An inn on a mountain stream.

The Bright Red Hen Traveller’s Inn

Sitting slightly proud high upstream in the Temsin valley is the Bright Red Hen Traveller’s Inn. It’s the sixth building amongst five farming buildings at the crossroads between the road to Jarlshold and the climbing mountain road. There’s been an inn here for travellers for as long as there’s been a road here however this building is three generations old. A stone bandit raid burnt down the previous one but the innkeeper survived and used the bounty on the bandits to fund a new build. The main building is dominated by the huge common room and its attached open plan kitchen. A grand hearth takes up most of the downstream side of the room with the rest filled with a mix of long and short tables. The walls are thick stone and the frame is high quality timber. The decorations are an odd mismatch of artifacts and trinkets left behind or traded for food by various guests over the years.

Within the outer walls are a small yard and the stables. There’s an ever-present sound of flowing water coming up from the well in the centre of the yard as it connects to the Temsha stream that flows beneath the yard. Upstairs there are five small and narrow rooms each with a pair of bunk beds with a shared bathroom. The loft space is the private studio flat of the innkeeper’s family. Recently the inn has expanded to include the field next to it where eight small studio cottages have been built so the inn can manage more guests without having to adjust the main building. One of the cottages is currently boarded up and not available to rent since a previous guest reported hearing creepy voices coming from the flagstones.

The inn is run by Elria Ralorora and her wife Zenzindawo. It was Elria’s grandmother who rebuilt the Bright Red Hen into its current form and she inherited ownership just over three years ago. Elria is a wiry and tall tiefling who’s pale red complexion highlights her bright blue eyes. Though capable at managing the business of the inn, Elria has a tendency to forget her duties and get caught up in talking with the guests. It’s often left to Zenzindawo to bring her spouse back to what she should be doing so that Zenzindawo can focus on her passion of cooking. A raven kenku with dark black plumage, she declines to answer questions about her time before she met Elria but she will greedily trade for recipes and cooking ingredients. The third member of their family is little Sazaa, Elyria and Zenzindawo’s adopted daughter. The six year old ifrit spends her time at play, asking endless questions, or reading any book she can get hands on. Her parents seem to have endless patience despite the fiery and explosive nature of her anger.

There are two other members of staff at the inn, but neither of them live there. Lafarallin Olanorin is the part-time housekeeper who helps Elria keep the inn and cottages clean and tidy. He’s an elf of slender frame with pale grey hair and frost scars over much of his right hand. Lafarallin is semi-retired and spends most of his time in their tree house in the orchard across the river. He doesn’t frequent the inn after lunch and isn’t interested in evening visitors as he prefers to be left to his meditations and calligraphy. No matter the time of year, Lafarallin always has a few fresh pears for sale. Orderic Cotton is the stablehand and is the son of a local farmer. The human is entirely average and exceptionally boring, with their life consisting of helping out at the inn or on the family farm. Orderic appears to have almost no curiosity and is utterly uninterested in anything that could be considered dangerous or risky. He scratches sometimes at the crown shaped birthmark on the back of his right hand.

Amongst the few villagers and travellers, you’ll find Glaya hin Gorock sat next to her huge sacks of letters and parcels. The towering orc in a flowery dress is a courier who goes back and forth along the local roads between all the villages and towns of Temyal fief. They stay at the Bright Red Hen every three days or so. Cheery and garrulous, Glaya is good company both at the inn and along the road if you happen to be travelling the same direction as her. Less approachable is dwarf who rents cottage number three on an apparently permanent basis. Elria says as long as he pays his rent and doesn’t bother anyone he’s free to stay as long as he likes. Heavily battle-scarred and with deep burns on his arms and face, he seems to respond to Elria calling him Hirk but otherwise stares with unseeing eyes at the journal he is failing to write in. Jassin Farro Vamir Zylzumin Aelrindel Virmoira Neremyn Leozorwyn is probably the noblest, strongest, and most capable warhorse you have ever seen. The adventurer who stabled him paid up front with a large pile of gold coins but they’ve not returned to claim him. So Jas, as the stablehand calls him, has spent the last four years with fresh hay, a warm bed and a nice big field to run around in. As far as anyone can tell, he seems to be content with this.

Image Credits: Retirement by Tom Prante – CC-BY-SA-3.0, English Draught Horse by Charles Hamilton Smith – CC0.