Time, as a rule was a concept generally attached to one's awareness of mortality. In the beginning, the Edgewise didn't have a grasp of time. Tavern masters appeared, they carried on, they faded, another one took their place. The Edgewise did not remember attaining sentience. It might never have come to care about the passage of time in relation to itself, or gained a greater awareness if not for its brief brush with the final moments of Melvin Deacon.
Before Mack rose to the position of the Edgewise, in another time, under another tavern master whose name has been lost to the sucking void of time, Melvin Deacon appeared in the outer ways, his desperation a discordant hum the Edgewise couldn't ignore. Melvin drew the door in blood seeping from a mortal wound, leaning heavily on mildewed stone as he knocked three times....
The Edgewise opened the way, the rafters creaking as its nebulous awareness concentrated in a rare moment of intensity on the man who slumped through the doorway. The other patrons scrambled from their seats, pulling the man further into room, shutting the door against whomever or whatever pursued him. It was not Melvin Deacon's first visit to the Edgewise, the tavern recognized the taste of the man's essence from previous encounters, but never cared to know the man. Not until his lifeblood began to seep between the floorboards. For a terrible moment, the Edgewise connected with Melvin, grasped his fear, his uncertainty, and the knowledge he was dying.
The tavern shook on its foundations with the passing of Melvin Deacon, a man remembered as another patron secretly carved his name beneath the table by the hearth. The table had since been destroyed many times, but each time, as the Edgewise repaired itself, it left the carving alone. In that first brush with true mortality, the Edgewise felt the drive to expand its grasp of time, and so it began to attach its essence to certain individuals.
Mack and Calponia entered Arden nearly a month ago. The Edgewise had long established a connection to the realm through the sad lady, but the compacted time was an even harder concept to grasp. It knew time was passing as the old man healed in the upstairs room, the one who often asked questions to the walls, seemingly aware of the tavern but his questions made little sense to the Edgewise.
The tavern knew mere hours passed in the realm of Arden but through the tenuous connections to the others, it sensed the danger that dogged their heels. Someone had entered Arden through one of the forbidden ways. The other patrons were still occupied with matters in another realm. The rafters groaned as the tavern sought a course of action.
Calponia, the Edgewise felt her, felt her on the same deep level as it had Melvin Deacon, down to the foundation. It felt her mortality keenly in the curse creeping through her veins. It felt the danger she drew closer and closer to, unaware.
The fastenings of a particular brew on the bar popped, startling the old man who sat sipping a tonic water at the bar. He watched in mute fascination as the steel keg wobbled violently before toppling over and rolling with purpose for the door. The keg waited there, patiently.
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***Winner of the Wattys 2016 for Hidden Gems*** The Edgewise exists everywhere and nowhere. A sanctuary to all realms, should you find the door. Managed by one Macklemore Edgewise, proprietor, guardian of the between places, and barman of mystery...