Liam Cassoulet inherited the Monk’s Inn, finally relinquished back to him by the soldiers who had used it as a base in the area. It used to be a bustling hub between the road to the village of Saint-Lorien, and the King’s Forest. Travellers used to come in droves during hunting season, and in the spring, in merry groups on pilgrimage to see the relics at the Abbey. But the army had completely razed the Abbey. In the last war, the enemy army laid siege to the townspeople taking refuge there on holy ground, ransacking and burning the abbey, and killing everyone who didn’t escape into the hills of the narrow river valley. Now Liam didn’t know how much longer he could stand being the last man in the world.
He had nothing but time, which he used to study cookery, charisma, and the logic of the masters. His main companion was his cat, Moonrise, who followed him from his bedchamber to the kitchen, to the yard, to the inn. Moonrise slept in his bed and curled up wherever Liam went.
Moonrise loved to pounce, and he brought the only relief from boredom and loneliness that Liam had.
Liam had another cat, too, a quieter female. She had been given to him by a traveller from a distant land and had exotic dark markings, with beautiful shimmering creamy colored fur all over the rest of her lithe body. She was fastidious, independent, and quiet, almost entirely opposite from Moonrise. Liam saw her when he put out a bowl of scraps, sometimes, and otherwise, she prowled or slept, usually outdoors. He wondered if she might come inside more when winter came.
Moonrise loved to pounce on the female cat, too, when he could manage to sneak up on her. Moonrise eventually worked his way into the female cat’s heart, and one night after Liam had gone to bed, he heard playful sounds coming from the kitchen, below.
This summer brought more than the stirring of the warm air currents through the river valley. A new lord of the manor had been appointed, and some crops had been planted by serfs. Very slowly, a few of the former townspeople of Saint-Lorien returned from hiding in the hills.
Liam could barely contain his excitement when a woman passed by the house one morning. Even though she was a follower of the goddess, and initially only wanted to talk about the upcoming mid-summer solstice, after a while Liam found a topic they could connect on and they spent the better part of half the morning in conversation. Liam, wondering if he might find a companion for more than talk, ventured a flirt or two, which did not drive her away instantly.
Soon, a small number of travellers began to frequent the inn. First, a couple of men-at-arms, from Ayre, scouting for the new lord on loan from the Squire. Then, a few ladies with guards, going to worship at the site of the relics.
Things picked up enough by mid-summer, that Liam hired a brother and sister to help cook and serve. His name was Gervain, and her name, Penelope.
Penelope was energetic and friendly, and she brightened the mood at the inn considerably. Although some travellers were so dour that nothing could coax a smile from their lips.
Even though Liam could not pay her more than a pittance, Penelope seemed glad for the work, and a place to be.
Gervain was a good cook, and a great listener. When business was slow, Liam would drink ale with Gervain, and chat.
But they all hoped that business would pick up, and the community would thrive again.
Liam was glad for Gervain, and his cats, but at the end of the day, returning to the house he’d inherited from his family, he was lonely.
At the end of the summer, the female cat gave birth to a single kitten, with black fur, like Moonrise, but without Moonrise’s white markings.
This was a pretty quick round to play, once the inn was play-tested, which took about two days to accomplish. Liam had a lot of skilling to do, so I guess it’s just as well he didn’t have many distractions. Being a romance sim, he would definitely enjoy more distractions than were available.
It didn’t make sense for anyone from Ayre to work at the inn, and there are no playables except the Baronet’s family in the Vale. So I made Gervain and Penelope in CAS and then made them into townies. They are first non-NPC townies in this game save. The girl on the road is the newspaper delivery woman. In Ayre, the delivery person is regarded as a herald, but with the Vale still being so wild and empty, it didn’t make sense to have a herald, from a story point of view.
I posted this at Tumblr, but I am so excited about how Criquette’s Rural Charm decorative roads are turning out in the Vale!