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Tales From The Sword And Scroll Tavern - Prologue

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I'd docked at the spaceport on Sweets' Northern Continent, and, upon making inquiries, discovered that the nearest bar that both served real alcohol and had an interesting clientele was The Sword and Scroll Tavern, in Lus Ville proper . . . a tiny little town, probably called a village almost anywhere else.

Lus Ville looks, for the most part, like someone grabbed a town from Earth's Old West and filled most of the empty spaces with buildings originally from a hundred different worlds. An eccentric mix, to be sure. The Sword and Scroll Tavern was no different than the buildings on either side of it, being one of the aforementioned Old West style buildings, save for the large wooden sign swinging over the door, with a design of a crossed sword and rolled scroll painted on it, along with the tavern's name.

On out of the way worlds like Sweets, you can never take for granted luxuries like modern heating, and it was a rather cold night so I walked towards the apparently real fireplace when I entered. Already seated near the fire was a tall man with long, waist length, possibly longer . . . it was ponytailed and he was sitting, so it was a bit hard to tell . . . greying black hair, a beard that was a touch greyer than his hair, and the most amazing sapphire blue eyes that I'd ever seen on a human. He was smoking a pipe and had a cane leaning against his chair. He wore a loose, but not quite billowing, pale grey shirt that laced at the neck. In short, while the bar was from Earth's Old West, the first person I noticed in it looked more like he was from it's Renaissance. He fascinated me immediately.

As I walked towards the fire, intending just to stand in front of it for a moment to get warm, he spoke to me. "Go ahead and sit down," he said in a rich baritone, gesturing to the other chair at his table. "I've yet to bite anyone without sufficient provocation."

I sat down and introduced myself to the strange man. "I'm Dorthas. I'm a Yugovian. A Traveller, to be specific. I go from star to star gathering stories."

"A Yugovian? Fascinating. I've heard of your people but never met one before. I'm Sven Blue, Senior. Poet, professor, singer, musician, and co-owner of this fine establishment."

"And war hero, twice over, and a founding member of Darrien's Daggers. He always leaves those out," said the barmaid, a human woman in a low-cut blouse and skin tight pants, who was at the table to take my order.

"Founding member of the Daggers, yes. War hero? There's nothing heroic in doing your job, and that's all I did." Turning to me, he asked, "What type of stories are you interested in?"

"My people, for the most part, don't leave the Republic, so we seek the true stories of what else is going on in the universe. Not the dry political details. We can easily learn those from the news nets, what those of us called to be Travellers seek are the stories of people. The winners, the losers, the lovers, the fighters, the kings, the servants, everyone who makes the universe the strange, wonderful exciting place it is."

"Wonderful!" he exclaimed. "You've come to the right place then. There's hardly a person in this bar who doesn't have some sort of tale to tell. Most of them are even true."

"Wonderful!" I echoed. "If you truly were a Dagger, you, no doubt, have some stories to tell. Would you mind sharing them?" I asked, taking a sip of the drink I'd ordered . . . Sundarin mead, very strong, very dark, delicious.

"War stories are a dime a dozen, as the old Earth saying goes, around here." He gestured to a table by the door. "I'm sure everyone at that table has three or four they'd gladly share." He glanced towards the fire for a moment, laid down his pipe, and began speaking. "I, on the other hand, am going to share with you the story of how I, a person originally from the Earth Union, came to this remarkable world so far from there that I've called home for over thirty years."