Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Penwick South Market Inn
During the day, the South Market is sparsely filled with small merchant carts and tents. Under a layer of dust and grime, the ancient stones of the plaza tell whispered tales of the glory days of Penwick long ago. But the tale is unheard by the busy feet of the townspeople bustling through their workday lives.
From casual inspection, the smooth stones of the market seem mismatched, their carefully chosen placement lost in the everyday dirt. Even from the upper stories of the surrounding buildings, the rearing lions of red river stone are obscured into ghostly shadows of grandeur.
In the center of the square, the old fountain is dry. On the worn central pedestal, only the western lion still remains standing in open mouthed surprise at the state of its once proud domain.
The pillared stone edifices surrounding the market look on in tired resignation. Chipped and peeling paint has given up on its attempts to cover the aged and often fire blackened stones of the buildings. Crude signage of wood or sometimes painted sheets extolling the current establishments obscure the ancient art of the buildings themselves.
In the south west corner of the market, stands the tavern. A painted sheet hung from the remains of a once elegant third story balcony proclaims it as the Peerless Viands. In some ways the structure has fared better than the surrounding buildings and in others worse. Built of sturdy gray stone brought down from the upper reaches of the river Penderbrun, the sprawling establishment remains structurally sound through the wars and fires that have plagued its neighbors.
But the building’s stoney shell has made it overlooked in the waves of reconstruction that focused mostly on northern Penwick. Inside, although faint echos of the grand establishment that once hosted lords and ladies from around the world can be perceived, any fixtures of value have long since been stripped out and sold.
Ornate hooks of bronze that once held the famous magic crystalline lights that stories say could be seen from across Penwick, now just hang clouded lanterns. Only the great chandelier, perhaps too heavy to remove remains suspended over the central commons room. And its light has long since faded, its darkened shadows the home to industrious spiders now.
The third floor is mostly burnt out, the roof recently repaired, but the rooms just darkened shells. So, more than half of the Inn’s forty rooms have been closed off and remain unused for many decades, mice and spiders their only tenants. Of the open rooms, most remain vacant, and the current establishment subsists almost entirely on the tavern.
The inn has a long and storied past, but in recent times those stories have a darker twist, and many commoners believe the building may now be cursed. Twenty years ago the inn, known then as the Magnificent Festival, became the headquarters of the pirate lord Eboneye, reportedly because at that time it had the best wine cellar in all Southern Thac. After the pirates were vanquished, the inn proprietor who had ‘welcomed’ and served pirates, was hung from a front balcony and his body then tossed down the well in the inn yard.
The inn then went through several unsuccessful attempts to reestablish itself until finally being turned into a brothel. Falling further into ill repute, the various underworld owners of the building over the following years used it as a front and a gathering place. Finally cleaned out by the town guard, the building remained vacant for a few years until it attracted the attention of the current proprietor.
Alysan Redish, an immigrant fleeing the civil war in Lanfar at the time, saw the old building, and sort of ‘fell in love with it’. She worked several years trying to buy the inn and finally acquired a loan from the merchant house Dunamal to purchase it. Over the last several years she has made a valiant attempt to clean up both the building and its reputation. But neither was successful enough to pay her loans, and the building reverted to Dunamal, who proceeded to sell it at large profit to a group of wealthy adventurers known, oddly enough, as Knights of the Couch.
Alysan Redish (Human, Female)
The ex-owner of the Peerless Viands, Alysan is an incurable optimist, always easy going and positive. She tends to whistle a lot. She’ll happily explain that she is indentured and comes with the inn, although the inn papers don’t show this. The only thing that raises her ire is someone talking ill of the old building.
Dafyn Redish (Human, Male)
Alysan’s older brother, Dafyn is fanatically loyal to her and all her ‘crazy obsessions’. He is well mannered, with a cultured voice and exceedingly educated in etiquette and diplomacy for a common tavern worker.
Brianna Pavaski (Human, Female)
The barkeep, Brianna is sexist, racist, or otherwise prejudiced against everything that walks through the door. Her heavy lidded eyes make her appear perpetually bored or drowsy, but her sharp tongue tends to surprise most. She is excellent at both making drinks and handling the drunks who are currently the primary patrons of the tavern.
Astra Senter (Human, Female)
A barmaid, Astra is exceptionally beautiful. One can only wonder what she is doing in a place like this until she opens her mouth; she has one of the most annoyingly high voices every heard. She is also somewhat naive and slow witted.
Nan Grabbi (Dwarf, Female)
A barmaid, Nan is a bit of a drunkard, an avid gambler and a serious carouser, but an excellent worker none the less. She is high spirited, well liked and friendly, and just as likely to grope the patrons as they are to grope her. Nan is particularly protective of Astra, and often threatens to show people her ‘dwarvish axe’ if they don’t treat her right; so far that hasn’t been necessary.
Nira Degrano (Human, Female)
The cook, Nira is exceptionally tall with the dark skin and a slight accent of the far south islands. Her perpetual smile shines bright, and she is friendly and talkative to anyone in earshot. She is an excellent cook, but her best dishes are too spicy for these bland northerners.