The Inn by the Side of the Road

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The Inn by the Side of the Road

Post by Snowdog »

The Old Forsaken Inn

A day's ride east of Bree stood an old inn that was likely built in the hey-day of the Kingdom of Arnor. The inn had sat dormant and empty for so many years that the name of The Forsaken was given it. Strider and the Rangers of the North used that name when they would at times meet there in private. Even they did not know exactly what became of the last proprietor.

Now, the year was 3020 of the Third Age, a year after the dread War of the Ring. Evil had fled and the lands felt alive in the new spring. And with the new spring came new proprietors who have been given the deed by the new king. Sisters Calia and Caira, who had long lived rough in the hills of Rhudaur. There was rumor that they had distant Rhudaurian royal blood, having been able to survive the dark years. True or no, they found favour with King Elessar, and the Inn and the lands around it was theirs.

The sisters set about making the place right, cleaning up the dirt and leaves that had collected, fixing the broken hinge on the door, repairing the bed frames and with many treks to Bree, making deals with Barliman to salvage his old bedding when he was replacing them. There wasn’t much there to draw people who could push west to Bree, but still, they would open before Midsummers Day. They had a lot of work to do.

The Inn as it stood when they arrived that rainy March Day looked broken and uninhabitable. With its entrance facing the road, its tall oak doors were weather-worn and its hinges rusty. A nameless sign hung from hooks on the covered porch, the true name of the inn long lost to the weather. To the sisters, the blank sign of the Forsaken Inn would soon offer the only comfortable rest between Bree and Rivendell. Caila tried to move the door that was slightly ajar, but the hinge was broken and it held fast. With the two of them, they managed to pull it open enough to squeeze in. With a cracking sound, the second hinge broke and the door fell out onto the porch. The sisters watched the dust fly as the light of day shined into the gloomy darkness.

Built from blocks of cracked gray stone, the sealing between the block had crumbled and there were gaps that let the weather inside. The roof was for the most part well ordered, mainly because the last proprietor had done some repairs long ago. Now, there were leaks, but the roof still kept out most of the rain and snow.

Inside the Forsaken’s door you looked upon a narrow log-framed parlour for about 5 feet. There were places to the side for cloak, hats, and such to be hung and could dry should the weather be wet. The parlour opened up into a great common room with a well-worn oak floor. To the left about three feet was a long oak bar that met the wall, making enough room for a man to stand at the bar without being in the way of the entrance. The open floor of the common room was only broken up by a half dozen logs standing upright supporting the heavy beams, and some clusters of well-abused wooden tables, each with its brood of rickety stools. Across the common room on the far wall had a great river rock fireplace that held a spit that could cook a fair-sized pig, goat, or cow. To the left of the fireplace there opened a wide hallway, where just inside to the left was a stair that curved to the right as it went up and led to the back of the stone chimney. There, the upper hallway went off left leading to the larger, more expensive rooms. If you passed this stairway in the hall below, it stretched along leading to the doors to smaller, cheaper rooms. The long bar from the wall reached its end where an opening was for the bar wenches and cooks to get through. This spot was the site of many a collision and fight between patrons coming out of the hallway, wenches with tankards on trays coming out from behind the bar, and servants with food dishes and empty stoneware coming and going from the kitchen.

In the back of the kitchen there was a side storeroom with a stair that went to the cellar where kitchen supplies were kept. Going straight out past the side storeroom, there also was a service door where the firewood could be brought in from the back. Also out back, there was a small well, and beyond that were the stables. Several hitching posts are positioned at front and back, east and west of the inn for short stays. The common room lighting came mainly from the hearth and from a few dim lanterns and candles around the room. In daylight the papered windows let in some light, but the sisters hoped that should they ever make any money, they would bring the Bree glazier out to make them proper windows. The décor was sparse, but above the fireplace was a shield of Westernesse. It had been hung there long ago, and there it remains.

