Ismini's Garden

Before, I had come here as a way to escape people. Now I just can't help but welcome every new person into this paradise.
~ Ismini ~


Ask and Receive

Ismini's Garden is a druid's paradise found on the coast of an unnamed island within the Varvaros Islands. It is run by the druid herself, Ismini along with the mysterious invisible nature spirit that envelops the island, Mystis. The community that has been fostered here is a small, but truly popular one, and the story behind that begins with Ismini when she was a little girl.   She grew up among the barbarian tribes of the Varvaros Islands. Tribes which hated and denounced magic of any sort. So, when the tribe saw her strange and confusing affinity to nature magic, even her parents viewed her as a curse.  
Oran-Rief Invoker by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
For much of her life, she lived in a seclusion that slowly grew on her. But, despite her growing appreciation for being alone, some of the tribe often sook Ismini out just to belittle her. One day, in order to escape from this, she decided to leave, making for herself a small raft and pushing out to sea.   It swept over her in hours, and when next she awoke, she was lying upon the sandy cliffs of an island she'd not seen before.   Here, nature spoke back to her. The spirit of this place was a lonely one, glad to finally feel a presence that could talk back to him, and asked for Ismini to stay, offering her fruits and blankets of leaves to keep her warm. Ismini, astonished to finally feel the joy in being wanted, agreed.   For a long time, it was just the two of them here as this spirit, whose name was Mystis, offered his power so they both might control the land together.   When Ismini grew hungry, they conjured an endless garden to sate it. When she got hurt, Mystis gave her medicinal plants that cured her. When she needed a home, she and Mystis both wove the roots of trees into the tight walls and roof of a small abode.   All this was the beginning of Ismini's Garden.  

Druid's Paradise

One day, Ismini saw two people wash ashore upon a damaged and battered boat. At the time, she was still inclined to avoid people, but she confronted them anyway. They were a dwarf man named Dimos and an elf woman named Andriani. A storm having damaged their ship, they simply asked to stay a while until they fixed it. Begrudgingly, Ismini agreed so long as they respected the land there.   When Dimos and Andriani experienced the kind of paradise Ismini and the invisible spirit Mystis were living in, they were astounded. The small home Ismini had was expanded through Mystis' magic to accommodate two more people, and they never once went hungry the time that they were here.   As the days passed, Ismini grew to enjoy the two. But, when their ship had been repaired, she knew their time had come to a close. They thanked her for the marvelous life she had temporarily given them, and they left.   If that's all it would have been, Ismini might have forgotten about them.   Until a week later when Dimos and Andriani returned with dozens more people who were poor, afflicted, and weary. Back home, the two had told their stories about Ismini's Garden, and it had attracted the attention of many people; not wishing to deny them, they'd returned as Ismini saw them now.   She was overwhelmed by the number of people who begged her for warmth, food, and comfort seeing all that she had, but she felt Mystis' compassion for these people so she agreed to take them all in for as long as they needed.   Ismini's home expanded even more into an entirely open hall that surrounded the tree of Mystis known as Mystis' Heart (it was from this tree that every part of Ismini's home was made). From the winding roots, tables and chairs took shape that seated the dozens.   Food from the gardens were brought to these people, and they never went hungry while they were here. They all looked to Ismini in gratitude, and it filled her with joy. So much joy that she encouraged those who would leave to tell of her paradise that welcomed all seeking it, for many had lives outside the island they weren't willing to give up.   But, for those who stayed, small homes were erected for them from the roots of the ground alone. And to this place have they stayed.   Gradually, people began leaving this druidic tavern. But, the stories of Ismini's Garden still continued to circulate the lands off her island, and so sailors and adventurers still poured in and out of this place from one time to the next.   This garden since then has been an open atmosphere for those who come to rest, because the wrath of Mystis has kept even warlords from stepping foot on its beaches. The wrath of Mystis has prevented this place from turning into a thieves' den.   In the beginning, the garden was simply a place for Ismini to be away from people. Now, it is a place that enjoys every pair of feet that comes ashore.  

About the Tavern

Ismini's Garden is a large and open tavern that can seat as many people as Ismini or Mystis wish or need. All it takes is seconds before a new chair or table has taken shape from the roots in the ground. Every single part of this place is naturally formed from the druidic magic of the duo; never has even one axe been taken to the trunk of a tree for wood here. It all comes from one's willingness to simply ask Mystis and Ismini, and receive.  

