Southaven was a town in Westland, four or five days ride south on horseback from Hartland along Hawker's Trail. It was a place of thieves and misfits, little more than a collection of ramshackle buildings and houses fit crookedly in among the oaks and beech, almost as if to turn themselves away from the road, from the queries, from righteous eyes. None of the buildings looked like they had ever seen any paint. Some had tin patches that drummed in a steady rain. In the center of the town was a supply store and next to it, a two-story building with a clumsily carved sign declaring it to be an inn, (but not offering any name), both owned by a stout proprietor named Bill. Yellow lamplight coming from the downstairs windows was the only color standing out from the grayness of the building. Heaps of garbage leaned drunkenly against the side of the building and the house next to the Inn tilted in sympathy with the rubbish pile.
The men of the town were a rough collection of trappers and travelers and trouble. Many had unkempt beards. Most were big. Their grins revealed a collection of crooked and missing teeth. Many of them had a fierce dislike of the boundary wardens.