Skip to content

Inn Between Posts

Story Time: Contact

Just a short one this month, as I’m still very busy finishing up our crowdfund fulfillment, but I would never neglect our loyal newsletter subscribers. Thank you for being with us through our long hiatus, and enjoy Sterling!


Sterling was in his office, trying to make a rota for a shift change for the guard, and was failing.

It wasn’t sleep deprivation. He’d been sleeping very well, in fact, resting in the knowledge that he was being useful and doing what was right, and that he was never far from a friend. It wasn’t boredom—on the contrary, he’d give anything to focus on the task at hand.

It was just a strange feeling. He felt itchy and uncomfortable in his own skin. It reminded him of how he felt before he’d met his Gang, wandering alone and full of anger and shame.

Minus the anger and shame, of course. What was it?


Sterling looked up to the door to find Knowles leaning inside, hanging onto the door frame. Sterling straightened in his seat. “Yes, Sargeant?”

“Do you happen to have that rota yet?” Knowles asked.

“Ah. No. I…” It wasn’t really appropriate to bare his soul to Knowles, even if they were likely to handle it with their customary easygoing aplomb. “I’m not feeling well. Apologies.”

“We still have a couple days before we need it,” Knowles said casually. “If you need to leave.”

“Perhaps that’s wise,” Sterling said, standing. He certainly wasn’t getting anything done today. “Anything else need doing before I go?”

“I don’t think so.” Knowles gave Sterling a pat on the shoulder as he passed them. “See you, Captain.”

“Er…yes.” Sterling kept walking, leaving the guard house for the castle grounds, thoughtful. The shoulder touch. That was…something.

Ah. This was what Fina had brought up before. He needed…he needed a hug.

Well, that was embarrassing.

Rather than go back to his quarters, Sterling went for a walk. In the days after the goblin curse, his friends had made a point to touch him. Nothing overly demonstrative, like that first hug, but Velune asked for a hand frequently when traversing the woods, or Betty would throw an arm around his shoulders, or Fina would lean on him or nudge him or sneak up on him and muss his hair, which was at first infuriating and then a sort of game. Meltyre was one to offer hugs proper, when meeting or parting, as consolation and celebration. But it had been too long since Sterling had spent any kind of time with his friends, apparently, if the itchy restlessness under his skin was any indication.

It was Sterling’s wont to simply…do without. It wasn’t technically necessary, and he didn’t need a hug. He could be stalwart and independent. He could stand alone.

The main problem was, now having had a taste of something better, he didn’t want to.

His walk took him to the practice archery range. There were no guards practicing at this time of day, which meant that most of the people there were nobles and other hobbyists.

And, he realized with some cheer, Meltyre’s sisters. Sterling circled the range and walked up one of the boundary lines to watch.

Lydda, Min, and Seri were chattering along at their teacher, a retired guard that Sterling believed was named Denner. Denner seemed a bit overwhelmed, but gradually wrangled the girls into a line, and had them, one after another, fire off an arrow.

Sterling smiled. Each of them missed.

“It’s enough to make you want to invest in plate armor, right?” said a voice behind him.

Sterling half-turned, and found Meltyre, sitting on a bench with a book unopened in his lap. He had a fond look in his eye.

“You’re welcome to borrow mine,” Sterling said, taking a seat next to his friend.

“I think I’d look like a kid playing dress-up,” Meltyre laughed. “Thanks, though.”

The image struck Sterling as so funny that he decided he needed to draw it. “Do you have a piece of paper I can borrow?”

Meltyre raised his eyebrows curiously. “Yeah, sure.” He dug a scrap of paper out of his pocket, checked both sides, and handed it off to Sterling. “Why?”

Sterling took a nub of pencil out of his pocket and sketched out a Meltyre, drowning in plate mail. It didn’t take long; he showed Meltyre. “What do you think?”

Meltyre burst out laughing, and Sterling treasured it. Meltyre never used to laugh like this before; it was good to see him so happy.

“Oh gods,” he gasped. “Okay, never show this to my sisters.”

“It’s a deal.” Sterling tucked it into his pocket.

“What brings you out here, anyway?” Meltyre said, trying to catch his breath a little. “You’re—” He coughed suddenly, wheezing a bit. “Gods, sorry. You’re usually in the guardhouse this time of day.”

