|The Enclave > Known Roads > Port > People and Places > Taverns|
|The Wayward Visitor|
The Wayward Visitor stands at the outskirts of Port, where the Road of Stones meets the Coast Road and travelers pause to take in the view of the city, bay and cliffs. It is a rough but sizable inn and stables, an unusual structure built of worn stones taken from the old city wall.
The Wayward Visitor is owned by the Ammanene Unsharee, known in some circles as The Cursed. Her storied past in the Enclave as swordswoman, sage and member of the Emerald Company is reflected in the clientele, staff and regular visitors. Odd, talented, outcast, well-connected and unusual folk seem to find their way to the Wayward Visitor more often than one might expect. For all that, Unsharee is rarely seen - like most Ammanene, she has little to do with mortal society. The very existence of an establishment like the Wayward Visitor under the auspices of an Ammanene is a something of a mystery.
Port cityfolk and the insular landsmen shun the inn of The Cursed; it has a bad and not entirely undeserved reputation amongst commoners. The Farthest Inn spills into the Wayward Visitor - the winding passages, shadowed rooms and hidden alcoves of the interior almost seem to encourage it. Visitors here are stranger and more different than most from the near Farthest. It is not just a matter of oddly colored eyes, unusual scents, strange clothing and an unrecognized language. Some of the rough and tumble folk in Port - from the militia, Seafarers' Guild, noble family retinues or less reputable groups - treat a drunken night at the Wayward Visitor almost as a rite of passage.
One Visitor in particular has been in the Wayward Visitor for as long as any of the staff, and is as much responsible for the reputation of the inn as any. It stares from darkened corners, red eyes and long teeth buried in a brutish body, like an overfed Neth dipped in pitch. It drinks ale on the house and causes no trouble. There are many interesting stories as to its origin and associations, but no one who knows the truth is saying anything.
|Draining the Silvered Horn|
The Silvered Horn is a worn, comfortable tavern nestled against the old city wall on the low side of the Lothar. Mottled awnings and rough-cut benches overlook the river bank, a good place for crawcrab and ale in warm seasons. The nearby militia barracks and training hall ensure that the innkeeper, an old, white-haired spearman formerly of the Temple Guard, makes a good living. There is nothing quite like a thirsty patrol of spearmen on a wet night to make the inside of an inn seem crowded. Red Iron smiths, guild craftsmen, Temple Guard and Three Stones merchants round out the regulars.
The Silvered Horn itself, an ancient drinking piece from a huge and no doubt dangerous beast, is given pride of place above the tavern fireplace. The innkeeper has long said he will gift ale and board for ten nights to any mortal who can drain the horn in one draft - a hopeless task that is nevertheless attempted at least once every season.
Dockside thieves tell wistful stories of a vast stash of coins - the profits of a generation of overpriced ale - hidden within the Silvered Horn. No-one has yet risked the wrath of half the spearmen in Port to establish the truth of the matter.
Leaning ramshackle against the thick landward wall of the Shipwrights' Hall, the Woodwyrm looks like nothing quite so much as the remains of a great ship fallen to the ground from a great height. Every part of the tavern is built of driftwood, old planking, keels and beams, lashed together with lengths of rope.
White-sashed Seafarers' Guildsmen, shipwrights and drunken thugs from the docks raise a great noise within the Woodwyrm each night, telling tales and singing the old songs while draining casks of Landsmen grain spirits. The preserved remains of unlikely fish float in great glass bottles above the bar; scorched, stuffed spined eels hang over the central firepit. Toasting sweetmeats (or anything else that comes to hand) over the burning flames is a popular pastime for those patrons too drunk to sing. The Woodwyrm has the stench of a pickled glowfish Lost in the Low Marsh, but is undeniably popular. The tavern has burned down twice in living memory - it was built again in a few short weeks on both occasions by eager seafarers and dock folk.
|The Broken Wheel|
Once a boathouse on the dockside, the Broken Wheel has been adopted by Harand's thugs and other rough types as a safehouse and drinking establishment. The ale is poor and watered, but Harand and his trusted thieves drink only the best grain spirit. Commoners give the disreputable Broken Wheel a wide berth, save for the fisher folk who clean their catches on a nearby stone jetty. The numerous safehouse cats steal glowfish heads and eel spines; the remains of their thievery litter the tavern and the cobbles outside.