It was now three days before Midsummer, and the months of hard work had passed and now hopes it would pay off were still fresh in their minds.. Sure there was still much to do, but they had gotten the worst of it done. They were ready to open. The dishes had been replaced, as have the bed linens and the tables and stools were repaired. Fresh keg of Freddy Largebarrel’s North Farthing Pale were brought in and one was tapped, and the sisters managed to find and clean up many a good vintage of wine. They got the well working again, and the water was fresh. They decided that should they ever get a customer, Caira would manage the kitchen and Caila would manage the front. Caira went rummaging around behind the bar and found a very old, dusty bottle of Harfoot’s Shire Wine 1409. It appeared intact, and so she brought it to a table where Caila was sitting. Blowing the dust out of a couple small flagons, she uncorked the bottle and poured them each a drink.

”To innkeeping!” Caira said as she lifted the flagon. Caila nodded and smiled, ”Indeed”. The taste was sweet if rustic, and they looked at each other and started to laugh.

They downed the wine and looked around. “Let us look and see what we have!” When they were ready, they stood outside the great oak doors with a proper glass of wine and said,

”Well, here goes nothing!!”

The glasses again rang and they sipped once again before the lit candle in Caila’s hand reached up and the lantern out front was lit.

It illuminated the newly painted sign said, ’The Inn By The Side Of The Road’.

It was the new name that seemed lighter, but the place would never shake the Forsaken name.

(This Open RP is Tolkien's Middle Earth and it's the first year of the 4th Age. Cailia and Caira are NPC, and feel free to add any other NPC characters if you wish. I'll probably edit this some as I go as I'm rather tired and threw this together from parts of old inn rps without a proper edit. Happy writing!)
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
--Bilbo Baggins
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Re: The Inn by the Side of the Road

Post by narya »

The sisters stood in companionable silence as the last of the evening light faded, leaving them in a pool of lanternlight. The forest was inky black now, its canopy rimmed with faint stars – more and more as the night deepened. The moon was not yet up. After so many days and nights of bustling activity, it was strange to stand in the quiet and just listen to their own breathing and the faint whisper of the forest. An owl hooted off to the north. After several minutes, another owl hooted, far to the south. In the nearby bog, frogs started to peep erratically, their voices eventually swelling to a chorus. Caila fidgeted a little and the board under her foot squeaked, breaking the spell.

“Wow”, she said, with a little shiver. “What have we done?”

Caira just shook her head, and set down the wine glass. “Something good.”

The frogs suddenly went quiet. There was a rustling in the woods that took on a slow, steady rhythm. Someone was walking towards them, not along the road, but through the trees. Someone fairly big, from the sounds of it. Caira drew back towards the door. “Hallo?” she called out quietly. The steps paused for a moment, then started again, and a woman stepped into the lantern light.

She was bigger than the sisters, tall and stocky, with short black hair that stood up on the crown of her head like a brush. She wore sensible if scruffy clothes of non-descript browns that were probably quite soiled but it was hard to tell. She carried a sack over one shoulder. She smelled pungent, even from 10 feet away.

“Hello” Caila said, tentatively. “Welcome to the Inn by the Side of the Road.”

The stranger looked at the sisters, looked up and down at the inn, then back and forth at the road. “Well, I suppose that name works. But I always heard tell it was the Forsaken Inn. And before that,” her face clouded a little, “The Black Oak Inn. But that was ages ago.” She unslung her pack and rested it at her feet. “Are you open for business now?”

Caila popped forward “Yes, oh yes, we just opened today. We would be honored to have you as our first guest! We have fresh bedding and a warm fire in the great room and wine (she lifted her glass) and fresh bread and I’m sure we can rustle up some stew.” She stopped when she ran out of breath, looking expectantly.

“Sounds wonderful,” the stranger sighed. “Do you have a bathtub? What I’d give for a good hot bath…. It’s been ages.”

“Oh yes!” Caira said. “Let me go start some water boiling!” She turned and bolted for the door.

Caila smiled. “Come with me. Do you have a horse, or did you come by foot? Are you alone?”

“Alone and afoot” the stranger admitted, and followed Caila into the parlour.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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