As they walked, they encountered some of the townspeople going about their business—a farmer on a wagon pulled by a team of oxen, a middle aged woman in a long homespun dress and shawl shepherding a couple of children in linen shirts and patched breeches. Everyone they met wished them a good day, but it seemed to Eric that they eyed them strangely and perhaps a bit distrustfully. Eric guessed that the sight of two unfamiliar children and a dwarf being followed by a snowy owl in flight was the cause of their consternation.
“I think it’s nice,” Kate said.
“Yeah, you said that, but to me it’s like being in a museum. It’s also freaky to think that no one I know will be born for, like, 200 years or more.”
“That’s gotta be strange, sure enough,” Hallo agreed. “But it’s also somethin’ that few if any have had a chance t’ do.”
“What do you mean, Hallo?” Eric asked.
“Well I know I’d love t’ go back t’ the foundin’ of the Dwarf Kingdom, don’t ya know. It’d be great t’ see King Orvis I settin’ up the Kingdom and diggin’ the first mine. It’d be a chance t’ see hist’ry.”
A chance to see history. Eric had not thought about it like that. He might even get to witness the real Battle of Candlewood Corners. That would be cool.
They were passing by the town blacksmith’s shed. When he heard the clang, clang of a hammer ringing on iron, Eric realized how quiet it had been. In the 21st century he was used to hearing the constant rumble of traffic and the occasional jet or helicopter flying overhead. Here in the 18th century bird calls, the hum of insects and the mooing of cattle were the dominant sounds.
When they reached the King’s Highway intersection, Eric looked to his left and gasped. There stood Keller Tavern. What had surprised him was that it looked almost exactly like it did in his time.
“Wow, I guess some things never change,” he murmured.
“What was that, my boy?” Stig asked as he landed beside him.
“The tavern—It looks the same. The people in my town treat it almost like a shrine.”
“Why’s that?” Hallo wondered.
“There was, or will be, a battle here,” Eric explained. “The British came up this road looking for stores and ammunition collected by the colonists here in town. The local militia mustered under and around that tree,” Eric pointed to a large oak across the street from the tavern. Eric noted it was a lot smaller than it was in his day. “It’s called the Liberty Tree, or that’s what it will be called someday. The militia stood against the British troops. In the fighting, the tavern was hit by several cannonballs. One even lodged in the wall. In my time, it’s a museum and the cannonball is still stuck in the wall.”