The Broken Wheel once housed the court of the King of Thieves, or so it is said. It is sadly diminished from those long-ago seasons; its crumbling stone walls are patched with ill-fitting boards; the furnishings are broken-down and battered, the bar a plank over casks; ragged, scarred cats perch on beams and fight over bones under the rickety tables; the thatch leaks in the rain. Still, there is a certain prestige associated with control of the Broken Wheel amongst the rough dockside folk - Harand's swaggering trustees make sure that is well understood by common thieves and their fellows.
It is an open secret that the Broken Wheel stands atop dank tunnels and storage rooms; so much so that it is the first destination for militia, Seafarers' Guildsmen or spear-armed retainers from the noble estates after any particularly grand theft or new outrage on the part of the Unseen Hands. Harand's patronage is an expensive and uncertain proposition, but thieves who do not pay the price risk being given up to the magisters to placate an angry mob or influential noble. Like most of the well-known rogues in Port, hard old Harand has cozy relations with militiamen and the Seafarers' Guild - and no shame in using those relations to his best advantage.
|The Cordage House|
The Cordage House is a rough tavern in one of the narrow cobbled streets behind the Berths and dockfront. Seafarers' Guildsmen, fisherfolk, dockside toughs, thieves and their hangers-on are the usual crowd. Every battered item of furniture in the Cordage House - up to and including the heavy wooden bar itself - is lashed down tight with good, thick rope to eyelets in the planking. Good coin is paid for burly thugs and lesser Guildsmen to keep the peace inside, but their paymaster, Shipmaster Komashk, is the most common cause of the frequent brawls in the House and on the cobbles outside.
Komashk owns the Cordage House, lives on the upper floors, and is rarely seen elsewhere. He is deeply suspicious of strangers, crude and surly, but nevertheless a font of sea tales for the few he trusts. The Shipmaster - absent a ship for as long as any of the dockfolk can recall - claims to have been a raider and shiptaker out on the Farthest Sea, wrecked off the Enclave coast and cast ashore on a broken spar many years ago. Like all of his stories, the particulars change with each telling and the whole is only barely plausible. Komashk is a proud man and challenging his words is unwise; more than one seafarer has been beaten near to death in the Cordage House.
|An Evening at the Wayward Visitor|
Blood! I wasn't gone for longer than it took to scare those young eelsuckers away from the mules and someone falls on a knife. I'll wager Kalei was holding it too, and now she's off hiding somewhere. Back to work, you eels! Make some noise, look happy! You know the way the Visitor goes when the mood gets ugly - break open a cask of the good stuff and strike up a song afore we see Trespassers and worse.
Stop your wailing! You're a big man, plenty of friends on the dockside, and if Kalei saw fit to stick you, it was at least half your own fault. You're getting bound up, good coins worth of spirit wasted on the wound; if it was anywhere vital you wouldn't have breath to be shouting. Blood! See this ax? Don't make my life any harder! Now quieten down, you and you, afore you spoil the mood any more and bring out something ugly from the Farthest.
Hah! You and how many others? Blood, I'd like to see it, just for the looks on your faces after The Cursed has her way with you. Go on with you, take that excuse for a man away. You're lucky I'm not making you scrub the planking clean!
Rednail! Follow those eels out and then find me Kalei. Blood, the air tastes like bad ale in here. It ended badly the last time that happened. Where's that cask of good grain spirit? No, the one with the circle mark, girl, not the regular rot. All you with coin! A gift from the owner, so drink up!
|The Lantern in Darkness|
Across the Temple Plaza from the steps of the Temple of Three, the Lantern in Darkness is a cellar tavern favored by petitioners, Temple Guards and the fisherfolk who land catches at dawn. The cellar air is always thick with smoke from sputtering fish-oil lamps. The ale is strong and the food heavily spiced, but dockside thugs and thieves favor rougher taverns - or at least taverns not under the watchful eye of the Temple Guard. The regulars at the Lantern are honest commonfolk; fishers in the morning, petitioners during the day and Guards after dark.
The trapdoor and ladder to the Lantern are open at all hours of the day, oozing smokey air into the Temple Plaza. The establishment is run by a covy of old Vanished Isle women and seemingly endless supply of younger relatives. Rough-hewn, oil- and smoke-smudged carvings adorn the stonework Lantern walls; the exploits of Salin the Seafarer feature prominently; the central cellar support is shaped and painted to resemble the Fisher in Darkness. Islemarks have been carefully carved into the wooden tables - some say that the owners know more of Magi wizardry than they let on.