Hey, you’re awake. Bout time, you’ve been out for what would have been a week on Earth. I told you to be careful if one of the Mothers handed you a cup of tea. FYI…it’s probably not the kind of tea you’d drink in life. Well, maybe, but…yeah. Anyway, have some coffee and I’ll have Kregar fix you something to eat. No, it won’t have fangs in it this time.

I thought we’d go on another journey today. Now, don’t look at me like that. If you want to know your way around the Multi-Verse, you’re going to have to leave the Tavern. No, you can’t just stay here. Come on, eat up and get your shit together. You’ll need to have your wits about you on this trip. We’re going to take a trip to one of my least favorite realms. It’s not an evil place, but it’s not a fun place either. I’m taking you to meet the Gnome Administration.

Gnomes? No, they’re not those cute little figurines with the red hats and chubby cheeks. I don’t know where that idea came from, but I assure you, Gnomes are fucking mean and nasty and greedy and just plain rude. Think of them as the Mafia of the Multi-Verse, but only about 3 feet tall. I call them the “Mini Militia”. Well, no, not to their faces. You’ll see.

We’ll have to contact the Keeper of the Realm, Grenlaz. Unlike the Elvin Realm, we’re going to have to pay our way into this place. Here, stick this package in your pocket. It’s four bars of Kalavazian gold and 18 strips of Terra Lovara steel. Don’t let him talk you out of all of it. The trick to this realm is in knowing how to barter. If you can wheel and deal with these beings, you’ll never have to worry about getting stranded somewhere, shall we say, unpleasant.

Once we get past the gate, we’ll visit the Financial Caste. Yea, they’re kind of like bankers, but more like loan sharks. These guys are the backers for businesses and investments made throughout the Multi-Verse. Basically, they have their hands in almost everything bringing in a profit. Yep, even my tavern. Something X had put into place before I came along. I’m not sure what the deal is, but I don’t ask a lot of questions. Ever wonder why that portion of the wall doesn’t have any jewels in it? They took them. I’ve been working overtime to get them back. Out of 25 gems, I’ve only managed to recover six of them.

After that, we’ll check out the Business Caste. Basically, these are the boys with big plans. They helped bring the Tavern to life. They’re the people we turn to when we need things no one else can get. Yea, there are times when I need special things around here. The Emperor of Baldauchash will only eat Nonium berries from the forests of Plyania. The problem is that the locals demand a blood payment for them. I’m not willing to spill blood for a few berries, but I will pay the Gnomes for them.

Our next stop will be with the Pleasure Caste. DO NOT…I repeat…DO NOT turn your back on them. These are the horniest little bastards in the Multi-Verse. Seriously. These guys are just nasty. They run all the brothels and red-light districts throughout the Verse. They take debauchery to new heights. If you’ve got a kink or a fetish, they got you covered. They’re also in charge of all forms of gambling. I run a few games in one of the back rooms from time to time, and they supply all my gaming needs.

Finally, we’ll visit the Academic Caste. No, they’re not just a bunch of teachers. These guys know how to do just about everything and will show you how, for a price. Want to build an empire, they know what to do. Want to blow up a planet, they’ve already got the plans laid out. If you’ve got enough currency, they’ll tell you anything you want to know. Think of them as high-paid snitches.

Oh honey, don’t look so freaked out. You’ll be fine, just keep your guard up. Oh, and just in case, keep this blade in your boot. No, it’s okay. We’ll be fine. I’m sure of it. Pretty sure of it. Maybe. Yeah, we’ll be fine. Just stay close.


Image by henriquea2011 from Pixabay

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