Opening the Plough Stone Inn

They had been working all day.

Reframing, refurnishing, redecorating, reshingling, redesigning, remodling, replacing. . . so many things for just one place!

"My great-great-grandfather helped build Virden Palace two hundred years ago." little Christopher had bragged to Trey. "My father says that this is nothing compared to that."

Trey believed the lad. Virden Palace was. . . rather, had bee quite large. It had survived the Great Disaster. But fire from the. . .Norwans? They had seemed a myth, but were now the most real thing Trey knew.

As he arranged tables and chairs, he knew that some of the women would be upstairs making beds, or in the kitchen. Everything seemed almost ready. . .

“All of you listen!" Lalaine called out loudly, snapping Trey out of his reverie. He immediately straightned at the sound of her voice. In the months he had been with the Martells, he had learned to listen when LaLaine was speaking.

"If you are ready, we should be opening this place tonight. Let me see you, all of you, ready for inspection at your designated stations."

Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing and waited for Lalaine to inspect what they had done, with each person at their station poised for both compliment and rebuke (for Lalaine was very strict when it came to neatness).

Good. The floors are perfect, the hearth is full and ready. The counter is smooth, no lumps. Excellent. The tables should be moved about a little, so as to have as much room as possible for moving about. Marcus, Logan, move that table by the window, so people can sit on the bench. We use less chairs that way, and there is more space. Decoration is good, extra chairs in sight, but not in the way. Very good. You boys deserve a break. 

"Right! Onto the kitchen.

Lalaine moved briskly into the kitchen, where the food and ale were stored, and where Mrs. Margery had been giving orders faster then they were being given out.

It was utter pandemonium.

"Elise, the pots go up there, get someone else to put them up. Alyssa, get those utensils where they belong, girl! This place, tis not a toy room! Elisem have you any knowledge of kitchens at all? Make those dish stacks neater! Arowyn, do help with those pots, missy, they'll fall if nto hung properly."

Mrs. Margery was pointing, shouting, and ordering so much, they scarcely go their work done, when Mrs. Margery noticed Lalaine standing in the doorway.

"STOP!" she yelled. Lalaine winced, then smiled sadly as she remembered her times in the palace scullery.

The girls froze, watching her with horrified expressions on their faces.

"Finish yer tasks, girls, then to stations!" Mrs. Margery ordered.

All the young girls began to straighten themselves out. After giving them two minutes to finish, Lalaine walked around the kitchen looking for neatness, safety, and space.

"Hmm, well organized, everything in sight and in it's place, a space for exchanging dishes and empty plates. . .all in all, there's not much to improve at the moment that I can see." she paused and turned to Mrs. Margery.

"Well, m'deary, you've a lot to learn about kitchens." the older woman said, a gleam in her eye.

With the professional help of Mrs. Margery, Lalaine approved the kitchen with few things rearranged.

Everybody moved out to the front, where they were assigned their last tasks.

Alyssa, who was eleven, and Christopher, who was eight, were given the first task, which was setting up chairs with Trey and Logan.

Arowyn, Elise, and Beth were to serve the customers, and Lalaine and Eric, who were older then rest of them, would be bartenders alongside the good Reverend himself.

Trey would be a host, taking people's coats and giving them back when they left. The rest would go home for the evening, though Karen, Erics sister, would help in the kitchens with Mrs. Margery and her crew of helpers.

Everybody hurriedly went to work, putting chairs in their place and helping Eric set up the ale barrels and glasses. They were all nervous as to how the first evening would turn out.

That doesn’t go there!

Here, Ill put those away, you help him with that barrel.

"Sir, we need a place for room keys and money-"

"Leave the keys to me, but keep the currency jar out of sight. Tips, you keep for your self."

Everyone rushed to set things up. Food was ready to be made, Eric and the girls ready to serve the people who came in. This place, conveniently near both the harbor and the city, would be open momentarily.

Word had spread about the old sailors inn, how it had been changed and remodeled. Old sailors, who had stayed there at one point, remembered good things about the old Steady Hand, and also went to inspect the inn. Though there were several comments about the name, the men pronounced it a fine old inn, spreading the word to passers-by and any friends they got a hold of.

The previous week, everyone had learned about running the inn, and just that morning, Reverend Martell had placed the handmade sign for the inn, bearing, of course, a plough stone, up above the door.

Soon, everything would be under way.

The End

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