The Black-Haired Dog Building / Landmark in Azora | World Anvil

The Black-Haired Dog

The Black-Haired Dog Public House, also known as the St. Laocwyn Brewing Company and colloquially known as Hetmit's Rest, is a pub located in the modern capital of Rathen. Originally built as a monastery, it was turned into a public house after a series of disasters led its parishioners to sell the building rather than become debtors.   The Black-Haired Dog has been serving patrons of all walks for over 800 years, making it the oldest pub in Adraus. The tavern's normal clientele is mainly working class people, but being at the heart of Rathen, it also can expect nobles, bishops from the cathedral, travelers, or more. As a rule, the Black-Haired Dog can not deny any person in need. This rule is widely enforced and has been since it was opened by Osmund Mrennar centuries ago.   The Black-Haired Dog is considered a national landmark by many people.


Early History

In the early 600s, proselytizers of the rapidly growing Dreistic Faith began establishing religious centers throughout the northern Adrausii Basin in an attempt to convert the native inhabitants of the region. Laocwyn, a new convert, took it upon himself to spread the faith with intense vigor and began traveling across the basin. In 637, Laocwyn traveled to the southern region of the basin and discovered a wellspring bubbling from a broken stone on top of a low hill. Believing it to be a sign from the gods, he began construction of a small home. Eventually, it became known as Laocwyn's Wellspring and Tabernacle, and he began holding church services weekly.   In 679, Laocwyn, along with his lifelong direhound companion, Hetmit, was buried beneath a cairn of stones on the church grounds after their death. Following his passing, the chapel was willed to two of Laocwyn's acolytes. By this time, the building had become a notable stop for many travelers and merchants. The priest's living quarters had already been converted into a makeshift hospice and sleeping quarters for such people. Often times, priests were forced to sleep on the floor or in pews with blankets because of the sheer number of visitors.

Laocwyn & Hetmit

Sometime after building his chapel, Laocwyn was interrupted from his nightly prayer by strange noises outside. Curious, Laocwyn went to investigate with nothing but his shepherd's staff and a lantern. After wandering for a while, he stumbled upon the form of a large, dead direhound. Her side had been pierced by arrows and her breathing had stopped. Behind her, a small, pure black puppy lay whining as it nudged her dead form with great tenacity. Saddened by the sight, Laocwyn took the pup back to the chapel and named him "Hetmit," meaning "Little Loyal One."

For thirty years, the two would become inseparable and become a common sight for travelers and merchants alike. Hetmit would eventually pass away from old age. Laocwyn buried him behind the church beneath a small cairn of stones. Laocwyn, brokenhearted, would pass only four days later.

-Adraus: Its History And People

Founding Date
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

Tavern Staff

Mrennar Family
Odachim Mrennar: The head chef of the Black-Haired Dog. At 45 years old, Odachim is a tall, tanned skin man with short-cut, salt-and-pepper hair and a full beard. He appreciates everyone who frequents the bar and isn't afraid to give out the occassional meal.
Adanna Mrennar: The hostess of the Black-Haired Dog. Adanna is noted for her stunning blonde hair and fair skin, she is a pleasant soul who welcomes all who enter.
Jania Mrennar: The 15-year old child of Odachim and Adanna Mrennar, she works as a server and back-up cook of the Black-Haired Dog. Much like her father, she is a bold and determined person who loves her family.
Oskar Mrennar: The 13-year old child of Odachim and Adanna Mrennar, he works as a server and helps clean tables of the Black-Haired Dog. Oskar, while he loves his family, has dreams to join the military and serve for life, as soon as he becomes 16.
Oswig Mrennar: The 12-year old child of Odachim and Adanna Mrennar, he works as a cleaner and dishwasher of the Black-Haired Dog. An excitable child, he often likes to pull pranks on customers.

