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The Timeless Inn

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"I've found that most people knock before entering private rooms."

Alanna carefully picks up the chainmail and slides it over the stands. It of course, fits perfectly. 

"I thank you for your gift, Bob.  I have to admit curiosity about one thing.. Do you often carry twigs on your person?"

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He nods his head confessing her point. "Apologies. I forget. The beings I spend time with have no sense of privacy." He shrugs. "You'd be surprised whay I carry. You never know what might be needed."

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"You'd fit in well at court then.  I find I can't take two steps there without some noble tripping over my skirts."

The smell wafting in from the main room soon filled the tiny room. 

"Dinner smells delicious." 

Strides out into the inn's main room in time to see the soldier flirting with the innkeeper. Giving them their space, she walks over to where Yui was sitting.  She starts to sit down, but stops herself.  She grabs "bobs" chair and arranges it at the table yui had picked.

 

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"Sure Bob, I'll grab you a stronger drink." Thorn turned around, snatched up a bottle of beautifully amber liquid, poured it deftly into curved glass that was wider at the base than at the top, then crouched to pull out a lined wooden box from under the counter. Pulling a knife from where it nestled inside her knee-high boots, she opened the lid of the box, then jabbed at the chunk of ice in the box. Satisfied, she dropped the small nugget into the tumbler glass, and turned towards Bob. "Here you g-" She stopped halfway through, hand with glass extended to a now-empty seat and mouth open halfway through the word. Her head cocked to one side. "Huh. That guy is..." She paused, lost for words, then shrugged and set the glass down on the bar.  

Thorn looked to Soren, nodded once and grabbed a clear glass from under the bar again. From above her head, she lifted down a large jug of sparkling clear water, complete with lemon slices. Taking a few more nuggets of ice, she dropped them in the jug and slid it, and the glass, across the bar to Soren. "Here you are," she said, smiling. Looking down, she seemed to think a little. "I'm happy to share my story, there are no secrets. Just not now - dinner's ready!" With that, she flashed a smile and headed into the kitchen. 

The beautiful smell from the oven wafted out as she removed the lamb shanks and lifted them by the bones into a ceramic dish. She spooned the onions in afterwards around the shanks, and then spooned the juices over the top. Next, the roasted veg went into the dish. Snatching up five plates, Thorn bustled out of the kitchen, making sure to grab knives, forks and serving utensils. 

Back in the main room, she was glad to see Yui, Alanna and Bob had rejoined them. Thorn grinned and headed to the chosen table. "Here you are folks! Slow cooked lamb shanks with oven roasted vegetables." She set the serving dish down in the centre of the table and slid the plates across. "Help yourselves while I go get the bread." It took moments, but she returned holding several loaves of crusty homemade bread and a small pot of butter and another of honey. "Can I get drinks for you, Alanna, Yui? Bob, I'll brings yours over in a second." 

 

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Alanna looked glumly at her food.  For a second, chatting with Yui and Bob, she had forgotten what she had left.  She had actually forgotten that she was magically plucked away from the battle as her Imperial legions were stamping out the mage rebellion.

 

"They're well trained, they'll be fine.  Surely they won."   Unaware she had spoken the thought out loud, she resolutely picked up her fork and took a bite. 

Looking up at Thorn, she smiles grimly.  "It's delicious."  In truth, she couldn't even taste it.  "I'll take a whiskey, neat."

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As 'Bob' reappeared in his chair, he noticed it had been moved and smirked at Alanna. "Thank you."

As thorn set the food down before he grinned widely, his teeth suddenly pointed and serrated. "Looks delicious." He reached for the glass, still on the bar and much like the man himself it appeared in his hand. Prompting him to salute his host politely. 

Listening to Alanna mutter his smile fades his look turning sympathetic. "I wouldn't worry too much. Odds are whatever magic whisked us here will deposit you back where you were. When you were. And if it doesn't there are ways to make it so." He said before taking a sip of the amber liquid.

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Yui accepted Bob's hand up and left the room with the two still in it messing with something.  She never stayed long enough in one place to lose her welcome there.  Being 'Lost' here we'll prove interesting to say the least.

She sees some of the decor in the tavern that catches her eye and admires each one in turn.  When she turns back to the bar and rich smell of homemade food Yui finds that everyone has gathered and gotten both food and drinks.  

Yui blushed at her inattention to her surroundings as she promptly sits down where Alanna and Bob are then gesture to the warrior and Thorn for them to join their table.  Come on over everyone why not make it dinner to remember as our first time eating together.  If we're gonna be Lost we might as well make the most of it.  

Yui swallows several times to keep from drooling.  She sees how tender the meat looks and how seasoned and juice lathered the veggies are as they sit on the serving plate

Yui remembers Thorn's earlier question for her drink order.  If you don't mind Thorn. I would love to drink whatever you deem worth of being paired with this out of this world meal.  Yui smiles with anticipation and tries in vain not to stare at her food.

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He smiles.  "And here I thought that was my excuse."

He moves over to the table and starts dishing up food for everyone that didn't have any yet, then a dish for himself.

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Patiently, Thorn heard Alanna mutter to herself. It happened to a lot of the Lost, that they missed where they came from. Thorn wished she could set her mind at ease. A drink would do for now though. "Sure, I'll bring it right over." Turning to the bar, she briefly caught sight of Bob's teeth and nodded to herself. Yep, that's what she'd missed having customers for. You never knew what you were going to get. 

