Sterling hits his head on a low-sagging beam on the way in, showering himself with dust and bits of rotten wood. He dusts himself down while the innkeeper approaches.
"Er... just a round of drinks for now, please," he replies, smiling back.
When the drinks are provided, he asks:
"This area of town seems a little quiet and run-down, if you'll forgive my saying so. Is that because of the Hild occupation or is there some other cause? We've noticed other parts have recovered more quickly now the Hildeans are gone. It must be quite hard for you to run a business here these days, with so few people about. Are there any signs that things might be picking up again, or does it look like getting worse?"
If his obvious curiosity arouses any suspicion, he'll explain:
"We're thinking of settling here in the Isles, and we're looking for a place that would benefit from a bit of investment and development. That's why I'm asking about these kind of things. We have a lot to offer to the community that we join, but we don't want to waste our efforts on a lost cause."