Outpost of the Moons Settlement in Kohtalo | World Anvil

Outpost of the Moons

Often imitated, but never duplicated. I hear that Til at Hell's Half-Acre has a standing reward of no small amount of gold for whoever can successfully duplicate the dumplings of the Outpost.
— Jasper Cameron, Leader of The Bronze Ravens
  No one quite knows why the Outpost was build some 500 years ago. It is not on any major trade route. It does not guard some mountain pass or vital river crossing. The nearest landmarks of any note are The Basin of Dancing Blades and The Maze of Glass, but those lie just over 150 miles south as the crow flies. It is not near enough to the coast to monitor shipping lanes, nor to have or need a lighthouse.   It has a wall, as one would expect from most military outposts located in the wilds. Walking beneath the intricately carved date, featuring the phase of the 3 moons on the night ground was first broken, one is greeted by an outpost fit to house the roughly 100 people that are stationed here. There are a couple of barracks buildings, a small smithy for repairing equipment. Some training dummies are scattered about between the barracks, for archery practice mostly. There is also a small drill ground. There are even some small houses for those soldiers that wish to bring their families to the post.  
I'm telling you the kitchen is a mimic, Just like at Hell's Half-acre, its just that this one is a bit lazy and lets others do the cooking. How else do you explain the same cooks making worse dumplings everywhere else?
  Most impressive though, is the mess hall. Or at least the smells coming from it. Humble though the building may be, the wonders crafted within started as a treat for those stationed here and have since become world famous. At meal times the long tables are packed with soldiers joking and laughing as steaming trays of dumplings are passed about and empty trays are stacked almost as if by magic back by the kitchen, awaiting a new load of savory nirvana.   The only reason that the Outpost of the Moons still exists is because of these absolutely divine dumplings. Which is odd. The dumplings could, one would think, be made anywhere. There is no local meat or vegetable that goes into them. The flour used to make the dough is nothing special, brought it with other supplies from Favortown or Silmere. While there is a spring nearby where the fort gets water, it has no magical properties. No one can point to anything that the cooks do different, not even the cooks, who change out about once every 6 months with the guard rotation.  
Its probably some fae creature, thats wot I 'eard. Mixes the ingredients wit' magic at night whiles ereyones sleepin. Takes the snores o' the current captain as payment.
  One theory holds as much sway as any other, as no one has been able to prove any of them. The fact remains that people travel from far and wide in order to have the dumplings. Some nobles from as far away as Doceancot and Thunder Dunes will hire mages to flash-freeze fresh dumplings and deliver them, still frozen, that they may be re-heated (also with magic) and eaten many thousands of miles away.

Comments

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Dec 31, 2023 16:46 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I really want some dumplings now. What a mystery.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jan 11, 2024 01:17

I may have had a craving while writing the article... maybe... it could also just be one of those mysterious ways in which the universe works.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Jan 2, 2024 17:46

Why do bumble bees fly? Because they want to.
  That's what this article made me think of. XD A thing no one understands but just is. Sorta makes me think of a lot of small towns I've been to, too. Why is the town there and how'd it all get started. Though in this particular instance, there is a real mystery afoot. Even more curious, how the place retains a low population with such popularity. They should be rollin' in visitors unable to find places to sleep. Though I like the idea of randoms showing up from far and wide because of the rumored dumplings. I really do want there to be a fae involved. Just a tiny thing that lives in the cracks of the kitchen.   All of this to say, it's such a sweet little article that has no answer and that's a lovely thing. I'd turn it into a whole adventure - the case of the moon dumplings! - if only to kick off something absolutely grand but silly. The possibilities! :P Well done.

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Jan 3, 2024 03:58

Thank you for the read and the kind words. I'm really glad you enjoyed the article. I like the idea of little places and things like the dumplings being a place where as a fantasy worldbuilder I can just go "because magic." While some people fall back on that a bit too much for major plot points, in a magical world there will just be things like wonderful dumplings that no one can explain.   As to why there aren't more visitors, I don't have it properly labeled on my world map yet, but its closest landmarks (the Maze and the Basin) aren't exactly tourist destinations either. It is roughly 500 miles from the nearest trade route. And unless one has access to ice magic to preserve them how many people would walk 1000 miles just for a single meal when there are profits to be had elsewhere?

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Jan 3, 2024 04:50

I figured their absolute remote location and hard-to-acquire-ness made them all the more awesome. Just needs to have dumpling pilgramages now!

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Jan 10, 2024 10:18

Snore dumplings! I love it. I'm wondering if the flash-frozen and reheated ones are still just as tasty? Does where the consumer eats them have anything to do with the taste? What a fun article. Great work!

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Jan 11, 2024 01:20

Definitely something for me to think on. Admittedly anything re-heated will be less good than the same thing fresh, but a the same time for people to go through the trouble of hiring wizards for the sole purpose of dumpling transportation they probably still taste a little better than what can be made elsewhere. Unless it is just a case of rich people doing ridiculous things because they can.   Thanks for the read. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Jan 19, 2024 01:19 by Barron

This gives me a sort of Monster Hunter feel that I really really enjoy. That fantastic food, in a place where no one would expect it. I do wonder how the heck they do it. An interesting mystery that would pique my characters interest!   This is a great little article. Interesting that it maintains such deliciousness even when transported.   So the mess is all run by posted folks? There isn't a single chef that runs it?


Jan 19, 2024 04:47

What is a bit funny is that unlike some other mysteries in my world I have nothing prepared if people decided to try to investigate this. It is one of those little tidbits that I think fits very well into the "because magic." Although I guess it could be just as fun to have all these magical red herrings only for it to actually be something like "the springwater runs through a nacholite deposit and so naturally has trace amounts of baking soda in it."   And yes, the mess is run by posted personnel, mostly just to add to the mystery of the dumplings.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.