A birdfolk-friendly tavern hanging "below sword" in Sabre.
In a small, dark booth kenku mutter and chatter as they gamble and bluff in a game of bones. The room - a wooden frame with woven reeds - sways gently in the evening breeze. A fire below lifts hot air, smoke and the scent of meats and fish through a wide hole in the floor while drinks and snacks are served by a tawny aarakocra in a floppy wool hat. A new patron, a spritely halfling, orders a drink that's out of stock. A carved wooden order token is hooked onto a slim rope plunging down into the darkness and before long, a barrel is raised on pulleys from the slums below.
Kreearka's Eyrie is an unconventional tavern found hanging from the giant sword that gives Sabre its name. It is the popular haunt of both birdfolk and ground dwellers (at least those who are light on their feet) but has a reputation for exacerbating the queasiness of those already deep in their cups. The establishment consists of several structures suspended on ropes and chains that cluster around the main tavern hall. Passage between rooms is made on narrow wooden walkways, rope crossings or by flight.
The owner, Allarkis, is an aarakocra who takes pride in offering food and drink in an unconventional location to patrons who like the altitude. Of particular note is the large number of kenku customers, often looked down upon as a nuisance (at best) in other parts of Sabre but instead welcomed as equals within the Eyrie. Some say it's the wing-limp Allarkis suffers from that makes him more accepting; others attribute it to the memory of his lost wife - the tavern's namesake - Kreearka.
Like the majority of the structures "below sword" in Sabre, those that make up the tavern are supported by thick ropes and iron chains looped and lashed over the top of the blade. Regular checks for damage and degradation are made - ropes fray and chains rust. Buildings are then connected to each other to further spread out weight and tension. Allarkis keeps a close eye on the weight of patrons to ensure no accidents occur, particularly travellers or adventurers of stout build and many possessions.
The whole ensemble of chambers and walkways is bedecked with pennants, flags and other decorations that move in the wind. A few hanging baskets with flowers and small shrubs are scattered in the remaining space; Allarkis is particularly proud of a redcurrent bush hanging outside his own abode - Kreearka's favourite food. Most of the underside of the tavern is dominated by rope netting as a last line of safety for those prone to accidents.
1 - Porch - A combined landing space for those who can fly and a platform connected to the web of walkways spread out "under sword". It has a small overhang for shelter, a wooden carving of an eagle and a woven basket filled with wildflowers.
2 - Main Hall - A few larger structures that rest against each other to form one big room. There is a hole in the central floor below which a metal dish roughly four feet across hangs filled with coals. Food is grilled on a wire frame across the hole as the heat (and smoke) rise and fill the room. Lighting is low; candles flicker as wind creeps in through the gaps in the seams of the room.
3 - Pantry - A minimum level of supplies are kept within the tavern. Most are stored in a room in the slums below and raised on a pulley system next to this space.
4 - "The Roost" - An additional, smaller chamber for more private functions. It is warmed modestly by a narrow chimney from the main chamber which feeds a small amount of warm air upwards. This chamber is often filled with kenku trading trinkets or gambling.
5 - Outhouse - Little more than a small hole in the floor of an oversized cupboard, the toilet facility drops waste directly into the river below.
6 - Individual Chambers - Teardrop shaped chambers made from woven reeds that act as rooms to rent for the tavern. They are spread across a wide area in order to ensure that weight is distributed evenly. There are seventeen single occupancy and five double-sized rooms in total.
7 - Allarkis' House - Allarkis has his own chamber that he resides in while not working. It is of modest but cozy size and is well furnished with curios he has collected during his life. A small shrine exists in the back of the room: a place of worship to the spirits of air and a memorial to Kreearka. There is no firepit - on particularly cold days, it appears to be warmed by arcane means.
8 - Staff Bunks - The kenku staff have a small bunkhouse they reside in outside of opening hours. Accommodation is humble but included as part of their wages.
