Extended Story

The night was a chaotic blend of winds and rain as a storm passed over the celebrating kingdom. Despite the weather outside, the tavern was lively and bustling with people from all over the country side. Free ale and feast was being given in honor of the Prince's wedding and everyone seemed to be joining in the festivities. Singing and dancing echoed across the small place while the smell of livestock and ale mingled around them. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves in the cozy, dimly lit place. All except for one person who stayed on the far side of the room, away from the growing crowd and close to the roaring fireplace. The cloaked man drank heavily from his large mug as he listened to the merry people on the other side of the room.

'It is true what they say, he scaled the highest mountain to seek his queen!' One man shouted from the center of the group.
'They say he slew a dragon to save the Princess!' A second raised his tankard in a salute.
'And fought a thousand ogres to return her riches!' Another shouted in reverance.

Many similar comments were made and shouted out until it became a song of valor sung to honor a hero whose name they had forgotten in their drunken stuper. But still they carried on. The man in the corner, sitting with his back against the flames, watched the crowd become more and more boisterous with each passing drink. He sighed heavily to himself, wishing he could be amongst them. But what joy he wanted could not be obtained in celebration for another, no matter how hard he tried. The ale left a bitter taste in his mouth and got to the point to where all he could do was stare at the dark reflection of himself in its still surface.

'Something the matter with your ale, love?' the barmaiden had approached him several times, asking similar questions with concern in her voice.
'No, m'lady,' he said just loud enough for her to hear him over the rambunctious crowd and took a drink from the mug. She waited a few moments before bowing her head and walking away with a deep sigh.

The man sat in silence, thinking to himself about the Prince's recent salvation and what he would give for something so wonderful. Hours dragged out in the time of minutes but despite how late late it was nor how slow time was moving, the tavern only grew more crowded by new faces. Finally, he decided it was time to call it a night and stood with several loud clinks and clunks of connecting metal underneath his cloak. Several coins were tossed on the table as he turned to walk out the door. A few men from the crowd caught his motion and turned their heads to look but quickly gave their attention to the singing and dancing.

'Leavin' already?' the barmaiden asked as he passed by the table she was scrubbing. He silently nodded as he walked past her and out the door. She frowned and watched him walk away. 'Good night then, General...'