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The Whirligig

Written by ladysundae324

An Itinerant Tavern

As the full moon casts an alluring periwinkle light over the vast forest of Sylph Standing, the soft squeak and rumble of wheels can be heard pushing through grass and twig. Drawn by three dragonflies the size of hawks, a four-wheeled carriage traverses the overgrown paths of the wood, its pace unhurried. Wisterias and white lilies grow directly from its purple frame. Its silver wheels are wrapped in vines that don't hamper its movement. Its windows glow with soft, blue light, and the smell of sweet wine wafts out from within the gossamer curtains. In the driver’s seat, a fisherman's cap hovers seemingly of its own accord.  
Credit: Chakkree_Chantakad on PixelBay
  The Whirligig carriage only appears outside of the fairy world during full moons and blue moons. It stops for any traveler it comes across in Sylph Standing. Many choose to stay within the carriage until the next full moon, so they can return to the "mundane" side of Sylph Standing and make their way back home. Those who wish to leave the carriage earlier can do so—but the fairy realm is an always strange and often dangerous place. Only fairy folk and the bravest adventurers choose to pass through the threshold while on the "other side."   When a wayward soul in the forest is found, the dragonflies halt the beating of their powerful wings to rest in the lush undergrowth, and the carriage door swings open of its own volition. Sounds of merriment burst forth: many voices singing, playing, laughing and chatting. Those who choose to pass through the door immediately feel the effects of a diminution spell. They shrink down to the size of sprites and pixies so they may better enjoy the delights of this carriage-turned-lounge.   Inside, the plum purple cushions on the carriage seats and walls have been torn through, re-stitched and reinforced to create hanging tiers for tables and chairs. All chairs are turned toward the floor of the carriage, which has been converted into a stage where performers of all traditions may play, joke and act to entertain the guests of the Whirligig. The stage is lit by a moonstone chandelier hanging in the center of the roof.   The two carriage seats each have a bar station, the bar tops resembling beautifully marbled jade. Shelves line the back cushions of the carriage seats, full of various kinds of liquor, beer and wine. Most of the alcohol is of fairy origin, but some vessels—like dwarven whiskey bottles, halfling ale barrels, and jars of merfolk jellies—have been magically minimized to fit within the diminutive world of the carriage.   Winged folk have the easiest time traversing the carriage's tiered structure. Ladders of twisting vine are available for the spry, but many folk choose the ease of the Whirligig's lifts: human-sized ceramic saucers lifted and lowered by iridescent beetles.  

The Staff

 

Lucy, the Carriage Driver

The carriage is driven by a frog-folk named Lucy. He has translucent skin, giving him a spectral appearance. He has bright white eyes speckled with black spots. When he makes eye contact with folk, his form fills out a bit with a slight green tinge, making it easier to see his shape and facial expressions. He is quite shy, preferring that entranced travelers enter the carriage without engaging him. He wears his fishermen's hat tipped up slightly on his broad head, along with a sleeveless cotton shirt and brown trousers. His red-orange heart can be seen beating through his clear chest. He drives the dragonflies with a gentle care, never whipping or coercing them. He only raises his voice if he senses danger but, being a cautious fellow, Lucy aims to steer the carriage through the safest parts of Sylph Standing and therefore hardly runs into trouble.  

Hale, the Owner

The owner of the lounge is Hale, a nonbinary sprite with a muscular physique. They wear a vest of green leaves with no shirt underneath, to better show off their toned shoulders, back and chest. A pair of wisteria buds are cinched about their neck, like a bowtie. Their hair is short and curled, and its color is that of a river dappled in sunlight: a deep blue with flecks of gold throughout. They have a hands-off approach to management, allowing their staff of sprites, pixies and grigs do their jobs without hounding them. They often sit up in the moonstone chandelier in the center of the carriage, drinking from a silver cup and chatting with their pet water beetle named Staunch. They keep a curved dagger at their belt, along with vials of a dark green substance.  

Strawb & Knees, the Bartenders

There are two bartenders in the Whirligig, each one managing the bar stations on either seat.  

Strawb

The bar in the front seat is run by an older pixie woman named Strawb—“Short for Strawberry, honey.” She has hot pink hair whorled up in a silky smooth bouffant. She paints her face with dark green eyeshadow (a few tones deeper than her sprightly green skin), rouge on her cheeks, and bright red lipstick. A beauty mark sits right under her bottom lip. Strawb is an excellent source of gossip regarding the regulars of the carriage, and she remembers every musician, singer and comedian who has performed on the carriage’s stage. Her signature mixed drinks are a rosy rum punch, a cranberry tonic and a toe-curling sour shooter she calls a "hornet’s kiss."  
Credit: Canon EOS 6d on MaxPixel
 

Knees

The bar in the back is run by a grig named Knees, who is so named for his long back legs that rise up to the height of his head as he crouches behind his bar. He is quite dexterous despite his gangly legs, only rattling the liquor shelf slightly with his spined legs as he turns to and fro to engage with customers. Knees is a bit rough around the edges, both literally and figuratively. He doesn’t talk much, but does enjoy chirping along to the musical performances happening in the stage below. He also serves as bouncer when need be, for he can easily launch himself with one jump to various sections of the carriage whenever a patron becomes too rowdy. He can easily pick up most patrons by their scruff and fling them out of the carriage window. While he’s not a great source of information, he could be an excellent ally in any physical altercations that arise in the carriage. Knees’ signature drinks are a bitter grig gimlet, a sunflower spritz and a double shot he calls ‘First Light’ that can cause severe dizziness in anyone who isn't a grig.  

