Even though construction has just been completed, I hear tales of spectral and supernatural activity. I have recently been made aware of strange happenings and mysterious visions, including that of a vaporous figure roaming the halls. I declare it a bit of buncombe brought on by excessive drink. But workers insisted they saw a female phantasm, and that she is the unrestful spirit of the previous Inn owner.

“Come now,” I said. “There can’t be a previous Inn owner, I just had the place constructed. You were there, you saw the whole thing.”

“Oh no,” they insisted. “She was there first, and she’ll be there long after you’re gone and the building turns to ash and cinder.”

“Ash and cinder? What the deuce are you talking about? Are you saying the Inn is a tinder box waiting to go up in flames, killing all the unwitting residents while they slumber in their beds?”

“Oh, nothing of the kind,” I was assured.

“Then tell me man! Who is this woman? What is the source of these mysterious happenstances?”

He then sat me down, poured a tall mug of ale, and relayed the story.

“It’s a right sad tale. One of lost love, lost fortune, unexplained death and a wayward bowl of soup,” he began.

“Do go on!” I insisted. “You say there is a lost fortune?”

“It all started a few decades ago where a young woman named Cascabela Bassiere, who owned an inn right on this spot , died a tragic death in her rooms.”

“Oh dear me! Not only do I not see how that’s possible, but what did she die from?” I implored, nearly spilling my ale.

“I will get to that, but first, you must allow me to build some dramatic tension with a wee bit of backstory,” he countered.

“Oh yes, quite right. We must have the backstory in order for this to make sense.”

“Cascabela, had an extremely bright and promising future. She was an intelligent and handsome woman. In the beginning, when running a tavern for her father, she met a handsome seaman named Tankard Biebow, so named for his love of mead.

“One day, when this town was in a completely different location and known as a port city, Tankard breezed into town and met the young Cascabela. She was immediately taken with him and the two become paramours. They stole away nights together, even going so far as to shirk convention and promenade on the dock together.

“During one of Tankard’s stopovers, and in a stupor of cabbage and ale, a combination most deadly, he proposed to take her hand. He vowed that on the return from his next voyage he would be a wealthy man, loaded with gold and gems. He would sweep her away, buy her a manor, and set her up to live in noble fashion. She in turn pledged herself to him and anxiously awaited his return.

“Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. When she was on the brink of giving up hope, assuming Tankard had run off with some rum wench, news finally came that Tankard’s ship, along with all the crew had been lost at sea. It’s reported they were attacked by some sort of mammoth sea creature. A great beast that slashed and tore at their ship, but giving itself an irritable bowel from their repeated cannon fire and ultimately leaving them stranded.

“Low on supplies and limping back to shore, they were caught in the worst storm logged in years. A violent hurricane mixed with a monsoon that generated swells of over 50 feet. Their ship took on water and spilled cargo like loose bowels.

“Clinging to their lives by a thread, they had the indignity of being attacked by pirates, their final coins of booty stolen, the ship set ablaze, then sunk, and the crew left for dead or worse.”

“Gadzooks man!” I cried, nearly falling out of my chair. “You don’t hear about that sort of thing every day do you?  Attacked by pirates, and the booty stolen? It’s usually one or the other, not both. What did she do then?” I ordered another ale for the two of us, anxious to hear the rest of the tale.

“As you may expect, Cascabela was devastated by the news. It was days before she was back at the tavern, in a sullen mood, but much to the delight of the patrons, who hadn’t been able to order a drink during her absence.

More to come…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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