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The Scrivener's Pigeon

I wouldn't have foreseen it coming into the forest, but a crowd had formed around a large hut that only just managed to wade in the mud. A crowd of pigeons, that is.    "This is just the place for someone with your sensibilities, ain't it?" the hunter was excited to declare, "Might even find some of your friends, Bellmont."   The afore-mentioned wizard despaired at the sight. "I've never beheld such a hovel in mine life."
  The Scrivener's Pigeon is a tavern on the trade road between Camelan and Altijara. It is referred to as the Ambassador's Nest, since the building is sheltered from the elements by thick foliage. The overwhelming commitment of its owner to keep the roof as clean as possible prevents the leaves from taking up permanent residence there, much like any layabout who wishes to stay there for more than a week. It is the one stop for anyone with business in Altijara, but also the sanctuary of writers, scribes and annoyed academics everywhere. The hotel used to be called "The Scrivener's Rest" but so many carrier pigeons and other birds crowded around it that locals simply refer to it as "The Pigeon".   The tavern specifically bans bread and seeds, since the owner takes no responsibility for patrons harmed by carrier pigeons (or other similar avians). Instead, it serve poultry that most are convinced are pigeons that the owner has caught on the roof and a few nice soups.   The Pigeon has many alcoholic beverages, though the most popular is simply known as "The Lord's Lager" - a mysterious keg that the owner has had in his cellar ever since it first opened. It is a fine but risky vintage, since no one can be truly certain whether or not it even is wine.

Purpose / Function

It was built to keep travellers safe on the roads after banditry rose after the fall of Camelot. With less guards patrolling the highways, scribes and ambassadors alike were prime targets for thieves, who were unlikely to ask their specific profession and instead turf them out their carts onto the roadside. The owner, a former soldier and somewhat annoyed by the constant complaining of tome-headed visitors to his home town, decided enough was enough and escorted people to their destinations.    Soon, the task became an overwhelming logistical nightmare. Instead of hiring more people and making yet another Order of knights doomed to failure, he built a tavern. It proved to be a wise business decision.

Alterations

Though the rest of the building remains as raided with age, the roof is impeccable. The owner keeps it highly maintained and hates it when people climb on the rooftops when they are less than sober. If he finds someone in the act, he will climb up there and challenge them to a duel. Once the customer loses (which the locals and well-versed travellers have accepted is inevitable for a tavern catering to scholars), they have to help fix the damages. In the miraculous event that the owner doesn't have them picking leaves or bird droppings off the roof, they are unceremoniously turfed out.

Architecture

"To call the place rickety would be an insult to the bridge we used to get here!"
— a disgruntled poet and customer
  It has changed very little since it first opened, and therefore heartlessly assaulted by pigeons. Though some structural repairs have been made, it looks far more humble than it should for its intended purpose. Most scribes are paid poorly, however, and have little choice about their accommodation if they would rather hire a mercenary to keep them safe on the roads at night.    There are around 20 rooms, though the owner can neither count or read, so everything (including profits) is an unabashed estimate. Some of the rooms are simply larger because the owner and sole architect of the Pigeon couldn't measure the dimensions correctly. Others lean at uneasy angles, to the point where the most severe cases have hammocks tied to the support beams instead of beds.    After the increase in pigeon customers, each room now have a coop where they can rest. These were made by a grateful patron, though no one can decide who would come to the Pigeon more than twice. They are the most uncanny part of the rooms, since they are actually symmetrical and well-made.

Tourism

The tourists don't arrive at the Scrivener's Pigeon willingly. Rather, they are dragged by masters of their future craft or brought along with a group of merchants on some ridiculous notion of adventure and limitless money in Altijara.   It is a place of harsh awakening, where a young hopeful is shocked - both by the terrible smell and the barbarity of its somewhat unhinged owner - into the reality that the world is not as docile as it appears on a map. For the older clientele, it is a place of mourning and a constant reminder that all peace will eventually be shattered by screaming pigeons, broken ink pots and scholars fighting over parchment.
Founding Date
763
Alternative Names
The Scrivener's Rest, The Pigeon, The Coop
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

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Comments

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2 Jan, 2021 01:23

This is amazing. There's so much character in this place - and the owner! I particularly love the last line.

8 Jan, 2021 01:09

I find writing pubs and taverns the hardest prompts, but you can put so much character into a single building. Especially when thinking about who would build / own such a place! XD