Saturday, 10 April 2010

inns & taverns - the silver dagger

This narrow three-storey tavern and free house lurks on the edge of a port marketplace, sandwiched between a chandler's and a hardware store.  The Dagger fronts onto two streets and it's aspect is identical with grubby salt plaster walls, dark timbers and bars over the windows convey the appearance of a prison, at odds with the bawdy sailor songs drifting through them.  The sign is of a smirking rogue looking over his shoulder with a gleaming dagger visible behind his back, this picture is often representative of the typical patron.  The Dagger is a lively place despite it's forbidding aspect and bawdy songs can be heard from between the bars.  The air smells of pipeweed, old ale, sawdust and tar and the doors are thickly tarred leather and wood.  The city watch keep a conspicuous eye on both the front and back entrances as rogues have a penchant for using it as a rat run or hiding place.

Inside a narrow stone corridor runs the length of the Silver Dagger, splitting it in two, capped by two doors.  Four doors to the left and three to the right, with four spiral stairs, two up, two down on each side.  Each leads to long rooms  the staff and patrons are seen moving between rooms with casks and trays of food.  The Dagger was a former jail.  The jail's deeds came under mysterious circumstances to an adventurous monster hunter paying to re-purpose it.  The narrow rooms of the Dagger are compact but well-appointed.  Larger than human and clumsy folk will bump into things and generally become a nuisance but most people don't have a problem navigating the stools and benches.  Stalls and alcoves use narrow seats and tables, the rooms are suited to smaller weapons and limit the ability to move unless you leap on the tables.  This happens more than you'd expect, the clientele are rowdy and it's often the only way to settle things.  Contests of stamina and dexterity are not unknown here, there is good-natured betting and witnessing available.

The owner is slight, with a dancer's step, outlandish moustache and scars named as Kyllen Miserycord.  The numerous pouches mark him as a magician but his skill with the paired daggers at his belt show a different aspect.  Kyllen has seen a lot of the world, is quick with smiles and capable of defending his home and lifestyle.  The other staff keep their daggers concealed and all are his students in magic, fighting style and charm, using friendly banter and flirtation to keep each other on their toes.  Sometimes they will perform a demonstration of their fighting style atop a table on slow nights, the mock dagger fights whirling and steel ringing on steel.  The demonstrations are good-natured, those who try to strong-arm their way in find polite refusals followed by pointed ones.  Kyllen is often aware of troublemakers ahead of time and armour-plated thugs meeting him discover that armour is not the only thing that makes you hard to hit.

The Dagger is a free house and a variety of ales, from dwarven ember (red, smoky, strong) to Mermaid's Foam (a creamy pale ale favoured by weathered sailors) can be purchased though stocks are not infinite and ale has been known to run out on occasion.  Rum is the other drink of choice ranging from dark buttered rum to a white super-potent rum known as spook.  A single glass of spook is strong enough to make anyone drop their jaw in surprise and causes the blood to tingle in appreciation.  In contrast, the food is basic fare and often cooked in haste.  Blood sausage, cheese, eggs, fish and chicken broth can be purchased.  Each bar will double as a common room and though there is only one guest room, an attractive traveller may find that they can reach an accommodation with one of the bar staff.  Kyllen does not play this game and takes a dim view of anyone playing it with him.  What he does do is invite beggars into the corridor, gives each a blanket and closes the door.  This act of benevolence has earned him the loyalty of half the beggars in the port.

Magic is often used to make the atmosphere convivial, ranging from warming magics to wisplights giving the place a friendly glow.  Of particular note are the animated iron turtle spittoons that clump about and empty themselves with a glugging noise.  Rumour has it every door in the Dagger is made of tarred human leather and close at the behest of the owner.  Certainly there have been times when the doors close unexpectedly on rogues trying to steal from The Dagger and the doors have refused to open when a murderer was uncovered in the Dagger.  Kyllen says that some of the original furnishings are here, he keeps them because they do a better job than he does of keeping the place secure. Those trying to destroy the doors see ghostly shapes and hear screams in their head.  Speaking with the doors reveal that they want to be here to protect Kyllen and his friends from the darkness outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Greatest Hits