Hey, welcome back. I’m so glad you’re here. What can I do for you? Our specials today are roasted Cranovian mountain hare with a Loxivell salad. The cook also said he’s got a new batch of Ronorono soup made, but I don’t suggest it. I’ve been here for a long time and I still can’t handle eating anything that looks back at me. Here, let me get you an ale to start.

So, how’s it going?

Me? Oh, I’m fine. It just seems it’s been a while since I took a holiday. I been needing one, but haven’t taken the time. Seems we’ve had an influx of newbies here lately. I know I’ve got others who can help guide these souls, but I always feel obligated to do it.

The tavern? Oh, I’ve worked here since I got here. It used to belong to another soul, but one day he just handed me the keys and vanished. I haven’t seen him since. He was a bit of a brooder. He’d sit in that corner over there and try to drown his sorrows. He always had a whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in his mouth. He was my guide.

Let me explain. Hang on, your orders up. K, here ya go. This Shansean bat sauce goes great with that salad. Mind if I eat with you? I’ll tell you my story.

I lived on Earth, just like you. I was born sometime around 3200BC on what came to be known as Crete. We called it Atalan and yes, it’s where the story of Atlantis began, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I was the youngest of 5 children and the only girl. It was the custom to dedicate the oldest daughter to the goddess and hand her over to the temple when she became a woman. I was 14. My family took me to the temple and a huge ceremony took place. It had been something the women of our village had spent years preparing for and I was full of hopes and dreams. As children, we’re told that to be given to the goddess means being the direct line between the gods and your family. It is supposed to be a huge honor. Guess what, it’s not.

What I quickly found out was that myself and a handful of other girls about my age were now the newest slaves of the high priestess. It took years to work our way up the ranks. You started out as a slave girl, then you worked in the temple collecting offerings from the villagers. After that, you’d become one of the Maidens of the Priestess. Sounds cool but it just means you spend countless hours learning how to dance and chant in honor of the goddess. That’s where I made it before my “accident”.

The thing you have to remember is that the goddess expects you to remain a virgin. I’d heard rumors that many of the temple girls had taken guards and soldiers as lovers, but I didn’t believe it. I was fully dedicated and was preparing to move up the ranks once more. I was going to be one of the chosen few who became an attendant to the high priestess.

See, once a girl had put in 10 years of service, she could leave the temple without shame and take a husband. Most temples girls did, but I had no intention of doing so. My goal was to one day be the high priestess. In our culture, she held all the power. Hell, the king didn’t even make decisions without asking the priestess first.

Anyway, one night, as I was headed to another dance rehearsal, one of the guards stepped out of the shadows and grabbed me. He pulled me into a little side room and decided he was going to have his way with me whether I liked it or not. But, being the person that I was, I wasn’t going down without a fight. He had no idea that I’d grown up with 4 older brothers. Not to mention the fact that I’d spent years living in a small space with a couple dozen bitchy girls who were all trying to get noticed. Those girls can get mean.

He had his hand over my mouth, so I bit him. When he yelped and let me go, I punched him in the face as hard as I could. I then kicked him in his manliness and was getting ready to hit him one more time, when he pulled his sword and ran it through my chest. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t make a sound. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the ground in a very dark place. Then, I met X. The man who helped create the tavern.

Oh cool, you’re done. You want another drink? No? That’s okay. You look a little sleepy, come on. I’ll help you get to a place where you can get plenty of sleep and feel like a whole new soul. See that jewel on the wall behind you, touch it. It will send you to a great Otherworld spa run by my friend, Gorlog. Don’t let her looks freak you out, her mother was ravaged by an insane satyr and she didn’t get the best end of the deal. However, she gives a foot massage that’s to live for. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about X next time. Go get some rest.

Damn, what was that? Oh, not again. Dammit Nero, give Henry his crown back.


Image by ndemello from Pixabay


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