It started with a chance meeting place: a roof to get out of the rain, a warm meal after a cold day, a drink after a dusty road. Strangers could meet and become friends, sharing a drink under a peach tree. Pilgrims could gather before setting out together, and whet their whistles before telling each other stories. Although over the years it had many different signs on its door, and had been called many different things, it became known only as “The Tavern”.
The first written record of The Tavern may have been in the Romance of Three Kingdoms. At least the proprietor will tell anyone who will listen that the stumps in the courtyard are the same peach gardens where the Shu Han was formed by three patrons. Later, Chaucer’s pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales meet in an inn (called the Tabard).
After having a cameo appearance in the Lord of the Rings as the Prancing Pony, the idea of characters in adventure stories meeting at an inn or a tavern become ensconced and clichéd. But stories kept being told, and the recursion, known at the time as simply ‘The Tavern’, gained in power and population. Adventurers, wanderers, rogues, and borderline alcoholics, all eventually found themselves in The Tavern – and left to go on many adventures following old wizards, or mysterious maps. As The Tavern grew, the public room became bigger – but more and more rooms to the Hotel were also added; for those adventurers whose companions didn’t all arrive at the same time, or (in frighteningly increasing numbers) for cynical adrift old men, and for femme fetales who had been turned down by wanderlust adventurers.
Always tied into recursions that follow Magical laws, The Tavern never had any direct gates to Earth or the Strange until Ardyen’s mythical age came to a violent end. Several of The Tavern’s refugees got stuck on Earth – either because of the war, or the Strange time fluctuations. The Tavern (being a natural crossroads) was easy to access, and a permanent inapposite gate was established, anchoring one door to Portland, Oregon. Many refugees of Magical recursions who could not (or would not) bear the crushing mundane laws of the Prime world found themselves in the Tavern. They stayed and built-out the extra rooms, and created what, in their minds, was a fine Hotel – their home away from home.
Called “The Hotel Hyperborea” by the permanent and semi-permanent residents, the recursion now boasts a world-class lobby, complete with a large ornate wooden desk, and an old fashioned guest book and quill. Room keys are ancient brass-looking affairs. The “elevators” are simple boxes, with attendants that use wands of levitation to move between floors. The Tavern is still there, but the guests of the Hotel see it as either a nuisance, or a source of cheap and disposable “freelancers”.
The patrons of The Tavern have tried their best not to notice the change; most still wander in through temporary gates, form a gaggle of -hobos, and leave (occasionally paying their tabs).
Former adventurer turned Hotel Detective and liason to local law enforcement and the Estate
Bartender who’s met everyone famous or brags that he has
Cook who is the hotel’s supplier of Dust and other substances
Waitress wants to work at a space cantina
Unicorn who can’t leave for fear of his horn falling off
Ardyen refugee who might be an Incarnate