The carter parked his cart in the yard and unhitched the oxen. He seemed to trust them enough without tying them up. Then they followed him in. That’s where things started to get a bit more strange.
“In what way?” I asked.
“There weren’t just humans in the inn. People bringing their pets you might expect, but I don’t mean pets.” He replied “But even the pets were strange.”
Such as what looked like a miniature taniwha that someone had sitting on their shoulder. Creatures that didn’t belong not just didn’t belong in this part of the world, but didn’t belong in the real world at all, expect in stories, and others that didn’t belong in this time, such as what looked like a moa but smaller, then his ecologist friend pointed out that there had been many smaller species of moa as well before they had been hunted to extinction. Other strangeness included the large, apparently English speaking tui that was singing in the band. So when the Bar Minotaur asked for their orders, they were hardly surprised.
Their carter friend then came over to introduce them.
“Evening Boris. These are some travelers I met on the road. Boris is an old friend, my Bessie is a cousin of his. She’s a talker but Betsy’s a quiet. Bessie keeps an eye on her when I’m away though.”
“Bessie and Betsy…”
“By talker you mean…”
“My two hard working cart pullers by agreement. Bessie can talk… wait a minute. You must have come across the border. I remember hearing that there’s one around here. Boris, I think they came over the border! You ask them about it. You’re better at that sort of thing.”
“Did you stumble in from the world of Science and Electrics and inteynets?”
Boris asked them carefully. “Is it your first time?”
They hesitantly confirmed that this was the case.
“Humans do occasionally. You could settle down somewhere around here, or if you want to learn a bit more about the world, enough to be able to return home you’ll want to head to town. Not just the village, the big town. Although you’ll be going through the village on the way, my cousin on the other side runs the inn there. The Village Crescent, us minotaurs aren’t very imaginative with names I’m afraid.”
“You might even want to go exploring.” Added the carter. “My uncle did that. Just don’t explore too much near the edge though. Dangerous place is the edge. Beautiful but dangerous.”
“Are you heading on to the village tomorrow John?”
“That I am mate.” said the carter.
“John can give you a lift as far as the village tomorrow and my cousin can probably give you free board tomorrow night, new border travellers will be popular. If you need something to sell then your news will be a popular currency.”
So they went with John the carter to the village and stayed at The Village Crescent.
They met the village school teacher, who turned out to be knowledgeable enough to fuel their curiosity.
“There are quite a few cracks between your world and this.” He said after he’d found out that they were not only travellers but new across the border.
“Sometimes our world has major cities or kingdoms near these borders. Such as Atlantis, or the famous Kingdom of Stormhold near your world’s village of Wall in … what do you call it? Angleland?
You can learn more from some of the places in town, the little college, the postal guildhouse and probably other travellers too. Actually, I think they have a resident wizard at the moment, he can probably tell you a bit as well.”
Barry the innkeeper at the Village Crescent arranged their travel to town, after they agreed to tell a story at the inn in the evening, and said that his sister could probably get them rooms at the inn in town.
“The town Crescent?” They asked.
“She works there. She don’t own the place.”
“The Crescent is a popular inn name specifically with minotaurs?”
“Not just inns mate, taverns too. Our horns sort of make a crescent see?”