“Hey! Hey, guv’nor! Ye looking for treasure, mate? Yeah, they say that th’ pirates that run ‘ese waters bury their gold on bitty little uncharted islands, but ev’ryone’s lookin’ for ‘em. Why don’cha look unner th’ water? ‘Tain’t no tellin’ how many ships are lyin’ around, jes waitin’ for someone to come take all th’ shiny bits keepin’ ‘em down. Don’t matter if you cain’t swim. I gots this stuff, let’cha breathe water jes’ like air. You can go down an’ take yer pick. Me? Naw, I’m powerful afeared of sharks. An’ if ye doan’ want th’ gold, ‘is stuff’s better’n the swill they serves in the tavern. Two bits a bottle, guv’nor… Hey! Muro! Git ‘way from that, ye two-legged son of a wharf rat!”
Lukkas Adenhart is a fixture around the docks, where he and some of his cousins work as dockhands. Their lack of hygiene surpasses discription, and they always smell like wet dogs (thier odor has been known to overwhelm the fish brought in at times). They talk in a broken, uneducated manner common to many sailors. However, Adenhart sells bottles of what he calls “Saltheart’s Brew,” which is a hard liquor with an unexpected side effect. It allows one to breathe underwater. It also packs quite a wallop, and exploring underwater becomes much more… interesting when one is drunk out of one’s mind.
The brew does in fact work as advertised. It also interferes tremendously with perception and reaction time, and when drunk by humans, has a very distinctive scent. Adenhart and his “cousins” are sea wolves, aquatic lycanthropes. Saltheart’s Brew is a concoction of Adenhart’s (before he was infected, he was a vinter’s son who had run off to sea). The sea wolves use it to trap prey (and they like their food well marinated, anyway.)
“Oh, yah, Idira’s not someone you want to get crossways with. There ain’t no one meaner than that mud-faced, buck-toothed firefly from hell. What do you mean, what do I know? I married her, didn’t I?”
Mama Idira runs a greasy little tavern so close to the water front that parts of it are sinking into it. The food’s bad, the liquor is watered down, and Mama herself is a holy terror. She’s a big, big ugly woman, and the undisputed master of her family. Her husband is often loitering around out in front of the tavern, and her five sons can be seen either lounging around various places on the docks, or running errands for their mother.
It might seem like there is absolutely no reason to overcome the first revulsion at Mama Idira’s tavern. However, she is a first rate gossip. There is nothing that goes on in Port Reliance that she doesn’t know, and she likes to repeat the news she hears. Often loudly and at great length, whether you want her to or not. Just don’t upset her, or she’ll clobber you, then sic her boys on you.
The Siren’s Call
“Oh, yah, th’ girls ol’ Mox has are nice, partic’ly when ye’ve been at sea for a spell. Course, ye gotta check yer pants when yer leavin’ to make sure nothin fell off durin’ th’ night. And ye’ve gotta tip Mox extra, or yer like te end up on a ship takin’ ye summars ye don’t want te be. Nice place, tho. Th’ beds has real sheets, and mos’ th’ girls got their own teef. Mox even got one o’ them chandy-leer things. Jes’ be carful to knock out yer boots in th’ mornin’. Sometimes critters gets into ‘em, and some o’ ‘em bite.”
Few words can describe the Siren’s Call, the only brothel in Port Reliance. It’s filthy and infested with rats, roaches, and less desirable pests. The “girls,” of which two are under the age of forty, are probably carriers of every disease known to man. The “chandelier” is a hideous monstrosity cobbled together from old anchors and rigging, and could fall at any minute. Needless to say, most sane people will want to stay far away from Mox Jaco’s establishment.
If one does brave the squalor, there are other dangers besides exposure to disease and vermin that bite. Mox does a nice side line in “pressing” able-bodied men for various captains he has a contract with. This usually involves being clonked on the head and waking up on a strange ship leagues away from port. None of the captains Mox does business with are shining examples of humanity, and the conditions onboard are horrid. The frequency with which these crews are replaced invites thought.
The Book and Bell
“Kodo down at the sign of th’ Book an’ Bell, I guess he’s got a nice ‘nuff place. Ye can actually get drunk off his booze, and th’ food’s not like te kill ye. An’ he charges dear for it, too. ‘Bout the only ‘uns who can pay what he ask is the cap’ns and mates, and the wealthy ‘uns as come to do bis’niss. Puttin’ on airs, methinks Kodo is.”
This is the other tavern in Port Reliance, and infinitely preferable to Mama Idira’s place. It’s much cleaner, in better repair, and serves better alcohol and better food. It also costs four times as much. It’s run by Kodo Maito, a young man from out of town with dreams of turning it into a place of real repute.
The only customers he really has are the ship’s captains and officers, merchants who do business with them, ship’s owners, and the occasional pirate on a lucky streak. He’s got two local girls (who won’t lower themselves to the Siren’s Call) working for him as barmaids, and is a fair employer. He’s also pretty protective of his staff, and is not a small man.
There is a semi on-going fued between him and Mama Idira, with some mutual harrassment on both sides, but so far, no out-right trouble has started.