Rounding the bend, just a short way off the main square of the Marketplace, the scent of tea mingles in the air with hints of coffee and the mouth-watering temptation of fresh sticky bread. This tantalizing teaser can lead to only one place: Teas’n Tomes.
It looks very simple on the outside with a large window front boasting the name of the shop. This main window is framed with smaller stained glass pictographs that display ever-changing scenes from RhyDin history and festivals. If you watch carefully, you may even see your own image represented on occasion. A bell rings merrily when the door is opened and, once inside, the light scents become a whole lot stronger. Cinnamon and aged parchment add to the mix of happy smells inside.
The floor of the shop is drab split stone that has been cleaned to a high polish. The stained glass pictographs color the stone with bright bits of red, blue, and gold as the sun plays through them. To the left of the door by the main window, a Jenli area rug together with several thick chairs and a couple of low tables between them creates a cozy meeting place. A copy of the latest Oracle lays on one of the tables, a mug of cooling spiced cider left near it. The entire place has the comfortable silence associated with a grand library; soft conversation is not frowned upon, but loud boisterous behavior is not tolerated.
To the immediate right of the door rests a large world globe in a carved wooden stand, the whole thing glowing with a faint golden light. It is said the globe shows you the world you WANT to see; and it is ever-changing for the world of RhyDin. Beyond this is a longer, more rectangular area that is not in direct sunlight but is illuminated well enough for guests to be able to read. The walls in this area are covered by thick oaken bookshelves and a multitude of scroll racks. There are several chairs, a couple of couches, and a few bean bags situated around for guests to use. A large orb situated on an ornate stand commands a place on the far wall under a group of books labeled: “Private Collection.” There is also an ancient well-worn book stand near the orb; a thick tome that is always open rests upon it. Some swear they have seen the pages of the tome turn without anyone present to do so. Others say they have seen wraith-like figures perusing the pages.
Moving straight ahead from the front door is the source of the wonderful smells. A glass-encased counter displays sticky breads, cookies, croissants, and other handy edibles. A pleasant woman with red cheeks stands ready to serve and fetch a mug of tea, a fresh specialty coffee, or other fun drink. Behind her stands a low table with a large stone oven set into the rear wall of the shop. It is from this oven that the goodies are provided.
To the right of the oven is a door that leads to the shops’ private living area. To the right of this ’employees only’ door is a small hall that leads to the privy for both lords and ladies to use while visiting the Teas’n Tomes. In this hall is the door that leads to the stairway up to the second level of the shop.
The second level isn’t really a floor unto itself. It is a balcony made of dark wood that rings the inside wall about twelve feet off the floor. The balcony itself is about 5 feet wide and contains additional bookshelves, scroll racks and reading niches with comfortable chairs and convenient end tables. The balcony has a railing that is polished to a shine and contains built in benches at various intervals.
The owner, a grumpy old coot, is constantly shushing loud people like an over-zealous librarian. But he is also old and hard of hearing, so he does miss much. The person that really runs the place is his lovely granddaughter who has brains to match her simple beauty, often attracting some of the town’s young lads — who come by to pretend to look at books while trying to gain her attention, much to the chagrin of her grandfather.
Whether you are looking for a specific tome, a relaxing cup of tea or a quieter place to plot and plan, the Teas’n Tomes has it all.
((Teas’n Tomes name contributed by SiannaFraiser))