At a Glance
The scent of fish and brine fills the air as you carefully descend the slippery cobblestone street towards the wharf. Ringing ship bells hardly cut through the vicious downpour upon the street. With coats and parasols raised, people went about their way in quite a hurry, not permitting the rain from staving off their business. Waves chopped at the wood of the docks, splashing the wide causeway bereft the usual commerce. Orange and yellow lights illuminated the street from behind glass nearby. In the dark, it was still rather easy to see a sign depicting some creature with the bottom half of a fish and the top half of a nude woman beckoning passerby to stop. "The Gentle Mermaid" was painted upon the window in elegant cursive.
The interior of the pub is deceptively large. While the outside would make the place appear small, a dozen or so tables are between the entrance and a small bar against the southeastern wall. A tired and clean-shaven old fellow cleans glasses as a few sailormen quietly sit about and drink. With walls boasting nautical paraphernalia, it is rather apparent that the owner was once a sailor as his decor longs for the sea. Fishing nets, rods, trophies, and all are proudly displayed. That particular stench of brine that perverts each and every nook of the docks was hardly noticeable, for the smell of yeast and cooking fish filled the nose. This seemed to be nothing more than a quaint seaside pub, yet there was a particular charm to this sort of place.
"Evenin'. Throw yer coat there up yonder an' let me getcha sometin' to drink, yeah?" the stern bartender suggested as he procured a wooden tankard. "What'll it be, laddy? You just 'ere fer a pint or are ye lookin' fer supper as well?" Scars and tattoos ran up his hands and forearms like vines. His ink had depicted a strange serpentine creature crawling up his arm in a spiral and the scars had cut pink into it, creating a far more interesting piece. By the way he walked, it was clear that he had a leg of wood. Perhaps he lost in out on the sea, but he hadn't let such a handicap slow him down. A larger fellow, it was clear that he was made from tougher stuff with a thick neck and square face. Despite his intimidating appearance, he was rather kind and courteous as he began listing off all of his specials and brews for the evening.
Relaxing into the watered-down pint, a woman with a peculiar aura about her beamed with a smile as she came from the back with a bowl of hot soup. Creamy and rich, it appeared to be a sort of seafood bisque. With her blonde hair tied into a neat bun atop her head, one could look upon her pleasant and heart-shaped face. With a small thank you, the cook bows her head and turns to retreat back to the kitchen. One couldn't help but notice that she had a rather odd feature: there were unusual slits on either side of her neck that seemed to respond when she spoke.
The Gentle Mermaid is a simple pub that serves local and fresh fish in their cuisine every day alongside ale, beer, and the favorite spirits amongst sailors like rum and gin. Recent financial struggles have led to the two owners cutting back on their quality, forcing them to water down their liquor and buy yesterday's catch for supper. Despite this, the patrons never complain, for they all seem to know and respect the owners.
A sailor at heart, Mr. Conrad loves to spin the yarn about his younger days upon the tide. Despite his often yearning tones, he is quick to remind a listener that he is happy to be upon land while also being able to look upon the sea each day. As the owner of the establishment, he handles any and all issues that arise in the pub which are few to begin with.
"Ah, old Harry is a kindly man. I once saw 'im run outside to save a gull from a pack o' stray cats."
- Idnatius Prower, Fishmonger
Conrad doesn't like to draw attention to his injury, but he gladly recounts the tale of how he lost his leg. In a battle at sea against a group of corsairs, he and his fellow marines manned the ballista. When the ship took a hit, he was quick to begin paling water from in. In a stroke of bad luck, the ship was struck again, causing large chunks of splintering wood to burst and rip his leg almost clean off. Thankfully, the ship's surgeon was able to keep him from dying.
Edith is an unusual woman. While her husband, Conrad, appears to be nearly fifty years of age, she doesn't appear a year above twenty. Reserved and friendly, she often expresses quiet appreciation for a customer's patronage before delivering their meal and returning to the back. Few sailors have attempted to make conversation with the woman, namely to ask where her delicious recipes had come from. The most anyone could ever get out of her was a brief and concise response before she tittered happily and returned to the kitchen. Those that ask about the woman are given brief and somber answers from Conrad who suggests that they don't ask such things again.
Secrets & Rumors
The Gentle Mermaid is a rather simple establishment. As such, no real troublemakers or rabble-rousers patronize it. The only real rumor that circulates is the origin of Harrison Conrad's wife. Some say that they have someone leave the establishment late at night before diving into the sea entirely in the nude.