16 September 2010

Weary Travellers Discover Paixamour and the Jolly Bard’s Tavern

these stories i wrote quite a while ago. i haven't done much to edit them. here is the first.


“Welcome, adventurers, to the town of peace and love, Paixamour. I am elder Stephan le Sage.”

It is truth, as well, that Paixamour looks peaceful and lovely. The sun illuminates a gorgeous scene of a greener-than-green forest that surrounds a well-planned town. A river trickles off in the distance, just to the west. The soldiers’ hearts fill with gladness as they take in the scenery, and calmness quickly comes over them. One man speaks on behalf the group.

“Thank you, sir. I am Geoffrey de Lifdonne, and these are my friends. We would like a room in your inn, if you please.”

“Of course, you must have been travelling all night. Come this way.”

Le Sage walks, and the men follow. “Our inn is called The Jolly Bard’s Tavern, and you will not be dissatisfied with the service you get.”

They walk further on a partially-cobbled path down the centre of the hamlet. Le Sage recites some history about the village.

“Paixamour began as an encampment during the Krysoan War, the war between the elves and dwarves over the Krysoth. The Krysoth was a giant chest said to have been filled with many charms, spirits, and treasure. It supposedly was located in an underground temple near the source of the river. However, it was never uncovered, and soon it was forgotten. For many years now, before my lifetime, we have been at peace with our neighbours, the dwarves. So, when the encampment became an established village, it was named Paixamour, the City of Peace and Love, to recognize this pact. Ah, the inn.”

The inn bears the engravings saying ‘The Jolly Bard’s Tavern’. Le Sage bids the company good day, and they enter the tavern. They glance about at the rustic, well-built elven inn. It is neat, a few tables set about, and a bar just ahead-- not quite the largest of taverns, but neat. It is not crowded. In fact, only two sit at the bar, stirring their drinks and chatting. An older woman, apparently human, waits on the two patrons, and also joins in their conversation. A bard, a young half-elf, strumming his lute enticingly and with feeling, sits on a stool leaning against a wall by a staircase, detached from the world. This is what gets the men next—the staircase is in fact a giant, mighty oak, which the inn is built upon.

The warriors get no attention from the patrons, the woman behind the counter, or the entranced minstrel. Thus, de Lifdonne leads his group onward.

“Madam, might we a drink and board?”

The barkeep responds jovially, “But o’ course, weary travellers. Welcome to The Jolly Bard’s Tavern. Although there is nae a lot o’ room in the upstairs, I am sure we can accommodate ye. What will ye desire first, yer drink or yer room?”

“Let us settle into our rooms; then we shall return for our drink.”

“O’ course,” replies the keeper, cracking a smile. “Tessal.” No response. “Tessal!”

The bard tacets. “Yes, Hildie?”

“Show these men to their chambers.”

“As you wish, mother.”

The bard beckons the travellers to follow him up the stairs. The stairs wind around the sturdy and incredibly large tree as a serpent on a thick branch. The second floor reveals a corridor, not one of considerable length or height, but long enough for four wooden doors. Presumably, two of the rooms are taken; one for the bard and the other for the keeper. How would the eight men fit into two rooms?

The bard opens the closest door on the right. Inside, four limbs have been hollowed out, filled with goose feathers, and each covered in a light cloth. The floor is suspended from these beds made from limbs. A chest resides next to each. A canvas sheet is attached to the ceiling at the interface between room and tree. A ladder, made of rope, hangs from above, no doubt to observe the town from higher vantage point.

The bard speaks. “A similar room lies across the hall, which you may also use. If you are dissatisfied, there are cots which we could put downstairs, or we could change your bedding.

“Allow me to formally introduce myself. I am Tessal Kempus, son of Seth. I am at your service, as well as my mother, Hildie, whom you aquaintanced before. Do not hesitate to call us.”

Tessal descends the oaken stair as the men make themselves comfortable. They find the beds to be very soft and the view to be marvellous. Geoffrey is the first to open the canvas and poke his head above the roof of the tavern. He climbs atop and finds a chair carved into the tree. He takes a seat, and marvels at the beautiful landscape that characterizes Paixamour and the entire Pleafwood Forest. It is picturesque, with the IronHorse Mountains in the distance, the sun shining bright, and a few white puffs of cloud in the spacious blue background which is the sky. The mighty oak stands above all the other trees, and seems as tall as the Peak of Glory.

However, Geoffrey makes the mistake of turning around, and catches sight of a grey mass of clouds heading for the lovely painting. He climbs down quickly and alerts his men. He reattaches the canvas to its place. With nothing more to do, and the storm heading towards them, de Lifdonne takes his men to the tavern for their promised drink and a morsel to soothe their grumbling bellies.


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