“The Land End’s Tavern, yes that’s where we are headed too. Oh now don’t look so sour, sugar. It may be in the backend of the swamps, but that don’t mean they haven’t got comforts for the likes of us,” The matronly woman said as she stirred the gigantic pot of soup over a fire. “I’ve been a time or two and it’s one of the best Waystations I’ve ever been too, and I’ve seen quite a lot.” Her rounded cheeks dimpled in a smile.

“Not that you don’t have bias, MA!” One of her boys called. The spoon was shaken at him, flinging droplets, “Now just because I’m family to them Shallow Walkers don’t mean I can’t be impartial, boy!”

Many looked up at the exchange, but her attention had shifted back to her guests.  “So are ya going for the Bazaar? Auction? The Boneyard? Not that it matters really. It’s all going to be glorious, but the Tavern is never a dull place! There’s to be all kinds of contests planned!” Her excitement was obvious by the way her eyes gleamed. “Why, they’re even havin’ a cookin’ contest! I can’t enter, of course, seeing as I’m family but you and yours could. And then there’s the Scrap Games, drinking contests, not to mention all the things NOT being put on by the Shallow Walkers.” She says as she continues to mind the soup, adding a small palmful of herbs.

“I’m gonna win the throwin’ contest!” A young boy by the fire crows, puffing out his chest. “Oh that so, Rory? Well, I think that gentleman there might give you a run,” She says with a nod to their guests. The boy turns bright red and settles back down. “But aye, you get the idea. All sorts of adventure to be had. I even heard them Jones types are putting on a big display in the Tavern at some point.”

As the soup is passed out with bread she adds, “Now this is simple road fair. Once we get to the Tavern, you will be in for the treat of your life. My cousin and her crew are some of the best cooks in the Wastes. They’ve been preparin’ for weeks to feed those with the credit all weekend with some of their best recipes and vittles. Just thinking about that chicken makes my mouth water, and I’m holding a bowl of my own stew! HAHA!”

And so the night went with warm banter and simple food, the promise of riches both material and for the soul, shared excitedly around those around the fire. Soon they would be at Deadman’s Reach.

 

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