Perched upon a rocky outcropping over the sea, Ankhor’s Dive is a haven for the less than reputable visitors to Dane Caelen. This 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.
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 large storage room which holds the whale oil that burns in the lighthouse above. A platform swings in the middle of the room. It can be raised up to the top of the tower to unload these barrels
Dust dominates this small room that looks out over the sea. It is sometimes used as a refuge for those that tend the flames of the lighthouse. It is barred from the winds that blow mercilessly above. A trap door and ladder adorn the ceiling of this room, leading to the lighthouse. A rope and pulley hoists barrels of oil through the opening
At night, whale oil is fed into the large brazier, keeping the flame of Ankhor’s Dive shining out to sea. It is a welcomed site to many a tired and thirsty sailor. Those that have a different type of business in the inn know to look at the flame for signals. Doog has made a variety of different additives to the oil that give the flame slight color variations that convey anything from “stay away” to “we need aid.” It is a subtle messaging system, but one the gnome uses to great efficiency.
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Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality; it's a way of understanding it