Tavern Tales

 

The Origin of the Carriage

Rumor has it the carriage was once owned by a noble from the "mundane" side of the veil. A cruel and greedy woman, she loved to ride around in her carriage, showing off her wealth to common folk on her way to an extravagant event, distant market or one of her many estates throughout the land. After one too many brazen trips through Sylph Standing. the fairy folk decided to play a trick on her. During the dark of a new moon, a band of sprites charmed her horses and cut their bridles. The woman and her attendants were left stranded far from any break in the trees, left to walk or perish within the wood.   Hale is one of the descendants of the plucky sprites who originally seized the carriage. Rumor has it Hale eventually came out on top of a bitter family-and-friend squabble about who should own and operate the Whirligig. The conflict is said to have started two years ago after the death of the previous owner, Hale's uncle Drupe.  

The Fate of the Noble & Her Attendants

The intoxicating charm of the sprites sent the horses running and whinnying joyously deep into the trees without a look back over their haunches. The beasts are rumored to still be somewhere within the wood, where unicorns gather fellow hoofed beasts to join their immortal herd.   The carriage driver, so frightened by the behavior of the horses, ran screaming in the opposite direction. His caterwauling is said to have annoyed a nearby hag. She stunned him with magic and dragged him into her hut. Some say she cut him up and fed his giblets to crows. Some say she keeps him as a mindless thrall to do her evil bidding. Others say she gave him a cup of hot chamomile tea to calm him down, chatted with him about his life choices and lack of self-worth, and then sent him on his way—and still sees him every full moon for scones and a round of cards.   The baggage carrier, a brawny woman who had spent most of the carriage ride squeezed between all of the noble's large traveling bags and trunk, is said to have accompanied the noble for a while as they tried to escape Sylph Standing. However, after hours of trudging and dragging as much as she could of the noble's belongings through the night, she caught sight of a river nymph standing knee deep in a moon-kissed stream. The nymph was holding a huge calla lily flower as a jug, full of water or nectar or... it didn't matter, really. The carrier dropped the bags from her arms and trunk from her back, and walked straight into the river. When the noble heard the sloshing and turned around, the carrier and nymph were both gone.   Horses, driver and attendant all gone, the noble continued on, cursing everyone for this misfortune and frustration except, of course, herself. Some say she never made it out of the woods and was summarily eaten by a band of trow. Any trow of Sylph Standing denies this vehemently, stating (1) they are not so barbaric as to eat someone upon first meeting and (2) that human flesh is much too sweet. Whatever her fate, recently there have been rumors that the noble's vengeful spirit has returned to Sylph Standing in the form of a banshee who haunts the marshy sections of the forest and listens for the rumble and squeak of the Whirligig's wheels.  

The Recurring Talent

Performers who've heard of the elusive fairy carriage of Sylph Standing seek it out when the veil is thin. Many are eager to play before this unique and boisterous audience, as well as for the chance to build favor with higher ranking fairy creatures that sometimes visit the Whirligig incognito. There have been many performers over the years, but some of the most well known are as follows:   Woveena, a spiderfolk woman who plays the harp. Her instrument’s frame is crafted of bark from the first tree she called home, and its strings are enchanted lengths of her own web.   Sabian Sore-Eye, a human known for his skill with the harp. He’s a self-proclaimed expert in “Queens, Princesses, Duchesses, and all their like.” He sings of famous women's grand accomplishments, their true and rumored lovers, and middling family quarrels. With his crooked teeth and pockmarked skin, he’s not the traditional "handsome bard," but this does nothing to hinder his confidence or charm. He asserts he's been an entertainer and even advisor to many women monarchs throughout his life, which is why he knows so much their lives. As he seems no more than 35 years old, many doubt this claim to fame.   Keil Thrumheart, a merfolk child who plays various kinds of drums. She uses her hands and tail for percussion, and sometimes even dances atop larger drums in a impressive display of endurance. Most patrons cannot resist the genuinely elated smile on her face as she dances and plays, her blue-green eyes shining with joy. She does not make it to the carriage often, as her oceanic home is far from Sylph Standing and her parents do not enjoy surface outings as much as she does. Most folk of the carriage believe she will seek out the Whirligig to drum for audiences full-time once she comes of age.
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

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Comments

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15 Mar, 2022 20:21

Oh that is a really neat origin story, and a really nice fancy tavern-of-sorts! Sounds interesting to just stay there for a month. Fae are always cool or creepy or both.   You've used some manual layout, but it might be interesting if you use some header tags ([h1/2/3/4]X[/h1/2/3/4]) for a bit better distinguishing between sections.  

Tavern Tales

Origin of the Carriage
For example.


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
19 Mar, 2022 21:25

Hey there,   I appreciate you taking the time to read about my tavern and for the feedback! This is my first time using World Anvil (probably obvious, haha), so tips and tricks are welcome. I've used Header tags and added an image. Might jump back in later to do some more tweaks. Thank you, Wise Sage.   -Lady Sundae

19 Mar, 2022 21:54

Don't tell anyone but I'm only a Sage for the ability to adjust urls. ;) But glad I could share a few tricks with you.


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
17 Mar, 2022 14:41

I agree with Chandra that headlines would take the load off of this article immensely - Also adding small art, or even just reformatting the text a bit could make it seem like a less daring read!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
19 Mar, 2022 21:26

Hello,   Thanks for the feedback, I've went ahead and added some headers to hopefully make this less of an eye-sore. I'll have to brainstorm some more pics to add to break up the text a bit more. Thanks, Journeyman!   -Lady Sundae

27 Mar, 2022 19:29

I do enjoy the layout of this article and the images and the descriptions of some of the staff members. Overall a decent article and i hope you look at my tavern article!, a good job!

31 Mar, 2022 23:25

Thanks for visiting the Whirligig, Malachi. I'll be sure to pop over to the Lovers Tavern soon.