The Exterior

Like all buildings found here, the exterior is made from roots that have wound so tightly around each other that not even water can find a hole small enough to pass through. Leaves and vines decorate the frame and roof like a blanket to help keep in heat. Not once has a single person exerted physical force to do so. This architecture has always come from Ismini and Mystis, and it takes place in seconds.  

The Interior

The interior, much like the outside, is woven of the same style. The roots morph and press against themselves like wooden planks while tables, chairs, and counters comprised of these roots rise up from the floor. In smaller booths near the walls of the tavern, benches coated in leaves provide for cushioned seats.   And in the middle of it all, standing far above even the roof of the whole building is the revered tree called Mystis' Heart. Light shines from it no matter the time of day, and vines alive with a green color stretch from every branch across the ceiling and support beams.  

The Food

Unlike most taverns outsiders are used to, you won't find meats or bread served in a place like this. Only fruits and vegetables are continuously offered here as these kinds of food can be created by Mystis.   Ismini and Mystis have no need for any kind of coin a traveler brings in, so the food and drink here does not function under any kind of transaction. As long as the patron respects the land they walk upon and asks for a meal, it is granted to them.   This does not mean anything not found here is banned from entering the place. Adventurers have periodically brought in hides of pork and beef, as well as bread and ale during their outings to Ismini's Garden.
Basic Foods Exotic Foods
Apples (or apple cider) Ismini Berry
Oranges (or orange juice) Cherry Mushroom
Bananas Leaf Pear
Eggplants Glow Mushroom (or glow wine)
Watermelon Ekliocot Fruit (or ekliocot juice)
Carrots Roc Tail Melon
Potatoes Uddambi Melon
Grapes (or wine) Paradise Vegetable
Tomatoes Cotton Plant

Barkeep and Staff

Typically, Ismini and Mystis have never needed more than themselves to run the tavern everyone enjoys, but out of love and devotion, they have taken on a few people to assist in anyway they can.  


Ismini is the barkeep of her garden, though most people do not refer to her with that title. Like Mystis, she is able to manipulate the nature around her. She has a very timid personality and a short temper, but always reminds travelers of the garden's promise. It will nourish and comfort them and not reject them as long as they respect it and everyone else. She also holds an infamous tale of the garden's past that gruff people in the tavern always love to hear, called The Ruffian in which the wrath of Mystis is horrifically visualized.  


Dimos is an old adult dwarf who was one of the first sailors to ever come across Ismini's Garden. After returning with Andriani, he chose to stay for good and help Ismini and the supposed nature spirit out in any way he could. He offered to bring forth his stone-cutting expertise, but physical construction was something Ismini did not need, so instead Dimos settled on being a barhand for the tavern. He has a very proud attitude, loves a traveler who brings a cask of ale, and often boasts about the splendid power of this place.  


Andriani is a young elf who was one of the first sailors to find Ismini's Garden. After returning with Dimos, she stayed because of the deep relationship she developed with Ismini. Regarding each other like sisters, Ismini allowed Andriani to join alongside in helping out in the tavern as a barhand. Her young mind is extremely devoted to Mystis, and it led her to begin making the Shrine of Mystis, a landmark outside the tavern dedicated specifically to the nature spirit.  


Kesefenon, oddly, is a half-devil who claims to be from the plane of Dobbotope. Despite coming from a unique background, his bardic magician personality brought a great atmosphere to Ismini's Garden the day he arrived. The illusions and tricks he performed were a hit among the people who came and went, and agreed to stay a part of the tavern when Ismini requested so. Bearing a truly light-hearted and care-free personality, he performs whenever he is asked.

You might think the daytime at this place to be magical, but the night to be solemn. I have to tell you, when the glow mushrooms start glowing at night, it's like a totally different kind of day all together.
~ Andriani ~

