The Happy Harpy

(C) 2020, JJ Shaun
The eastern trade road.

I want to share a little about my fantasy outpost—the Happy Harpy. I’m working on a map of the region (it’s still a work in progress). I know it’s hard to see, but the outpost is in the middle.

The Happy Harpy was established some three hundred years before the story begins as a tavern in the middle of nowhere. It was run by a retired gladiator known as the Raging Harpy, who won her way to freedom. Katazira was a fighter of some renown from a nearby port city who wanted peace and quiet far outside a center of population.

Originally built as a caravan rest and inn for weary travelers, the Happy Harpy has grown in size and reputation over the centuries. The first outpost was constructed of imported ironwood. It was burned, halfway to the ground, some twenty years after Kata built the place. A band of robbers attacked the tavern, wanting its imagined riches. The truth was, Kata made just enough to keep the Harpy afloat. She might have been a good fighter, but she was a lousy businesswoman.

By then, the Happy Harpy was a regular stop along the Trade Road. With the help of the dwarves from the mountains to the west, the outpost was rebuilt with stone. The tavern furniture, bar, and floors are all made from ironwood salvaged from the original building.

The Happy Harpy has about twenty-five permanent residents, all of whom have been carefully chosen and vetted by its leaders. Each resident is fully capable with a weapon of their choice. The kitchen and bar staff have all been trained and are highly skilled in the use of crossbows. The rooftop and enclosure walls are crenelated to provide cover for the archers. The stable staff and guards are all fighters who excel in hand-to-hand combat.

I’m still working on the details of the region and the outpost itself. After looking at my original drawing, I realized that I need to make the enclave bigger. It will require a forge and a wheelwright at the very least. In a medieval setting, the roads were most likely dirt unless each kingdom decided to cobble them. Even then, the ruts would be hard on axles and wagon wheels.

I still have work to do. The residents of the community still have their stories to tell. And I’m sure some of the merchant caravans that pass through will have tales to exaggerate about the tavern and the people who run the Happy Harpy. For now, though, I’m in the beginning stages. Stay tuned for more details as I learn more about this region.

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