Thorn returned to the table with Alanna's whiskey, setting it down before her, as Yui rejoined the group, gesturing for her to join them. She smiled. "Thanks Yui, I think I will. Dig in, I'l get you a glass of red." The Innkeeper hastened back to the bar, rummaged on the shelves behind it and found what she was looking for: a dusty bottle of vintage red wine, brought by a customer from before her time. The last Keeper had recommended it, promised to share it with her one day, then Found himself and vanished before he could. This seemed a good occasion for it. 

Setting the bottle and several deep wine glasses on a silver tray, Thorn ambled back over and set it down, as Soren dished up the plates of food. She supposed it looked damn good, if she could say so herself. Smiling to herself, she takes a plate gratefully from Soren and sits on the spare chair, as close to the corner of the room as she could, facing the front door and the hallway door where the back door came in. Old habits die hard. 

"I do hope you enjoy all. Lamb shanks. Slow cooked for 6 hours. And here's some red wine to go with it. Anyone want a glass?" 

 

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As her fellow lost ate and celebrated merrily, the taste started to come back to the food.   Alanna found herself switching from eating mechanically to actually savoring each bite.   

"Thorn, I have a request of you.  I feel uncomfortable not offering any sort of assistance.  While my primary skills are rather useless here, surely there must be something I can do to help.  I do have minimal experience farming.  I think that would be the most helpful, unless you have invading worlds on a rampage."

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Thorn sat down by the wine bottle, and started to dig in to her own meal, but delicately. The lamb was cooked to perfection, if she said so herself, falling off the bone easily and running with juices.

Alanna's request surprised her somewhat. She took a moment to watch her and chew thoughtfully. "Unfortunately, there are no other worlds to rampage here. To my knowledge, we're the only humanoids in this-" she gestured, searching for the word, "between-worlds." Thorn poured some red wine for herself and took a long, slow drink, carefully licking the corners of her mouth clean. "However, I do have a functioning small-holding so farming skills are always helpful around here. But you are my guest, Alanna. You do not have to do anything you don't wish to. Eventually, you'll be Found again and return home." She took a slow inhale. "I won't turn willing help down though, but do not feel you must."  

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"I do have to be helpful.  Not due to undue pressure, I assure you.  It's simply the drive to be vital.   Tomorrow I will venture out to the small holding and ascertain how I may best be of use."

Alanna paused after her statement.  She had been talking in a commanding manner.  It was a difficult concept that she wasn't a ruler here.  She was free. 

"With your permission, of course.  It is, after all, your realm."

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'Bob's teeth shred meat and bone as easily as they do the vegetables, a contented sigh escaping the stellar skinned man. He reaches for a glass of wine and sips it almost regally. "Ah. Now that truly goes well with the food."

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Finishing the meal, he leans back  in his chair.

"Thorn, that was delicious.  One of the best meals I've had in quite some time."

He looks around the Inn noting that, other than Thorn, everyone else here was a relative newcomer as well.  "Tell me, Thorn, how long has it been since you've had guests here?"

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Thorn chewed, swallowed and nodded to Alanna. "Then I have no issue at all and will gratefully accept help. Once you've had some sleep, I'll show you around. The small holding is right behind the Inn. Some of the pasture ranges out a little ways, but not far." She shrugged. "It's an oddity of this realm. It is a world in it's own right but you just can't rely on all the normal rules. For example, every now and again, we move." Thorn frowned and cocked her head to one side. "Or maybe the world moves around us. I have no idea. You'll get used to it." 

Her attention was captured by Bob. She smiled and nodded graciously. "Thank you Bob, it was a fine choice, if I say so myself. I'm glad you enjoyed your meal so... voraciously." 

She looked to Soren and flushed gently. "Thank you Soren, that's kind of you to say. I've had time to practice!" Thorn snorted lightly through her nose. Then she frowned at his question. "That's a good question. I can't really say, as no time passes here. But let's just say it's been a while. That's the thing with this place. You can't keep track of days, since there aren't any, and if you used your internal body rhythm to judge it, you'd probably either go insane or just get downhearted." She shrugged again. "I don't bother. It's somewhat liberating." 

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He smiles at the innkeep saluting her with hid glass as his teeth return to normal, well normal for a human at least. 

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Cocking an eyebrow, he listens to her explanation.

"That's a little distressing, considering that I have a fairly good internal clock.  Are you saying that I should expect to become ... depressed?"

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Thorn catches Bob’s smile and salute with his glass, and raises her own to him with a small nod. 

Turning back to Soren, she grimaces a little. “No that’s not it. It’s just that you can either try to make this place normal, whatever that is for you, or you can just go with the flow. If you try for normal, trust me,” she says with a shrug, then a level look straight at him, “you’ll fail.” 

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He gives her a grin.

"Don't worry, my normal consists of going with the flow.  Not that I don't miss my home, but my life has consisted of doing what must be done for quite some time, this can't be that much different."

He shrugs, then looks a little more intently at her.

"So, what do you do for fun around here?"

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She finds his grin is slightly infectious and smiles in return. "Then you'll fit right in." 

His question startles her slightly and she can't stop the quizzical look on her face. "For fun? I don't think anybody has ever asked me that." Thorn cocks an eyebrow. "There's usually so much to do, I don't really do anything that doesn't have a purpose to it." Thorn smiles a little wryly. "You try running a farmstead like this largely by yourself, then you'll know what I mean." She takes a gulp of her drink, to think some more. "I guess the most fun thing I do, when I get the opportunity, is go riding. The lands around this place change frequently, so it's always a challenge. I never quite know what I'll find." 

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