The Last Stop

(Record of Pere\Librarian Uelstra of Bismuthforge)
 
One notices the amber glow coming from the crack in the open door first, the light feeling so welcoming that you almost have to stop yourself from opening it. Yet, inside, you know you'll find comfort and ease for the rest of your days. You instinctively know that the interior, whatever it may appear to be, will be the most welcoming thing in the whole world. Then the sounds of cheer and sweet scents of ale. I was once carried along by the taste of fried foods that were most common in the festivals in Hammer.
  This tavern, whatever it actually is, is everyone's final end. Whether you pass in your sleep or wander your way into the fogs of the unending plains, you'll find it there. It never misses a chance to show you that you're welcome there, that everyone is. It's... comforting to know that we all belong somewhere, until you consider it further and the reality sinks in. Needless to say, I ran. I saw the light and yes, I almost went inside, but I remembered the stories. I'm not a fool of a man, I know what awaits me. For all I've done, I know my end won't be so sweet.
— Pere Hurata of Grenchwin

  Hidden away in every valley, at the corner of every alley, where every one is and least expects to find a tavern. That is where The Last Stop will appear. Its welcoming and kind exterior appears on any surface, and creates the air of comfort that draws all around it in. It must be the kind and welcoming embrace of a liar, for within is the end of one's life. I have never made the effort to enter, but others have claimed to have escaped, I hope to find those and record their stories.

Purpose / Function

...and it's quite something, that it truly is. First off, it's a place you never wish to see, but once you've seen it, it's hard to forget. The exterior looks like brick, but none I've seen. Glittering Black, and the door is made from an oak so deep, you could lose yourself in the grains. It's there to guide the lost and damned, easier than tracking them down. I went there, once, but that was a long time ago.
— Pere Sul-hasa
  During my studies I have come to the conclusion that the Inn does in fact exist, and after speaking to more than a few souls that wandered their ways toward and back, it seems to be a place for the dead or dying. Mythos from the past and present speak of dozens of different ways one could go about their final moments of consciousness. A river, a procession, a bright light, turns out it's just a casual jaunt down to the local pub.
  My studies have come to the conclusion that The Last Stop is actually run by the great deities of old, and that being within pulls one from the common space we consider to be reality. I'm unsure as to what the final goal is of the product they offer, being the object of local time-wasting, but it would come to the conclusion that even the deities of old are inclined to be served an ale after a "long day".

History

...the strangest thing, too. I was standing there, feeling the warmth of my life leaving me with each second, and as I stumbled forward, that's when I found it. I was alone, the world was quiet and filled with the damp fog that cools your skin, the kind that cuts through you no matter the clothing. It appeared from nowhere, rising out of the mist like a pillar, but the glow reminded me of the light that people claim you would see at the end. I wanted, so desperately, for it to be the end. I wasn't a good man, I knew my end would be painful, but the light and comfort I felt was more than I deserved... And that's what I had, A full hand. I lay the cards down before the hooded woman and smiled. She simply nodded, and I blacked out. When I came to I was back in the city, some dozen miles from where I had been attacked.
— Pere Ardwell of Bismuthforge

 

Tavern Tales


There have been a number of stories told, some that took me a rather long time to find, that talk about the tavern. Some Pere, some merchants, some actual writers. These were the most helpful in my search for answers. Though, up to this point, I'm still not sure as to anything about the actual goings-on of the tavern. I've taken some snippets and placed them below. Hopefully the vignettes will aid in the understanding of the strangeness of the tavern. I've provided my own recap of the story after each description, breaking down the majority of information involved.
 

The Lost Diver


The story of a Diver working for a naval expedition that would have died were it not for some strange events. Their line is cut accidentally and they find themselves traveling through the depths of the sea without a guide or aid.
This is a story of a mardan working for a naval team, he claims his line was cut accidentally while underwater. Instead of drowning like he would have expected, he found a tavern in the growth under the seas. The crushing waves seemed to fall away as he approached. He doesn't seem to remember much more than that the food was amazing. That, and winning a game of chess.

The Empty Platoon

This was a story of a Knight Officer in command of a strange group of soldiers. They turned against him during their time and the result was the Knight Officer having to slay most of them. He was burdened by guilt and tried to end his life, but found the tavern. Inside he was presented with the option of games, taking the most regal choice, dragon chess, and winning.
The story tells of a rather boastful Knight Officer, having been betrayed by a group of criminals-turned-soldiers the man is left for dead along the sides of a road. He finds the tavern and enters, boasting still about his rank in life. Surprisingly, he actually walks away with his life in his hands, winning against The Owner in a game of Dragons Chess... Perhaps they wanted him out just as bad.

