This being the fifth piece in my Lanthrish Locales collection... How long has it been since the last one? I did "The Great Tower of Skye" in '06, "Palinroe" '07, "Aleth Hult" '08, and the cross-section of the Great Tower of Skye in '10... Yeah, about time for a new locale!
From my Facebook page Lanthrish Legends:
Would you like to take a tour of one of the most popular places in Comyn Aynesfirth, E.L.?
It's called The Battle Bard Inn. We've been hanging around in the sciptorum of the Great Tower of Skye a while now (you know, reading about Lanthrish history, calendar, holidays, etc.), so let's get out and walk down the street to this famous tavern!
It's just off to the north and west from here, past the market square. You can see the upper quarter just beyond the markets. Fine houses of white stone and dark timber. That's where the master merchants and other well-to-do's live. Off to the east is the grand Tabernacle of Comyn Aynesfirth, built completely out of giant red pines from the foothills of the Thelrad Mountains in the north - even the furnishings inside!
Here we are, heading west on the Cleric's Crossing. Fletcher's Street is coming up on the left. Look back, we're down off the hill of the Great Tower. You can see that place from just about every where in the city! The darkened stone bark of the structure captures the fiery orange and red glow of the setting sun.
Listen now.... You can hear music and life around the corner. It's not the tavern, though. Fletcher's Street just comes alive in the evening! It's the market place to be after the square shuts down. As you look down the street, you can see dozens of tents and stalls where all sorts of things are sold and traded. It's very popular with the soldiery. Armour and weapon repair, bowyers and fletchers, blacksmiths and pole-turners, chandlers, cobblers, tanners. Lots o' that right next to fruit stands, dried meats and bakers, and small brewers. You can see and hear musicians, dancers, storytellers and comedians - all out for entertainment, but also auditioning. If the right people see them, they may be booked to perform in The Battle Bard! You'll see why in just a moment.
There it is! Directly to the left, west side of the street. Very large, but cozy place. Stone foundation, wattle and daub walls with timber framing, tall windows and several nooked windows with thick, smokey glass. The angled roof is covered in wood shingles with the dormers of several rooms jutting out. The two front corners are mock gatehouse towers of grey stone. The large, wide terrace on the street front is the porch leading up to the entrance. And above that, you can see the big sign hanging from a wrought iron lance covered in ivy. The sign itself shows a harp with a spear and sword crossing beneath it. Off to the right, extending towards the street, is an archway with another stone tower. That leads to a courtyard of stables for travellers and visitors. This place stays busy! Lets go in!
Open the door. Ah! Smell the food and smoke! Salty meats, spiced potatoes, brewed and swilled drinks, and aromatic pipe smoke. The lighting is warm and inviting - bright enough to see all round, dim enough to feel relaxed. Lots of laughter and good conversation mix with the thumping and reeling of the music at the far end of the great hall. To your right is the greeter's desk. This establishment is owned by Mr. Alisdair. His family has been running this place for over a hundred years. He's found sometimes sitting here at the desk, welcoming folks and filling rooms.... looks like he's put a sign up - "We're full" .... That sign is usually there! Mr. Alisdair is probably down at the other end, enjoying the music.
Here's the long bar - just past the greeting desk. It extends most the length of the hall - about 100 feet or more. you can see little boxes sitting on the bar counter. They're filled with different pipe tobaccos. Black Knight's Cavendish, Golden Honeyleaf, Sandy's Cinnamon Blend, and Vanilla Bark are just a few to name - and some of the most popular! Back behind the bar you can see the drink wall, just as long as the bar. There are big portholes all along the wall where barrels of beverages are placed. They found a way to keep the barrels chilled - the framing around the portholes are kept filled with ice. The water from the melting ice is saved to provide drinking for the stabled animals. Some of the fine drinks here are Haversdown Hops ale, Wencel's Pale, Lanarkmoor Heady; along with meades from the upperlands of West Lanthranolund. They have a couple flavoured with blueberries or blackberries!The main floor is filled with hefty tables and chairs and one large feasting table over near the grand fireplace centered on the south wall to your left.
Speaking of the south wall, behold! Every inch of it is covered from above the wainscoting to just under the balcony with the coat of arms & crests of every family with men who serve or have served in the Lanthrish armies. The grand fireplace's pit is about six feet high with a stone mantle, framed in the stone paws of the great roaring lion's sculpted head above. There are two large antlers to either side of the lion, bringing both symbols of Lanthranolund together. We call it our "Deer ol' Lion"..... Silly, I know.
Let's grab a drink and find a table near the far end.
Ah! There's Mr. Alisdair waving to us. You might think he'd be a large, gruff fellow, but you can see he's only a little over five feet tall and quite stout. He used to be a ranger in the Southern Provinces of the Estate. Hah! Listen to this group of musicians! The "Woe-Be-Gones" - quite popular! They're singing the "Ballad of Dedalen". They sang this once when a group of Itherian soldiers were in here during the Occupation after King Micalen the Second passed away. Bloody near started a fight. After that, the Itherian High Ecclesian tried to ban any music being played here. Thank Enel the Itherians didn't last long here!
*I raise my glass* "Long Live the Skye Kings!" *The whole place cheers*
Well, look up and around. The upstairs level is packed too. Everyone leaning on the railing of the balcony - it runs around the entire place. If there was a room available up there, you could stay overnight and enjoy a fine breakfast - or a fry-up - in the morning. It's only available to those lodged here. You get two eggs, a thick slab of grilled ham, black sausage (not everyone's favourite - it has liver and mushrooms mixed in), fried tomatoes, beans, oatcakes and quick bread (you may know them as scones or a type of biscuit). There are several different scones - buttered tattie, cheese, blueberry, raisin, cherry, apple, and currant. It is all served with a hot black tea. When you check in Mr. Alisdair hands you a parchment order. Along with the questions about your room, your stabled horse and number of nights for lodging, you're asked what type of fry-up you want. It actually is only asking which quick bread you want with your breakfast - sorry everyone gets a black sausage....
If you want to stay here, ask Mr. Alisdair when the next room is available..... Ooooo! Five days! Well, this is the month before the Kingsday holiday.... Merchants in town - selling some fineries to prepare for the festivities.....
Well, just enjoy the place this evening. Eh?!