03/08/998, Talismarr Jubileum, Grolmin's Grindhouse

 
03/08/998, Talismarr Jubileum, Grolmin's Grindhouse

The canal bustles with activity as your boat floats at an amiable pace through the traffic and chaos of morning Fairhaven, on its way to the Talismar Jubileum.

You recall Antonin reasoning with the rest of you as you plotted your path from the peninsular Ender's Run to Grolmin's Grindhouse, saying that it would be far more prudent to take a water taxi rather than proceed on foot. The Watch would likely be shutting down foot traffic in and out of the district with that giant frost-bitten wolf on the loose, and it would be best not to meet up with any Watchmen even on a good day.

Sure enough, as your little craft plows its way through the murky city water and the wake of other canal vessels, you see several squads of armed city guards dashing along the walkways to either side of you, running in the direction from which you've just come. They're pretty keen on getting there quickly, and don't care who gets in their way, a point proved as a burly guard shoves a slow-moving fruit vendor, cart and all, into the canal waters below.

The man lands a short distance from your boat with a hearty splash, and resurfaces just in time to hurl a string of curses as the Watchmen continue sprinting down the street above. Antonin, on the other hand, is just in time to snatch a bobbing apple from the water as the cart debris floats alongside. But a few of the smashed planks cause the boat to list slightly, and the old musician to curse and drop his apple off the starboard side just as he was about to take a bite.


Antonin Zivelda

"Try to keep the damned boat steady, won't you?" The old man snorts. "Barely ten in the morning, and already you're deep in your cups!"

With a muttering grumble and a curse, Antonin settles back down in the prow of the slick-bottom boat and refrains from further berating the beleaguered water taxi driver, who returns his frustrated words with an insincere smile.

Boatswain

"Right you are, sir, right you are... miserable old crow..."


After a few moments more of plying the waters of the canal, you round the corner of the raised stone wall and are treated to an extremely odd sight. Settled upon the otherwise featureless west side of the canal, with its high raised wall with occasional lookout towers, is what at first looks like a gigantic, two-story... beer barrel. You feel an odd sense of disillusion, and for a moment doubt your sanity, until you notice a few additional features about the huge barrel.

It has windows and doors cut out of it. There's a long-vaned windmill spinning about on its roof. And from the windmill sprouts an absolute tangle of complicated gears, belts, pulleys and other mechanical things of dubious function. The underside of the barrel, protruding slightly from the canal waterline, is even busier; there you see a pair of large wooden waterwheels, churning up a storm and carrying buckets laden with water up into the snarl of machinework up above.

Oh, yes... and there are people coming in and out of the barrel, seemingly unaware that they're participating in a work of absolute madness.


Antonin Zivelda

"That is Grolmin's Grindhouse," explains Antonin, pointing a knobbly, gnarled finger toward the looming container of alcohol. "It's a place for... various things. It's mostly a restaurant, these days, and a fine one at that. The owner is a good friend of mine."

As Antonin gives his spiel, the boatswain guides the water taxi over to a bustling dock under the Grindhouse. There, a pair of dwarves catch the boat's mooring rope as you pass, and begin tying the vessel up so that it won't drift away. A few other boats come and go as they finish their work, making you suspect that this restaurant is certainly an active place.


Boatswain

"Grolmin's Grindhouse," announces the boatswain in a cheerful tone. "You may disembark when you're ready, sirs."



Jarl Spitesnarl

"An odd place..." Jarl says, eying the establishment warily. He sniffs the air and looks around, not quite sure what to make of the neighborhood.

A mean tempered small time thug for hire always lookin for an easy buck, lucky enough to still be alive, but not enough to have much money.
Kluh McCluh


Kluh seems mightily cheered by the sight of the Grindhouse. Its passing resemblance to the ale kegs doubtless on tap inside put a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye.

"With all that fuss an' mayhem behind us, I'm wonderin' if remember what's ye wants from me inna first place!" he says, jauntily. "Which of youse buyin' the first round? I have a powerful thirst."

Antonin Zivelda

Antonin blinks a bit at Kluh's words. "A bit early to be in your cups, isn't it?" He shoots an appraising frown at the thug, then shakes his head in resignation. "I guess it can't be helped, if you're to listen to our offer. I'll treat your first round."

Boatswain

"How about paying your fare first, my friend?" The boatswain regards Antonin carefully, his hand outstretched for money.


Antonin Zivelda

"Ah, forgive me," says Antonin with a shake of his head and a smirk. "Where are my manners?" With that, he reaches into the pocket of his off-smelling long jacket and tosses the taximan a small brace of coppers pieces. The man catches the coins in mid-air and brings them in for close inspection. He wrinkles his nose after a moment.

Boatswain

"You know, good sir," says the driver politely and slowly, "tips are not required, but they are appreciated..."



