Part 6 begins with…THE MANSION
What is a three story mansion doing in a small agricultural village at the edge of the known map of civilization?
No body gets rich in Get, Except that is, Axess the woodsman.
The work is hard around this agricultural outpost in this wilderness jungle, and the rewards are good but not exceptional. The village runs mostly on a barter system. What little gold that comes into the village is what the Goddess Temple visitors and their entourage spend at the Hogsmead Inn and the Mansion for room, board, and drinks.
Just when and how Axess, the woodsmen, got his fortune to build his mansion, no one knew. He was a good woodsmen for the village, a job that usually will last a life time. But in this jungle, some woodsmen’s lifetimes are rather short.
Axess was such a good woodsman that he had even been seen on top of the escarpment falls and returned alive. He said that he went no further into the upper river jungle than the edge of the falls cliff. When asked what he saw, his curt answer was always ” More jungle.”
Something happened during the middle of his tenure. With out explanation Axes began taking trips down to Port Atune and did not come back for weeks at a time. It was obvious that Axess had come into some wealth as he had shipped some fancy goods up from Port Atune, a stove, poster beds for his triplet girls and fancy household goods etc.
How much wealth he possessed became more apparent when he bought the wood carver’s house that originally sat next to his near the village center. The village assumed that the purchase was for his girls who were growing into womanhood and that his craftmans house was getting a little crowded.
Josen, the wood carver and his wife were old and without children. Axess had made an agreement with Josen. It was that Axess would pay Josen ahead of time for his house and let him and his wife live out their lives in the their house before Axess did anything with it.
As with most life long marriages here in the village, when one spouse dies, the mate soon follows. When the woodsmen quietly passed away during his afternoon nap in front of the fireplace in the Hogsmead lounge, his wife followed him two months later.
Soon after the wood carver’s wife passed away, an unscheduled cargo ship from Port Atune appeared at the Get dock with Axess on it, The ship was full of masonry, lumber, a building crew and and all the fixings to build a the three story mansion that now dominates the East end of the village center today. As Axess and his daughters moved into private bunk rooms at Hogsmead Inn, the building crew demolished Axess and Josen’s houses and, within two months, replaced them with what is called the Mansion.
Axess remained part of village woodsman guild for a few more years, but his mysterious trips down the Zom River continued without explanation. He retired early, then moved, with 2 of his triplet daughters, into another identical mansion that he had quietly been building in in Port Atune at the mouth of the Zom River.
Emma his eldest daughter, ( by 5 minutes ), stayed in Get village to run the Mansion as a Hotel for the magus’s, witches and wizards that came to visit the Dragon Riders Goddess Temple. Their guides, and entourage would stay at the Hogsmead Inn, waiting for their masters return from the Goddess Temple. Emma also hosted visitors who had come up the river from Port Atune to watch the Dragons fly by, from the Mansion’s roof balcony and to eat the famous Get melons.
Axes returned to Get every year for the winters Settling festival to pay his taxes. He always stayed at the Mansion during the Settling season until the first trade ship appeared after the winter rains had subsided. It seemed that he liked to take jungle wanderings during the 3 or 4 day rains, that the villagers called, ” the fallings,” that occurred regularly during the settling time.
In the sixth winter settling after Axess’s retirement, during a falling, the villagers heard agonizing screams coming from across the river in the dark of a starless night. Even in the roaring of the falling rain they could hear the screams emanating from the Boogieman escarpment temple Then silence, except for the sound of the pouring rain dancing on the jungle leaves and village roofs.
Once or twice a year, the villagers were used to hearing the screams coming from that temple that marked the death of another suicidal outsider adventurer. Upon seeing the jewel embedded in the boogieman’s forehead just across the river, their eyes became much bigger than their ears as the council tried to talk to them out of the certain death that awaited them if he did not head their warning. In fact, the legend of the Get Boogieman Temple Jewel has spread far and wide and many adventurers had come to Get to deliberately tempt their fate for fortune.
Boogieman Temple deaths never occurred during a winter settling when there were no outsiders in the village. This boogieman death during a settling was a first.
No one occupies the horn tower during a falling or at night, so the elders sent a young man up the tower to blow three long horn blasts in a row, calling every one to the Hogsmead Inn for an emergency meeting. The villagers all gathered at Inn and after drying out, they accounted for themselves. Axes was missing.
The basic assumption was made that it was Axess’s screams that they heard. Axess’s eldest daughter, Emma, heard the screams from the mansion. As she walked through the poring rain to the community meeting, she tried to convince herself that it was not her fathers voice that she heard. But in her heart of hearts, she knew better. At the emergency meeting at the inn, a number of people said they thought the voice they heard screaming belonged to Axes, Emma sadly confirmed it.
Death is very much part of life in the Dragon’s realm. You love and protect your kids as they grow up but just by the statistics alone, you know that there is a one in five chance that that small person will not make it to seven years of age. After that person reaches the age of seven years of age and begins to move quickly into adulthood, you let go of holding back the place that would normally be surprised and wounded when you loose a loved one to jungle causes. Growing up in the magic of the dragon’s realm you considered an adult at the age of fifteen.
