The blind basilisk Building / Landmark in Aar | World Anvil
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The blind basilisk

Behind this name hides a cozy tavern in the lesser harbour of Olim. Overall the lesser harbour is a terrible place, but this tavern is one of the few islands of peace. Ok, peace might not be the right term here - its always loud, chaotic and sounds of conversations, music, swearing and singing mix with the smell of all kinds of food, ale, wine, the fires from the kitchen, the sweat and grime of the patrons and the always present whale oil that seems to cling to everything in this district. All in all the blind basilisk creates its own unique cocktail of sensations.  

The building

But - lets set the scene. Back to the beginnings of the tavern. The building itself is quite old and was built sometime in the later third era as a guardsmens post. It has a pretty large basement which originally held some holding cells and a vault, now the cells serve as storage chambers and the vault now holds the valuables and riches of the tavernowners. The groundfloor became the main bar room, the break room in the back was expanded a bit and was turned into the kitchen. The two upper stories have 5 rooms each and were designed as living quarters for the guards, now the first floor is rented out while the second floor was turned into a cozy flat for the taverns owners.  

The basilisks history

Why the name you will probably ask? Now, grab an ale and have a seat. After the building served as a guardsmens post for a few decades Marenz Quertus bought the building as a retirement investement. He was well known in the lesser harbor for his colourful life. I suppose I should tell you more about him, but maybe another time, my throat feels kinda dry. For starters, he grew up around here and just as many other kids from the lesser harbour he became a mercenary - he became sea sick quickly so the job as a sailor that was popular as well was out of question for him. He worked as a mercenary for around three decades and survived many adventures throughout his days - and each winter he came back to Olim to spend the cold months drinking in the inns and taverns. There he earned his bed by telling his tales and entertaining the patrons - hence his fame. One faithful year he guarded a caravan to the far southwest of Nandaahr to Samarkant, on this trip he somewhere encountered a basilisk and unlike most other unlucky fellows who meet one of these deadly reptiles he managed to survive and kill it as well! Later he explained that he threw a dagger in the creatures right eye and then kept hitting it from this side until he got its neck - the marks around the right eye socket seem to prove him right. He knew that nobody would believe him, so he cut of the beasts head and brought it home - even though it was supposed to have smelled terribly for the whole trip back. When he finally was ready for retirement he bought the post from the traders guild. It needed some renauvations and the city guard was happy to get rid of the building. The moment he recieved the deed he hung the head right over the fireplace in the main bar room. The name of the tavern followed pretty quickly. It took him a year to finish the remodeling of the house, but when he was done everyone in the lesser harbour was dying of curiosity - Marenz was just as famous as the chairmen of Olims traders guild. He did a rock-solid job, the tavern was a nice cozy place, he hired a bard and some musicians, the chef formerly worked for one of the major shipowners and with his reputation and the bear of an orc who worked as a bouncer the place was safe, served good food and was supposed to be free from bed bugs. Some say a few of the beautiful ladies there were up for sale, but we dont want to speculate...   Marenz spend two more blissfull decades in his tavern, telling tales from his adventures and counting money in his vault room. Six years after his retirement he married the daughter of a whaling captain and had three daughters, they took over the place after his death - he died right in the bar room. Just as he was telling everyone how he was cutting off the basilisks head (his favourite story) he gasped and fell of his stool.  

The basilisk now

The daughters made it a tradition to pass the place down the female line of the family which is unbroken until today. Maybe I need to discribe the place a little bit more (Bjørg, bring an ale please, will you?). After centuries of smoking patrons and roaring fires in the giant central fireplace that heats the entire building the bars and logs turned to a dark brown and black, just a little darker as the panelling. The main room is rectangular, seperated from the kitchen by a giant counter made from a single oak, it is a true monster of a counter. Marenz stool is still there, unmoved and never again used, a little bit like a shrine for this places founder. And of course the basilisks skull is still hanging over the fireplace, facing the door, looking as menacing as the day Marenz took it home. The walls are made of small booths while tables in the center of the room gather around a small platform in the middle of the room. Normally a small band and a bard perform here. The room is lit by multiple artisan lamps made from copper by a very well known copper-welder (around one century ago). Together with the uncounted mass of candles the whole room has a golden glow to it. Behind the counter, in the next room is the kitchen. Formerly build to feed the guardsmen and over the years heavily modified it now serves a loyal group of patrons everyday.   When you climb the stairs to the first floor you end up in a hallway with five massive doors made of northern mapple, each room, originally a sparse guardsmens dorm became a cozy home for a night or two. Thick rugs on the wooden floor and the walls keep the gruesome cold of Olims winters out and the wolly plaids on the beds keep even those warm that are keen to freeze. Most rooms even have some books on the night stand for those who prefer peace and quiet over the colourful and noisy trouble downstairs.   No one exept staff is allowed in the basement but if you were to go down there you would be surprised. Many of Olims basements are wet and cold places, but this basement is dry, heated by a small oven and feels nearly homey. Down here all the food and bewerages are stored. In one cell one of Marenz decendents installed a small brewery that since then produces a quite tasty ale. Sadly it is sold out pretty damn quick every year. The vaultroom is at the end of the basements hall, but nobody really knows anything about it.  

The culture around the basilisk

So, you might think "Ok, that is cool and all, but why is this place special now? Yeah, the skull is cool,  but sooo?" Well, over the years some kind of culture has formed around the place. The owners always were nice people who spared some food for the homeless in this quarter who in turn made sure that no thief enters the building. And since they pride themselves with high quality food - which is rare in the lesser harbour - the patrons dont want to get banned from the basilisk, because otherwise there wont be any place around that can match their standards. This led to some kind of code of behaviour for the tavern. While the owners encourage loud and exessive parties and you can talk as much trash as you want - you can even start a fight if you want - outside of course, there are no serious injuries or even deaths whatsoever. A good fistfight is never an issue - but dont go beyond that. The bouncers pay close attention to what is going on and everybody who dares to break the "bark dont bite" rule gets banned from the premises.   This safety made the place famous throughout the entire lesser harbour and turned into a stable institution for centuries. Over time this expanded into a banning mile - in sight of the basilisk there wont be any pickpocketing, murder or muggings. About 70 years ago, everyone who commited such crimes in sight of the basilisk had tragic accidents in the following week. This went on for a couple of months until the notorious folk knew better and avoided the tavern like the reapers markings.   If you want to get a few good nights of sleep and or spend nights of drinking and debauchery without the danger of getting stabbed or poisoned, then the blind basilisk is your tavern to be.
by derGuenter
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

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