Antonin Zivelda

"Oh?" The old man makes a show of patting himself down, then shrugs helplessly. "Oh! Forgive me. We miserable old crows tend to have shallow pockets. Dassi telivah,* yes?"

Antonin gestures for you to follow him up the dock, leaving a now very miserable boatswain to return his boat to the canal, and reflect upon the fine hearing of the elderly.

"Professionals these days! It's lamentable," chuckles Antonin, setting a brisk pace up the small but busy Grindhouse dock. "Let us inside, Mister Kluh. I will go ahead and talk to the proprietor about getting a private booth. I'll leave you with Mister Moony and Mister Jarl to discuss your... qualifications at a more leisurely pace toward the restaurant?"

The musician tips his wide-brimmed hat to the thug. "I shall see you anon." And with that, he proceeds at a brisk jog toward the entrance to the Grindhouse, leaving the rest of you to manage the boisterous Kluh McCluh.




*Translated from Bahji saying: "Wise men mind their tongues"

Moony

Moony exits the watercraft and motions for Kluh do follow him. He waits for their guest to disembark as well. He then waits for Jarl to do the same. He will walk at Kluh's side into the festhall.

Jarl Spitesnarl

The gnoll carefully exits the boat, stepping onto the dock and motioning the other two forward. He keeps a wary eye on their guest and gives a smile far too predatory to be really friendly, but then he is a gnoll. "Head for the tavern... I'm sure you'll forget all about your thirst soon."

As one group, you begin walking up the well-maintained, smooth timber dock and toward the Grindhouse ahead. You pass a number of dwarves on your way, many tending to boats and ropes of various shapes and sizes, while others are deep in hushed conversations in a language which none of you quite recognize. A few of the more haggard, unpleasant-looking dwarves cut their words short as you pass, but begin talking in hushed tones again once you're safely out of earshot.

As you approach the big barrel building, you see a roofed path off to your right that extends around the circumference of the barrel. Misted by the runoff of the waterwheels churning diligently overhead, the path features rails made with aluminum pipe, and is lined on one side by various metal placards and boards covered with sketches, schematics and small portraits and paintings. A few people mill about the path and are walking through it.

A big sign at the entrance to the meandering track reads: "A Walking History of the Fairhaven Grindhouse: 914-Present."

You're stopped at the door to the imposing establishment by yet another dwarf. This one is seated on a spindly oak stool behind a tall wooden podium, and looks up at you with interest.


Grindhouse Host

"Greetings, good sirs, to Grolmin's Grindhouse," he says with a smile, leaning over the post to engage you. "Home of the finest Dwarven cuisine in all Fairhaven! My name is Rustel, and I'll be seating you this day."

He taps a big ledger book open before him and pulls out a writing quill. "Now, would you gentlemen like to sit at the bar, or at one of our fine booths or tables? I'm afraid there's a thirty-minute wait for a booth, but if you'd prefer to sit outside," he adds with a waggle of his eyebrows, "I should be able to seat you straight away."

Jarl Spitesnarl

"We were looking more for a... private room to relax," Jarl said, standing just behind their 'guest'. "It's been a trying day, lots of activity..."

The gnoll scans the room. This place is new to him and he's not entirely sure he likes being among this many new people knowing so little of the town. Still... adapt or die.

Moony

Moony tries to scan the inside for Antonin, while keeping an eye on their guest.

Rustel

Quote:
"We were looking more for a... private room to relax,"
"Hah," says Rustel with a guffaw, nearly falling off his stool. "You want a private room?! You have to book days in advance for something like that! Did you really think you could waltz into one of the most popular restaurants in the city, flash a smile and expect us to say-"


Well-Dressed Halfling

"Welcome to Grolmin's Grindhouse, gentlemen, your private room is ready!"

Rustel's mirthful observation is thusly interrupted as the doors to the restaurant are thrown open, and a boisterous, grinning halfling emerges with Antonin in tow.

The halfling, dressed in the garb of a dockworker beneath a huge leather coat and a long green scarf that nearly touches the planks beneath your feet, turns and looks up at Rustel smartly. "Thank you, Rustel, that'll do. These fine men are in the company of my good friend, here. Go ahead and mark them down for Room Number Two, and log it as "Mr. X and Company," there's a good fellow."

Grumbling quietly, all his humor gone, the dwarf picks up his writing quill once more and starts scratching out an entry in the logbook in front of him. Meanwhile, the halfling turns to the rest of you and flashes another grin that looks like it's nearly too wide for his face.


Well-Dressed Halfling

"But greetings again, to you fine gentlemen! A friend of Antonin is certainly a friend of mine. My name is Harafass Whistiggle," he says as he bows, his verdant scarf touching the ground, "and I'm the owner and proprietor of this good establishment. And you are...?"




 

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