When the term "witch" is used, it's to refer to a practitioner of some fringe or unidentifiable magic art, and in this case, the term is used fondly. The Witchboat is more of a floating structure than a true boat, seemingly barely pilotable as it drifts aimlessly off the marshside boundary of Lockhinge city. The look of the barge is unmistakeable, appearing as an ominous dome constructed out of junk, and newcomers to the city are often surprised to hear the positive reviews of the cures and care being peddled from its rickety depths. The truth of its origins are a little fuzzy, and the tales grow taller every year (such as whether the "witch" is the same woman who has always been there, or if several different ones have been switched out over the years), but it has somehow managed to remain one of Lockhinge's most respected clinics for as long as anyone can remember. Whether or not she has always been the one to do so, the owner and operator of the Witchboat is Divuzi Shortbout, an elderly Halfling woman, who also occasionally has a few of her younger relatives hanging around to help out.
Purpose / Function
In years past, the Witchboat's primary purpose was a sort of floating clinic, with a steady stream of patients boating or even swimming in to receive care within the hazy depths of the barge. In more recent times, with Divusi's age ever advancing and more options for healthcare appearing in Lockhinge all the time, the number of patients visiting for direct care has slowed down a little bit, with a steady stream of tinctures and cures flowing out instead.
Decades ago, when the worst of the plague outbreaks swept through Lockhinge, the Halflings of the city who had come from a rich river-dwelling tradition jumped in to help, setting up and manning floating quarantine boats, despite the danger of infection. Their home cultures had similar methods of managing disease, so they brought this knowledge to the city and likely saved hundreds of lives in the process. Since then, fleets of quaratine boats have been used by the city several other times, and each time, the riparian Halflings have sprung to action and taken charge. The Witchboat is undoubtedly the product of this Halfling tradition, but no one can quite agree if it was created during that first outbreak or not. There exists mentions in various records of the quarantine fleet having a sort of remote, floating base of operations, and it is speculated that the Witchboat had in fact been that particular floating headquarters.