must have been a long one.” without waiting for a reply the broad shouldered dwarf pulls a mug down from overheard and moves to one of several tapped wooden kegs behind him. He fills the metal mug from one with scripted initials C.A. burned into the wood of barrel. The foam splashes over the top of edge of the oversized mug as he sets the drink down on the bar in front of you.
“First time to the Broken Ridge Mountains ye say? Sure I can tell ye more about them, though ye might be a little late now just learning about them right here on their doorstep!”
“Not many folk come around these parts for pleasure. Only us dwarves find the land fit to live in amongst them rocky, steep ridges we call home. And even then most of us find it best to live under the ground. Us dwarves been living in them mountains for hundreds of years, mining them for about that long.”
“Most of the folk that come through here are here for one thing only. Get the goods the dwarves made or raw materials for their own crafting, load it up and then head back down to the valleys of men and elves.”
“Yep, most of them pass through this here pass, Red Mountain Pass to get there. Especially busy in the summer months. Ye can already feel the crisp in the air though, fall is just around the corner, the first snows won’t be far behind. Oh we’ll still see travelers through here, but not many. The snows make the trek tough on a person. Not even speaking of the critters that roam these mountains.”
“Oh, don’t worry – it isn’t too bad if you stay on the main road to the south gate. Ye aren’t traveling alone are ye?”
“Mmmhhmm, well keep yer wits about ye then. The dwarves do their best to keep the patrols moving along they thoroughfare, but even that can’t keep one fully safe from harm what with at least three days travel from here to the south gate of the halls, and that’s on the fair days.”
“The orcs have sense enough to stay in their holes, but a few of the giants’ll wander down from the upper parts of the mountains and cause trouble every so often, or worse yet some of them mountain trolls. Don’t want to be crossing paths with a mountain troll if ye can help it! Ye’ll likely be just fine though, still ye might have wanted to bring along some others rather wander alone out there.”
Baerun sees the empty glass before you and whisks it away without asking, pouring another healthy round of ale into, foam spilling along the sides. He puts it heavily down on the bar top in front of you.
“What’s that? You want to know more about this here pass? I can…” he begins just as a loud bang comes as the heavy iron door is thrown open and crashes against the wall.
Two dwarves come walking through the door, great axes across their backs and several smaller throwing axes along their well-worn leather belts. They wear leather breeches that have seen many years of travel and long sleeved, dark red shirts under leather vests with a multitude of pockets, straps and hooks.
The pair stride confidently in, paying little attention to anything else within the tavern the first calling “Baerun! Why you little….”
“Er, that tale will have to wait for another time!” Baerun says hurriedly as his attention turns to the new arrivals.