I rise from the covers of my bed, stretching while reaching for some of my plain clothes for the day. Wearing a tepid look as usual, I casually prepare for the day ahead of me. The business is doing well of course, but Aster does a fine job running the place; I rarely need to do anything except handle an unsavory customer. A good thing too, after all I am getting old and need to consider retirement soon. Our business’ profits are a result of running the business carefully and effectively over the years. Enduring through the hard times has finally paid off, and the only solace remaining in this world is that my children will not lead a life of tribulations like mine. I reach for my coat, revealing the still corked Glimmerwood Ale, now nearly two decades old. ‘I suppose not all things end the way we want them to’ I mutter under my breath, quietly enough that Mallory would not hear me from where she is still resting on the other side of the bed. Sighing, I trod out of our home, surveying the village. Clouds nearly covered the sky, and the usual villagers are either moping about or tending to their own duties. I shake my head, making my way over to the shop to open up for the day. ‘The stage is set for another tedious day… perhaps retirement is a bad idea after all’ I think to myself, moving aside some of the larger sacks piled near the entrance to my store. With a boring task such as polishing the counter, I can’t help but continue to think about that elf. ‘He could turn this type of day upside down, and often did when he was around’.
My boy’s high pitched voice rang in my ears suddenly, “Dad! I think we’re ready to open shop!” Nodding over at the eager lad, I flip the sign around at the front, ‘Barthen’s Provisions is now open’. Making my way back over to the counter I ask “I take it you’d like to run shop today boy?”, ready to judge his confidence. He nods and smiles vigorously, affirming my predictions on the matter. “I’ll head back to your mother then, let me know if something goes awry” I say casually, taking leave of the counter. I take note of some of the more unusual folks walking down the path, and one of them stops me suddenly.
“Say, do you know of the heroes Balasar and Sara?” a green haired man asks me. “Sure do, they saved this town not too long ago, although they are a bit rough around the edges.” He grins widely after hearing that, continuing to ask about them. “I hear they’ve fought countless atrocities, their renown has grown beyond the reaches of Phandalin and I dare say Neverwinter as well. Is it true they live in that run down manor on the hill?” he asks, pointing to the south. I turn my gaze over to Tresendar manor, nodding as I do. “Yes sir, although you wouldn’t know if you looked there. They’re hardly ever home, even though they do swing by the shop occasionally.” The man grins and flips me a gold coin, “I’ve been looking for them, this is a great place to start. Have a good day!” he says, waving back at me while walking back down the path. I pocket the coin of course and shrug, making my way back over to the house.
I stare at the door of my home flabbergasted. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and after inspecting it closer I fell into disbelief. There it was, as it had been many years ago… an image of Merlagos and his cheeky smile staring back at me on the front of the door. I couldn’t keep myself from falling to the ground crying tears of joy. Uncontrollably, amidst the weeping I shout “Merlagos… by the gods he has come back at last… I thought for sure he wouldn’t return after all this time!” Frantically, I open the door and pull the 1632 Glimmerwood ale from the shelf I had kept it in the last two decades, running over to the stream to chill it. Smiling on the way, I think to myself “I finally get to share this one with him! Hopefully he won’t delay much longer!” The villagers pause for a moment to stare at Barthen as he runs into the woods, unsure if he’s gone insane. “At least Aster can take over now.” They speak amongst themselves, resuming their ordinary duties.