Founding Date
757 AC
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

The Ruffian

"Oi', what kind of place is this!? I thought it was 'ask and receive'!" The nerve of this near drunk man was almost enough to send Ismini over the edge, but thankfully Dimos stepped in before she could.   "You is also told to be darn responsible." Dimos picked up the empty mug that smelled of the different wines and ales this man had drank. "Last I seen, gettin' slammed is far from it."   The man's eyes narrowed angrily at Dimos as he stood up to bear his chest against Ismini's friend. "Them is some big words for a small man." To be fair, the man easily had three feet on Dimos.   "You wan' fight?" Dimos challenged. "'Cause I'm sure you could beat me. Muscle wasn't really a friend o' my family." Then, he pointed a thumb back towards Ismini. "But, you really want to go up against her after?"   The man scoffed at the taunt like it was a bluff. "Somethin' frail like that? What could she possibly bring to the table you ain't already takin'?   By now, the main hall had grown mostly quiet due to this commotion. This near-drunk man was making a scene, and it didn't seem like he cared.   From across the room, Ismini heard the hearty voice of the friend she'd come to call a sister for so many years. "Sounds like someone's never heard The Ruffian!" Andriani shouted, to which she was met with loose resounding cheers.   "Tell it to 'em, 'Mini! Get him real scared!" Some fishermen called. Others started pleading her to retell the story just so they could hear it again.   After a few seconds of consideration, she heard the tender voice beside her of a spirit she trusted more than anything. "That man deserves to know the story." Mystis, who no one else saw, told Ismini.   Nodding, she walked forward until she was just in front of the rebellious man.   "Aw, is it time for a ghost story?" The man mocked like a baby. "You're going to scare me with a little boy's tale?"   Smirking at him, she relished what she was about do next. And she knew everyone in the garden was going to love seeing her tell this story again. "That's right. Time for the tale of The Ruffian."   Without a second of reaction, Ismini clenched her fist and launched a barrage of twisting roots at the man as it quickly coiled him up into the air. The man's taunts suddenly turned to frightened screams as he did his best to wriggle free, but to no avail. Everyone else just began cheering.   "So the story begins!" Everyone sang.   Roots ran over the man's mouth to silence him as Ismini began guiding him out of the tavern and into the dark night. Everyone followed close behind.   "Once," Ismini began with righteous confidence, "there was a man who came to Ismini's Garden. Like everyone else, he came to take part in the great things that happened here."   The man could give no response as they descended the stone steps to the bottom of the hill. The roots continued burrowing across the ground as Ismini headed in the direction for the beach.   "All that was asked of him was that he respect Mystis' nature and be responsible for himself. But, the man instead grew proud and thought, 'what right do you have to lord yourself over me?' Mystis asked the man again and again to settle down, but he refused to respect Mystis' decisions and authority."   Ismini felt her bare feet grace the sand as they'd all made it to the beach. She could see the small dock ahead where a few small vessels were still tied down. Even here, the roots restraining the main ran through the ground.   "So, Mystis showed the man what happens to those who do not respect his land." Ismini's feet waded into the cold water as the roots did the same. "He whisked the man up in his roots and took him out to the sea."   Now, Ismini was waist deep in the ocean water as she finally stopped walking. Controlling the roots, she pulled the man close to her until he was upside-down, face to face with her. She brushed his dark hair that was sweating from fear.   "Do you know what happened to the man after Mystis' roots took him out to the sea?" Even if the man wanted to respond, he couldn't. Just struggled violently against the roots around his body as he clearly feared what might come next.   "They pulled him down into the darkest depths of the sea, where he drowned a miserable death." In an instant Ismini released the roots as the man fell screaming into the water before he started splashing about. Immediately, the crowd at the beach broke out in laughter, unanimously mocking the high-pitch scream that man was able to give.   As the man struggled to his feet, completely drenched and cold, Ismini looked to his eyes. "And that's the tale of The Ruffian. Would you like me to tell it again?"   Whatever bravado the man had once had was completely gone. He just shook his head in compliance.   "Good. Now use some of that ocean water to sober yourself up." And Ismini and everyone else headed back to the garden.
D-does anyone think this Mystis guy really drowned someone as easy as that?
~ A man told The Ruffian story

Odyssey Chess

Across Kleista, Odyssey Chess is one of the most all-time popular games to play, especially for nobles. And in Ismini's Garden, Ismini is a girl who has always had a soft spot for a good game. So, when Odyssey Chess first graced her presence, it became a staple game to play for everyone, especially between her and her sister-in-name, Andriani.   In Odyssey Chess, the common rules for chess stand, however there is a twist. Whenever one of your pieces that is adjacent to one of your pawns (orthogonal or diagonal) is taken, you may have one of those pawns transform into that piece.   The theme of the rules represent the traditional stories and tales across Kleista of these different odysseys where mere peasants rise up in the face of tragedy to become something great.
I can't even count how many games me and my sister have played. All I know is that we're tied.
~ Ismini
Curious? Mouse and click around on the map. Who knows what extra little details you might find?
Ismini's Garden

Cover image: Great Oak Tavern by Lucas Staniec


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11 Mar, 2022 11:55

This article is just beautiful. A peaceful styling, well-cut into readable chunks, keeps the attention well, and the map is absolutely gorgeous. The map notes also add a lovely touch. 12/10 would read and visit again.