The limited floor space of the Eyrie limits the local entertainment to that which patrons bring with them. Small-stakes gambling is a popular pastime with games of Pins (a strategic game of pointing small bones at your opponents) and Three Eggs (a dice game of bluffing and beating the score of your opponents' hands). It is exceedingly rare for these games to get out of hand - the customers of the Eyrie are rarely large and belligerent.
A little "off the books" trading occurs in the tavern. Wherever they go, kenku have a not entirely undeserved reputation for appropriating trinkets and fencing where they can. Enterprising individuals from throughout Sabre can be found making hushed deals in shadowed corners. There is not, however, any organised crime or shady guild activity.
In recent months, a tabaxi musician, Sings in the Shade, has taken up a semi-permanent residency at the Eyrie and can be found within most evenings deftly playing the lyre. He appears to be waiting for something but it is unknown what that might be and even whether he might know himself.
Menu and Fare
Food within the Eyrie is relatively basic due to the limited space and cooking resources. Most snacks and meals are low cost and uncooked, such as bread, fruit, nuts and dried meats. Allarkis does try to have at least one hot foodstuff cooking each evening unless the weather is unsustainably bad. Less expected by ground-dwelling patrons are snacks for birdfolk who prefer the "old ways" - bugs, grubs and worms. The main food notably absent from the menu is poultry.
Grilled Fish with Fruit and Ginger
Ingredients: oily fish (preferably mackerel), gooseberries, redcurrants, sugar, ginger
Trim and quarter gooseberries
Simmer for 10-15 minutes with sugar and grated ginger
Serve over fire-grilled fish, salted to taste, and garnish with a sprig of redcurrants
A good range of alcoholic beverages is served. However, due to the storage restrictions, a full supply is not brought up the pulleys until a grasp of the evening's popular drinks is attained.
A restrained evening spent drinking light ale, eating bread and avoiding gambling usually costs only several copper pieces. More adventurous patrons who wish to sample exotic items could spend as much as a full gold piece over the night.
Staying the Night
Travellers and other patrons who wish to stay the night find an unconventional living arrangement. Individual, reed-wrought, hanging pods cluster together from thick ropes strung between the nearby larger structures. Guests may find that their accommodation moves more than they are used to - on a stormy night, the pods can sway as much as a small boat at sea!
Due to the nature of the Eyrie, lodgers are carefully balanced throughout the array of pods to ensure that the underlying structure remains balanced and stable. This leads to the largest surprise for new guests: room and board is charged by weight - approximated roughly by race - rather than by heads.
A basic breakfast of panada (a sort of porridge made out of bread instead of grains) containing a little cream, dried fruits and spices is available to boarders over the course of a lazy morning. Further cooking may cost a little extra unless there are ingredients at risk of spoiling.
Room and Board
halflings, gnomes, kenku etc...Wood Token:3sp
humans, elves, dwarves etc...Stone Token:5sp
ogres, minotaurs, dragonborn etc...Lead Token:7sp
An additional surcharge of 3sp will be included for patrons with a large volume of possessions.
Staffing and Logistics
Allarkis runs the tavern most nights but rarely does so alone. Two kenku workhands, Tearing Fresh-baked Bread and Howling Autumn Gale, assist with jobs within the Eyrie. An additional worker - a full-blood orc named Cobb - runs the small kitchen/storeroom in the slums below. Cobb takes pride in the work he completes as it's a good step up from his previous role as a Sabre-slums ratcatcher. He is paid five copper pieces ("chits") per day as well as an additional piece for each supply order raised to the tavern above.
It's considered good manners of the guests to throw an extra penny into a pot by the bar if they tip the waiting staff - this money is lowered to Cobb on the pulleys at the end of a night's service.
The tavern itself has limited preparation space for food and drink. There are rarely more than a few casks on tap at a time as well as a limited number of comestibles. Foods that keep for a long period of time such as dried fruits, meats, pickles and grains are kept within Cobb's storehouse until required. Leftover foods - particularly seeds and nuts - are scattered about for the birds native to Sabre's skies.
Word on the Street:
Tastes good -- it's quiet in here -- chirp -- come back later.
I like it. Drinks aren't pricey and people keep to themselves. C'even sell the odd thing if you know who to talk to.
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