• Published 31st Oct 2012
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The Inn of the World - The Writer's Group



Luna listens to ponies stories in the tavern she runs.

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Introduction

The Inn of the World
by The Writer's Group

I have been alive for well over a thousand years, listening to ponies stories. It is not merely a hobby of mine, I am the mistress of the night after all, and responsible for both dreams and nightmares. I have noticed how every generation has their “do's” and “don'ts”, things held up as unbreakable rules that are quickly forgotten whenever a skilled enough storyteller comes along that remembers the first rule of storytelling, namely that there are no rules.

For example, you modern weavers of yarn tell me that you should never ever begin a story with "it was a dark and stormy night" but for the life of me, I can't understand why. After all, some stories could only ever happen on dark stormy nights and this is one of them.

So yes, it was indeed a dark and stormy night, one of Cloudsdale's finest. Did you know that the weather team don't just create those to get rid off leftover water or because they want to annoy earth ponies? Truth is, they create them to facilitate nights like this. Because as much as ponies hate to admit it, life is like any great work of art: an interplay between light and dark.

Happiness would mean nothing without sorrow and bright sunny days would be nothing if we didn't also have dark stormy nights. If you don't occasionally feel like the rain had crawled trough your skin and trough your bones, making your entire body feel like that of a damp sponge, how would you ever appreciate being warm and dry?

Don't misunderstand me, my children, I wish for nopony to be lost and alone on a night like this and that's why if you find yourself outside in the pouring rain where no other place to go, you just might end up here, at the Inn of the World. This is a place for ponies to relax, warm their hooves by a roaring fire, eat and drink merrily and exchange stories.

I could sense a potential customer outside, and I looked around the room. The scene was all set, the inn was warm and inviting, as it should be, but empty apart from a few silent ponies. There was a traveller at the far end of the table, locked in a struggle with a piece of extraordinary chewy taffy, another who seemed lost in an old book and yet another who was in the process of losing himself in a bottle of hard cider. Won't be long now until.

The door swung open and a small colt entered. The way he looked around, he must've thought that the place was empty at first. I was covered by a spidery black cloak that could blend in with any shadows as long as I stood still and my other guests kept mostly quiet apart from the never-ending smacking from the taffy-eating pony.

“He-hello” he asked. “Is anypony there?”

I remained quiet and waited patiently as he staggered across the room. Once he was close to the bar disk, I decided to reveal myself.

“Hello, my child,” I said and noticed with satisfaction how a tingle ran down his spin, paralysing his entire body. “Welcome to the inn of the world, how may I serve you?”

“I-I'm sorry” he said, having relaxed a bit ,but still nervous. “I don't have any bits on me, but could I stay here for the night anyway? Or at least until the rain stops, please?” He looked at me with pleading eyes, but I just smiled at him.

“Oh, I don't take payment in bits, I prefer them in stories. You can stay however long you want, young sir, and enjoy our food and drink as you please, if you can spin me a tale.” The colt shot me a sceptical look.

“What sort of story?” he asked.

“I prefer horror stories, tales about the dark things that lurks in the night, do you have one of those for me?”
The colt glanced over to my other customers and then looked back at me.

“I have a story,” he said. “but just for you, all right?”

He leaned over and spoke in a low voice, but I didn't need to hear it, I could pick up his thoughts like a faint whisper underneath.

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