11 Mar, 2022 17:17

I'm so happy you think that highly of this! Glad I gave you a fun article to read :D

~ Tristan
11 Mar, 2022 12:01

What an absolutely beautiful article, enjoyed reading this.

Featured Articles in the Shadow War across Creation by Graylion

11 Mar, 2022 17:15

Thanks so much for the kind words!

~ Tristan
11 Mar, 2022 19:54

What a fantasic article to read, Love the map, The menu and how you described the staff that work at the tavern, a unique take on a tavern as well!, love the styling and css used!

11 Mar, 2022 20:12

Thanks Shadow Malachi! I appreciate the positive feedback :)

~ Tristan
15 Mar, 2022 04:38

This article is my favourite. Well thought out and beautifully edited. <3

~ Eliora Yona ~
15 Mar, 2022 05:22

Aw thank you Eliora! I'll be sure to give your article a look a little later. :)

~ Tristan
15 Mar, 2022 14:16

Wonderful style, beautiful word imagery, and just a great article all around. I really like how you've broken it up into easy-to-read chunks of content and kept this flow with it thats just wonderful. Great article, all around!

Please check out my article for the Tavern Challenge! The Black Haired Dog!
15 Mar, 2022 16:22

Thanks so much! I really appreciate that you think all this is designed so well!

~ Tristan
15 Mar, 2022 22:27

Oooh! Fantastic read and gorgeous article! That map is beautiful!

Seek out Fate in the world of Auriga!   Also, feel free to check out my Progress Report for this year's World Ember... AND if you want to see what I'm working on, you can check up on my prompt worksop space!
16 Mar, 2022 00:57

Thanks for the compliment Mara! I'm glad I was able to present something that you appreciated :)

~ Tristan
17 Mar, 2022 18:23

This is incredible! I feel like I'm just echoing what others have already said, but this is great! the styling is pleasing for my taste, not being overbearing on imagery or colors. I will note upon reading there are the horizontal red bars that go across. They looked like just styling, but hovering my mouse over I saw they were linked to "divine period" although when the curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it, I was slightly sad I found myself at a dead end.   Great work!

17 Mar, 2022 19:04

I'm glad you liked my article! There's nothing wrong with echoing what others have already said, either!   As for the divine period, that's just an image add-in I use for articles that relate to my continent of Kleista. The term "divine period" in my world, albeit I haven't written anything about it, is used as part of the celestial language and acts as a period to a typical sentence.

~ Tristan
17 Mar, 2022 19:09

Thanks for explaining that, it makes a lot of sense now. What a cool idea! I forgot to mention, I love the addition of the twisted game of chess!   cheers!

17 Mar, 2022 20:50

I love it!

Can your party of adventurers cure What Ails You before it's too late?
17 Mar, 2022 20:56

Thanks! I'm glad you do ^-^

~ Tristan
18 Mar, 2022 13:15

Fun article, and wonderful, as usual. I haven't visited this world in a while. :'(   I wish I could say more, but...I feel all has been said already. I just enjoyed it very much. The map is a wonderful touch, as is the dialogue! I love it when people do things like that!

18 Mar, 2022 16:33

There is no problem in echoing what others have already said! But, nevertheless I'm really glad you loved the article enough to express it. :D

~ Tristan
18 Mar, 2022 20:18

I love the colours you have going with the tavern! The map gives me those good ol' Feywild vibes that I enjoy so much!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
18 Mar, 2022 21:45

I tried to recreate a little bit of that feeling being a druid-themed tavern and all! I'm glad mine was able to give you those good vibes. :)

~ Tristan
18 Mar, 2022 21:53

Only thing left is to grab a cup of hot chocolate and to sit down during an evening and to take in the sights!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
19 Mar, 2022 01:55

I love that this is a different take on the tavern challenge, and yet still maintains a really strong sense of both aesthetic and story! There's just so much thought and detail, and I also love the little vignette/prose on the sidebar.

19 Mar, 2022 16:22

Yeah, cookie cutter medieval tavern didn't really pique my interest. I much prefer to put a spin on things!   I'm happy you liked my short story too :)

~ Tristan
23 Mar, 2022 15:28

Wow…wow. I love everything here, the story how this secluded land developed into a refugee for the poor and and a popular tavern.   I love the characters of interest depicted here, they seem like an interesting bunch <3   And finally, the story of the ruffian. How it got depicted with saga and action scaring the new ruffian by reliving what happened to THE ruffian, splendid,

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker   Check out my tavern entry The divine Basknut
23 Mar, 2022 15:54

Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I'm especially happy that you liked the short story about the ruffian :)

~ Tristan