“Oh.” Ah, now this was the rub, wasn’t it? “Well.”

“Well?” Meltyre prompted.

“It’s all a bit…horrible,” Sterling attempted.

Meltyre’s customary worry returned, wrinkling his brow. “What do you mean? What’s wrong?”

“Not horrible,” Sterling corrected hastily. “Not unbearable, really. It’s silly. Or at least, it makes me feel silly.”

Meltyre leaned away from his friend, which was no good at all. “What are we talking about here, Sterling?”

Sterling knew he was blushing with embarrassment, and he dearly hoped Meltyre hadn’t noticed. This was harder the longer he blathered, he realized. “I just…I could use a hug.”

“Oh! Uh, yeah, sure!” Meltyre hesitated, and then spread his arms. “I can help.”

Sterling did not hesitate—he embraced his friend, and his skin felt like his again.

All too soon, Meltyre loosened his grip, and Sterling released him promptly. “Thank you.”

“Of course.” Meltyre looked puzzled, but not unpleasantly so. “Did something happen?”

“Nothing I can think of,” Sterling said, leaning back on the heels of his hands. “I think these things just build up.”

“I know what you mean,” Meltyre muttered, and turned back to look at his sisters, who were each shooting off their last arrows. “You don’t have to feel silly about it though. It’s…it’s okay to ask.”

Sterling felt very appreciated by his friend. “Thank you. I’ll remember that.”

Denner managed to confiscate the bows of the girls and dismiss them all, but they stayed chatting on the range while he left them to collect arrows.

“Hey, if you need a little more, I have an idea,” Meltyre said, presently.

Sterling surveyed his friend with some suspicion. What precisely did he mean? He didn’t seem nervous. “What is your idea?”

Meltyre smiled with a little mischief and called out, “Hey, girls?”

His sisters looked up—Lydda waved, Min called back, “Hi, Sterling!” and Seri giggled.

Meltyre pointed at Sterling. “Get him!”

And Sterling didn’t have time to do anything more than stand before the girls swooped in, hollering their little battlecries, and bowled him off his feet. And then everything was a pile of laughter and joy, and Sterling felt like himself.

Story Time: Our Friend Velune

It was pointed out to me that there is a severe lack of Velune content! Which we must rectify immediately!


Relasti tip-toed through the hall of the abbey, knowing full well that something was about to happen and trying not to let the dread show on their face. “Velune? Are you here?”

A snicker bounced around the stone walls, echoing. Relasti gritted their teeth. The worst part was the anticipation. “C’mon out, okay?”

“I’m in here.” Velune’s voice was tiny and merry, laughing at them. It was coming from the door to the workshop, which was slightly ajar.

Relasti examined the door carefully for tripwires, even taking the time to try a Detect Magic spell. Velune couldn’t do magic yet, as far as Relasti knew, but maybe they’d picked up something new. But Relasti detected no magic, so they took a deep breath and opened the door.

Story Time: Five Fish (Part Two)

The second part of our exploration of How Meltyre Is Great At Fishing. (If you missed part one, it’s right here.) This story time includes an animal death. That seems obvious to say, but better safe than sorry. The animal is a fish.


Meltyre was ten years old. Still.

It was funny, he thought, stealing from tree to tree, how long it took to get to your next birthday. Theoretically, Mother had said, Dad would be home just after his next birthday. She had in fact been saying that like a mantra, and Meltyre was so sick of hearing about his birthday.

He was tired of waiting for it too, he thought, taking one last look around. Okay, the coast was clear.

Casually, he moseyed up to the magistrate’s private pond and sat down, pulling a line out of his pocket and looking for a bug to bait the hook with.

Story Time: Five Fish (Part One)

That’s right, a two-parter! We have a longer set of stories today and next month. Tune in to the newsletter next month for our next story, or join our Patreon to get it in just a week or so! All patrons get early access to Story Time every month. Let’s go!


Meltyre was eight years old.

“And you just sit still and wait for the fish?” Meltyre asked his dad. The two of them were laying on their stomachs on a bank overhanging the lazy little stream that bordered their farm.

“Just sit and wait for the fish,” Dad confirmed. “Now fish are cautious creatures. They usually like to test the bait before they eat it. So you can’t pull back on the line when you first feel a nibble. You have to wait until they actually take a bite.”