For the next two hundred years, people would come from all across the southern basin to visit and drink from the supposedly holy waters of Laocwyn's Wellspring. Legends speculated the waters held healing qualities that could cure ailments and disease, as well as grant vigor and strength to the lame. At some point in the 700s, the village of Rathen was formed around the church.   When the chapel was experiencing steady funds and support in the early 800s, the local parishioners decided to begin construction of a basement brewery utilizing the wellspring. However, tragedy struck when the new brewing equipment failed, causing the foundations to become too weak to support the surface structures. The building sagged and the church belltower collapsed, leading to reconstruction of the entire foundation.   Disaster struck again soon after when lightning ignited the thatch roof during a violent autumn storm and a fire destroyed much of the church's interior. With the coffers empty and no means to make income, the parishioners were forced to close the church and sell the property.   A local miller and layman of the faith named Osmund Mrennar offered to purchase the building so he could restore it as a public house. The parishioners, with very few options, accepted with two stipulations. One, the public house could not deny anyone in need; and two, they must care for and maintain the grave of Laocwyn and Hetmit, which remained the only grave on the property. Mrennar accepted and the deal was struck. The parishioners moved into a new building, which they converted into a church with the money they recieved. Mrennar reopened the building as The Black-Haired Dog Public House in 852.
Growing in Popularity
Following the Troubled Times of the 12th Century, early historians were offered jobs by nobility to scour archives, libraries, and churches to find documentation and records to prove their legitimate right to rule. Two historians arrived at the Black-Haired Dog Public House, believing it was still a chapel. During their stay, they were informed of the story of Laocwyn and Hetmit, which had grown into a popular folk legend throughout the southern Adrausii Basin. Intrigued, the two recorded the story in writing. Later, it was published in a series of short stories and pamphlets called "Adraus: Its History and People." These pamphlets revitalized commerce in the area as people from across the basin flocked to visit.   By the 15th Century, Rathen had grown into a large city that acted as a trade point between the port cities on the Cerulean Sea and the basin interior. Around this time, officials celebrated the completion of the Rathen Cathedral by canonizing Laocwyn posthumously as the official saint of the city. Laocwyn became known as St. Laocwyn, the Saint of Protection, Charity, Brewing, and Dire Wolfhounds. Many locals criticized the church for not including Hetmit in the canonization of Laocwyn. Two years after the initial canonization, officials gave into local pressure and named Hetmit the Direwolf Saint of Friendship and Joy.   In 1653, the Black-Haired Dog celebrated its 800th year of business. To celebrate, the newly-founded Kingdom of Adraus registered the building as a historical site and began granting them a monthly stipend to help fund the pub.


The Black-Haired Dog Public House is a two story building. Its first floor exterior is made of light gray limestone with dark wood window frames and door. A stone wall surrounds an open lot to the right side of it, which holds two tables, a couple chairs, and a small, colorful cairn of stones with two small wooden statuettes of a dog and man on top. The second floor is alabaster white, coated in wattle and daub, and decorated with dark wood half timbers. The roof is covered in slate shingles with a tall, stone chimney.   Inside, the stone wall is insulated with wicker and covered in plaster and stucco. The walls are painted a warm dark yellow and show depictions of a saint, a group of direwolves, and rolling hills. Paintings of the countryside also cover the walls, showing the landscape before the city of Rathen surrounded it. The first floor windows only face the street are made of stained glass. The windows depict black direwolves in various poses. The tables, chairs, and even the bar are made of dark wood with brass fixtures, lit by wrought iron and brass gas lamps. A large-scale kitchen and bathroom are found towards the back, along with twin staircases going up and down which are locked during business hours.   The basement is small compared to the overall structure, possessing a barrel cellar and large brewing equipment which pumps water from the wellspring to turn into fine ale.   The second floor, which is only accessible to the Mrennar family normally, possesses a bathroom, a kitchenette, a living area with windows pointing to the street, and two bedrooms.

Food and Drink

Pub Menu

Fried Potato Wedges ---------------------------------------------- 150 Adan
Cheese Platter ------------------------------------------------------- 200 Adan
Fried Stuffed Tomatoes ------------------------------------------ 250 Adan

Soups & Salads:
Fish Head Soup ---------------------------------------------------- 450 Adan
King's Salad --------------------------------------------------------- 375 Adan
Beef & Vegetable Stew ----------------------------------------- 500 Adan
Bowled Goulash --------------------------------------------------- 550 Adan
Blackened Rabbit & Side ---------------------------------------- 600 Adan
Shepherds Pie & Side -------------------------------------------- 700 Adan
Roast Beef & Side ------------------------------------------------- 750 Adan
Adrausii Goulash --------------------------------------------------- 775 Adan
Herb-Crusted Pork & Side -------------------------------------- 800 Adan
Peppered Salmon & Side --------------------------------------- 850 Adan
Garlic Breaded Oysters ----------------------------------------- 900 Adan
Garlic Bread -------------------------------------------------------- +100 Adan
Roasted Vegetables ---------------------------------------------- +50 Adan

