The Sylvan Kingdom>The Isle of Caelen> Dane Caelen>Ankhor’s Dive
Perched upon a rocky outcropping over the sea, Ankhor’s Dive is a haven for the less than reputable visitors to Dane Caelen. his lively tavern and wayside inn draws an eclectic mix of dwarven sailors, human nomads, and elves doing business best not done inside the city proper. It is located on the outskirts of the city, along the northern coast. A torched lined path draws patrons in and, with luck, helps them find their way out again after imbibing fine imported dwarven spirits.
As evidenced by the lighthouse atop it, Ankhor’s Dive was not always an inn. In the time shortly before dragons came to the world, when the demons waged a war of torment against the races of Samsarras, the Elves constructed it as a coastal defense patrol base. The burning light guided ships to shore even as the barracks housed a full company of guardsmen. It was named “Aranel’s Shield” after Currasant Aranel who oversaw its construction and subsequent operations.
There it stood for over a thousand years. In time, due to Mirlethian raids, the city receded from the northern coast. As such, Aranel’s Shield found itself unmanned and subsequently decayed to the ravages of time. Every few decades, some new strange cult would find its way in and call the barracks home, only to eventually be discovered and driven away.
Soon after Caelen Dicelle’s coronation, boats from Mirlethia stole away down the Sil Strait, intent on capitalizing on the disorder monarchal transition brings. When a Mirlethian assassin tried to kill the new queen, they were struck down by Völkhor Longsmock, a member of the Black Boot mercenaries who fought on the side of the elves. Dicelle offered Völkhor any number of titles and positions. The hefty dwarf but smiled and pointed to the north.
“If it pleases your highness, I’ll take that crumbling barracks and get out of your royal hair.”
A deal was struck that Völkhor would take control of the lighthouse under the conditions that he rebuilt it to its former glory and it’s ownership would revert to the Elves upon his death. He enlisted the help of Doograden “Jingles” Cranhappen to finance the project, taking him on as a partner. The two of them enlisted a few former mercenaries to help rebuild it into the iconic inn it is today. From their sweat, Ankhor’s Dive was born.
Völk and Doog
Völkhor Longsmock has long lost his fighting shape at this point, though none of his heft. His rotund stomach bulges under his apron and his cheeks and nose are always flushed red. His red and grey speckled beard is long, coarse, and untamed, a counterpoint to the many well groomed dwarven beards that are the norm. He’s quite bearish and generally conveys a sloppy joviality. Many that witness him in the guise of this happy fool underestimate his cunning.
Völkhor may have lost his fighting figure, but he’s lost little of his fighting muscles and often spends hours chopping the wood for the hearth and lighthouse with his old double bitted battle axe. Perhaps more dangerous that the axe is his mind, however. Völkhor is capable of great plots and remembers most every detail. If skill at intrigue was coupled with any amount of ambition past the excesses of food, drink, and men, it might be dangerous.
He does not hail from the Sylvan Isles, however. Völkhor Longsmock was the son of a smuggler, born on the seas and raised by the waves. He learned as much of the trade as possible with his mother. He served on a pirate vessel for a while offering his skill set to the captain for a decent cut. As a sellsword he was specialized in Amphibious landings and night infiltrations due to his time with the pirates.
Doograden “Jingles” Cranhappen is a gnome. He was formerly an indentured servant on the pirate ship, Silwyn’s Grave. The gnome did the cataloging and bookkeeping for the pirate captain, passing out the shares of treasure and estimating the worth of captured gems and other plunder. Völkhor served upon the same ship. The dwarf took to protecting the gnome, and Doograden made sure the dwarf always had a full share. When the captain of the ship was killed in battle, the crew fell apart. Doograden and Völkhor set off together, eventually finding employ in the Black Boot mercenary company.
Doograden quickly became the company treasurer and historian. He passed out the soldiers shares in small leather sacks, jingling each one before pressing it into their palm as proof of what was inside. The sellswords took to calling him “Jingles” and the name stuck to this day, though only to friends and colleagues.
When control of the barracks was granted to Völkhor, Doograden was the first person he approached. When presented with the opportunity, the gnome gladly accepted. There were many dwarven spirits, cheeses, and other goods that had to pay a hefty import tax to come into Dane Caelen. A little seaside inn nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the main city would be a great place to circumvent that…
Business is Good
On the surface level, Doog and Volk (as they have become known) run quite the successful inn. The rooms are often booked and the ale flows freely. Bawdy acts that don’t align with elven sensibilities often find themselves performing here, much to the joy of their patrons. It is a well known establishment by sailors from all over the northern Isles.