The Gambler

Bertrand Hartwell, famed game player and gambler extrordenaire, was lost and alone in the depths of a new city. He was without aid, and without any hope of finding his way out. Something had possessed him to walk further and further in to strange location, before eventually finding a small tavern laid into the wall.
This story tells of a famed gambler who was lost in a rather peculiar way within a city. I've never been able to track down the city in question, which is rather odd, but otherwise a majority of the story checks out. He claims he met the Goddess of Light & Life, Rukipen of Gehen, and played a game of Poker against her. He won, as he loves to tell everyone, and seems to have the best memory of the whole ordeal. He has, unfortunately, passed away some days ago.

A Funny Thing

Writer Herlduna of Bismuthforge, was traveling home from an expidition into town one day when they came across the strange calling of an urge to drink. They were, of course, without any respite in sight, having known the track they were walking. Yet they came across a new establishment along the path, and decided to venture inside. What followed was a delightful evening spent with some of the most interesting characters the Writer had ever come across.
This story, which is one of the only stories actually recorded by a real writer, has the most detail involved in every aspect. From the exterior and the feeling it presented, to the actual members of the staff. Theres no talk of actually playing or winning a game, however, that means very little if the actual establishment is run by the Goddess of Light & Life. In hindsight, it becomes more confusing as to how and why people are chosen to enter before their "time"

The Tavern at the End


 
Mmmmm... mmmmm... mrmmrmrmm.
— Ruilda the Bartender

The first recorded encounter of The Last Stop falls in the writings of a Pere during the early 400's. She was traveling the lands and ended up suffering wounds in the streets of the great capital, eventually winding up walking the streets looking for help. She encountered the Tavern and was ushered inside by a woman without a mouth. The Pere claims she won a bet and got to return.

Founding Date
Unknown
Alternative Names
Phoenix Inn, The Inn at the End of the Line, The Tavern at the End
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Ruling/Owning Rank

Ruilda the Bartender

Ruilda using Heroforge
Ruilda Using Heroforge
Ruilda was a sailor, or so the story goes from her companions around her. During her time at sea she was betrayed and lost her tongue before being cast to sea and drowning. She arrived at The Last Stop and gambled for freedom, losing the game to The Owner. Now they mumble responses as they pass out drinks, slightly annoyed but still happy to help.
 

Long-Night, Heavy Rain

Long Night, Heavy Rain using Heroforge
Long-Night, Heavy Rain using HeroForge
Long-Night, Heavy Rain, is a monk from the distant valleys of the Hato peoples. Her tribe was hidden away in the mountains, but each soldier and aspiring adventurous soul was given the chance to travel and become a worldly individual, before settling down back in their home village. Long-Night is a rather accomplished warrior, but found The Last Stop early in their life, and asked to join when they realized it was the end. They have since worked to be a great bartender and steadfast defender of the tavern.
 

Knight Officer Randell Flora

Randell Flora using Heroforge
Randell Flora Using HeroForge
Knight Officer Randell Flora was a strong willed Hiander, Born into the upper crust nobility of the Gehenian peoples. He was rough around the edges, but found comfort in two things, cooking and fighting. He led a small force of soldiers for a time, taking them through dangerous operations, but became resentful of his superiors. Eventually he retired and started cooking more, he was unfortunately called back into service, where he died and found himself walking into a job interview as a chef for The Last Stop. An interview he happily aced.

Comments

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8 Mar, 2022 17:36

I like the idea of a tavern that is something more - like an almost metaphysical location. Having a drink before going into the great beyond, well... I can think of worse. Do the deities still visit the place?   Formatting wise - I'd really suggest moving some of the side panel stuff to the main panel. The way it outstretches the main panel right now makes it look a little unwieldy, and reading that long quote block on a narrow strip like that is a little uncomfortable :)   Good stuff :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Mar, 2022 21:28

Thanks~ I appreciate the feedback too. I'm absolutely gunna move some of the side panel stuff around. Now that you've mentioned how it looks, it kinda becomes more obvious. Thank the gods for outside opinions!

9 Mar, 2022 08:58

Wow, what an interesting read! I love the idea of going in for a last drink before going to the afterlife, or chosing to stay at the tavern as help around. What makes me wonder is who or what decides if an individual is worthy of staying. Intriguing concept, love it!   Keep up the good work! :D

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9 Mar, 2022 20:03

Thank you! The concept of exactly who gets chosen is a strange one, and usually left up to the Owner of the Establishment.

