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The Old Bridge Inn rests at the border of Mitgardia and the Historican Crownlands. Its architecture is thus a mixture, and the structure has been rebuilt over and over again. Once, the bridge was wider and the tower fortified with a stone gatehouse. Watchers on the Water used to charge a toll and keep out Mitgardian raiders in times long past. History hangs over the place, but unlike the haunted ruins of other regions, the Old Bridge Inn has remained a place of life, change, and the congress of ideas and strangers from all over the land. Alva Tyrnsdottir (remember her?) fought the Algus in northern Mitgardia and is now on a diplomatic mission to Cedrica to see the new High Queen Ylspeth on behalf of Asbjorn, Jarl of Arnarvhal. However, Alva has never been this far south or east. Thankfully, Barling has been far abroad and even has maps to help guide their way. Alva and Barling consult a map of the roads from the Old Bridge Inn, trying to determine the safest route. Sturlan is reluctant to leave the inn, however. They had rested here for a few days and he managed to meet himself a young barmaid, the inkeeper's daughter, who he took a shine to. He pleads with her to wait for him to come back. It's only going to be a few weeks... months? Maybe a year. Two at most! Times have been hard in Historica lately. Maybe things are changing, but not fast enough for this man. Maimed escaping the Algus at Hardhearth (remember that?), he is now a beggar... a very low position for a proud Mitgardian to sink to. He lost his arm to Algus ice magic, but a passing shield-maiden offers him a much needed coin. The pies at Old Bridge Inn are famous and now he can afford one. Times haven't been tough on everyone, of course. The rich fellow on the balcony doesn't have to worry about affording pies. He can afford all the pies and he passes the beggar from Hardhearth every day and offers him nothing. A merchant and traveler from Kaliphlin, he finds the cold of Mitgardia quite refreshing... especially with a nice glass of brandy. Just don't tell him that he would have to a lot further north to experience the REAL cold of Mitgardia. Below him, a young girl steals some fish for the cats. She'll get a scolding later, but the look on Mr. Whisker's face is worth it. Unbeknownst to the other travelers and locals, two very special women have been passing through. Astrid is still young and like Alva, she has never been this far from home. The colors of the flowers delight her, and her bodyguard Ylva cannot help but smile just a little even though she knows that if the wrong person should notice them, their perilous flight from the far-off kingdom of Blomgard will only get even more dangerous. Ylva is unused to humans who are so comfortable with having dwarves around. She and Astrid come from a land where dwarves and humans get along quite poorly. Astrid is so delighted with the garden that she doesn't even notice the regal tourney knight approaching the inn behind her. That boy sure does! He's never seen a sight so inspiring in his short life! The knight hopes that the crowning of Queen Ylspeth will reignite the floundering tourney circuit throughout Historica. All he has is his war-gear and his unadorned, but steady mount. Should the tourneys resume, he stands to win fame and fortune if he can trounce the little knights of the other Guilds. Perhaps that boy over there would squire for him. Every good knight needs a squire... Another boy, hiding from his mother in the rubble of a bygone time, would be very jealous if he knew what he was missing up above! The fisherman on the dock wouldn't care either way. He lived for fishing, ale, and warm days on the river. A rich Avalonian countess surveys her rooms in the tower suite. Who knew such a rustic and barbaric a place as Mitgardia could boast rooms so nicely furnished? Perhaps there was even good wine here. But then, she doubted it. This young elven woman appreciates the view. She and her husband seldom travel in human lands and it never ceases to amaze her what the humans are capable of doing with a few handfuls of chiseled rocks. Little does she or anyone else know that a grumpy old minotaur lives below the Inn. Though she is impressed, her husband is not. He preferred the forests and rivers and glades. When he came to human places, he found solace in wine. Now if only the halfling and dwarf at the neighboring table would make less noise! They argue and argue about politics until finally the halfling, scarred and scowling, asks for his opinion to settle the argument. Ugh! Why couldn't they just leave him alone. Of course the Queen was going to reopen diplomatic ties to Nocturnus. It was just a matter of time. What was there to even discuss! If the poor elven husband only knew that peace and quiet was just a few flights of stairs away. Fresh pies off the oven meant that Lisfala, the proprietress of the Old Bridge Inn, could count on the word to spread. Soon, with Historica hopefully entering a period of peace, that word would spread to every corner of the Guildlands and the Crownlands and travelers would pass through. Maybe then she could make some much needed repairs. As she watched the happy patrons eating and smiling, plans for expansion and renovation flew through her mind. But where was her daughter? Some day, this would all be hers. She had better not be outside talking to that Arnarvhalan scrub again! The Old Bridge Inn could someday become an important junction in journeys through Mitgardia to the other Guildlands. Already, river boats laden with dwarf-mined ores passed through. Raiders and robbers still plagued the wilderness, meaning it was often unsafe to stop if the cargo was precious. This boat can't stop, it's too risky. Lisfala had seen them approach and lamented that for all the armsmen, mercenaries, and knights that passed through she still didn't have any stable security. Perhaps very soon she'd be able to hire some. Builder's Notes: This is the second biggest build I've done (first was Anarvhal) and this is actually version 2. The first version was MASSIVE but modular and I couldn't properly attach the parts. This build is inspired by the Cockatrice Inn from The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine and I credit that with getting me back into Lego because after seeing it I just had to build something like it. I have tried to include some small updates for my previous Mitgardian "storyline" (always pretty loose) and some hints at possible future builds. I was in a hurry and forgot the new Historica logo. Sorry about that! I still don't have a very good lighting setup, especially for builds this size. Sigh...