(Stone Clan, Zoluren: Akroeg 362)
Two dwarfs enter the tavern and make a bee line towards one of the tables in the back, close to window, Baresh sees to his relief, as a wet leather and viper oil vapor insinuates itself from one the figures. While Baresh prepares a shot of Spiced Rum for the odoriferous dwarf, the other takes off a Dwarven Great Helm under it appears the smiling face of Bubbinster (infamous creator and unashamed performer of the Naked Beer Dance), thus a keg of Grek’s Ale is also carried to their table.
Just as Baresh is getting behind the bar again, to his horror, he notices both Solrac (the smelly one) and Bubbinster (the indecent one) taking off their boots! His mind goes dumb with fear. Is Bubbinster starting the stripping for a Naked Beer Dance? What torturous smells lurk in the night between Solrac’s toes? With the squeaky voice of a roaring Gnome, Baresh hears himself screaming.
"Stop!" belts out Baresh "In the name of the moral and sanitation codes of the known provinces!"
Bubbinster grunts teasingly at Baresh.
"Don’t go dreaming Baresh" Bubbinster playfully says "It will only be our shoes."
"What sanitation codes?" asks Solrac confused.
"He took a bath a few days ago Baresh." Bubbinster reassures Baresh while playfully grunting at Solrac.
Baresh still trembling with fear, and morbidly fascinated by the sight of Solrac’s toe nails that look like an old pridean’s blunt claws, manages to ask: "And why are you taking your shoes off?"
Solrac scratches his head and again, it is Bubbinster, he is a bard after all, the one to answer.
"My barbarian friend and I just want to see if it will be possible for the Olvies to stomp while barefooted" Bubbinster says.
"And why is that?" Says Baresh still doubtful.
"Because the Halflings will be visiting us dwarves at Stone Clan during our next meeting." – Says Solrac finally knowing the answer to something and showing it.- "But we heard they don’t use shoes. Since a dwarven Stomp is a serious affair, and we don’t want complaints about it later on, we decided to try and see if it could be done."
"And you say the Olvies are visiting you up at Stone Clan?" – asks Baresh
"Yes Baresh." – Says Bubbinster – "They have heard about the cold winter in the mountain, and our troubles with Sorrow, our scorched guardians… and decided to come and bring some warm, with their company, and some joy, with their beer!"
Bubbinster guzzles down about half the keg and looks up like a slightly happier dwarf. Solrac sips on his Spiced Rum shot and his eyes go a shade redder. Suddenly Baresh remembers something…
"And the experiment you were going to do, would be to the rhythm of your Stomp of the Short Brigade Bubbinster?" – asks Baresh
"Yes, my own creation, and then the Stone Clan March of course." – Bubbinster answers as he grunts proudly to Baresh.
"In that case, I will tell any halfling and dwarf I see about the meeting… and the Party." – Baresh declares – "But do please pay accept this drinks on the house and go to the Unicorn Inn with your stomping, barefooted or not. Last time you people starting your dance I had to close for two days for reparations… this is not a stone mountain you know!"
With mocking grunts and limping to put their shoes on the two dwarfs leave the establishment. Baresh writes a note and puts it by the Chalkboard by the door:
Halflings and Dwarves, friendship and drinking. By the Old Great Mages Calendar, this next Sunday, seventh month of the older earths, 16th day at 8:00 night, Easter Elanthia Time, the Olvies will gather by Kaerna Village to visit as a group the Stone Clan dwarves. Be there. Stomping and drinking until the last of each race, or the whole grey mountain falls!
As he sees the pair walking towards the Unicorn Inn s mischievous smile crosses Baresh’s face and he tells the other patrons in the tavern. – "I would love to see what the Barbarian Elf that owns the Unicorn Inn will do to them when she sees her cups and mirrors start cracking!"