“How do you know when they take a bite?” Meltyre asked, voice hushed.

Story Time: Love, Unconditional

I was definitely in an Easter sort of mood when I wrote this one. I’m always looking for new inspiration, so if you have ideas, you can always join our Patreon! Not only do you get the first look at new Story Time and all the benefits of supporting the show, but $20/month patrons get to suggest prompts!

All right, that’s enough schilling, let’s go hang out with Tode.


The Crew—the original five plus Cybilene and Killiker—made their way through the winding woods around Touramelle, chatting as they went.

“Then our father doesn’t know we’re coming?” Tode was a little alarmed by this.

“The mail service isn’t exactly dependable out here,” Cybilene explained. “Even if I had sent a letter, we would have arrived long before it was delivered.”

“That sounds like a good way to shock an old man to death,” Zara muttered.

Rosie elbowed her. “You just don’t like surprises.”

“Don’t worry, Papa loves surprises,” Cybilene assured them.

Story Time: The Right Way

This month we are visiting our friend Sterling, long before he became a paladin. Remember, if you want me to write about something you like to suit your whims like I’m your court jester/poet laureate, all you need to do is become a $20/month Patron and start suggesting!
Now, onto the story.

Lord Samuel Whitetower was many things, but above all else, he was decisive. He knew what he wanted, and when he wanted it, and how he wanted it. He knew the exact temperature his tea should be. He knew how his sheets should be put on the bed. He knew how many quills and pieces of paper were on his desk and where they should be placed. And gods help any servant who didn’t know what he knew.

Most of all though, he knew how a young lordling was supposed to behave, and this was not it.

“Explain the events of today,” Samuel told the boy who stood now before him.

Sterling kicked one foot against the floor. His posture was appalling. When Samuel was nine years old, he knew how to hold his spine correctly. “It was just once.”

Story Time: Keepaway

Enjoy some cathartic violence towards the concept of academic snobbery!


Zara couldn’t help but feel some satisfaction at the jingle of coins in the heavy bag she laid on the Headmaster’s desk. Not that she let it show.

The Headmaster regarded the bag carefully with her beady blue eyes. “You understand, of course, that we don’t just accept any student who has the money. There are standards. Protocol to be observed.”

“The charter of your circle says that you’ll admit any student if they can meet the tuition cost and show magical aptitude,” Zara said. She’d read the charter. Best to be prepared.

“And your magical aptitude?” The Headmaster said with barely hidden disdain.

By habit, Zara took a slow breath in and out, and held out a hand. A small, carefully controlled flame flickered to life above her palm, a bright sweet thing.

Story Time: Klara

I kind of like the way cold weather sets a scene, you know? It makes the inn setting feel very cozy. In fact, perhaps that will influence our February story time as well.

If you’d like to influence February story time, I direct you to our Patreon, where for a mere twenty bucks a month, you can have my ear.

Let’s go!


Tessa wiped her brow and sighed, surveying the clean floor. It may have been a slow night in a strange town—strange as in odd, not unfamiliar—but at least the floor was clean. It wasn’t often she got the chance to properly scrub the place.

The inn had been following a trio of adventurers for a while now. It had been several years since Tessa refurbished and opened the Goblin’s Head, and she occasionally had to remind herself that it was not a normal life she was living, hopping from place to place. She rather liked this particular set of adventurers, a friendly, lively bunch. They seemed as though they’d had a difficult day, though; no sooner had the party arrived than they’d asked for their dinner sent up and gone to bed. Poor dears.

The odder thing, though, was the distinct lack of other customers. Only one or two had come through the whole day, and they had been furtive and wide-eyed, as if ordering a cider and a meal was some sort of illicit act. They hadn’t spoken to each other and they’d barely spoken to her, eating as if they were in a hurry, taking an insultingly short amount of time to savor their cider, and scurrying off.

At least it gave her time to clean the floor properly, which was satisfying even if it wasn’t profitable.

Right. A thorough scrubbing had kept her awake almost as long as a dining room full of guests, so it was time for bed. Tessa flicked the scrub brush dry above the bucket, put it in her apron pocket, and picked up the bucket to go dump it out behind the inn.

Knock knock knock.