Adan River Ale ------------------------------------------------------ 200 Adan
Gunpowder Mill Cidar ------------------------------------------- 300 Adan
Rosewater Gin ----------------------------------------------------- 350 Adan
Drauskr Wodka ---------------------------------------------------- 500 Adan
The foodstuff of the Black-Haired Dog is made of fresh, local ingredients purchased from sellers at the nearby market square. Prices are set so that all walks of life can afford to eat here, with some specialty items placed on the menu to attract wealthier, more influencial clientale such as local nobility, bishops, etc.   While many items have been added and removed, the only food item which has remained on the menu since the tavern opened is the Adrausii Goulash. A popular dish well known to the region, it is a form of beef stew that mixes vegetables, rice and various seasonings in a rich bone broth that is commonly served in a wooden bowl or large garlic bread bowl.   As for its drinks, the house liquor is the Adan River Ale, which actually does not get its water from the nearby Adan River but from the natural, pure water spring underneath the bar. The ale is noted to have a strong honey apple taste to it, as well having a fruity aroma. When poured, it shows as a dark, golden color with a foamy head. Adan River Ale has been served at the bar, almost unchanged, since the brewery was opened 800 years ago.   All breads, including the bread bowls, are cooked in-house using a large, wood-burning bread oven. Most breads are made the morning of and kept in an ice box for two days before being given to local homeless or needy for free. This way, no food is wasted.   All the food preparation is done by Odachim Mrennar, who has owned the bar since inheriting it twenty years ago from his father. Odachim takes pride in his work and carefully prepares every dish with remarkable speed while his eldest daughter assists in day-to-day operations, such as kitchen and food preparation.


Hetmit's Rest

Hetmit's Rest is a large cairn of stones which sits in the corner of the beer garden furthest from the bar or garden entrance. It stands a little over five feet high and is made of with colorful stones painted in a myriad of colors and decorated with depictions of dogs, dog paws, and more. On the top stone rests two statuettes, one of a man with a shepherd's staff and the other of a large direwolf, that have been mortared to the stone. At the base, various religious symbols have been drawn, as well as thrown coins and seeds, and chalk drawings of wishes, prayers, and more. Occassionally, someone will drape the cairn in the national flag.   This is the final resting place of Laocwyn and Hetmit, laid together after their deaths so their friendship would remain even into the afterlife. Many people flock to this pub to pay respects as well as to perform the Prayer ritual.   When performing, one must first donate something to the cairn. This can be a stone, coins, seeds, or other material object. Once this is done, the person will kneel before the cairn and pray. According to legend, the prayer must be a sincere want and not just something monetary or selfish. Then, once you are finished, you write what you want on the ground near the cairn and walk away. This ritual has been performed for over 400 years, since the publiciation of "Adraus: Its History and People" which made the site popular.   All coins donated to the site are considered donations which help the bar feed homeless people.


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8 Mar, 2022 19:28

This article looks good, and has a tone of information already. Keep up the good work.

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8 Mar, 2022 22:17

That already looks very good. I like the very changeable history of the tavern so far and also that you are resolving the name Hetmit. I'm looking forward to the rest.

Welt: Yenort
9 Mar, 2022 12:07

I love the story of Laocwyn & Hetwit. The architecture sounds nice too.

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9 Mar, 2022 23:15

A charming tale! Laocwyn and Hetmit really made the article.

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10 Mar, 2022 14:26

Great Job Barbarossa! As others have said the story of Laocwyn & Hetwit was a great addition. I am glad the food section mentions briefly the nearby Adan river, as I was questioning the freshness of the fish head soup prior to that unless it was made with salted or otherwise preserved fish. (with the location being between a sea and the basin.) I hope that you can fand or make a map or image that will make you happy as that is the only thing missing.

10 Mar, 2022 16:45

I really like the way the origin is still remembered, and that the doggo got recognised as a Saint! The menu is real lovely too, and the details gone into architecture and whatnot.   You already received suggestions to use the full-footer so there's less idle space. Another thing I should note is that the History section currently is rather massive. I'd recommend considering reordering the article, so it's not intro then immediately the massive block.

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11 Mar, 2022 00:52

Excellent work! This is the kind of place, with the kind of history, that I love to visit!

11 Mar, 2022 06:52

An ingenious use of the footer section and Columns

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11 Mar, 2022 09:48

I love the work you've done on this! Also, great menu!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
13 Mar, 2022 12:58

Very well-made article! The two-column layout makes it easy to read, and I really like the design of the menu.

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