This situation did not make sense. Axes was renowned as one the best of the Get woodsman. And any Get woodsman who survives more than four years in the dragon’s realm jungle would be considered one of the best woodsmen anywhere. Axes knew better than to cross the escarpment river near the Boogyman Temple, let alone to approach it at any time. Even though he did so many times, he also knew better than to not to go out into any part of the jungle during a “Falling.”
One of the first things that a Get woodsmen apprentice learns is that during a multi-day tropical rain storm, the rain drops fall so thick and heavy that you are unable to see more than a few feet in front of you. Additionally, the sound the rain makes in the jungle as it pours down through the trees is a constant loud rumble. You would have to yell at someone standing only a few feet away from you for them to hear you. These Falling conditions make for a great hunting environment for predators, and bad conditions for their pray. During a Falling the nocturnal predators go hunting even in the day time, as the thick rain clouds block out the sun so much that, under the jungle canopy, it is almost like night anyway. If a woodsman is hunting in the dragon’s realm jungle and it starts to rain, he has just been turned from predator to prey.
Two days later, after the rain had subsided, the worst was confirmed when Emma climbed up to the crows nest on the horn tower with binoculars. She saw her father’s body laying face up on top of the bone pile in front of the escarpment Temple. His body had been torn apart. One leg was missing, his throat was cut, his face mangled, his left hand almost totally severed. By his clothing she knew it was him. Clutched tightly in his right hand laying across his bloody chest, Axess was holding the jewel from the forehead of the boogie man. With good reason, no one would cross the river and go to the temple to retrieve the body of Axess, and his bones are still there today.
For the Get villagers who climbed up the horn tower to view Axess’s body after the falling, the mysteries of the missing Boogieman’s jewels and the source of Axess’s wealth were solved in one glance.
Speculation has it that Axess had found a safe way up to the top of the lava escarpment, probably near the falls, and was able to access the jewel in the Boogieman’s forehead. By staying on top of the escarpment he did not have to confront what ever certain death awaited below at the temple entrance. That is unless he slipped off the wet lava rocks in the rain storm while trying to dislodge the jewel and fell to the temple entrance 60 feet below.
The next day, the boy manning the horn tower began screaming for attention as he blew the horn twice. Then twice again. Two horn blasts means that the person in the tower can see some emergency happening in the village that needs immediate attending to. When the elders yelled up at him asking him what was the emergency, he said that he was watching a dinosaur eating what was left of Axess.
Except for the crocodile, the few species of dinosaurs that still exist can only be found near the proximity of a dragon’s lair. Until the elders had seen the dinosaur eating Axess’, body no dinosaur, other than the flying lizards, had been seen more than fifty miles from any lair. The elders climbed the Horn Tower, sat in the crows nest and watched as the raptor dinosaur feed on the body of Axess. Then it disappeared into the entrance of the Escarpment Temple.
The raptors are the meanest, fastest, leanest and smartest group of dinosaurs to be found. They are killing machines with deadly claws and razor-sharp teeth. Running on two feet, their sleek bodies are built to navigate the thick jungle with speed and agility.
Another mystery had been solved. The people of Get village now knew exactly what type of mean death awaits any one who approaches the Escarpment Temple. They know that a raptor dinosaur guards the Temple entrance. That brought up the speculation that maybe the Invisibals were right. Maybe the cave system inside the volcanic escarpment does run all the way back to the dragons lair where many raptor dinosaurs hadpreviously been seen. This whole incident also eluded to what type of death awaits anyone who attempted to go up and over the escarpment. Dinosaurs thrive on lava flow rock and the escarpment was made by an old 60 foot thick lava flow that runs North and South for many miles and no one, but the dragon, knows how many hundreds miles West.
Axess clutching the Boogieman’s jewel
The death of Axess has solved all the mysteries of the escarpment temple except one. How did the missing jewels get replaced ?
A few days later some villagers noticed the Invisibals’s witch-doctor up on top of the escarpment near the falls, and when they looked over at the Boogieman there was a fresh jewel embedded in his forehead, of course when they looked back to where the witch doctor was, they could not see him anymore.
No one has ever attempted to follow in Axess footsteps. That particular jewel that appeared after Axess’s death has remained in the Boogyman’s forehead ever since. The last jewel that Axess took from the Boogieman can be seen from the crows nest, still clutched in his skeletal fingers. The jewel in the Boogyman’s forehead no longer appears and disappears during the Settlings. With that fact the villagers believe that the second mystery of the boogyman has been solved. The Invisibals’s witch-doctor has been replacing the jewels that Axess took from the Boogieman all these years.
THE HOGSMEAD INN
The Hogsmead Inn
The Hogsmead Inn was originally Old Man Kassel’s single story hog barn. Because of the effects of raising hogs inside a dragon’s realm, the hogs got so large and numerous that he had to build outside pens for them.
The stink and noise that emanated from the pigs became a problem for the Get valley residents. But the largest problem was that the hogs attracted dragons who flew by regularly and grabbed a hog for a snack, on the fly, like an Eagle grabs a fish out of the water.
