Red Stirge Inn
High-end Inn located in Etonia. Private rooms with indoor plumbing, magical security, and quality food
Ho ho, travelers. Have you come to the right place! I am Havan Avarti. Let me get you a drink while we discuss your stay." The bartender and innkeeper walked to the back of the bar to fill several mugs. Pleasant smells filled the common room. Roast fish, potatoes, and carrots brewed in the cauldron in the kitchen. The low buzz of conversations conveyed a space welcoming that locals frequented. Windows opened to the street, and candles lit the dark corners.
The pair of travelers scanned the room, taking it all in. The younger of the two pulled the cowl of her cloak far over her forehead. Her traveling companion put his cloak on the chair. He put some coins on the bar. The stack of golden nine-pieces from the Tracton Valley told a tale of a long journey from the South. The man's fine clothes revealed he was of some station or nobility.
Floor boards from the second floor creaked and groaned, a considerable man and young boy came down steps from the guest rooms. The bartender slid two drinks to the pair of travelers. "Just give me one more minute," and he went to attend to the other guests. He grabbed a large stool behind the bar and took it over to the steps. "Gorn, I got this for you." The large man stared at Havan for a moment. "It's for you to sit while you wait for Junuh to get done with classes at the Library. I won it at a contest at the Fish and Biscuit Rally."
A wide toothy smile spread across Gorn's face, "Thank you, Havan. I will try it out today." Junuh peeked around Gorn and shrugged. Havan clasped his hands as the pair continued out the door.
Havan slipped back behind the bar and stepped over to the potential guests. "Back to our conversation, yes, we have indoor plumbing, provide two meals a day, and have some of the best magical security in the city."
The man sitting across from Havan placed his drink down. "Let me be honest with you. We have been to many of the schools in the South and along the coast. I have many concerns. Coral Gate was holding a town hall meeting to determine what kinds of students would be allowed in the Repository residences. Even the tour guide in Holtswain Academy needed a bribe. It didn't inspire a lot of trust."
The man looked over at his daughter. She slid her cowl back to reveal silver scales along the right side of her head. "I need to know she will be safe here in Etonia. I got the official line from Sages at the Avast Library. They are eager for her to study here, but I don't want her to be the focus of any study like Auguston Citadel would do. What can you tell me as a man with many interactions in the city?" The man slid the stack of coins over the bar.
Havan considered the man for a moment. "Well, you'll need eight more coins for the night." He reached for a brick on a shelf with glassware behind him. The weathered and old grey brick landed on the bar with a thud. "Try to move that."
The man pulled as hard as he could, but it would not budge. His daughter pulled her cowl back and looked at the brick. "Father, it's elemental magic!"
Havan pointed out several of the bricks in the walls of the inn, "I can guarantee a good defense and inclusive community. I know there is magic everywhere in the Wildlands, and that seems like a place she should be, but safety? The Council will call on the Sages of the Library to defend the city if that is ever needed." Havan looked over at the daughter, "and I hope you would come to our aid."
He continued, "I came North with the Council to leave the problems of the South behind. Many of us here knew poverty, so when we see someone in need, we help. The headmaster of the Library is part of the Council. He does not operate the Library like the other schools. You, at least, see corruption and abuses, but would you do more than navigate it? I wonder, would you sell all your holdings and move North with your daughter?"
The father shifted in his seat. "I have responsibilities and other people that need me as well."
Silence sat on the conversation. The father stood up, "I will get our bags from the caravan. We'll take a room for tonight and make more arrangements tomorrow." He dropped eight more coins on the bar as he left.
After he departed, the daughter introduced herself. The smells from the kitchen had gotten the best of her, and she asked what was on the menu.
"I'm Zeshi. My father forgets his manners sometimes."
"It's ok, Zeshi. I hope you get to stay."
"Me too. Could I have some of that great-smelling stew?"
Havan went to the kitchen. Over the cauldron, he spoke a quiet incantation. A bit of electricity flitted around the engravings on the cauldron. It flavored the stew just right. As Havan scooped out a bowl, the volume filled up again. He took the stew and a plate of small rolls out to the common room.
"Here you are, Zeshi." Havan set the food in front of the young traveler. "You should introduce yourself to Junuh. He is studying at that Library too."
Zeshi took a few bites of the stew. "Ooo! This is good." She wiped her mouth. "If you think he wouldn't mind, I could ask him some questions too."
"He is a quiet fellow but always helpful. Have you been to the Church of the Silver Dragon yet?" Havan wiped down the bar where another guest had left.
The young traveler stared at Havan with wide eyes. It took him a moment to realize the scales may make that a sensitive topic. "Oh, let's save that for another day. One step at a time, right?"
Zeshi breathed out. "Right. Thank you."
When Zeshi's father returned, Havan took them up the stairs and down a long hallway. The room was sparsely appointed, but the two beds were neat and fitted with warm sheets and blankets. An empty chest sat at the foot of each bed. A writing desk was placed against a wall.
"There are no windows?" Zeshi's father asked.
"The other side does have windows, but I thought you may prefer a more secure room." Havan replied as he opened the chests. "Here is a key to secure any belongings if you desire. The candles work with the commands, 'Fire on' and 'Fire off.' Just lean in and speak the words while you touch the base of the candle."
"Yes, this room will do." Zeshi's father confirmed.
"One more thing." Havan went between the beds to the wall. He closed his eyes and touched four of the bricks in the wall. "Show me Mead Cliffs." Light spread between the four bricks, shifting and swirling into an illusion of Mead Cliffs in the Tractan Valley. The squeal of joy from Zeshi let Havan know he got a new long-term stay guest.
"Enjoy your evening," he said with a smile.
Havan exited the room and returned to the bar, thankful for another good day for the Red Stirge Inn.