Housing

“It was a splendid day. The birds sang, the wind gave a mild rustle to the trees, the sun beamed with a gentle radiance. However, in a strange happenstance, as Podge walked back to the Inn from picking flowers in a meadow for Cascabela’s wedding bouquet, he was struck down by a blast of lightning from a cloudless sky, incinerated right where he stood. The stench was horrific and the townspeople knew almost immediately something was wrong.

“Clearly, this was more than Cascabela could endure. In tears of rage, horror, and disappointment, she locked herself away in her room. Her father, not knowing what to do to console her, offered a small bowl of her battered pickle creation, to remind her of happier times.

“It seemed to do no good. For weeks, no one saw or heard from her. They brought food and endeavored to console her through the locked door. However, there was no reply from within. The food went untouched, the drink neglected, the flowers wilted.

“One day, her father besotted with concern, was left no choice but to forcibly enter the room to check on her state.

“To his shock and distress, he found Cascabela, dead, face down in the bowl of pickles he sent up weeks earlier. He couldn’t take the strain and a malady of the heart struck him down, in the very same room.

“The pickles were immediately stripped from the Inn menu. From that day forward, the town had a mortal fear of pickles, considering them the harbinger of ill tidings. Those letting rooms immediately moved out with no new tenants taking the vacancies.

“With the Inn abandoned, an attempt was made to sell it. But the dark cloud of misfortune resulted in no takers.

“Left with that failure, it was torn down, chopped into scrap and burned for a swine roasting.

“After that, no one spoke of Cascabela or her fated betrothments. The townsfolk erected a small marker and that was the end of that.

“However, to this day, Cascabela is said to be seen within the Inn. And on certain nights, she can be seen eating those deadly pickles in the light of the pale moon.”

“Gadzooks man!” I yelled. “A ghostly apparition! What do we do?”

“I don’t believe there is anything we can do, except share the space and make sure pickles are never served.”

“Blast!” I cried. “Easier said than done! What about gherkins man?” I asked. “Can we have gherkins? They are a delightful and tangy little snack! Not quite a pickle though,” I said hurriedly. “There is a difference!”

“I wouldn’t push my luck,” he said sourly.

“Damn and blast! What about the Grilled Corpion Tail? Can we sell that? As you know, I love me some tail!”

“Well, of course we can!” he replied exuberantly. “Who doesn’t love a bit of that?”

Fini

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“It was Bevin Thatcher, a world class roofer, that raised her spirits from the floor of a gypsy wagon, on that glorious fall day. He arrived just in the nick of time, as some sort of blight from a cantankerous millworm, had caused all manner of destruction to buildings in the town. He worked like a fiend to make repairs, getting himself into the good graces of all the townspeople. But, it was Cascabela that he took a fancy to.

“After the previous incident though, she was hesitant. But, since Bevin would have no life upon the sea, thus no chance of drowning in such a manner, she eventually warmed to the idea of his affections. She found herself once again wrapped in joy as the two strode among the tree blossoms, had picnic breaks together as he repaired and improved the local houses, and even attended the Fall Festival. It was quite glorious from all accounts.

“But, roofing can be a tricky affair with danger lurking around every corner and on every flight of stairs. While visiting him on the work site, picnic basket in hand, Bevin was blinded by the sun as he worked his way down from his lofty perch. He took a misstep, slipped off his ladder, crashed through a window and fell headlong into a bucket. With said bucket completely obscuring his vision, he tumbled down multiple flights of stairs, suffered a great deal of head trauma as he smashed priceless vase after priceless vase. He then crashed through the front door, obliterating the sturdy oak right off the hinges. Finally, with savage velocity, he plowed into the local pumpkin patch, demolishing the towns prized festival gourds and destroying their sacred scarecrow. It was a stalwart scarecrow and took revenge by skewering the poor lad right through the nether regions. Bevin was horribly mangled and buried in a nearby plot. The scarecrow was mended and placed back on duty.

“A dark cloud of melancholy swept over the festival, many faces glum at the ruination of so many gourds and ill treatment of the sacred scarecrow.”

“Oh!” I cried. “Those poor pumpkins! And in the critical time of the Fall festival. They must have been devastated!”

“Not a dry eye in the house,” he commented.

“And let’s not forget, Cascabela’s man friend quite a nasty tumble. The poor dear,” I said sadly as I sipped at the ale. “Quote a stroke of bad luck all round.”

“Oh, more misfortune was in the works,” he revealed.

“Surely you jest?” I asked.

“Well, as you might expect, Cascabela, was quite a nervous wreck, watching her beau suffer from such a debilitating fall. And she vowed that day to never let her heart be taken again.

“She once again threw herself into her work. And through her sturdy determination, she and her father amassed a fair sum in coins. They eventually opened an Inn with Cascabela and her father taking the top floor as their residence.

“With the Inn as her sole focus, she developed into a first rate cook, making meals for all their guests, with Corpion Tail being a particular delicacy. Cascabela, was even known to sneak out to Wyrmsands and harvest the little rascals herself from time to time.

