The Enclave > Known Roads > Three Stones > People and Places > Taverns

The Bitten Eye

The scarred door to the Bitten Eye stands in a narrow and unpaved alley beside unkempt stables, a stream of mud in wet weather or following the last snows of winter. The alley entrance faces the Trade Road at the edge of the City Without, marked by a large, battered wooden ball carved - and once painted - into the stylized likeness of a bleeding, dead eye. Folk come and go from alley and stables throughout the day and night.

The Bitten Eye is a merchants' tavern, catering to traders who choose not to enter the City Within - those of modest means or less reputable agendas. The Council of Traders and law of Three Stones essentially forbid trading in the City Without - or in coin other than priestly lead - but trade takes place anyway, hidden and expensive. The Bitten Eye is a meeting place for those who defy the Council to earn a living, as well for traders passing through Three Stones to the Trade Road, New Road or Stone Road. For all the whispered conversations, knowing looks and assignations, the Bitten Eye is usually a peaceable enough establishment for folk who can keep questions to themselves. Hired spearmen in the stables across the alley are enough to keep thieves away from mules and goods - but thieves of the City Without are often enough on other side of the table, making what would be an open, honest trade in any other part of the Enclave.

The stables of the Bitten Eye are of tumbledown wooden construction, but the Eye itself is a solid enough stone building. The shutters and doors of the ground floor are iron-backed; regular visitors can point to the stains of Neth bile from five years before, or the deep cuts of Watch axes on the front shutters from the previous summer.

[ Posted by Reason on May 28, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Third Flame

The Third Flame Inn is mostly hidden away behind thick grey stone walls on a paved street leading onto the Great Way. Hired spears in red iron and expensive cloth guard the entrance, for the Third Flame is a meeting place for the wealthiest and most influential of Three Stones; nobles, priests of the Temple of Powers, Watch captains, magisters and merchants with influence in the Council of Traders - and renowned sages, in past times. The high-born and influential meet behind four walls and in the great carved cellar of the Third Flame. Retainers, guards, servants and lesser brethren drink and dine on a wooden deck overlooking the Great Way, calling down to friends and cityfolk, wagering on the fate of thieves, suitors and those who bargain with well-dressed tradesfolk.

The high-vaulted cellar of the inn is set into booths and long tables, lit by a smokeless stranger's flame - the Third Flame itself - burning tall and hot, purple and white by turns. The carved walls depict scenes from the history of Three Stones in between shelves holding curios and engravings.

The Third Flame Inn has stood for generations; the origin of the stranger's flame in the cellar is a mystery, however. It was never unveiled by the merchant who rebuilt the inn and enlarged the cellar, now long passed from the World. The inn was already much as it is when it passed into the hands of Tivia, an austere old woman who was once a trusted retainer to Lady Talmur. Tales are told as to just how is was that the previous owner went before the magisters, and thence to the prison vaults in chains, fined all his possessions - but many similar tales are told by the poor folk of Three Stones.

One new addition to the rich decor is a statue of the High Priest Hadren as the Vessel Ascendant, a smaller replica of that recently placed in the Temple of Powers; the innkeeper is a shrewd old woman, well versed in the ways of power.

[ Posted by Reason on December 28, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Goat's Tankards

The Goat's Tankards is a haggard stone structure, slumped against the base of the great city wall in the City Without. The slanting roof would give a view of the Stone Road and flanking watchtower hills, were any so foolish as to trust their weight to the sagging beams and leaky thatch.

No-one has owned the Tankards since the aged barkeep Lafal passed from the World five winters ago, but the poorest of commonfolk in the City Without haven't stopped coming to drink as they always did. Honest farm folk and crafters made poor by the Council of Traders have always taken their ale side by side with lesser thieves, outcasts and coinless travelers. Now the honest commonfolk pool their leaden coin to bargain casks of bad ale from passing traders at the Bitten Eye, and appoint one another barkeep or "Lord Lafal" for a night.

Above the Tankards' doorway, covered against summer rain or winter wind by rough boards rather than door and frame, hang battered wooden mugs on rusted chains, remnants of an old tavern tradition in the City Without. A prancing goat statue once hung with them, but that has long been gone. The poor folk come to drink, but the Tankards continues to decay a little more each winter; soon enough the roof will fall in, and the drinking will continue elsewhere.

[ Posted by Reason on December 28, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Road of Spears

The Road of Spears is a little more than piled ale-casks, wooden slats for shade, open walls and bundled spears for posts. It stands, such as it is, atop the lowest grey stone blocks at the unfinished end of the City Wall closest to the Guard Keep. Those within overlook the coming and going of Guard spears from the Keep and Great Way - and, often as not, spearpriests and their followers from the King's Keep, come from the New Road and through the red iron gate of Three Stones.

Spearmen, Guard and their friends crowd the Road of Spears from the middle of the day until dusk, for the ale is cheap and plentiful. Casks are rolled along the Great Way from the Grand Market across the City Within by tens, morning and night - commonfolk say it's Lord Dren's coin that pays the traders. There are no steps up to the makeshift Guard tavern, however, and few commonfolk are helped up span-high blocks by the spears above.

The Road of Spears is named for an ancient, half-forgotten song, and a tale older still - a tale of spearmen of the old Ammand, betrayed and beset. A standing spear stood above each of the fallen on the long road between two cities; in the end, only one of the company remained to ensure the tale was told. The song is known to spearpriests, the tale to sages, but commonfolk and honest spears of the Enclave know little of such distant times and places.

[ Posted by Reason on January 6, 2006 | Permanent Link ]