There are multiple ways to travel between the capital city of Xicusrtiw and the metropolis of Ravena. Both are port cities, so you could take the long, dangerous journey around the desert continent by ship. Then there is the highly expensive and occasionally unreliable option of magical teleportation. Lastly, there is the option of transportation across the desert between those two major cities.

Desert transport was deemed safer than sea transport, due to storms, sea monsters, and other risks. Plus, there are a lot of varieties on how desert transport can be accomplished. Depending upon the type of transport used the crossing over the sand could be faster than the crossing via the sea.

General Waverly was fond of the desert tortoise. Early in his career he sent home an albino, large-sized desert tortoise for his daughter to use as a mount. When the general retired from the army he arrived home to find that the desert tortoise had grown to a gargantuan size. His daughter planned to build an inn atop its shell and use the tortoise to transport people across the desert between Ravena and Xicusrtiw. It would be a slower trip than most ships but still safer.

The White Tortoise Inn was just one building at the beginning and within was an everflowing spring in the form of a fountain, a gambling hall, a restaurant, a laundress/seamstress, and a bathing facility. Eventually they had become such a popular mode of transportation that the Generals granddaughter posed the idea of seeing a druid to grow the tortoise even bigger so that they could put multiple buildings upon his shell. The girls’ mother, father, and most importantly her grandfather agreed to this idea.

On their next trip across the desert instead of passengers they transported professionals to build the new inn buildings. The tortoise was now able to have one building per scute. The original inn building was lifted off before the growth spell and then placed on the center scute. Two more smaller inn buildings, with more numerous but smaller rooms, were built on either side of the original inn in the center of the shell. Around the three inns were built three food establishments, one restaurant and two taverns, and six shops. The shops inspired by the original inn included a haberdashery for the seamstress/laundress, as well as a separate bathing house and a gambling hall. They also built a temple to the goddess Tswaftss, a shop that was rented to a kobold who used it as a pawn shop, a smithing facility, and another storefront that was rented by a vintner.

When they arrived at Ravena they began to question their improvements. They had been able to entice very few people to travel with them on their tortoise-shell thorp. There was nobody occupying the two new inns. The original inn was itself not even half full upon their departure.

While they were at the metropolis the kobold rebranded his pawn shop into a curio shop. As soon as they were underway, he resumed the pawn business with the few patrons they had acquired.

The two smiths who had used the smithing facility on the trip over both abandoned the tortoise upon arrival to the metropolis to set up their own forges. The smithing facility was thus unoccupied on the return trip.

With no patrons for the restaurant, taverns, bath house, nor gambling hall they all became little more than upscale residences for their proprietors.

Only the haberdashery had a successful business, after all people wanted their clothing clean. It was the same woman who had been doing the job for years as an employee of the inn so she had the experience.

The vinter had sold off all his stock in Ravena and used the proceeds to buy raw materials and new equipment so his business could be seen as flourishing as well. He spent the trek back to the capital brewing new batches. 

In the overall, the inn was less profitable on the return trip to the capital then it had been on many previous trips. The former General was concerned mostly because the new proprietors, whose businesses did not seem successful, would most likely jump shell at the capital and then there would be six vacant businesses, not including the two currently unoccupied inns.

They arrived at Xicusrtiw exactly one year to the day from their departure date from Ravena. The kobold rebranded his shop back to that of a curio dealer. The vinter proceeded to sell off all his alcohol and begin restocking materials for the return trip. As expected, all the others except the seamstress refused to renew their leases.

On their fifth day in the capital the king died in a teleportation mishap and his son, distraught, handed down a decree that spellcasters would no longer be welcome within the walls of the capital. Many experienced spellcasters had the ability to just teleport themselves elsewhere and did so. Some boarded or had built ships and took to the sea. For the White Tortoise Inn this royal tragedy became a windfall. Many spellcasting shopkeepers who were looking to set up again in the metropolis of Ravena booked a room for a trip across the desert. All three inns were full. The spellcasters were happy to use the year-long expected duration to craft stock for their new shops. Most needed no more space than their simple rooms provided.

An alchemist took over one of the taverns and renaming it Liquid Magic began selling fluid food, alcohol, and potions. A fellow worshiper of Tswaftss took to the smithing facility and began crafting magical shields. A somewhat morbid spellcaster set up shop in the restaurant, calling it the Rabbit Hutch and selling rabbits, living, roasted whole, or stewed. A mermaid witch took over the bath house and ran it as an inn for other aquatic spellcasters and stable for aquatic familiars and animal companions from one of the bathing pools. The second tavern was taken over by the vintner, who used it to not only brew his wares but after the first batch was complete, sold them to the guests. The vintners’ former shop was taken over by a woodworker, who sold both magical and mundane wooden items. The generals granddaughter took over the gambling hall and ended up with a thriving business, better than even the kobolds pawn shop, as she allowed the spellcasters to bet using spellcasting material components.

When they arrived at Ravena, all the spellcasters that had rented rooms left the White Tortoise Inn, Meanwhile, all of those who had rented buildings renewed their leases. Even though only the original inn had rooms occupied for the return trip to the capital, the trip was still profitable. Perhaps if this becomes a trend then the poor inns rooms will be used to transport materials instead of guests.


December 27, 2019 06:15

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