There is an odd tradition in Theria of closing the gates of the city for an hour after dusk and an hour before dawn. For a city dependent on a continuous flow of trade it creates a somewhat inconvenient period of blocked passage (or constipation as some grumbling merchants describe it). Nobody can remember why exactly the gates are closed at this time but the two most popular theories are that; a) the militia feels that we have gates, by the gods we’re going to get some use of them; b) the militia uses this time to have tea and biscuits.
In truth the tradition helps line the coffers of the Militia by allowing them to charge a “convenience” fee to those merchants to slow or to desperate to wait outside for an hour. Anybody who wants to get in (and there’s surprisingly a large number who do) at these times, a gold per person seems to be acceptable gateway robbery. These coins go directly into the Militia’s widow and orphan’s fund.
It also helps the taverns just outside the gates that just happen to be owned by ex-militia confederates. When the gates closed, these taverns tend to fill with impatient travelers unwilling to spend that gold piece. Of course some end up drinking much more than a gold coin’s worth by the time they remember to be back on the road.
On this fine day in the midsummer of the year 470, whatever your background, your character has managed to find himself on the outside of the far south gates after dusk. The guards are being particularly ornery and are unwilling to let you talk your way through. A nearby inn, The Poor Merchant, offers a happy hour of “one pitcher o’ Theria’s finest pale 1 silver”. The smell of decent cooking helps tempt anybody who’s not had much to eat.
Inside the tavern (yes by god I’m strongarming y’all) it is rather empty. A few merchants occupy one table with a pitcher between them and a group of rowdy adventurers occupies another. Neither pays much attention to new comers though the traditionally buxom waitress does give you each an “I hope they’re good tippers” smile. The pale ale is cold and refreshing and the sausage-and-onion plate hearty and hot.
Not ten minutes after the last of y’all have entered, the door to the tavern is burst open. A young human, his black hair askew and eyes wide has to take a moment to catch his breath. “Cor,” he pants, “there’s trouble! I need a band o’ well trained and noble heroes to help make things right!”
The table of adventurers, who appear well equipped if anything, turn six pairs of assessing eyes toward the boy. Though he responds with a hopeful expression, they take in his well-patched attire and you can almost hear the mental cash registers come up “no-sale”. A couple of them murmur “Well, we’re not exactly well trained” and “We’re more a well meaning association of acquaintances really.” They then carefully turn back to their conversation.
“Well passin’ that, is there a group o’ untested strangers willin’ to give a moment to rescue a family in need?” He glances around, trying to catch your eyes with his own pleading gaze. “It could be the beginning o’ a classic tale o’ mismatched fates becomin’ somethin’ more than the sum o’ their parts?” He pauses and then adds “There could be somethin’ in the way o’ a small reward for the efforts also?”