9 Mar, 2022 09:01

This sounds both creepy and comforting, and I really love all the prose that sets the atmosphere here. It's a really nice article and sounds like an intriguing place.   A small note, I see a few recurring typos (its=it's, thats=that's), might be a good idea to run it through a spell-checker. Overall it was really easy to read, though.


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
9 Mar, 2022 20:04

Thank you so much for the kind words! Also, for catching the spelling issues.. I'll run it through a spell-checker soon, cause that's a fantastic point.

9 Mar, 2022 16:23

I see, so this Tavern is more like a Purgatory. I´m amazed by how creative everyone taking part in this challenge is, and this right here is already one of my favourites.

9 Mar, 2022 20:05

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the kind words! Yeah, I figured that it'd be fun to write about a location that works both as a tavern and as a way of passing on~

9 Mar, 2022 21:21

I mean, can´t let anyone die until they haven´t gotten a taste of good old german beer, right?

9 Mar, 2022 19:41

This was a lovely article to read. I love the idea and always enjoy seeing others' takes on similar locations / what a soul might encounter after death. The staff sound interesting and I like the tales added at the end. Quotes are always a nice touch and the ones used here tie in nicely.

9 Mar, 2022 20:05

Thank you so much~! I appreciate the kind words!

10 Mar, 2022 05:42

I like the idea of this tavern and love how you talked about the staff of the tavern and the opening quote was great! and enjoy how it is written like it is a paper!, Overall a good article

15 Mar, 2022 14:03

Thank you~ I was hoping to make it feel like a journal entry. I'm glad that I achieved that~ Thank you so much for the comment

10 Mar, 2022 13:59

Good article. Definitely like a Purgatory of sorts. Could do a sister article with others going the opposite direction, or a Ravenloft setting.

15 Mar, 2022 14:04

Thank you~ Yeah, I'm planning on digging more into the work and world of the tavern, maybe writing a short story or two.

11 Mar, 2022 13:14

Getting a weird Death of Discworld/Death Parade vibe from this.   I love it!!   --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Feel free to check out my Tavern Challenge article if you want to see what I am up to! The Black Hare Tavern

15 Mar, 2022 14:05

Thank you~ That such high praise! Thank you so much!

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
13 Mar, 2022 07:32

Oooh that first quote in the article gripped me! Very spooky. I wonder how the tavern came to be? Did someone, or a group of people decide to build it? Why allow a bet to be made in the first place, is it a cultural thing or something else? What a cool idea!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
15 Mar, 2022 14:11

Thank you~ So to answer a few of your questions, essentially stuff that the universe wouldn't really know, per se. The Tavern is run by the Goddess of light and Life, and was founded a few hundred years after her departure from the world proper. She decided to help her sister, the goddess of death and darkness, in managing the reincarnation of souls. The tavern was her choice, it's a bit of an odd one, though. She also really likes games, and most of the time doesn't really want to end people's lives. There's a counterpart to The Last Stop, run by the sister, but it's a bit more... grim.

15 Mar, 2022 13:58

Excellent use of heroforge and what a unique and interesting concept. A tavern that is more than a tavern, but a place that is...almost beyond that. I love it and am immediately interested in learning more! Good luck in the competition.

Please check out my article for the Tavern Challenge! The Black Haired Dog!
15 Mar, 2022 14:09

Really like the concept, as well as the quotes and the character backstories! The emotions induced by the quotes fit the theme of the tavern really well.   One thing to add - I always find it a bit hard to read when there's not much space between the text and the next header, like in the "History" and "Purpose/Function" sections of the article. A space in between the last paragraph and the next header might be a good idea.

15 Mar, 2022 14:15

Thank you so much! Also, great call on the spacing, I hadn't considered how tight those spaces were. I added a couple breaks in there and gave them each some room, hopefully that'll read better for those going forward, but thank you again!

15 Mar, 2022 17:49

Definitely looks better now :) Glad I could help.

16 Mar, 2022 21:07

Now this is my third time reading through this tavern because I find it so fascinating and I had difficulty of expressing it properly earlier. You have made the perfect article in the way that it hooks a reader in with its mystique and continues reeling the reader further and further. At the same time at a first glance this seemed just like any other tavern, but when you read it you... Start to see the anomalities.   A bit like watching a small line of ants to suddenly notice you're surrounded by an army of them. It gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I love it! Also this gave me the cool idea of using an NPC for my campaign where an NPC has lost their tongue and murmurs!   Maybe one of the best taverns I have read this far!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
16 Mar, 2022 21:08

Ps. WHO OR WHAT IS A PERE?!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
30 Mar, 2022 05:41

The beginning of the article made me emotional because it was so beautifully written about the comfort one finds when dying. I am sorry for not commenting rest of the article.