After a particular nasty encounter with a dragon who decided to eat his hog lunch in the pen, Old man Kassel got rid of the hogs and started brewing mead, turning the barn into an bar.
That made the Get villagers very happy. The hog noise and stink were gone and they no longer had a to wait for the trade boat to arrive every few months to get a good drink.
Hogsmead bar became the village hang out where the noisy money card games were played on Saturday evening, community contra dances were held on Sunday evenings and full village community meetings were held when ever required.
THE WINNING HAND
Sharias’s winning hand.
When the Old man Kassel passed away from Jungle causes, his drunkard son inherited Hogsmead. The son was glad when he lost Hogsmead in a card game to the second eldest Get Red named Sharias. The villagers call her Sha. Kassel’s son left the village to go down the river to Port Atune and live out his dream of becoming a pirate. He was a good pirate as pirates go.
Sharias framed her winning hand, and hung it over the bar as proof of ownership.
The First Floor of Hogsmead Inn
With her profits off of the bar for the first year, Sha turned Hogsmead into a more family friendly and Village friendly Inn.
On the first floor she built a kitchen and expanded the bar to include an eating area and a lounge/reading area with a large fireplace. The lounge became the place for the community members to hang out when ever they got a case of ‘Cabin fever” during the settling rains.
The collected dragon slayers’ shields in the Hogsmead Inn’s Lounge
Many of the Dragon Slayers who came through Get never made it more than a few miles into the jungle before they succumbed to “Jungle causes.”
All the shields that are hanging on the Hogsmead’s back lounge wall were collected by the village woodsman from the skeletal remans of dragon slayers who were found only three to ten miles from Get. Thats still 70 or so miles from the dragon’s lair.
They never even got close to meeting the dragon or seeing his lair.
The Lounge fireplace and Josen’s chair
A lot of village business is conducted around this fireplace. The red chair was the favorite of Josen, the old wood carver who quietly died in his sleep taking his regular afternoon nap. It is used only when all the others chairs are occupied. Sha still puts a hot cup of tea on the table stand next to the chair at noon every day in memory of Josen.
For some unexplained reason, that cup of tea always stays warm for 3 hours, about the length of Josen’s naps.
SHA AT THE BAR
Sha at the Hogsmead’s Bar
Sha spends most of her time behind the bar at the inn. It is the first place where every one stops to pick up some food or drink before heading to the fireplace lounge. Now days there is a lot more available at the Inn than just mead.
THE SECOND FLOOR
The Second Floor of Hogsmead’s Inn
Sha also built a second story sleeping area into the Hogsmead’s Inn that year. It includes a barrack style bunk room, four private sleeping rooms and an upstairs bathroom. There is also a card room, a shaded veranda and wrap around outside balcony. The balcony wraps around only three sides of the building. There is no balcony facing the escarpment boogieman temple which is just few hundred feet away across the river.
Saturday night money card games in the second floor card room
The Saturday night money card games would always get a little rowdy and dominated what was usually the quiet community hangout space. So when Sha built the second floor she moved the card room up stairs, making the lounge space open and available for other uses. Just don’t expect to get any sleep in the upstairs bunk area on Saturday nights until 12 o’clock.
There are as many women who attend the Saturday night card games as men. Mayii, the youngest of the second set of the Get Reds is usually lucky in cards, but does not recognize that her luck has something to do with her being a little psychic.
During the rest of the week the card room is used for meetings and rendezvous.
THE MAYOR’S SMITHY HOUSE
The Mayor’s Smithy House
As his father and grandfather before him, Jedidia has been the village blacksmith for many years. While on the village council Jedidia was still able to do his work, but when they appointed him as the first male Mayor of Get, his duties expanded and, his wife Sara took over the job of village smithy.
During the rainy season when it’s coolest and there is less Mayoring to do, Jedidia and Sara have done most of the heavy foundry work together in between Fallings.
The smithy’s forge
Jedidia’s grandfather built this forge on the outside of his craft house fire place. With the forge on the outside of his fire place, when there is no fire in the forge/fire place, you can see through the forge into the house.
INSIDE THE SMITHY HOUSE
Jedidia with his tools
The mayor’s house is more of a workshop than a home and thats the way Jedidia and Sara like it.
But this coming settling, they will move into their new house that sits on top the industrial mill-forge that they just completed. And when they start making litters of babies, things will be different. The tools will stay downstairs and the babies upstairs.
THE WITCHES HOUSE
The broom on the front door identifies this craft house as the witches house
Attached onto the front of each Craft house in the village is the implement that represents that craft. The symbol of the witches guild is the broom. Yes they can indeed ride on their brooms. It is said, that fact is one of the attributes that allows them to ride dragons.
THE INSIDE OF THE WITCH’S HOUSE
The Get witch in her house
Istell, the current Get witch, weaves many of her healing spells in her craft house and carts them to the villagers .
THE WOODSMAN’S HOUSE
The Woodsman’s House
The implement that represents the woodsmen is the bow and arrow and so it is easy to identify his craftmens house.
THE INSIDE OF THE WOODSMAN’S HOUSE
Here is the soon to be Head Get Woodsman, Ganom, with his hunting owl.