It stops raining, but dark clouds are ever present. Occasional rumble in the distance. Are they walking in circles? Finally, they appear to be walking on some kind of a trail. The trail gradually becomes a path. In the distance, a set of buildings (a farmstead or two, some houses, a blacksmith) centred around a great inn. The Lookun Inn (later on the players will meet the Derthe Inn and the Wooden Stool, together spelling out "Look under the wooden stool"). And in the distance on a slope, a crooked and dark forest lies in waiting, spanning all the way from left to right.
The inn is crowded. MUSIC: CONAN - THE SPOILS/OVERINDULGENCE. Which is strange, because what is it doing here, in the middle of nowhere? In fact, the inn thrives on some sort of self-sufficiency: the farmers sell the innkeeper grain to make ale, and use that gold to pay the innkeeper for ale. RULE: UNITY IS ORDER IS TRAPDOOR. EVEN A SINGLE INN CAN SUSTAIN ORDER, AS LONG AS IT BUSIES ITSELF WITH THAT AND NOTHING ELSE. There are some wayfarers as well, but they have settled in the inn for the last ten years. The innkeeper and his serving women will bid the travellers welcome; his name is John (Ayler, but don=92t mention this yet - all innkeepers are named John Ayler), and he has a strangely familiar face. The guestbook has the names Demon and Alice in it. The inn is a cosy place: all wood and roaring fire, ale, meat, song and smoke, laughter and chattering. Time seems to stand still here, yet at a wall hangs a large TIME-DEVICE, customised to the needs of the inn alone. The players can do whatever they like, play dice games to earn some gold, drink ale, order a room, mingle with the locals or order a separate dinner room, pick a fight.
As the evening progresses the mood will get a little harsher, brawls erupt. One of the players gets drunk. MUSIC: TORMENT - CURST. The player seems to be having a slurred conversation with a man that knows his/her name. The player is happily relating all that has happened to him thus far, relating way too much actually. The player will meet this man many times, always in an inn, always when drunk. The man now chuckles and whispers something, but the player is already forgotten exactly what, but he/she is very confused. MUSIC: TORMENT - THE TRANSCENDENT ONE. The man says nothing more, drinks his ale and chuckles. As the player looks and stumbles around, he sees the inn, and in fact THE FORKING PATH, as it is: a seedy company in a corner has the face of rats, harlots are pinned down and taken harshly, the innkeeper has the face of a sheep and blares loudly, other men carrying a weapon resemble wolves, other drunks look like pigs. People the player bumps into shove him aside roughly =96 Are we lost then? Foolish drunk! Get out of my sight you! At night, their pursuers arrive at the inn.