This is just a quick note before I head down to supper. Dad surprised me by stopping for the night in Shadyborough. I thought the plan was to continue on the Lyssander-Paladine road. From once we were across the border, I was going to catch a ship to Carabos, and Dad was going to go on down to Tungahl Hill and visit Lydia and Gavin. I was napping in the back of the cart when I felt us change direction, and the ground underneath us changed from the heavy thud of packed earth to the quick, sharp sound of paved stone.
The road was narrower, and the hedges that grew along each side, like a green wall, were small and well kept. We were entering a shire. Dad said we were taking a detour, and staying with old friends. I guessed then that we were going to visit the Bolfins.
The Bolfins are old family friends, and they own an inn in Shadyborough, the Mountain Ash. They did a lot of business with my father during the lean years, when my father had just started up the shop in Lyssander and we were struggling under the label of an "ethnic" store. We owe them a lot.
The Boflins have visited us before in Lyssander, but I've never been out to visit them. I'm really excited to be here. The town was a lot different than I expected, though. For the most part, Litihia is a human kingdom. Lyssander, for example, is almost completely a human city, although there are a few Dwarven and Gnomish craftsmen in the city. There aren't any communities of the other peoples here. Except in Shadyborough. The town is almost totally a halfling shire. It's a neat place, so far. Almost every available surface is given over to farming. I even saw a few houses with corn growing on the roof! The other strange thing, to me, is that most buildings are built on half scale, although mostly they are the same sort of style as a human city. Dad said that Humans and Halflings are probably the most closely related of the five peoples. It was a strange feeling for me, though. It was the first time I've ever really felt tall.
Once we got to the town walls, which couldn't have been five feet, we had to wait while the guards asked us questions. Through the little towers, I could see a great big, grassy hill, dotted with oak trees. Dad told me that it was fake, that the Halflings had raised it on the spot when they settled here. There were lots of other carts waiting outside the gate, as well. At first, I thought this was just because it was getting dark. Most towns are shut at sundown to keep marauders, goblins, or other night-dwelling monsters out. Not that there's much of that around here, though. When we got through the gate, I saw it was because they were setting up some sort of festival! Along each side of the road, little tents were being raised, and tables were being set up on the lawn of the village green.
Inside, I could see that Dad was right about the hill. It was actually the central structure of the town. The road wound around it, and it was covered in doors and windows. What I had taken in the fading sunset to be retaining walls for the road were actually the walls to people's houses. Eventually, we got to the inn, a free standing stone building on the other side of the hill. It really didn't match the other buildings. It had three doors of different sizes, and the the windows didin't match. Dad said that the Inn was older than the current town, and that it was built for lots of different sized people. Oh, that's the call for supper. More later.