“One day, a young traveler came to the lodge and took a room. He was a high quality cooking oil and suet salesman, ingredients key to a fine Corpion Tail.

“Cascabela was of course interested in his wares and the two quickly struck a fine business deal. Podge Degras, as he was known, made regular visits to town to restock her supplies and would room longer with each call.

“Podge took a strong fancy to Cascabela, and despite her better judgement, for fear of him walking off a plank, falling off a roof, tripping into a mine shaft, or simply waking up dead, she reciprocated his feelings. After the catastrophes of the past, Cascabela warned him that she lived under a dark cloud and could not fully commit to her feelings.

“Podge understood her hesitancy, proved to have infinite patience, and was keen to simply enjoy her company and the Corpion Tail. It is even said, that together the created something quite new, some manner of frizzled, pan-scalded pickle, dipped in a savory batter. It was quite a sensation with the Inn patrons.

“After nearly a year of their courtship, and no hint of mishap or misfortune in sight, Cascabela finally agreed to take his hand. Podge was a whirlwind of excitement and they opted to be wed, in town, right at the Inn where they first met.

More to come…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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

I’m not sure what it is, but am awestruck by it’s scale and design. Just above our local stream, Oba has begun construction on a project I can only describe as epic. I say that because I have no idea what he’s up to or the purpose of this magnificent edifice.

As you cross over the bridge you can’t help but be taken by the myriad of columns, vines and statuary all placed with such random good taste and precision as to be infinitely tasteful and decorative.

When I entered the sanctuary, I was taken with it’s cooling and relaxing aura. I also became lost by following the winding footpath laid before me. It’s a snaking course that had me going in circles around the central columns. It took many tries to realize that I need to zig instead of the usual zag to make my way out.

The statuary is extremely elegant and the columns have a majestic aged quality. I’m anxious to see the final product, assuming of course it’s not completed.

I suspect this could be the beginnings of his new vineyard or perhaps a lovely garden where we can all come to meditate upon the virtues. I would ask the man himself, but he is elusive and chooses to work under the cover of darkness.

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I say! What a marvelous bit of construction we have here!

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I believe I will have to take a look. Hopefully this is not some sort of evil labyrinth with a terrible creature at the center waiting to devour me!

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That is some fine statuary you have there. And an abundance of columns too.
I dare say, it is quite magnificent, whatever it is.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

My first attempt to construct a siege fortress did not go according to plan. It sprouted with the greatest of intentions, but labor disputes, relentless requests for safety precautions, and a never ending need to be fed and given ale, brought the project to a halt. I simply couldn’t work with those sorts of demands and dismissed the entire miserable lot.

The second attempt was spectacular and would have been made more spectacular had it been erected on the correct location. Although my design parchments were perfectly clear, this escaped the budget labor I had enlisted. Even with their claims of the parchment being upside down, it still would not have walled off that poor citizen.

On the bright side, it was revealed that said citizen suffered from a scorching case of the zombie plague and was not fit to be in the company of man nor beast. Had he not been contained and subsequently died a slow and painful death with no one around to ease his suffering, we could have all been infected. Further, the owner of the house, who was conveniently away during the mishap, shall be interrogated thoroughly upon his return as to where he has been and who he has been in contact with. And most likely charged with reckless endangerment of the entire community.

However, we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, which confirms why I am a genius, and for my third and final attempt, I took up the chisel and constructed a masterpiece on my very own.

The first order of business was to knock down the previous rubbish. This proved more difficult than anticipated as I only possessed a hammer. But I swing that hammer with enviable might!

The next point of contention was removing the rubble. As I have no horse and cart, I had to dispense the debris the old fashioned way. This also proved difficult as there was no repository to contain the cast offs. After filling the outhouse to the point of overflowing, I was left to throw the granite chunks into the pond. All we need is a good solid day of rain and the pond will return, I’m quite sure of that.

With the area cleared, I set to work. Using ancient methods to line and situate the walls, I constructed a grand structure. Alas, I noticed too late that the ancient method I was using should have been employed in the construction of a tomb, not a fortress. They are close enough in usage, and as such, I was undeterred.

My enclosure came together quickly and became a tribute to my need for revenge. The walls were impenetrable. The corner spires were easily defended. The gates were nigh impassable. Soon, oh so very soon, I would be able to lay siege.

To confirm my layout, I took to the skies in my balloon and surveyed my accomplishment with great relish. I observed that once my thirst for vengeance has been satiated, my new enclosure will make a fine arena. That day will be coming soon.

I shall call my fortress a success and as such, I shall let loose the Obsidian Stags of war. Sleep with one eye open Alchemister, you never know when I’ll strike.

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So let me see here. Placed on the right property. Walls a straight. The spiky bits point upward. Yes, it has everything I need!

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Yes indeed, it does look very forboding and formidable from up here. That’s a good look.

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Hello battle arena accoutrements

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Oh, yes indeed, it does look foreboding as you come over the rise. Very nice. Once I get that shipment of hot oil, it will be perfect.

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After all that, it’s time for a nap.
And then, Devastation!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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