Ankhor’s Dive does more business than food and drink, however. The trap door over the ocean is consistently used by smugglers, bringing the inn a constant supply of duty free imports. Volk’s service to the queen is remembered fondly, so such issues are often overlooked when they are known. As such, Ankhor’s Dive boasts many rich foods from the cold Dwarven north. The smell of greasy whale meat often drifts from it’s cooking fire.
Doog continues to capitalize on his skills as well. Those that need money and have been refused by Money Hall, the gnomish bank of Dane Caelen, will come to him. The terms of the loan generally are not as agreeable as those the gnomes of money hall would offer, but the desperate do not come to Doog for easy terms. More than one sellsword makes their money collecting Doog’s debts.
A debt to Doog is a debt you lose..
1.Telling Stories. It is a quiet night at the tavern. A group of six old dwarves sit near the fire, engaged in a story telling competition. Any PC is welcome to join them and try their hand at spinning a tale.
2. A Song of Dreams. A Del Harun woman is on the stage. She plays a fiddle and sings a song in her native tongue. The audience is transfixed by the performance, as if under some sort of spell. If approached afterwards, she is polite and offers to interpret the PCs dreams for 5 gold pieces each.
3. Marked by Death. The pub is bustling with dwarves, gnomes, humans, and even a few elves. A successful DC 14 Perception check reveals a lone Dezeldenian named Thuln sitting in the corner, keeping eyes on one of the party. She wears the garb of a sailor and funnels a small snake from hand to hand.
If approached, Thuln tells one of the party members of a dream she had two weeks ago while at sea. The party member in question was the main focus. Mother Death came to her in an ancient cave lit by soft green moss. Thuln was tied to a stone altar with strange symbols engraved upon it. The PC came into the cave, calling to mother death. Braxult then removed Thuln’s heart with a knife and presented it to the PC.
This means either that Braxult favored the PC and expects a large bounty of dead souls or that the PC will be meeting Mother Death soon.
4. It’s Clobberin Time. The PCs walk into a full out brawl! The first PC that walks through the door should make a DC 12 Dexterity Save or take 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage from a thrown mug. A DC 15 Investigation Check reveals that there seems to be two sides to the conflict, each being a crew from a different merchant ship.
Volk sits in the VIP seating section, drinking from a large mug and smoking a pipe. A large rack of lamb sits on the table, drowning in a thick brown sauce. He laughs at the chaos.
5. Private Party. Doog opens the door to exclaim the bar is closed for a private party. No one is allowed inside.
Further investigation might reveal the occupants of this party are competing pirate crews. They have come together in Ankhor’s Dive for Doog to assist in negotiating a peace. Volk stands nearby, wearing ill fitting armor and holding his notched double bladed axe in case things go south.
6. Venul’s Grace. A riotous party! Four elves were married to each other this day and their party has found themselves in Ankhor’s Dive. Wine is provided freely and the festivities have aroused the passions of the wedding parties. Any charismatic PCs may find themselves the center of much attention…
7. A Mania of Wrestling. The tables have been cleared to the sides and everyone stands in a circle around the center of the floor. Inside the mass of people are Volk, standing shirtless and sweating, and a giant of man from Mirlethia, his red beard and hair braided together in Elven fashion. They are having a good natured wrestling contest and the PCs are approached to place bets.
Jornhuld, the Mirlethian, wins without too much effort as soon as Volk gets tired. He doesn’t have the stamina he once did… He suffers his defeat with good nature and a drink.
Jornhuld invites anyone watching to have a go next.
8. Spice it Up. A quiet night. Everyone keeps to themselves. Soon after the PCs arrive, it begins to rain outside, the drops battering against the walls in a constant broken rhythm. If a bard is present in the party, Volk will gladly pay them 15 GP to perform, as the low spirits are affecting sales.
9. A Flock of Gnomes. A contingent of gnomes from Money Hall have descended upon the bar. They are dressed in proper finery and hold themselves up in a regal manner. They have come to demand Doog stop lending money.
Doog is dressed in gnomish workman’s leather armor. His face is greasy and his cheeks are flushed from wine. He makes some vulgar gestures with his hands pointing to his genitals before the gnomes leave in disgust.
10. The Play’s the Thing. A troupe of elves have come to put on a play! They worship the Astur Uln, the old gods the elves worshipped before the coming of dragons. Their story portrays the companion gods making their way through the Elvish wilderness, and their losses, loves, and tribulations.
The troupe is led by Ysindel Targarius. They are a priest of Tadis, the Astur Uln god of nature. If approached, they’ll gladly speak to the PCs, leaving them with a silver pendant depicting Tadis’s spear.