The Sign of the Bumpy Lantern was only six houses down. The inn had once been known as the Inn of the Welcoming Lantern, but after an inept repainting of the sign about ten years ago, it became the Bumpy Lantern. Tom led the horses to the stable where the stable girl Katherine took them.
There was only one other customer inside the inn, a tall man with long curly blond hair eating a bowl of oatmeal with a large wooden spoon. His back was to the wall and he eyed Tom as he entered. A sword was laid across the table in front of his bowl. A short woman with even shorter dark hair was cleaning tables. “Yer too late for breakfast,” sniped the woman. “I just got done cleaning up!” She scrubbed another five minutes before Tom’s silence finally made her stop. “Do you want a room?” she asked. Tom nodded. “Good. That’ll be twenty-five pence, in advance. Meals are another ten. And clean yer boots before you go up! I’m not cleaning that room again!”
The tall man smiled. “Ah, you caught Theberga in one of her famous good moods!”
“Shut yer gob, you heathen!” replied Theberga, “Or I’ll shut it for you!” She took a step towards him, “Do you doubt me, Awyg?!”
“No, no, Theberga. You’re a tough nut and everyone knows it,” replied Awyg, still smiling. “You know I love you!” Theberga made a rude sign with her finger. Both were young. Awyg was an unbearded youth, and Theberga only a few years older.
Tom found himself somewhat limited in what thoughts he could hear in town. There was a general buzz of activity around, and he had to focus on one person at a time to hear their thoughts. Neither Awyg nor Theberga had thoughts of any consequence, so he cleaned his boots and waited to be shown to his room. Theberga steadfastly ignored him and kept cleaning tables for another ten minutes before she finally gave up. “Feh. Come along.” She went up the narrow spiraling stairs to the side of the door and led up to the first room on the right, a small room with single bed. There was no window. “That’s it.” She held out her hand.
Tom placed two shillings, five pence, in her palm. “Someone else coming?” she asked. Tom nodded. “Feh. Don’t say much, do you?” Tom shook his head. “Fine! I don’t like noisy dicks anyways,” she opined, and stomped back downstairs.
Tom followed her down and then went out to explore the town. There wasn’t much to it. Two main streets were lined with two story houses, often with a shop below. He passed a woodworker’s shop with several chairs and a building with something like a pair of scissors with no handle hanging in the front. He was curious about the last but not enough to go in. Further on were two warehouses. He passed a blacksmith’s shop as he turned north around the Common, and stood for a few minutes smelling the bread at the baker’s before heading back towards the gate. He reached the sign of the fat man on the left, but did not follow Derdim within. Instead, he sauntered down a side street and back up the hill towards the keep. When he got near the inner wall, he sat down and watched the people of the town go through their daily movements. He could see the fields outside the wall and some of the houses of the outer town, as well as all of the roads and a good deal of the countryside beyond. It was a pretty sight, and reminded him a bit of the mountains.